February 2018 - Simply Samantha
dairy free

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad - Vegan + Gluten Free

9:00 AM

When people hear I am gluten free and dairy free one of the most common responses is

"what do you eat?"
My Response?
Pasta, lots of pasta.

Ok, not really, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't one of my favorite dishes to make and eat.
Pasta can be so versatile!
As the weather here in the south starts getting warmer (we are set to have the warmest February ever y'all!), the pasta cravings have turned into cold pasta cravings.

This recipe came out of just happening to have both items on hand and thinking "hmm, this might taste good". If you are a fan of my Dairy Free Creamy Italian dressing recipe you'll love this!

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad - #Vegan and #GlutenFree

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad - #Vegan and #GlutenFree
Creamy Italian Pasta Salad - #Vegan and #GlutenFree

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Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
This will be a hit at you at any springtime picnic!
  • 16oz Gluten Free Pasta*
  • 1 cup Vegan Mayo
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • chopped Red Onion
Make pasta according to box/bad instructions. Drain and run under cold water tossing the pasta so it doesn't stick.While pasta is cooking/or cooling, mix together all the other ingredients to make the dressing for the pasta. Once pasta is cooled to a decent temp, add your dressing and red onion and mix until well incorporated. You can add other veggies to your choosing! I think some tomatoes and peas would taste amazing in this dish!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 Servings

*You could use any pasta, however, I feel Penne or Elbow works and holds best!

Do you like cold pasta salads? 
I feel like its such a spring/summer staple here in the south! The creamier the better! 


Build-a-bar with The Bar Shack

9:00 AM

*I was given a gift code to make the bars in exchange for a review for Bar Shack. Opinions are 100% my own

I personally love a good protein bar. Having food allergies has turned my purse into a mom purse as I always have a snack on hand. My go-to is good protein bar that helps fill me up when I need something to snack on!

I was contacted by the team at Bar Shack and they asked if I wanted to make my own bar. 
I was super intrigued! 
Before I tell you about my experience. Here is a little about the company from their website:

TheBarShack.com is the one-stop-shop for custom, high quality, personalized protein bars. Made to order…just how you want ‘em. 

Yup, that’s right, if you’re looking for a high-quality protein bar, you don’t have to waste your time messing around in the kitchen and eating bars out of ziplock baggies. Using our advanced online “Bar Building” tool, you can just tell us which ingredients you want, and we’ll make them for you, package them, and ship them right to your doorstep. Pretty cool, huh? 
Keeping an eye on your macros? We got you. Watch your nutrition chart update LIVE as you add or remove ingredients from your custom recipe. That same nutrition chart gets printed onto the back of all your individual protein bar packages.

Cool right! I have 2 things I REALLY loved about this experience -
1.The site is SUPER user-friendly. Each ingredient has a great description and even tells you if the ingredient has gluten in it or not (which is so important for me).
2. The macro counter on the site is genius! It will show you all the calories, protein, etc etc.. as you build your bar. I pay attention to that stuff (I'm a professional label reader) so having it there was so helpful in creating the best bar for me!

I didn't plan on making them for my husband but he loved them so much I've thrown one in his lunchbox every day this week! It's the perfect power snack for him in the afternoon.
My bar has a nice chewy and soft base with some cashew butter and peanut butter added in there. My favorite additions were the cacao nibs for a chocolaty taste along with some dried apple and banana for a nice crunch. 

I highly recommend The Bar Shack if you are interested in creating your very on bars! This would be a great way to have a fun snack, promote your brand, or even make them as a gift for your foodie friend! 

For more information check out their website: https://thebarshack.com/

What kind of bar would you make!? 
I'd love to know! 

*I was given a gift code to make the bars in exchange for a review for Bar Shack. Opinions are 100% my own

air fryer

Air Fried Tofu

9:00 AM

I've written about this in the past but we have a small house and a gas stove, so in the summer it is BRUTAL to run that sucker because it heats the whole house up to 80-degrees. Which is no bueno in Florida in the middle of July.

This Air Fryer is going to be my saving grace come the summer because I will now use this to compensate for my oven. However, that doesn't mean I'm not getting it up and running now. 
I've obviously have made fries in it as its the quickest and tastiest way to make them, but I've also made Tofu in it.
Yes. Air Fried Tofu. And it's as tasty and crispy as it sounds! 

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Easy Air Fried Tofu
You'll never want to cook your tofu any other way again after you make it in the Air Fryer.
  • 1 Block Firm Tofu*
  • 2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon CornStarch
Make sure your tofu has been drained and dried. Cut into 1inch cubes (if not already pre-cut; see notes)In a bowl mix together the tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, and oil.Set aside and let it marinate for 15-30 minutes (the longer the better).After marinating add in your cornstarch and toss. This will help absorb the liquid and give it crunch in the fryerNext, add the tofu to your air fryer and cook for 30 minutes on 370Check on it periodically, tossing the tofu it if starts to stick. Serve any way you'd like. I personally love mine over some rice with gluten free Teriyaki sauce.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 serving

NOTES: I personally love this type of already cubbed tofu. It's perfect for this!

Do you have an Air Fryer? 
What is your favorite thing to cook in it?


Vanilla Cupcakes with EASY Dairy Free Frosting

8:00 AM

Y'all. This recipe almost didn't happen.

Just a little peek into my blogging process. I like to create and make recipes a week ahead of when I post them. JUST in case something happens and I don't like the outcome or it's a complete disaster.
Last week I ran out of time to make the recipe for this week so this past Sunday before I started SuperBowl prepping I tried to whip up a sweet treat for my Valentines Day post this week.
It did not come out the way I wanted it too. It was tasty but boy was it UGLY.  I mean, there was no amount of Lightroom that could touch up that creation.

Luckily, I wasn't 100% sold on the first recipe so I made sure to have my trusty back up, cupcakes.
You all seem to love my easy cupcake recipes so why not just stick to the old faithful.
This recipe is a little different though as I made the icing from scratch, but it is so easy you won't even miss the store-bought stuff.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla CupCakes with Dairy Free Frosting
I'm all for simplistic allergy friendly baking. Hence why I'm not ashamed to raise my hand and say "I use pre-made cake mix!" This time around I used Bob's Red Mill yellow cake mix to make the perfect cupcakes.
Of course, I added my own little flavoring to make them special. 
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla CupCakes with Dairy Free Frosting

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla CupCakes with Dairy Free Frosting

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Gluten Free Vanilla CupCakes with Dairy Free Frosting
Who doesn't like a good moist vanilla cupcake with tasty frosting!? This recipe is so easy your dog could make it!
  • 1 Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix of your choice*
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup room temperture Earth Balance Butter Sticks
  • 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Make cupcakes according to directions on the mix box. Add in vanilla extract (1 tsp) to batter and mix.Bake the cupcakes according to the directions and allow them to cool completely.While your cupcakes are cooling, make your icingIn a mixer, blend butter and slowly add in powdered sugar. The frosting is a buttercream base so if you don't like a strong butter taste add more powdered sugar.Once blended add in vanilla extract (3/4 tsp) and mix more until smoothTop your cupcakes with frosting and serve (or eat) immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 CupCakes

Do you have a classic and simple recipe you love to make? 
Yellow Cake and Cupcakes have always been my favorite!