October 2015 - Simply Samantha
bitsy brainfood

Bity's BrainFood Spooky Snacks

8:00 AM

It's that time of year again. Time for fun decorations, costumes, and lot's of sweet goodies. If you are like me, the goodies and treat's are the best part of this spooky holiday. However, it would be nice to find some yummy treat's that aren't scary unhealthy for you.

Bitsy BrainFood Spooky Snacks
This is where Bitsy's Brainfoods comes in. 
These cookies are filled with nothing but healthiness but taste as sweet as those "other" treats you will find in you child's trick or treat bag. 

Here is a little bit about these cookies::
Alphabet-shaped Smart Cookies
USDA Organic
Made in a nut free facility - school safe!
Healthy treats for the ghosts, goblins, princesses and pirates this Halloween
Baked with organic fruits & veggies
16 0.8 oz treat bags (8 Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin and 8 Orange Chocolate Beet)

While I couldn't taste these myself, I had some little friends taste them for me. I was told they were "very yummy" and I was asked, "Can I have some more cookies please?" 

Not only are these little babies made with ORGANIC and Non-GMO fruit and veggies, they are also NUT FREE. I think its great that they are nut free, making them school safe. I work with kids often so I know how important it is that the snacks they bring to school are also safe for their friends.

If you are looking for some great last minuet treats for your little one's this Halloween season, pick some up at your local Target or Wegmans! And don't forget your $1 off coupon! 

Learn more about Bitsy BrainFood.
(I LOVE their cereals) 
Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram

*Disclosure* Bitsy Brainfood sent me this package in exchange for a review. 
Opinions are 100% my own. 

Ancient Harvest

Gluten Free Lasagna Casserole

8:00 AM

I have ANOTHER awesome freezer friendly meal for you!
 Like I mentioned in my last post, freezer meals have become my best friend.  Hence why I've been posting so many. All it takes is just a small bit of time over the weekend to prep the meals and voila!, you have an awesome oven ready meal with no hassle for those busy nights during the week.

This dish is delicious!
Its gluten free, vegetarian, and super husband approved!
Gluten Free Lasagna Casserole *Freezer Friendly*

1 onion, chopped (optional)
8 ounces of gluten free noodles (I used a box of Elbow from Ancient Harvest)
1/3 to 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cottage cheese
8 oz. mozzarella cheese 
1/2 teaspoon parsley (chopped fresh or dried)


  • Saute onions then add and warm up your beef crumbles. When done set aside.
  • Boil the noodles according to package directions.
  • Mix spaghetti sauce with diced tomatoes, beef crumbles, and onions. Set 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese aside to sprinkle on the top. Combine the rest of the mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, beaten eggs, parsley and salt and pepper.
  • Layer a third of the meat sauce, then the noodles and then the cheese mixture in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Repeat 1 more time. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • To freeze: Cover well with foil and freeze for up to a month.
  • To serve: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes (until bubbly). Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Happy Cooking Friends!


Vegetable MineStrone *Freezer Friendly*

1:54 PM

I plan out our dinners for 3 out of the 5 days of the week. Tuesdays are Leftovers and Fridays are usually pizza. 
Leaving Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday as my homemade meal days. 
However, 2 of those 3 homemade meals days also contain nighttime events after work for both my husband and I.
 Homemade Freezer Meals have become my friend for those busy nights.
It's definitely hard to find good gluten free and somewhat healthy freezer meals. I've spent many a day on pinteresting scrolling and scrolling to find a good freezer meal
I happen to stumbled upon this wonderful recipe the other day while scrolling through pinterest.
This is such a great and tasty recipe. Its probably on the best freezer meals I've ever made!
photo Photo Oct 12 4 57 50 PM_zpsadqjb1sf.jpg
Don't you love my iphone crock pot photo? Crock Pot liners at the bomb

1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup of apple juice
15oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
19 oz. can mixed beans (I mixed a can of pinto and cannellini) 
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil pesto

:For cooking day:
4 cups vegetable broth


Saute onions in oil for a few minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrot and saute for a few more minutes until beginning to get soft. Add this to a large sized resealable freezer bag. Add juice, diced tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, seasonings, cheese, and pesto to the bag. Remove excess air, seal the bag and freeze.

On cooking day, thaw, pour into a crockpot . Cook Add 4 cups of vegetable broth and cook until desired temperature. I cooked mine on high for 4 hours.

Mine came out very soupy and almost watery which is not how I like my soups. To fix this,at the end of the cooking time, add a box of your favorite GF pasta for about 15-20 minuets and it will sock up the excess liquid and leave you with a great tasty soup!

Happy Cooking Friends


A Floridian Fall

8:00 AM

I'd like to point out as I am writing this I should be working on two school papers about television and radio ratings. But sometimes a girl needs a break to write about something other then TV ratings :P

Ok moving on...

I spent the first 10 years of my life living up north. I grew up in a very unique area of the north, where the hills rolled and farms were abundant. Looking back it seemed more country and southern then some of the places near where I live now.
As much as I pride myself on being a wanna-be Southern Floridian Bell (is that even a thing?), I do miss my northern roots from time to time, especially during this lovely transition into fall.

You see, up north, the transition into fall is graceful and beautiful. The weather slowly but surely descends into the lower 50's and 60's, the wind blows, the leaves change, and the fall harvest begins.

In Florida I feel like fall is a biopolar force of nature you just want to slap and say "MAKE UP YOUR MIND".

This bipolar force of fall nature doesn't really have a stoping point. I'd like to say it decides to become more normal by the end of October but I distinctly remember wearing shorts on the morning of my wedding in late November then 3 days later bundling up in a sweater and boots.

Yup, welcome to Florida.

However, as Floridians we have learned to embrace this lovely bipolar fall whether by not relying on it to fulfill our feeling of fall.
Here are some things I do to ignore the bipolar weather and focusing on feeling fallish.

  • Buy lots of fall candles. I think I own about 4 right now. 3 candles and 1 wax melt. Light those babies up and your house will feel like fall in no time.
  • Where a long sleeve top with shorts. No one south of Jacksonville is going to judge you for it.
  • Participate in your towns fall festival, even if it means being in the sun sweating your butt off and getting rained on 10 minuets later.
  • Break out those crock pots and get to cooking some fall dishes. (Pssttt check out my crock pot recipes here
  • Conform to the man and treat yourself to some pumpkin flavored coffee. There is no shame.

Happy Fall Everyone


Maty's Health Products *Review*

8:00 AM

I love finding great natural products to replace the normal everyday over the counter medicines. It's been a long process of learning what works and what doesn't work for my body when it comes to even the basic medicines for head colds and sickness. It seems that the more natural the product is, the better my body takes to it and make's it work.

I was first introduced to Maty's at the WOW Mom Summit last year. I absolutely loved learning how natural their products were. When you look at the ingredients of their products you see natural and NORMAL ingredients.
 Thats a big + in my book! 

Maty's is very passionate about using natural ingredients in their products. I love a quote on their site that says
"If All Natural Works Why Not Use All Natural"
 I agree.

They have many products for everyone in your family. From adults to babies.

One of their newest products is a USDA certified ORGANIC Cough Syrup! This came just in time for the Riley household. I got a nasty head cold first and then the husband followed.
This stuff tastes great and works super well. 
Maty's Health Products Reviews
Here is a little bit about the Organic Cough Syrup from Maty's:: 
Our organic cough syrup is a USDA certified organic honey blend packed with ten powerful immune-boosting ingredients. Providing you with healthy antioxidants, it’s the first organic cough syrup available nationwide to give you that extra boost when you need it the most.

They also have an awesome line of natural baby products
One of my favorite's being the Maty's Baby Chest Rub.

When I am not blogging, I am working with kids. I am always on the look out for natural and SAFE products for the kiddos, especially the babies. Maty's Baby Chest Rub is on of my absolute favorite "baby safe" products. I have told many friends with little one's about this chest rub because it is not as harsh as some of the main brands, but it works just as well! No wonder it’s the No. 1 Selling Baby Chest Rub in the US!
I love that it's is made with lot's of great safe ingredients, like coconut oil and lavender, for the most sensitive of babies. There are no parabens, phthalates, fragrances,hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, preservatives, mineral oils, gluten or chemicals.

Here is a little bit more about their chest rub ::
 Our baby chest rub gently relieves your baby’s cough and congestion while strengthening their little immune system. There are no worries about putting toxic substances on your baby since our chest rub contains only pure ingredients and is petroleum and menthol free.

You can find both of these products and more in store nationwide! 
I've seen them in my local Walmart and Target.
To find a store near you check out their list of retailers here!

 And keep up with Maty's on Social Media

*Discloser* I was sent these products by Maty's Health Products in exchange for a review. 
All opinions are 100% my own. 


12 Minute Chicken and Broccoli

8:00 AM

When you eat like I do,

(gluten free, sometimes vegetarian, and vegan on occasion)

Asian inspired dishes become a weekly occurrence. Mosty because they can be super simple, turned gluten free, AND pack a lot of flavor. So, it's no wonder why most of the recipes on my blog happen to be asian inspired.

This is probably one of my favorite recipes. Its so quick and delicious. It takes everything in me not to make it every week.
I really have no other words for this dish then that you need to make it for yourself and see how delicious it really is!
12 Minute Chicken and Broccoli GLUTEN FREE


3 Tbsp. Gluten Free Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (less if you are not a fan of ginger)
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper
10oz bag of organic frozen broccoli


Cook your broccoli according to its package and set aside

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is browned and mostly cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, make your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together GF soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, cornstarch, garlic, ginger and sesame oil until combined. Set aside.

Once the chicken is browned, add the broccoli and stir to combine. Stir in the soy sauce mixture, and cook for an additional 1 minute until the sauce has thickened.

Remove from heat and serve immediately. We like to place it on top of some super yummy white rice.
 12 minute chicken and broccoli

Happy Cooking Friends