December 2017 - Simply Samantha

4 essentials for 2018 Meal Planning - FREE PRINTABLE

8:30 AM

Meal planning is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Not only will it help you keep a handle on healthy weeknight meals, it will also help you save money in the long run.
Every year I feel I find something new that helps me plan from week to week whether it be a new food blogger with great interesting recipes to new coupon finds.
Here is my list of top essentials for 2018 meal planning.

1. Coupons
A no brainer right? Coupons may be old school but they're what is going to save you money. Especially on vegan products like cheese and meatless meats. Those can jack up your grocery bill so it's always good to have that small coupon book handy. When it comes to those fancy vegan/meatless items make sure to always check the companies site for coupons from week to week.

2. Grocery List
Also very old school but I love some of the cute magnet lists that you can purchase on Amazon. My favorite is this one called All Out Of. But I also saw some of these cute ones like this on Etsy that you can download and print from week to week.

3. Free Monthly Calendars
I LOVE these calendars! Every year FTD ask's if I want to share the new ones with my readers and I answer with a quick YES!
They are beautiful and perfect for putting on the fridge and listing your meal's from week to week! 

4. Grocery store apps
I love the grocery stores are offering their own apps. Living in the south Publix is our go to grocery store and I LOVE their app. I can scroll through coupons which get linked to my phone number that I can put in while I'm checking out and save! I can also order my husband's lunch meat and pick it up without having to wait in line. Hurray for technology.

What are your tips for meal planning!? I'd love to hear! 

Big thanks to FTD for offering the free printable! 

allergy friendly

4 Ingredient Cinnamon Almond Cupcakes

8:00 AM

Alright Y'all, Christmas is almost here and if you are like me you may feel a little "baked out".
I just don't have the desire to bake much as the holiday get's closer.

Yet, I find myself craving some festive cupcakes.
My snickerdoodle cupcake recipe was such a hit I thought I was Christmas-fy it with some lovely cinnamon and almond loveliness.

Sometimes you just don't have the time or effort to make cupcakes from scratch. I know how hard it is to have all the ingredients on hand sometimes, especially if you have food allergies and don't have random things like xanthum gum in your cabinet.
Hence why there is no shame in spicing up a box cake mix!

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Cinnamon Almond Cupcakes
Spice up that box cupcake recipe with some cinnamon and almonds!
  • 1 Box Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 tsp + 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 2 containers Frosting
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
Make cupcakes according to the box. Once the batter is made, mix in 3 tsp of almond extract. Do it one teaspoon at a time until you are happy with the flavor.Bake the cupcakes and let cool completely on a cooling rack.While the cupcakes are cooling. Add frosting to a bowl In the bowl, mix frosting, 1 tsp of almond extract and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Put the frosting and pipe onto your cupcakes once they are cooled. Serve ( and eat ;) ) as soon as possible.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 24 cupcakes


Southern Pecan Cake - Gluten Free and Dairy Free

8:00 AM

Pecans and Christmas just seem to go hand and hand! Last week I was brainstorming how I could make a tasty but easy treat with some pecans I picked up at the store.

After a fail of one recipe, I attempted to make a simple cake topped with buttery pecan goodness. 
And what a buttery sweet goodness it was.

When I made this I topped the cake with the buttered pecans on the wet batter. While it still did cook well, I would suggest waiting to top the cake till 15 minutes left of baking, to get the cake time to cook and puff up. 

I topped this with some So Delicious whip cream over the weekend and it's PERFECT! 

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Southern Pecan Cake
A simple, sweet, and southern pecan cake. Perfect for the holidays or just because ;)
  • 1 and 1/3 cup of All Purpose GF Flour with Xanthum Gum
  • 1/2 cup Sugar (cane or coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons GF Baking Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Califia Regular Almond milk
  • 1/3 Cup Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Dairy Free Butter Softened
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9in cake pan and set it asideIn a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powderNext, add the almond milk, butter, and egg. Beat all the ingredients together until well blendedPour into pan and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Here is where you can use your discretion. I originally placed the pecan topping (recipe for that below) on top at the very beginning. However, it took longer to cook. My suggestion now is to let the cake cook the 25 minutes then add the pecan topping and let it cook another 5-10minutes. Pecan Topping - melt another 1/4 cup of dairy free butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Once melted add 1/3 of sugar and 2 cups of chopped (roughly) pecans.Once you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, pull the cake out and let cool on a wire rack. Store at room temperature as long as possible in a safe cake dish. It will stay softer this way.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 9inch cake

The flour I used
The butter I used
You can use any kind of Almond milk - I personally just LOVE Califia

*Discloser - I was selected to review Califia Milk from Mom's Meet. Opinions are 100% my own

dairy free

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Truffles

8:00 AM

Do you have a desert recipe you've perfected so much that it's the only recipe you make every christmas/holiday??

*raises hand*  
Me! That's me! 

I've said in the past. I am NOT a baker. Whatever I make has to be gluten free is just a recipe for disaster(haha, see what I did there)! So when I found this recipe for GLUTEN and DAIRY FREE peanut butter truffles with only 4 ingredients! I about fell out of my computer chair.
I've made them every year since I found the recipe and they are such a crowd pleaser.

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4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Truffles
Super easy and tasty Peanut Butter Truffles - Gluten and Dairy Free
  • 1/4 cups Crushed Gluten Free Pretzles
  • 1/4 cup Powder Sugar (more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 bag Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
In a bowl, mix crushed pretzels, powder sugar, peanut butterForm into balls and place on cookie sheets with parchment paperIf the batter is too sticky to form into balls, add more powder sugarPlace the cookie sheets in a freezer for 20 minutes.Right before you pull the peanut butter balls out of the freezer. Melt the chocolate any way you'd like. I personally melt the chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl in 30-second increments, mixing till smooth. Dip the peanut butter in chocolate till fully covered and place back on the parchment paperOnce all of the peanut butter balls are covered, place them in the freezer again, on the cookie sheets, till the chocolate is hardenedOnce hardened. Keep in the refrigerator so they don't harden too much. They become hard to eat when in the freezer for too long.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 dozen