consulting

Social Media Management

1:40 PM

Need some help running your facebook, twitter, or Instagram page?

I love helping other's navigate the world of social media and use it to benefit their personal brand and business!
If you need some help, even if it's something small, please feel free to reach out! I'd be happy to help.

Below is my resume with my experience and background.



Here are my consultation/management prices.

2017

FTD Printable Calendars for the New Year

8:00 AM

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to refresh and get ready for the new year! What better way to start than with a brand new set of calendars? 

To help get the new year started off right, FTD created these floral printable calendars to help you stay organized for the year ahead. Each month has a unique watercolor floral design, and comes in two sizes: 8.5” x 11” and 11” x 17”. They’re perfect for either hanging up on your wall, or putting directly on your desktop to add a spot of color to your workspace! 

I LOVE these calendars. A few post back I talked about my meal planning process and I shared how much I love these printables! They are perfect to put up on the fridge and for writing in your weekly (or biweekly) meal plans.  

Start off your new year and new year of meal planning with these FREE calendars! 

*discloser* FTD contacted me and asked for my help sharing their new 2017 printable calendars. They were kind enough to write the opening to this post but under the photo the opinions are 100% mine own. 

blog reviews

PB8 Probiotic Review

7:30 AM

I am a part of Mambo Sprouts blogger program. I was sent these probiotics and compensated by Mambo Sprouts in exchange for a review.  Opinions are 100% my own. 


Probiotic's are so important for everyday life! They help our little bodies function more effectively and fight off any germs the world send our way. And for those of us that already have gut issues due to food allergies, taking this little power packed goodies helps make our guts more happy.

I had the opportunity to try new Pb8 Probiotic vegetarian capsule supplements. These capsules to not contain milk, gluten, soy and are stored in BPA-Free Bottles! Woot Woot! All my favorite things.

I notice after about a week of taking them daily after I ate lunch that I was digesting food MUCH better and was less bloated (which is always an issue for me).
I am usually very good about taking supplements but a probiotic is one I am always lacking in keeping stocked in our fridge. My biggest issue with probiotics in the past is they can be VERY expensive, however I am super impressed at the price of these supplements! And they are available just about everywhere! Online and in store (find where to buy here)


christmas

Paying It Forward with StonyField

7:30 AM

As a part of the StonyField clean plate blogger program, I was given a gift card to donate to the charity of my choice. Opinions are 100% my own. 

StonyField, being the wonderful company that they are, gave me the awesome opportunity to pay it forward this Christmas season by providing a way to donate to my favorite charity.

I chose the rescue that brought us our sweet little boy Bruno, Florida Pointer Rescue.
(photo via FPR)
On December 6, 2014 Steve and I went to an adoption day run by Florida Pointer Rescue to look at dogs. We had one in mind that we saw online, but when we arrived that dog had been already been rescued by a different family. We walked down the line of kennels and saw this little ball of brown cuddled up in the corner of a kennel. Steve picked him up and the rest is history.

I think supporting local rescues is a great thing. They do so much and provide so much joy to people that they sometimes get overlooked. They also keep sweet puppies and dogs from spending their days locked up in a shelters and kill shelters.

If Florida Pointer Rescue never picked up our little pup he would have never been a part of our lives. 
What people don't know is that Bruno has actually be a great comfort for my husband who is an army veteran.
While Bruno is in no way trained to by a military service dog, I don't deny the fact he is aware when my husband needs him and has been so beneficial to his mental health. As a wife, that is a great blessing.
Sometimes nothing is better then the love of a dog and Bruno definitely has a lot of love to give.
So, Thank you Florida Pointer Rescue, I hope the couple of pounds of dog food and treats I was able to send you was a blessing to you and your pups this holiday season! May you continue to bless families with lifelong doggie companions!
And thank you StonyField for giving me the opportunity to give back to a rescue that give so much to others.


chicken

Crock Pot Mongolian Chicken

11:06 AM

Another DANG good crock pot recipe for y'all! This one is so easy there is not much else to say! 
simple ingredients = amazing flavor!

Ingredients
1lbs of chicken, cubed, coated in 1/4 cup of Corn Starch 
2 TBLS of Olive Oil
Minced Garlic 
1/2 Cup of Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup of Water
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar (or coconut sugar)
1 Cup of shredded carrots

Directions
In a bowl or plastic bag add cubed chicken with corn starch and coat. 
Whisk together all the ingredients in crock pot except chicken. Then add chicken and mix all together.
Place on low for 4-5 hours.
Serve over White Rice


Brownies

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

7:30 AM

As a Stonyfield blogger, I was compensated for writing this post as part of my agreement with Stonyfield.  All opinions and thoughts are all mine. 

The title of my blog is not a lie.  I love the simple things in life. Things like chocolate, peanut butter, and brownies. Combine them together and you get this lovely masterpiece!

I recently had the opportunity to try King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour and decided to use it with recipe. Five years ago I would have had to buy all different kinds of flours in order to make my own gluten free all purpose flour, but now, thanks to King Arthur, life is much simpler. All the ingredients I need, condensed into one sweet little package to use in just about any recipe!

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
(Inspired by)
9oz of Greek yogurt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond milk
1 egg
1 egg white
3/4 cup of King Arthurs Gluten Free Measure for Measure
3/4 cup of Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unrefined or coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup of honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of enjoy life chocolate chips
1/2 cup of natural or regular peanut butter
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8" x 8" pan with baking spray.
  • Add all of the of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and peanut butter and mix together. I used a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  • Microwave the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl until it's easy to spread. Drop spoonfuls of peanut butter onto the batter and create a swirl effect using a knife or toothpick.
  • Bake for 23 - 27 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
  • Cool completely in the pan and then cut. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
    • *(I used cacao, which looking back I would have used less then 3/4cup)
By the way... I LOVED using the Lavooon spoons and the Silpat Mat. They made creating this recipe so easy and simple! The would be the perfect pairing for that Christmas Cook on your list this year!

Do you have a favorite simple recipe you like to make? Mine will always be brownies! 

col and flu

Natural Ways to Fight Off Sickness

7:30 AM

I don't know about you, but I feel as though I am SURROUNDED by sickness. It is just that time of year when stuffy noses occur and sinuses are all a mess.

It can be easy to raid the medicine cabinet and take a swig of some nasty dyed cold and flu medicine (I know I have). However, we should prepare our bodies for those icky cold and flu germs by adding some great immune boosters to our diet and supplements! 



Here are a few things that I do to boost up my body and maybe there is something here for you too! 

Hand Sanitize -
Ask anyone that I work with and they will tell you I'm addicted to sanitizing my hands. Even though they think I'm crazy, I believe it really helps keep the germs at bay. I know some sanitizes can be harsh on your hands but here's a good list of non-toxic ones you can find in your local grocery and or health food store! - https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/hand+sanitizer/

Herb Supplements -
I think herb supplements are the way to go when it come's to building up your immune system. My person favorites are Elderberry and Echinacea and here is why...
ElderBerry - boost immune system function, protect against bacteria and infection, slow down the spread of cancer, moderate the digestive process, prevent the development of diabetes, reduce the pain and speed associated with autoimmune diseases, help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, and alleviate allergies (via).
Echinacea -stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. It is a great way to combat cold and flu. 
Both of these can be taken in supplement form which is what I prefer. But I've also seen these offered in liquid and even lozenges form. 

Natural or Organic Cough and Night Time Syrup -
This may seem hard to find but it really isn't. My favorite is Maty's which you can find in many major retailers. I know I can find some right around the corner at my local CVS! Woot Woot! 

Drink some tea -
It is FINALLY cool enough here in Florida to drink tea and not sweat while drinking. I drink tea when I can. Mostly Chamomile and Roobius which both have great benefits for immune boosting. Find the type of tea you like, see if its great to fend off those colds, and drink up! 

Diffuse those oils -
I don't really diffuse as often as I should anymore. However, I've been trying to do it more often just to get some good oils floating through the air. Use essential oils such as Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Sweet Orange and Thyme. My personal favorites are Sweet Orange and Lavender!

Do you have any great tips for fighting germs this cold and flu season!?
I'd love to hear them! 

gluten free

My Meal Plan Process

7:30 AM

Meal planning. Let's face it, we act like it a fun thing to do but it 90% of the time it is stressful, troublesome, and (sometimes) time consuming.

Whether you are planning for 5 days a week or 2, meal planning is important. 
I thought instead of giving you tips on how to meal plan, I would just show (or write) you straight up what my meal planning process looks like.
I plan meals (mostly dinners) for two weeks. This works for me because I tend to spend less in one big trip then in two. Now, during those two weeks I may go to the store to pick up an item or two but I still stay fairly under budget and get a majority of what I need in that first big trip.

My budget for those two weeks is between $80-$100. Do I stay in that bracket on my biweekly shopping trip? No? It depends on the week. Some trips I need organic olive oil and other big organic items which is expensive and jacks up my grocery bill. Some weeks I spend under that because I have stocked up on items the trip before. It fluctuates. 

On the Thursday before my biweekly shopping trip I sit down with a cute calendar (my favorite printable is here) and start scrolling through new recipes I may have pinned over the two weeks onto my "Time To Eat" pinterest board.  I like to cook 1-2 new meals during the two weeks. Spice up life a little. If I haven't pinned much I'll look into my recipe book full of recipes I've already made and see what I have stored up in there.

OH I guess I should talk about our eating habits before we dive into shopping lists and such. I say our diet is 80/20 - 80% vegetarian/vegan/plant-based and 20% Meat (chicken or fish). 
Here is my stance on meat - I am not against meat as long as they are humanly raised and fed properly (aka grass fed/organic/no hormones). I grew up on a farm and we raised meat cows so I know what it takes for them to be raised and raise correctly. I don't like the industrial aspect of the U.S meat industry so I just don't support it.

-I don't eat or cook pork ever. It is just a preference.
-I RARELY eat beef. Only at christmas when we get a roast from our old local butcher do I eat beef (and usually not that much). I grew up eating from that butcher shop and know the cows come from the field behind it so I know they are treated well. ;)
-When it comes to chicken I really try to buy organic, humanly raised, antibiotic and hormone free chicken. Though my local grocery only has limited amounts of that so I usually can only get local antibiotic and hormone free. Which is better then nothing. But since that's all I can get we only eat it once a week at most.
-Any fish I buy is wild caught. I never by farmed. Its usually Mahi Mahi, Tuna, or Salmon (on RARE occasions cause salmon is expensive wild caught) 

Ok moving on.... 

So like I said our diet is 80/20. I cook 2 out of the 5 days a week. That may not seem like a lot but Mondays and Tuesdays we have church commitments, Wednesday and Thursday I cook, and Fridays are usually pizza or take out. 
So out of those 2 days, on a good week, I try to make both vegetarian/vegan/plant-based. But, if we have stocked up on good chicken or fish, I will use one of those days to have a meat meal. I also try to eliminate dairy from the meal as much as possible. I'll sub a lot of meals with vegan alternatives but there are some days that I allow dairy.

So here is an example of our menu for the next two weeks 
Monday - Class (we usually grab some rice bowls at our local Moes)
Tuesday - Leftovers 
Wednesday - Crock Pot Enchilada Quinoa
Thursday - Sweet Potato BBQ Burgers with Mac+Cheese (Annies GF) and Green Beans 
Monday - Class 
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli and White Rice 
Thursday - Crock Pot Veggie Lasagna 

Next comes grocery list shopping. I use this list pad that you can buy on amazon. It works perfect for me. I usually go through every recipe and write what items I need from the store for those recipes. Then I move on the staple items I know we will need from week to week.

Right before I head out to the store I make sure to updated my coupon book with new coupons from sites like coupons.com and mambo sprouts. As well as digital coupons that my store offers.

Then I go shopping! You can check out my simple organic shopping tips and tricks for shopping here! 

Got questions?? I'd love to answer them! Leave a comment below! 

candy

An "UnReal" Pumpkin Yogurt Treat

8:37 AM

Candy...candy everywhere!
It is that time of year where all the bad candy surrounds us! And I'd be lying if I said I don't indulge from time to time.
Because I tend to indulge, I'm always on the lookout for a better option for candy. So it's no surprise I was so excited to get my hands on these UnReal candy products!
I thought the almond butter cups (which were my personal favorite) would pair nice with some pumpkin flavored StonyField greek yogurt!
To make pumpkin favored yogurt..


1/3 cup pure pumpkin 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3  UnReal Almond Butter Cups - crushed

Just mix all together and TADA! 
If you feel it needs more flavor. I suggest adding some honey. I felt like mine needed to be sweeter so I added about a 1-tsp of honey.
And it wouldn't be a Simply Samantha post without an appearance from Bruno! He's not much of a begger except when we open a container of StonyField! He loves to lick up the containers.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonyfield as part of their YoGetters Blog Ambassador program.

food

5 *Healthy* Tips For Stocking up for the Storm

8:57 AM

If you didn't already know, I live in the lovely state of Florida. Known for beautiful beaches, Mickey Mouse, and Hurricanes.

We live close enough to the beach that our town was hit pretty hard during the hurricane. No as hard as they expected but hit nevertheless.

This was the first major storm that I had to prepare for as an adult, on my own, with my husband and our pup. It was a little daunting to say the least. Add in my healthy and gluten free lifestyle and I was a little overwhelmed. 

We made sure we had the essentials and were ready to go when the storm hit. 
So here are some of my own tips for preparing for the storm, whether it will be a snow storm, hurricane, or just stocking up just in case. 


1. Fill up those jars!
Fill up those mason jars with water! We lucked out being on city water that we had easy access to water but I still made sure we had water just in case. I filled up every mason jar I owned. Kept some on the counter and some in the fridge.
NOTE: do NOT put them in the freezer. I lost two mason jars because they broke when we lost power and the freezer lost its coolness :( 

2. Hit the local health food store
When everyone hears a storm is coming, they head straight for the big stores. But don't forget about the little guys! My local health food store had so many items I could use and needed and was running special deals for the storm.
Also don't forget some veggeis and fruits don't have to be stored in the fridge. So you can still have those whole foods with no power

3. Food for Gas
For GAS STOVE OWNERS. You can still use gas without power. You have to kind of McGyver it by holding a lighter to the burner, but you can run the stove. So, I thought of everything I could make on the stove. Gluten free ramen, pasta, and quinoa. All stuff I picked up at the health food store. I ate Lotus Food Ramen for lunch for 3 days straight. I have no regrets.

4.Coffee Coffee
I know coffee can be tricky for those that don't have a gas stove so I have two tips. 
Gas Stove: Make sure you have a single cup coffee maker (like this one) so you can make at least one cup to get you through the day. I love mine, it was so helpful.
No Gas Stove: Get a thermos! Right before the storm hits make a full pot and throw it in a thermos! Don't forget about the cold brew!

5. Splurge
Its hard to stay healthy with no power. So don't be afraid to splurge on easy, non-cooking items. I made sure I grabbed some snack bars and treats. Well not healthy, they made me feel better during the storm.

I hope none of you every have to experience a big storm. But if you do, I hope these tips help! 
Do you have any other tips?? I'm always curious to hear others tips! Always on the lookout for something new! 

chili

Fall Chili and Cornbread - Dairy and Gluten Free

7:00 AM

Fall is finally here! Though it won't feel like it here in the south for another couple of weeks.
Even so, I'm breaking out the crock-pot and getting back to those warm delicious fall meals I love.

Cornbread and I haven't had the best of experiences before. It was always my doing. Messing up the recipe or using too deep of a pan. But, I was determined to make a new and easier recipe. And guess what?? It was a success!

I also spiced up my original Crock Pot Chili recipe and now it's better then ever!
Bean Chili (Vegan/Vegetarian)
  • 2 15.5oz Cans of Red Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 15.5oz Can of White Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of Diced tomatoes, not drained (may need a second if it's the chili is to thick)
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 15oz can of corn
  • A Chopped up Onion *optional*
  • 1-4 TBS Chili Powder (add as much or as little to taste)
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of Cayenne powder
  • Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke
  • 1 bag of Beyond Beef crumbles *optional but HIGHLY recommended*
Add everything to a crock-pot, set, and forget! 4 hours on high to 6 hours on low.
You can also make it on the stove too! 
Whatever you fancy!

Sweet Southern CornBread
(via)
  • 1 Cup of GF Cornmeal
  • 1 cup of gluten free flour (I used this)
  • 1/4 cup of organic sugar (or honey)
  • 1 TBLS of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of oil (I used EVOO)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of dairy free milk (I had two cartons of unsweet and sweet cashew milk in the fridge. So I used 1/2 cup of unsweet and 1/2 of  sweet vanilla cashew milk)
Mix all together!
Pour into a greased 8x8 (or closest size pan you have just make sure it isn't to deep)
Bake at 400 degrees for 22 minutes


Happy Fall Friends!

dairy free

Dairy Free Creamy Caesar Dressing

7:00 AM

I posted a photo of this dressing a couple weeks ago and I had so many people ask for the recipe.
Well... it's hard to measure a recipe for a dressing that you just made out of thin air. However, after two or three try's, I think I've finally narrowed down the measurements but please take this recipe with a grain of salt and make it you own if you think it needs something more! :)

Dairy Free Creamy Caesar Dressing
1/2 Cup of Vegan Mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo)
1/4 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce (this is the only NON-Vegan ingredient, you can easily use a substitute)
2 tsp of Dijon Mustered
1 1/2 TBLS of Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper To Taste (heavier on the pepper)
Dairy Free Parmesan, as much or as little as you want (see below)
Dairy Free Milk (cashew is preferred but soy and almond milk is fine. Just make sure its not flavored)

  • Mix all the ingredients together except the milk. 
  • Use the dairy free milk to thin it into the consistency that you'd like.
  •  I usually end up adding a tad bit more worcestershire and lemon to get that tangy taste.
To make the dairy free parmesan: Chop up 1/4 cup of cashews in a food processor and add nutritional yeast to taste (start out with 1tsp just to be safe and then add more to get the cheesy taste)


dairy free

Game Day Recipe Round-Up

7:30 AM

It is that time of year... football season is upon us!! Which means time for delicious foods and snacks to make for those Saturday and Sunday's on the couch or at a party.

Below are some of my own recipes that I think would be perfect for your game day party for 2 or 10! I also included some of my other favorite recipes from fellow bloggers!

Bean Chili
- Come October, this chili will become a staple in our house! It's super easy and cheep to make that you can't pass it up! Plus it can feed a ton on a small budget!


Potato Salad - Dairy Free -
This recipe is my husbands personal favorite. It's tangy with big chunks of potatoes that I love. One 3 pound bag can feed a good group of friends!

We are having these this week for dinner and I can't be more excited! I love these burgers! Just two sweet potatoes (white or regular) makes enough for 4 people! 

Taco Chicken Bowls-
A great crock pot recipe for those days the craving for mexican food is real!


From Others:


Healthy *Plant Based* Layered Dip
-I loved this recipe! It was so good! You wouldn't even know the ground "beef" wasn't beef at all! 

Cauliflower Wings
-I was hesitant to make this recipe. Mostly because I was turned off by the words Buffalo. But in a live QandA video Lauren did, she encouraged me that I could use BBQ sauce instead of buffalo and make BBQ "wings". They turned out so good! I want to make them again cause they were so simple and tasty! 


I've made this recipe before. Its not super "Dairy-Free" friendly but I can see you using dairy free sour cream to lessen the dairy! Its a great game day dip!
(sorry no photo ;) )


Have any other good game day recipes??? I want to hear them!

dinner

Lentil And Cauliflower Tacos

7:30 AM

Cauliflower is one of those vegetable I think a lot of people are afraid to make meals with. The smell isn't the greatest, it can have some "side-effects" for some that aren't so pleasant (.. cough cough *gas* cough cough....) But regardless it is a very beneficial vegetable. It is anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins, full of fiber and can boost your brain health!



I highly suggest prepping a head of time before making this meal. Cook the lentils according to the bag's directions and if using frozen cauliflower, warm up, and leave out to dry a so you don't have soggy tacos!

Ingredients
1 cup of dry lentils, cooked according the bag
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 cups of florets). You can use frozen as well. Just cook it before hand.
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mild chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper (to taste)
Generous grating black pepper
Salt to taste


Directions
Grate the cauliflower using a tool of your choice. I used a chopper attachment for my mixer. Just don't grate it too much, you don't want it finely chopped.
Once the cauliflower is grated, heat a large skillet with some EVOO.
Add your chopped onion and garlic and cook till brown.
Add in your cauliflower and saute for about 3-4 minutes.
Add 1TBLs of chili powder and cook some more till cauliflower is tender
Add you lentils (drained) and add the remaining spices. I found leaving out the other TBS of chili powder and just a SPRINKLE of cayenne pepper made it less spicy. But add more if you like your tacos spicy.


Make tacos with your favorite soft or hard tortillas. I LOVE to make mine "nacho style" with some great Late July chips!
I also like to top mine with some yummy vegan sour cream!

college

The First Day Of College Classes | As told in GIF's |

7:00 AM

This week is my first week back in the swing of college classes. I take my classes online now (I used to commute to campus) but I still know and have the same "first day feelings". I think we can all relate no matter what your college situation is!

Here are some of my thoughts, as told in GIF's.

Setting the alarm for the earliest time you've woken up all summerNickelodeon no nope the loud house loud house

"When your alarm goes off and you realize it's the first day of school"
morning tired smash bill murray alarm

Commuting to class and driving behind all the slow drivers
A24 tom hardy driving locke

When class start's and the first thing the teacher ask's is "did anyone look over the syllabus yet?"
sigh shrug shrugging movies maria
(side note for all freshmen. The syllabus is always same with only a few exceptions, so by your junior year you are VERY tired of them) 

Then the professor proceeds to read over the syllabus 
frustrated zootopia headdesk head desk

Then they finally get to the important parts. Due Dates and Major Assignments.
writing noted a strongly worded letter jimmy fallon note

How you feel after the first lecture? 
what arrested development jason bateman no

Required reading?? 
Victoria's Secret PINK school college tired sleep

Off to the next class to learn more about THE SYLLABUSnickelodeon bored spongebob spongebob squarepants class

When the hunger strikes during the lecture ( aka a stomach growl)class stomach


Then the first day is finally over and (if you are lucky)
 the school load is light and you can enjoy your day.
happy reactions excited yay minions


Happy Fall Semester Friends! 



college

5 Ways To Stay Healthy In College

7:30 AM

Let's face it college friends, it is hard to stay healthy during the semester.
For many reasons. If you are on campus, you find yourself going from class to class with not a lot of time in-between. This only leaves you enough time to swing by the nearest vending machine or coffee kiosk to get something to get your through the next hour and half lecture.

Or if you are like me and a majority of your classes are online, you find yourself constantly nibbling on snacks in the house or getting sucked into the work that you forget to keep yourself nourished.

I've been in both situations and I think I have some great tips to help you out as we all get ready to get back into the swing of college, lectures, and class work.



1. Coffee can be your friend AND your foe.
Oh coffee.. a college students best friend. Just remember to always hydrate in-between the cups of coffee. Water is always beneficial and will keep you feeling hydrated and alert. Opt for a non-dairy creamer for a lower sugar intake and you might even find yourself feeling better after those morning cups! (I know I did when I switched to coconut creamer)

2. Protein, Protein, Protein!
I am slowly learning how majorly important protein is! Especially from "non-meat" sources. Protein will help with those afternoon sugar craving attacks. I encourage you to check out Dr. Hymans video with a TON of ideas for great protein filled snacks.

3. Get Creative....With SALADS!
Ok this is a biased tip, but I LOVE salads! And I think it's a great daily lunch. I eat a salad every day for lunch, but I mix it up, adding bits of things here and there! Beans, veggies, even lunch meat can help spice up your salad! A salad is easy to pack up a bring with you if you commute to campus (Mason jars are the best for salads on the go). And I know on campus that there is always salad options in the cafeteria. Basically, salads for life!

4. Supplements
It's SO important to include some type of supplements in your day to day life. It will help your immune system fight off those germs all around your school. I suggest taking a multi-vitamin, echinacea (great immune booster), and calcium. Make sure to stay away from supplements with dyes and unnecessary ingredients!
Also they may not be supplements but seriously consider using essential oils! Especially diffusing them! They are so beneficial.

5. Prep
Now, for those on campus or those that commute, this is easier said then done. I know when I was commuting to campus I wasn't a big fan of prepping and packing food because it meant walking out to the car and getting a possibly lukewarm snack since the icepack in the cooler I packed it in did NOTHING.
But, there are also other ways to prep. Find snacks/food that don't need a cooler or can fit easily in your bag. I kept snack bars or dried fruit in my bag when I was on campus.
Now at home, I keep pre-cut fruit and veggies in easy reach and LARA bars in my purse/backpack at all times.
If you have the time, think ahead and prep!


Do you have any tips?? I'd love to hear them! 


chicken

Gluten Free Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu

7:30 AM

This recipe was so good that I don't care that the photos are not up to par! I just had to share it with you guys!
I've been on a "skillet meal" kick lately. Mostly because it's just been so dang hot here in Florida. Our tiny little old house that heats up like an oven 95% of the time. So cooking meals on the stove is easier than running the oven and heating up the house even more.

I love anything by Skinny Taste! Her recipes are just genius! I put my own gluten free spin on this one and I will also share how you can make it dairy free as well!



Ingredients
3-4 thin boneless, skinless cutlets
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I use Bobs Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon butter (I used earth balance)
 Olive oil
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-4 thin slices low sodium deli ham ( I don't eat pork so I used Turkey)
3-4 slices light Swiss Cheese

Directions
Salt and pepper you chicken than lightly dredge the chicken with flour on both sides. Make sure to set aside 1 teaspoon of flour for the next part.

In another bowl combine chicken broth, lemon juice, dijon mustard and the teaspoon of flour. Whisk until smooth.

Heat up a large skillet, melt your butter and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Once melted add your chicken. Cook approximately 4 minuets on each side until slightly golden than transfer to a dish.

Reduce the heat and add you chicken broth mixture. Whisk and than simmer 2 minutes to reduce slightly.

Return the chicken and top with ham (or in my case turkey), and the swiss. 

Cover the skillet and let the cheese melt. About 3-4 minutes. 

Once melted you can top it with the sauce left in the pan! 

*To make this dish dairy free use a dairy free butter and top with a dairy free slice cheese. Go Veggie has some great options. *

this post has affiliate links!

A Cut Above

July Favorites

7:00 AM


Mason Jar Snacks
I saw someone do this on Instagram and I was inspired! It's so simple to do! Just some cut up vegetables and hummus! And I mean, doesn't everything look better in a mason jar?

Online Boutique Shopping:
I've become slightly obsessed with boutique shopping online! Especially ones that offer free shipping and great discounts! I HATE paying for shipping. Anyone else?? Plus the more local the boutique the better!
Here are a few of my favorites!
A Cut Above : I love this one because its local and supplies all my University of Florida needs! 
I can't get enough!
: Sophie and Trey : Also another great local shop with a ton of innovatory! 
I love this game day shirt here!
Impressions : this shop has the BEST selection of dresses! 
They have great sales that I keep an eye out for every year.

Sun Tea:
Friends! This is the EASIEST way to make sweet/unsweet tea. Especially in the south where it is horribly hot all day, making sun tea takes like 30 minutes top! I just followed this recipe here!

Silk Dairy Free Yogurt
I LOVE finding great tasting dairy free foods. While I don't really have any real issue with dairy (other then bloated-ness), I try to stay as dairy free as possible. These yogurts are a gift sent from heaven! They are my go to afternoon snack because they are packed with protein to help me get through those horrible afternoon sweet cravings.

Side Note: I'm kind of upset my local grocery store doesn't have the Black Cherry or Tropical flavor! 
I need these, and the 24oz containers, in my life! 

Honorable Mentions
To Read: The Wrath of Dawn
To Watch: The Shannara Chronicals (netflix)
Recipe: Pad Thai

Amazon Dash

Enjoy Life | Amazon Dash

8:53 AM

Friends, we are living in the future. A future where we can press a button and two days later 
(if you have amazon prime) wonderful allergy friendly cookies show up to your door step!

I love the concept behind the amazon button. I know I'm prone to forgetting things.
Its an easy way to order your favorite items without rushing to your computer.

With one little press you can have 6 boxes of Soft Baked Snickerdoodles sent to your door!
Ok maybe you don't need 6....


Enjoy Life has so many products on amazon prime that you don't have to buy in bulk for every item.
Just need ONE Enjoy Life Brownie mix for your next party?? They got it! Need it once a month? You can subscribe and save and save even more! (thanks amazon prime!: )) 
And if you forget to order it! Thats what the amazon dash button is for!

The Enjoy Life Amazon Dash Button is available to order now and will be stocked and read to go on August 9th.  After your first press, amazon will reimburse you the price of the button so its basically free if you use it! Woot Woot!
 photo IMG_3474_zpsdimmw3yz.jpg

*Discloser*
This post contains affiliate links! And I was sent this product by Enjoy Life Food in exchange for a review.
Opinions are 100% my own.

alfredo

Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

7:30 AM

I've made this recipe a couple of times (see dairy free pasta alfredo)
But I feel like I finally got it to the right consistency that I like and the taste is perfection!!

Ingredients
Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower
1 small onion diced
Minced Garlic
3/4 cup of Vegetable Broth + Set 1/2 cup of VB aside
1/8 tsp Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of sea salt
Directions
  • Heat oil in a medium sized pot. Add diced onion and cook till translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds then add you frozen cauliflower and vegetable broth.
  • Place a lid on it and steam till cauliflower is soft.
  • Add everything from the pot to a blender and blend till you can get it as smooth as possible. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients starting with the nutritional yeast.
  • The 1/2 cup of vegetable broth that you set aside is to use if you feel the sauce is too grainy. If you blend it and it seems super grainy and not smooth, add more VB. I ended using close to 1/2 cup.
And tada! You have an amazing Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

Almay

June Favorites | 2016 |

7:30 AM


Tea Bag Holders
I wrote on my instagram that I'm pretty sure these tea holders will inspire me to drink more tea, especially come fall and winter time. My favorite is the "Drop it like its Hot" ;)
I picked up these little cuties for $1.99 at World Market!

Almay Intense I-color
I LOVE this mascara! It's smooth, hardly ever clumpy, and perfect for my eye color. While not all of Almay's products are perfect, this mascara is hypoallergenic and rated at a 2 on EWG Skin Deep! Score!
BB-8
A new addition to my Pop! collection. This little fella fits into my little shelf collection very nicely. Next to his buddy Po and Rey.

Picnic Table
All I wanted for my birthday was blinds for our windows in our backroom and some type of patio furniture for outside. My wonderful parents got me this super simple and lovely picnic table! I do plan to paint it at some point. But as anyone in the south knows, right now it is horribly hot to do any type of work outside and its rains daily. So, it might be awhile before it gets a needed paint job.

Honorable Mentions
To Read: Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
To Binge (Hulu): The Musketeers (A MUST WATCH)

dairy free

Baked Teriyaki Chicken | Video |

7:30 AM

I love this recipe. The flavors are amazing!! I give the wonderful creator all the props in the world for this recipe. I could never come up with something like this one my own. I just put my own gluten and dairy free spin on it.

INGREDIENTS
4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I used 4)
2 tablespoons dairy free butter (such as Earth Balance)
12 ounces broccoli florets
Sliced carrots
1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

SAUCE
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup of water + 1 cup of water
1/2 cup Gluten Free soy sauce
1/3 cup organic brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons honey

Directions
I suggest making the sauce a head of time in order to let it cool before marinating it with the chicken.

In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of water and cornstarch and whisk  till combined. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan at the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, honey and cup of water.Cover and bring to a simmer. One at a simmer, add the cornstarch and water and whisk. Let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes until it thickens slightly, then remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

While its cooling, add chicken to a plastic bag and set aside.
Once the sauce is cooled, put 1/2 cup of the sauce aside for later and then add the rest to the bag.
Rub the sauce into the chicken. Seal and place it in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes or until ready to cook.
Side Note: I like to make mine in the mid morning and let it sit in the fridge till I am read to cook dinner in the evening. I think the longer in the fridge the better the chicken tastes :)

Once ready to cook. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an appropriate size baking dish.
Add 2 TBLS of dairy free butter to a pan and heat till melted. Once melted, add the chicken to the pan. Sear both sides, about 2-3 minutes.
Once done, add the chicken to your greased baking dish then add the sliced carrots and broccoli
Side note: I used frozen organic broccoli. I just warmed it up slightly so it would not make the dish watery. Worked perfectly.
Top with the 1/2 cup of sauce you put aside earlier.
Place in the oven for about 25- 30 minutes.
Top over rice.
And Tada! All done!

david

Fish Fix | The Bible Stories David | Review

7:00 AM

Bet you didn't know that I did movies review here on the blog too?? I do! I'll admit I favor more food and life posts but I never shy away from new content for this blog!
FishFlix  is a great resource for family friendly movies at great prices! I know working in ministry that it's always great to find sites that offer amazing deals and offers on family friendly films.

Fish Fix | The Bible Stories David | Review
Right now they have a great deal on The Bible Stories. These are great for a movie night at home with the family or also to keep your ministries film library stocked! I got a chance to watch the David story which I thought was great! I mean, can you go wrong with Lenard Nimoy??


Want an even better deal? Join their email list and get a $5 coupon! You can joing by visiting www.fishflix.com/5girft or texting 5-GIFT to 44222

Like I said, this site is a great resource if you are looking for amazing family films for a great place. It's also a great place for ministries as well! Give em a check out!


*discloser* Fish Flix sent me a copy of The Bible Stories in exchange for a review. Opinions are 100% my own.


birthday

23 Facts.

7:00 AM

Well, it's that time again. It's my birthday! I kept thinking about what I should post this week and since I had such a busy schedule last week I have NO food post's lined up.. All I could come up with was listing 23 (since I'm turning 23) random facts about myself that you may or may not find interesting.


1. I'm proud of my star wars, marvel, disney, and sports knowledge. 

2. I'm ambidextrous. I write and eat with my left hand but I use my right hand for everything else. If need be I can eat with my right hand.
3.Everyone assumes because I work with kids that I want kids. But I'm pretty set on accomplishing some personal goals before kids. I want kids... just not right now... I have to keep reminding people I'm 23 and have time ;) 

4. .... I do really like kids though. And I think my husband and I will had adorable babies. I mean..Look at us! 

5. Anything Disney makes me giddy like a little girl. 

6. I'm a full on belly sleeper. 

7. A morning without coffee is not a good morning. 

8. Joanna Gains is my spirt animal. Farm and all.  

9.I thought it would be easy to write this type of post but it's not. 

10. My favorite food is Mexican food. 

11. I have this weird thing where I get anxious if people continually talk and I don't know when they are going to stop.

12. I've officially lived in Florida longer then I lived up north. I'm from the south and you can't change that! 

13. I love to read. I am oblivious to the rest of the world when I read. And sometimes its hard to get me out of a book if its a good one. Just call me a Gilmore.

14. I'm a cooker not a baker.

15. I'm a hypochondriac of a dog mom. It doesn't help that Bruno hurts himself once a week. 

16. Don't give me a bag of Cheetos. I'll eat the whole bag. 

17. My Starbucks order is grande half-caf ice latte with soy. HOWEVER, I'm becoming a coffee snob and prefer the local coffee roast in town.

18. I have no problem eating Chipotle more then once a week. 

19. I don't like it when people scrape a fork or knife on a plate. I feel the cringe. 

20. Poop, blood, or snot doesn't scare me or make me gag. Guess that's why I'm good with kids ;) 

21. I'm afraid when we do eventually make it over to Ireland for a visit, I will not want to come home. 

22. I am introverted by nature so I consider my social skills sub-par 

23. I really can't think of a last one. So Happy Birthday to me! 

gluten free

Sweet Potato BBQ Burgers *Video*

7:30 AM

I absolutely love sharing this recipe with friends. It is the easiest and tastiest meatless meal you will ever make! I have shared it before but I had to share it again with a changed name, updated recipe, and a video!

Ingredients
1 medium-large or 2 small sweet potatoes (enough to make about 2 cups shredded. White Sweet Potatoes will also work)
1- 2 TBLS of Olive OIl
salt and pepper, to taste
 1/2 c. BBQ sauce of choice 
Gluten Free Burger Buns (I used Canyon Bakehouse)

Directions

  • Shred the sweet potato (feel free to leave on the peel) using a grater or food chooper.
  • If you have more then 2 cups. Adjust the BBQ sauce amount
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When hot, add the shredded sweet potato and quickly stir to distribute the oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring and flipping the sweet potato several times.
  • Once the sweet potato is starting to dry out and is browned in several places, add the BBQ sauce and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sweet potato is cooked.
  • Add to your buns and tops with what you'd like. I made a sweet mayo sauce my mom used to make for sweet potato fries. 
Sweet Mayo Sauce
(I "eye" most of this recipe so the measurements aren't the most accurate)
1/2ish cup of Just Mayo
1/2ish tbls of Brown Sugar
1-2ish tsp of Maple Syrup

gluten free

Slow Cooker Madras Lentils *Video*

8:00 AM

Friends! I finally did it! I finally remembered to pull out that tripod and set up the fancy camera and recorded myself making a crock pot meal. I even remembered to document it AFTER the meal was cooked! :o I know shocking right!

This has become one of our favorite meals. Even though its a tad warm to eat on a summer day but just turn up that air conditioner and enjoy a nice bowl of this yumminess over some white rice.


Ingredients
1 &1/2 cups of cooked lentils
1 & 1/2 cups of canned tomato sauce/puree
A large onion, finely diced
3-4 Red potatoes (depending on size, less if bigger) cubed
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
2-3 TBSP butter
garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions 
Dump everything into your crock pot. 

Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low

Serve over some yummy (organic) white rice!

That's it! EASIEST RECIPE EVER