January 2016 - Simply Samantha

January Favorites

9:00 AM

Trying to create a list of favorites is sometimes challenging but a task I am willing to take!

January Favorites

Clean Up Your Carton: I love this article in Rodales Organic Life this month. I will always have a soft spot for chickens. They were my favorite companions when we lived on the farm. If you get a chance, check out why its important to buy farm fresh and free range! Here is a link to the articles. Stay educated and organic!   http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/americas-best-eggs 

My Favorite Egg's to buy are Pete and Gerry's : https://www.facebook.com/peteandgerrys/?fref=ts

Horizon Organic and Gluten Free Mac and Cheese:
First off, after taking photos for this post I realized that my husbands gluten FILLED girl scout cookies were sitting next to my GF mac and cheese. I just thought it was funny.
Side Note: Before you say anything YES I know there are GF girl scout cookies. 
However, the little one we bought them from didn't have them on her list. I will survive.

ANYWAY... This is my new favorite brand of GF Mac and Cheese! Plus, I love that it is also ORGANIC.  Publix has been kind enough as to have this brand of GF Mac and Cheese on sale for the past couple of weeks so I've stocked up! 4/$5 is a pretty good GF and Organic deal!

Sultan Fresh Food Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: 
I went searching for the hummus our local health food store puts on their wraps and I found it. I starting putting it on my wraps/sandwiches at home and I'm hooked. We have been on quite a hummus kick in our house. We have at least 3 cartons in our fridge right now. But who says you can have too much hummus??? 

Ledo's Pizza Sauce:
If you live in the MD/VA area you may have heard of Ledo pizza. If you haven't, you need to find a way to get to one and try one of their great pizzas. This is the pizza I grew up on (well, until we moved when I was 10). Thanks to a lovely family friend I now have 2 heaping jars of Ledo sauce to add to my GF pizza crusts all the way here in Florida. It's truly is a taste of home :) 

pssttt bloggers heading to Expo-East this year, you gotta check out Ledos while you are there! 

Juice Organics Shampoo:
Due to my own stupidity (and my hair dressers/friend shock) I have been hurting my hair (and practically frying it) by blow drying my hair upside-down when I'm in a rush (I don't do it the entire time just FYI). My hair was in desperate need of repair. While quickly browsing Ulta one day I stumbled upon this Shampoo and thought I'd give it a try. It has a good EWG rating (1-3 on most of their products!)  so I was willing to try it. It has been doing wonders on my hair and repairing the broken and burnt ends. It leaves my hair feeling amazing with no greasy residue.  
somewhere deeeeepppp in the Simply Samantha archives is a Juice organic review but I can't seem to find it. 
Probably for the best ;) 

These Pants:
Seriously. The best $10 I ever spent at TJ Maxx. I spend most of the morning in lounge clothes since I'm just sitting at the computer doing work and school work so these are a nice addition to my morning work clothes ;)
if you are curious, they are a deep navy blue. My bedroom lighting is terrible.
And of course Bruno needed to know what I was doing when I was trying to take that photo
His nickname is nosey. 

Honorable Mentions and Recommendations: 
Book: The Choice by Nicolas Sparks
Movie: Spy
A Classic: Bringing Up Baby
Drink: Blueberry Pomegranate by Steaz
For the Pup: Burts Bee Ear Cleaner
Social Media Tool: Buffer
Content Creator to Follow: Casey Niestat

Have any January favorites I should check out?
 I'd love to hear! 

Also a little end note: This semester I am taking a Social Media Managers class. My twitter feed is going to be swarmed with awesome Social Media tips and tricks. 
So if you want a taste of what a SMM class at UF is like, stay tuned to my twitter!
A link to my twitter is in the side bar and I also have a pinterest board for the class as well!
         Follow Samantha Riley's board Samantha Riley Social Media Manager on Pinterest.  


Chicken Taco Salad

9:30 AM

I am always looking for a new take on different types of food. Since Mexican is a weekly occurrence in our house I always look for new recipes to mix it up.
This recipe has become a favorite. I made it over the Christmas holiday and it was delicious so I made it again this week!

It would make a great meal for a large family or just for two!
The Dressing
3/4 cups Ranch Dressing 
(use a homemade recipe. I did not have any on hand so I used Wild Oats Organic Ranch)
1/4 cup Salsa 
(use any flavor to your taste. I tend to use an organic mild)
3 Tablespoons Cilantro

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning (here is my recipe)
Oil for the pan

1 head Green Leaf Lettuce, Shredded Thin
1/2 cup Cheese (Mex Blend or Colby Jack)
Miscellaneous toppings of your choice
Tortilla chips of your choice crushed lightly

Mix all the dressing ingredients and place in the fridge till you are ready to eat.

Next, make the chicken: Season both sides of the breast with the taco seasoning. Heat the oil and then place the chicken in when its hot and ready to go. Cook the chicken on both sides until deep golden brown on the outside and done in the middle. Turn off the heat and then take them out when slightly cooled, cut them into cubes and set aside.
Chicken Taco Salad GLUTEN FREE

You can assemble all in one bowl or you can do as we do and lay it out with all your favorite taco toppings and assemble at the table!
Our sides included Organic Valley Cheese, organic caramelized onions, organic corn, and sour cream (which after dinner realized I never used since the dressing is so good)

Chicken Taco Salad

Happy Cooking Friends


Little Changes for the New Year

8:00 AM

Happy New Year friends! After a much needed break I'm back!
I can't believe 2015 is over! I don't know about your but life always seems to go by so fast as you get older. I've always said I feel like my life moves faster when I'm in school. The constant work must keep my mind so focused that I don't have time to worry about how the day is dragging on.

I'm not a major "New Year Resolutions' girl. I prefer to just make little changes every year that require little effort and time to be accomplished.
So here is a list of some of my "little Changes" for this year of 2016. I hope it inspires you and I'd love to hear what little changes you want to make!
 Little Changes for 2016

Plastic to Glass:
In my ever growing need to be as green as possible, I would love to throw out the massive amounts of plastic tupperware I have stored in our tiny cabinets. My goal is to buy little bits of glass containers over time this year and by the end be completely rid of the tupperware.

Stock up the Medicine Cabinet:
And not with that gross icky medication. With natural pills and oils! The more natural the better.

Continue to be Organized and Scheduled:
I got really good at this at the end of last year. Being a non procrastinator and taking online classes forced me to keep a scheduler/calendar handy and to schedule my weeks and days accordingly. I felt so organized by the end of the semester it was amazing. I want to continue that.

Be more productive with screen time:
While I can't go cold turkey from my screens because of school and work ( One of my classes this year is Social Media Management ;) ) . I have decided that if I'm not doing anything productive, no screen for me. That means no scrolling through facebook every 5 minuets because I'm board. That was a very bad habit for me in the last year. And if I am going to continue to chose a career that involves being on the internet and social media I need to build a healthy relationship with it and my time on it.

Wear a watch:
Going along with building a healthy relationship with my phone and media, I've notice wearing a watch keeps me from feeling like I need to have my phone on me at all times. Looks like I need build up my watch collection this year.

Build up our backyard:
I love our little house and yard. We have the perfect place for entertaining outside but nothing for our friends to sit on and enjoy. That needs to change. The hubs and I already have some ideas in our head and I can't wait to see them come alive!

Replace Pictures:
I have a few frames that need a little switcheroo with some new photos. It's one of my favorite things to do but I can never remember to get photos printed! Does anyone have any good photo sites that print photos for a good price??

I hope your new year its filled with exciting new adventures! 
I'm looking forward to this year and I hope you are too!