February 2017 - Simply Samantha

Brownies with Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Frosting

9:22 AM

as a part of the StonyField clean plate blogger program, I was given products in this post in exchange for a post. Opinions are 100% my own. 
I'm always up for spicing up a traditional recipe. Brownies, so simple and tasty, could always use a new spin on them.
I couldn't help myself from tasting this frosting as I whipped it up over the weekend. The vanilla Stonyfield Grassfed Greek yogurt paired so nicely with the Almond Butter, so creamy and a lovely topping to the chocolatey goodness of the brownie.

Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Frosting
8oz of Stonyfield GrassFed Greek Yogurt (vanilla bean flavor is optional but highly recommend)
2 Tablespoons of Cream Cheese *softened*
3 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bake your brownies according whatever box or recipe you love use! I happened to have a box of a Gluten Free mix in my cabinet so I just whipped that up, baked it, and let it cool slightly.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix Greek yogurt and almond butter together. Blend with a stand mixer or hand mixer for about 1 minute.
  • Next, add the cream cheese and maple syrup and beat for another 2 minutes until creamy. I ended up putting another tablespoon of cream cheese in mine, if you feel its not creamy enough after the 2 initial tablespoons, add more.
  • Then, add the vanilla extract and beat again till smooth.
  • Taste the frosting and add more maple syrup or vanilla if desired.
  • Let it set in the fridge for about 30 minutes till stiff
  • Spoon and spread over cooled brownies and serve! 

I absolutely loved using the Almond Butter from Woodstock, they have a wonderful range of products that pair nicely with any recipe or even just a simple snack! I love their line of "Craving" snacks, cause we all know we have those days when we have major snack time cravings! Their products help you make great non-gmo + organic snack time choices!

And who doesn't like a little BTS photo, Bruno was VERY Interest in the chocolate goodness that was VERY much at his level. I was blocking his one easy way to get so he took extra measures to get in as close as he could to the brownies


Crock Pot Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta Cheese

8:00 AM

Is there anything better then walking in the front door after a day of work and smelling the deliciousness that awaits you in the crock pot!?? It's one of my favorite things to come home too.

This crock pot lasagna is that type of crock pot recipe that creates this amazing smell that will make you want to dive right into it at the end of the day.

Crock Pot Lasagna 
(2) 24 ounce jars or cans of Italian tomato sauce ( I used 1 and 1/2 jars)
I box of gluten free lasagna noodles
Cashew Ricotta Cheese (see recipe below)
3-4 cups chopped vegetables of choice (I used spinach)
2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella cheese 
Vegan Parmesan cheese for topping
Cashew Ricotta Cheese 
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, then drained
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup plain non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp dried basil
⅓ cup fresh chives
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor till ricotta like constancy. It should be smooth but still have some texture.
 *I usually add just a tad more syrup and milk to get it a little softer and smoother. 

  • Spray the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce to the bottom so the noodles don't stick.
  • Break noodles so that they fit and mostly cover the bottom. It may look a little crazy and uneven but no worries! Cover with about one third of the ricotta, veggies, sauce, cheese, and end with noodles. Repeat layers two more times for a total of three complete layers. End with a layer of noodles on top, covered with a thin layer of sauce and a little bit more shredded cheese.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. If it seems watery (it may not if you make the cashew ricotta) turn the crock pot off and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. But I've typically never had this problem with the cashew ricotta. 
  • dips

    Super Easy Vegan Queso | 2 Ingredients |

    9:26 AM

    As you know, I don't ever consider myself fully vegan. I like my organic dairy every now and then, and I also live in the south so chick-fil-a is a way of life.

    However, I like to delve into vegan recipes from time to time on the days I feel my body needs a little break from my normal eating lifestyle.

    I wasn't sure how this recipe was going to come out. It only requires two ingredients and a little time on the stove.
    I was quite impressed at the outcome and snacked on it while I was preparing all the other game day dips and snacks this past weeks super bowl.
    I bet if you if you didn't even mention to your friends that it was vegan they wouldn't even notice! 

    I took this photo a day after I initially made it, so it is not a smooth as it comes out when you make it the day of.

    EASY Vegan Queso
    (no nuts, veggies, or tofu)
    1 cup of your favorite salsa

    • In a small pot add 1 cup of salsa and warm up. 
    • Next, add a handful of shreds to the pot till melted together, continue this till it is all blended (you will end up using most of the bag, I had about 1/4 cup left)
    • Throw in a dish when it is all melted, with some chips on the side, and your are done! 

    Typically normal shredded cheese doesn't melt well together for queso (or taste good for that matter) but because of the vegan cheese it blends VERY well, as if you used a huge block of velveeta cheese.

    dairy free

    Dairy Free + Vegan "Olive Garden" Dressing

    9:39 AM

    This dressing was a combination of an experiment and craving. 
    The other day I was determined to make a nice salad to go with our lovely gluten free french bread pizzas. I decided to attempt a dressing I have actually been wanting to recreate for some time but was always a little hesitant to. 
    I will say it turned out as close to the original as you can get while being dairy free and vegan!  

    (the dressing settles quickly, hence why it looks separated in this photo)

    Part 1
    1  packet Italian Dressing Mix made to directions
     Make Your own Mix
    1tbs. garlic salt
    1 TBLS of onion powder
    1 TBLS of sugar
    2 TBLS of oregano
    1 tsp of pepper
    1 tsp of basil
    1 TBLS of parsley
    1/3 tsp celery salt
    2 TBLS salt

    Add 2 TBLS of the above mix to...
    •1/4 cup cider vinegar
    •2/3 cup olive oil
    •2 tbls. water

    Part 2
    ¾ cup olive oil
    2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (or white)
    ¼ cup water
    ½ teaspoon sugar
    ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon pepper
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    1 Tablespoon of vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo)

    Make Part 1 of this recipe in a medium bowl.
    Add all the ingredients in Part 2 to Part 1. Whisk till blended then store in a dressing container.
    The mix will settle easily so make sure to shake it well and poor quickly. 
    Keep stored in the fridge.

    I know it seems a little silly that you are basically making two dressings and combining them, but trust me, it has the best outcome!