Friday, February 28, 2014

Experimentation is the Key!


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Friday's Foto 
of the Day!
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One of the questions you need to ask yourself when trying to find your passion is -- what are your interests? I tend to gravitate towards the camera.

My career before I became a mom was a news videographer. I actually liked going to work (I still do). My work tool allowed me to be creative -- most of the time. Leaving my television news career to be a mom was an easy choice. Motherhood was a desire I never thought I would get a chance to experience. Being a mom is hard work, one of the toughest jobs on the planet -- in my opinion, but it is extremely rewarding and is the ultimate joy -- for me anyways. Mommy life still continues to surprise me every day, but I miss the creative aspect of videography.



I have spent the past couple of months doing some soul-searching trying to figure out the next steps for me. I was feeling lost not knowing where to take the next step. Inspiration struck me while I was "social surfing"  and came across some stunning photos. This fellow IGer (a person on Instagram) motivated me to pick up a camera again. His beautiful and amazing photos struck my creative soul. So this time I will try a little still photography. 





Right now experimenting is the key as my instincts are to follow the action. My automatic digital camera doesn't allow for manual focus which I'm accustomed to using the lens to do the work not the camera. I'm sure I could go out and get a different camera & lens, but when you are saving for college it's not a valid expense -- YET!  


My goal is for a weekly expedition to test out my camera. I will feature a photo or photos, depending on how I do, every Friday. I have no real area of expertise I will just shoot what strikes me that week. This week I didn't have to travel to far because our tree out front was calling to me.  


As I write about my love for photography a childhood memory struck me, actually a Christmas gift I received back in elementary school -- a camera. I loved that camera.  I remember waiting for the square photos to be mailed to me. You never knew what you would be getting it was always a surprise, sometimes good sometimes not so good. As a 5th grader back then it was hard to keep up that hobby as film costs were over my income level at the time. By the time I got to middle school my camera began to build up with dust. :'-(   

I wonder how different it would be if I had an iPhone back then? To bad I don't have a Flux Capacitor and a DeLorean.

        Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nothing in Life Comes Easy - Or do I need more patience?



MY NEW PASSION!
I'm trying to discover my new passion.  But should I be searching for a - new passion? Maybe my passion is all ready within me - buried inside and all I have to do is dig a little deeper to uncover it? 

Do we have more than one passion in life? I believe yes we do. My one true passion is being a mother. I am lucky to have two wonderful boys that I have devoted much time and energy raising, and still am.  But I am finding myself with more free time as they grow older. And now I'm on a hunt to determine my new purpose peeling away the layers to learn what is hidden inside of me.



I have always had a love for photography so I decided to pick up my camera again. No, not my video camera but my still camera. This past weekend I became quite frustrated and discouraged. None of the photos I took - turned out how I thought they would. How I saw them with my naked eye was not how they appeared on the screen. I was ready to give up. It is quite an adjustment switching from video to still photography. I have a lot to learn and I need to remind myself the saying "Nothing worth having comes easy." 

But how valid is that quote?

Lots of good things have come into my life with minimal effort. There have been things I've worked extremely hard at only to wish I hadn't wasted so much time and energy trying to secure.    


So maybe what I need to learn is patience.

Yes --- Patience and determination is the real lesson.  The ability to recognize the essential but at the same time have the patience to forge forward and the determination not to give up. But also understand when it's time to move on.



I also have to remind myself of my list of 'how to's' for finding your passion -- immerse yourself in what you picked -- learn everything there is to learn.

So now that is what I am doing.  Plus, like my old middle school basketball coach taught me... Practice, Practice, Practice.  That is what I will do. Because that is what I did for hours upon hours and now I can do a left handed layup!
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Check out my website -- www.thejeepmommaway.com  for my newly added photographs "A Moment in Time". 

I will continue to add photos to the site and my Jeep Momma Facebook page as well.

Don't forget to keep checking back here for Monday's Meal of the Week and now my new feature Friday's Foto of the Week!

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Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are angels whispering guidance to me on my life's journey?


Why do I seem to glance at the clock and it's 1:11 or 11:11? Lately, this has been happening to me a lot. Childhood stories of folklore said to make a wish. I would make a wish every time. Right? Why? Why make a wish? Why do I keep seeing this time. So I did the next best thing and googled it because that's what we do when we don't know. Right?  



There are many different interpretations why some of us see repeated numbers again and again -- A glitch in the matrix, global phenomenon, Angels whispering to bring attention to something important happening in our life, a window opening up in our life or the whole idea of numerology. Truly all of this falls back to faith. What do you want to believe? 









For years our pastor has been guiding us on how to listen for God's call. He would tell us God is talking to us right now.  I wondered why I didn't hear him. I never quite understood how to "hear" God talking. Until recently. I heard the story about the man who fell in a hole. He was waiting for God to rescue him out of the hole.  A fireman, construction worker and others came to the man's rescue. The man kept saying no thanks he was waiting for God to save him. The man ended up dying. When he went to heaven he asked God "Why didn't you save me?" God replied, "I sent a fireman, construction worker..." 


It's all about the signs and signals sent to us. It's not about listening to hear words but opening up our eyes and minds to see what he (or a higher power) is telling us.

Now that I'm more aware, I see 11's everywhere. Is it just a coincidence? I don't know. Maybe. Is it a sign of something better to come? Could be. 

I decided to take a chance. For the first time ever I bought lottery tickets. 11 lottery tickets at the 7-11 on 2-22-14 (2+2+2+1+4=11). Not even close. No winners. 

I'm thinking the angels have a more important mission than helping me win the lottery. So at this moment in my life I will have faith that something more powerful than myself is guiding me on this new journey in my life. 




The number 11 is a powerful number in the numerology world. 11, 111 and 1111 are also an important Angel number. Some of the meaning behind the numbers tell us to follow intuition and inner feelings and to trust in yourself. 



It does seem quite coincidental that I'm seeing these signs now as I try to find a new purpose in my life. There has got to be more than it's just 1:11 in the afternoon. Maybe I have a guardian angel whispering guidance to me on this journey. And maybe I don't.  But I like to believe there is something more out there. Something bigger than me.  A purpose for my life. So I will continue to strive forward, trust in myself and listen to those inner intuitions. Woman's intuition... Hmmm maybe there is something there. 

              Simple Living -- Enjoying Life! -- the Jeep Momma Way! 

  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Clean & Simple Recipe of the Week - Chicken or Beef Slow Cooked Tacos





YUMMY -- TASTY -- DELICOUS -- SIMPLE -- ORGANIC --
Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos



I've been searching the Internet -- scouring for simple, clean eating recipes.  Once I find a recipe that fits my needs and tastes, I try them out.  I usually make adjustments to it - adding, subtracting or substituting ingredients.  I'm feel like a meal time scientist. 

I've always liked to cook, but it had become a chore. I didn't enjoy it anymore. Now the fun is back and I have a fabulous time coming up with new innovative creations.  



My goal is to create an inventory of 20 dinner-time recipes that are simple and easy to make - but also "clean" to fit my needs. 

Last Monday, I shared with you my No-noodle lasagna. It was very tasty and healthy - minus all the carbs from the noodles. A friend of mine tried it out as well and enjoyed it. 

January 23rd I told you about a yummy guilt free pizza crust, Cauliflower pizza crust.  I have had it several times since because it's so yummy and tasty.

Today is slow-cooked chicken tacos.  You could also substitute beef or pork as your meat.



Beef or Chicken Tacos
2 lbs flank steak or boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped


Spice Rub-
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper






Combine all spices; rub generously over the flank steak. Place the steak in the crock pot and cover with the chopped onions, bell peppers and jalapeno pepper. 




Cook 8 hours on low.  Remove from crock pot and shred with fork.  You can continue cooking for another hour or serve as is.  Then spoon on corn tortillas with your favorite taco toppings -- shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream and fresh salsa.

If you decide to try it out let me know how you like it!  


Simple Living -- Enjoying Life! -- the Jeep Momma Way! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seize the Moment! Snow pile vs My Jeep -- See who wins.

Seize the Moment!  

My new life motto -- to live my life to the fullest -- no more excuses. I want to enjoy
every moment. I want to take every advantage of the opportunities that come my way.

Tuesday I told you about how I put down my 'to do' list to head outside to play in the snow with my boys.  They wanted my help building their snow pile bigger. Their goal was to get more speed on their newly built sledding course in our front yard. It felt good to let go of my perceived responsibilities and to spend more time enjoying my kids. We had a lot of fun that day and created fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.
Later that day, still feeling "kid-like" I kept eying that snow pile through my kitchen window. It was calling my name -- taunting my inner child. I thought, "how would my Jeep stack up against that pile?"  Not wanting to destroy the hard work my kids put into building it, I asked my oldest how he felt about driving my Jeep over their pile of snow.  The grin that grew on his face gave me my answer.  So we headed out to take on the packed pile of white stuff. 
My confidence in my driving abilities wavered as I looked at the pile mocking me. I didn't want that pile to beat me especially after my bragging for weeks about my abilities as a driver in a winter's garden. 

While my kids were taking one last sled run down the course I invited my friend to take a spin around the block. It was her first time out since the 15 inches of snow fell and the plows still hadn't hit our neighborhood. Putting the gearshift in 4X4 mode for me is like being a kid in the candy store -- I just can't get enough. 


As we pulled into the driveway after our 4 by 4 spin around the block, I was alone in my thoughts -- it was just me and my Jeep -- in a stare down with the pile of snow. I was a little timid at first, only taking a couple of stabs at the pile ever so gently. My son jumped into the Jeep for moral support to cheer me on. Realizing - Hey! You are in a Jeep! Just take it on -- full force.  So I punched the pedal. And over I went. 






I just kept going and going -- straight through the yard. To avoid the Internet box I ended up in the neighbors yard. Then down through the ditch, back out on the road.  





There were whoops and cheers and lots "Oh Yeahs"! The exhilarating rush of being in control of such a powerful beast had me yearning for more. It was like eating a potato chip, one just isn't enough. My natural instincts and years of Midwest driving didn't fail me. So I took it around again... and again! 






















That's when my husband stepped in and asked for a turn.  I was very hesitant to give up the wheel, but thought, I'd better not be selfish. He took it for a couple of spins.
Then of course -- you know those "Men drivers", he got it stuck, high centered it. Which means none of the wheels were touching the ground. I believe he did it on purpose. Just so he could have bragging rights, claiming his truck needed to tow my Jeep. So like always having to defend my Jeep -- "It's not the Jeep, it's the driver!" I said.  My son even decided that the saying "Beastmode" needs to be replaced with "Jeepmode"!

The moment I took hit the hill and went over I decided it's time -- time to seize the moment and enjoy life! In that moment it didn't matter that I was driving my Jeep in the front yard.  If I messed up the lawn we could fix it, grass grows back. I didn't care what it looked like or what my neighbors thought. We were having fun and no one was getting hurt. 

There is still so much in life I want to achieve, goals I want to complete, dreams to fulfill and ideas to try out. My time to do all these things is growing shorter and shorter as the days go by. So now is my time for action. 

There are many regrets about not doing some of these things earlier in my life. I let other people's judgements and expectations hold me back. I am not holding back my ideas, projects or attempts any longer for fear of other people's criticisms or judgements. If I want to accomplish my goals, finish my projects and enjoy life I will have to face the reality of other people's negative opinions and criticisms -- that is just the price of admission. 

Now with our lives prominently displayed for all to see we are all constantly being judged and criticized more publically than before. I will learn to embrace it and take it as a learning experience.  I will need to see the difference between those who just want to bring me down and those who are truly wanting to help. Learning how to filter out the disingenuous and cruel comments to learn from the comments that can be used to better myself, my projects and my life.

No more excuses -- no more holding back. It's time to take advantage of what I have now and enjoy my life. It's time to listen to my heart and make the best of every opportunity presented to me.

I'm sure there were a few stories about me when I traded in my "mom" car and bought a Jeep.  But you know what -- it made me happy. I found a joy that has blossomed into something bigger. I enjoy my Jeep, it's fun and exhilarating and it makes me feel young again. I'm ready to face the world and have fun doing it. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Enjoying Life -- Don't miss out!

I know I've said this before but I'm going to say it again.  In this day and age with so much technology, our lives are on the high paced super highway -- speeding by so quickly we don't have time to enjoy them. This also seems to be a time of keeping up -- and competing -- with the "Joneses".  Maybe it was always that way. I just didn't notice it when I was younger. 

I found myself being caught in that web. I didn't like it. So I started to change my mindset. My life doesn't need to be that way. Now I'm rebelling against that kind of hectic, competitive lifestyle.  I'm slowing down and getting simple so I can enjoy my life and the lives of those I love. Life is too precious to take for granted.  


I've made that conscious decision to slow down and appreciate my life. I've begun to make the time and the space to do just that. 
Getting simple and slowing down has started to lead to a greater level of happiness. This has been a conscious choice but not always an easy one. 


Change is always hard but most of the time it's a good thing. It can open new doors to create new opportunities. Sometimes I feel myself slipping back but that's OK as long as I keep pushing forward making small, everyday changes. These small changes add up to a lifetime of enjoyment.



For example the other day my son asked me to come out and help him build his snow sledding course.  At the time my to do list had quite a few things on it that I wanted to get done. Instead I hesitantly decided to go out and spend some time helping shovel the snow.  It was a a great choice.  My kids and I had a fabulous time constructing the course. It created a bond and lots of good memories. Right now, as I write this post, I am wishing I could be back out on that sledding course again. Outside hanging and having fun with my boys enjoying their childhood a little longer. Before I know it these times will be gone and I won't get them back. I want to have great memories not regrets.



Here's a great link to a website that gives you 25 ways to enjoy your life.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Clean Eating Recipes -- Healthy Pizza Crust with Garbanzo Beans


In my quest to get healthy I am always looking for ways to eat my favorite foods but in a more healthy way. I have all ready shared with you a fabulous tasting pizza recipe using cauliflower for the crust. Today I'm going to share another pizza crust recipe this time using Garbanzo Bean flour.

Garbanzo beans are known as one of the creamiest and tastiest beans. Their flour provides a sweet, rich flavor. Garbanzo bean flour is similar to white flour when it comes to calories but it has 50% more protien, five times more fiber and is rich in iron.  Replacing white flour with garbanzo bean flour is definately a good thing when you are trying to manage your weight.

Garbanzo Bean Flour VS. Cornstarch


Garbanzo bean flour is also a great thickener of soups and gravies.  It's an excellent replacement for cornstarch. Gluten and grain free it adds a rich dense texture. It cuts the fat when used in place of cream or cornstarch. 

Cornstarch is made from corn kernels.  It is a highly processed carbohydrate, about 30 calories or 7 grams of carbs per tablespoon. When you add it to soups or gravies you are adding significant calories and no nutritional value. There is no protein, fat, vitamins, minerals or fiber.

Here are some other ideas for you to try as a replacement for cornstarch if you have a hard time finding Garbanzo Bean flour. 

Heat reduction: Simmer sauces uncovered over a low to medium heat over time and your sauce will become thicker.

Pureed vegetables: Tomato paste, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, squash and pumpkin are easy to puree in a blender once cooked. These pureed veggies are great for thickening sauces and homemade soups. They add a nutritional goodness to your recipes since they are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However remember squash and pumpkin have a higher starch content then the others.

Sour Cream or Greek yogurt: These are already thick. You will do much better with sour cream in hot recipes like soups. 

Flax seed meal: Ground flax seed works better as an egg substitute because it can be gritty.  It is great to add to smoothies, oatmeal or other baked goods.

Don't forget to read your food labels, cornstarch is sometimes added.  

Okay, now onto my garbanzo bean flour pizza crust. It is very easy to make.


Garbanzo Bean Flour Pizza Crust


2/3 cup garbanzo flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup water
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano






Combine ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes.




Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Turn on oven broiler to high. Coat pan with organic olive oil. Pour crust batter onto the pan then quickly use the back of the spoon to spread out to cover the entire pan. You want the crust as thin as possible. When the bottom is brown flip the crust. Cook the other side about 2 – 3 minutes each side. Once both sides are cooked remove from heat. 





Then top the crust with desired pizza topping while still in the pan. Place the pan under the broiler for 3 – 5 minutes until cheese is melted and toppings are tender. Let cool for 2 minutes, slice and enjoy!




Jeep Momma’s Favorite Toppings

Pizza sauce
Sauted fresh mushrooms
Baby spinach
Fresh mozzarella
Fresh Basil 
Grated parmesean cheese
Grated romano cheese
Red peppers
Onions
Pepperoni






When using pizza sauce use it sparingly because it could make the crust soggy. Also read the labels. Some organic sauces contain more sugar than others.  

I also like to add a tasty salad to my pizza. A good combination is a roasted red pepper, artichoke, mozzerella salad. I add a little olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt and pepper.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Boys and their Toys -- I finally get it!

"Boys and their toys" -- The Wiktionary definition:  'Used to evoke the idea that adult men sometimes dote excessively on machines, automobiles, and gadgets in a childish manner.'

We have all heard this saying. Many of us have used it over and over again. Well, today I can honestly say -- "I get it." You can also catergorize me as one of the "boys" in this saying. 




For years to me a vehicle has been to get from point A to point B.  Today was not the case. I was like a child at Christmas with a new toy.  I still can't seem to wipe the grin off my face.




A Thundersnow, as the local weather forecasters called it, blew threw our area early this morning. Along with it brought about 15 inches of snow. 






I was jolted awake this morning to strange sounds coming from my garage. So I bundled up and headed out to see what the commotion was all about. It was my Jeep -- calling me, a Jeep Happy Dance some would say. I climbed aboard and for the first time ever shifted the gear into 4-wheel drive. A first time 4X4 driving experience for me, some would say I was a 4X4 virgin.




My palms were sweating inside my gloves, even with temperatures still below freezing. It wasn't that I hadn't ever driven in the snow before.  I am pretty experienced driving in the snow coming from the midwest.  But as an experienced snow driver -- you know -- you just don't take a chance by driving your car into a foot of snow. So I cautiosly backed out of the garage onto the driveway into over a foot of snow. 


It was like a hot knife slicing through butter.  I shifted to forward and pulled back up. That just wasn't enough. I had to take my chances and drive around the block. I was a little nervous because growing up in the midwest I knew what the chances were for getting stuck in that deep of snow. As I headed out the roads were a bed of freshly laid snow ripe for my Jeep. You couldn't even tell were the road ended and grass began except for the dotting of mailboxes lined up in a row.



Once around the block still wasn't enough.  I decided to take the scenic tour through our snow covered neighborhood. Along the way I was able to help dig out two neighbors trying to venture back to their homes after an unsucsessful trip out. 


I can honestly say I am addicted -- some may say I have a problem.  Today's adventure, small in comparison to other 4X4 adventures, was NOT enough. The adrenaline rush of being in control of such a powerful piece of machinery was overwhelming. The fact that I -- me -- mother of 2 -- was able to ease through the knee deep snow with such ease was paradise. I will need to find a place to score my next fix. I will pray for more new snow and hope that my neighborhood is the last on the list for the snowplows. 

As I look out my window tonight my smile grows wider as the fluffy white stuff continues to fall from the sky.  Who knew that the things that made me head south all those years ago would bring such joy and delight to me now.    

     

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's My Passion? - Secrets Reveled

A little over a week ago I wrote about discovering passion and finding a NEW purpose for my life. I decided to set forth a plan to do just that. Motherhood is definitely my first passion and purpose. But like I've said before my boys are more independent and don't need me as much -- which has freed up some of my time.  Now the question becomes what do I do with that free time?

So I found some quiet time the other day to sit down, reflect and ask myself some hard questions. My goal was to come up with three to five things I enjoy and go from there. I looked far back into my childhood trying to remember what I enjoyed to do, what I wanted to be, and what I was curious about. 


In the 5th grade I LOVED the creative writing section in class.  To this day I still remember my writing journal and all the stories I wanted to write.  I wanted to be a writer one day. But that was the one and only time I really had a "passion" for writing. When I was in High School I was the editor of the school newspaper but stuck to writing about sports.  For some reason I steered away from all the other writing.  I guess I didn't feel too confident to take on other stories and I wasn't sure why.  

So during my reflection time it struck me.  My joy for writing ended the day I got "the note".  I guess I just put the whole issue in the back of my mind and forgot about it.  But, I believe it has subconsciously been with me this whole time. "The Note" -- a mean girls note -- signed by all the girls in my 5th grade class.  All I remember is sitting outside the classroom crying not wanting to go back in.  They were making fun of me and my stories. Looking back now that was the last time I really was inspired to write.

BUT if I stop to really look at myself it's still here.  I catch myself in mini-day dreams making up stories in my mind.  I never took it further then these mini day dreams until last year. I thought maybe I could write a book.  I have started two books.  After getting a a third of the way done, I put them down feeling they are probably not that good anyways. WELL NO MORE!  


So I have created my list -- Writing is on that list.  I will dig out my files and see if I can finish at least one of those books I started and then go from there.



2. Photography is another on my list. This one came to me in a different way.  I didn't get this answer while I was reflecting, but from a random stranger on Instagram. Scrolling through hundreds of pictures, one of his caught my eye, so I checked out his other pictures. It had me thinking back to my days as a news videographer and how I miss that creativity. So I will switch out my video camera and take a stab at a still camera. I did just that at my son's basketball game.  It sure is a different feel than videography.

  




3. Organizing is such an obvouis choice to add to that list.  I didn't even have to think about that one. I jumped right in and started my website - Simple Living - The Jeep Momma Way Where that will take me -- we'll just have to wait and see.  But I do enjoy it. Every day I look forward to discovering new things to add to the website.  


So now my list consists of 
1. Writing
2. Photography - Still Photography
3. Organization
4. Running ???
5. Basketball ???  

I do love sports. I was on many sports teams when I was in school. Some of my best memories from those times. Two of my favorites where basketball and track. I started running again last spring. I enjoyed it. I started feeling good about myself.  But passion is something you wake up looking forward to doing. I need to ask myself, do I wake up wanting to go out for a run? Do I get out no matter how cold it is? Then - I need to look deeper at the signs - I believe we get those from higher up - God.  We just needto learn to see them and how to interpret them. Is running my passion?  



A couple months back I was looking forward to running my first 10K. I was even thinking ahead to the next ones I would run. But for some reason I did something to aggravate my sciatic nerve.  I ran the whole race in pain and with a numb foot. I was so determined to finish the race.  I did, but not as well as I would have liked.  So now I ask myself, is running a passion or just a goal to accomplish and move on to the next goal. Looking at all the signs and my answers to the questions.  Running is not a passion, but a way to stay healthy. I will keep my running goals and try for another 10K.  But when my body is ready.     



So for now I will stick with writing, photography and organization. I will continue to ask myself the important questions as I journey to discover my new passion and purpose. It won't happen over night or in the next couple of months but I hope someday it will come to me.  In the meantime I will have filled my time, I just hope that it will be able to turn into a career because I don't feel like bagging groceries at the local supermarket or answering phones and taking attendence at a local school. Too bad there isn't a market out their for Jeep Mom's!


Simple Living - Enjoying Life -- The Jeep Momma Way!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Clean Eating Recipes -- Yummy No Noodle Lasagna




I'm very excited about my new adventure! My Simple Living website and of course getting healthy which includes my clean eating. That has inspired me to think outside of the box for more healthier and cleaner meals - but still getting my fix for those favorite foods that aren't always good for me.  

www.thejeepmommaway.com



Pasta is one them. Pasta is chuck full of carbs.  Carbs are not my friend.  So, I avoid them at all costs, but sometimes they are so hard to resist.

When I started eating more healthy, I switched from white pasta to wheat pasta.  Now-- I avoid pasta all together.  But that meant no more spaghetti, Fettuccine Alfredo and my all time favorite -- lasagna. 

I read about squash spaghetti -- but squash is one of the vegetables I stay away from, because of it's starchy content. Using squash as a replacement for the noodles sparked the idea of using zucchini.  So, one day I made spaghetti for the family. I sliced up some zucchini and red peppers for myself and Wah-luh! I enjoyed a plate of spaghetti with out all those extra carbs. 

Replacement Noodles - Veggie Noodles
2 small zucchini
½ red pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste

Julienne, cut into thin long strips, the zucchini and red peppers.  Sauté the ingredients for about 15 minutes on medium heat or until tender.  Serve with you favorite spaghetti sauce.


I figured if zucchini worked for spaghetti --why not lasagna -- so I went to work.  It was fabulous and simple to make - as simple as lasagna gets! So yummy and not all those extra carbs I don't need. I have added the recipe to my website. I also decided to create a weekly feature on my blog highlighting one of my favorite - simple - clean eating meals. So here goes. 

Jeep Momma's NO-Noodle Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna Noodles 

2 large zucchini
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the zucchini length ways into thin strips. Place on baking sheet, lightly coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake about 15 minutes or until tender.  Let cool before layering lasagna. 




Jeep Momma’s Lasagna Meat Mix

1 lb hamburger (or ground turkey)
1 small onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ chopped red pepper
1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce **
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Brown the hamburger. Add onion, red pepper and mushrooms and cook until vegetables are tender.  Add tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Simmer on low for about 30 to 45 minutes.  Mince the spinach leaves and add to the mixture just before layering the lasagna.

**Read the labels! Some organic sauces have more sugar added to them than others.


Jeep Momma’s Lasagna Cheese Mixture 

1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 beaten egg
Salt, pepper & basil to taste

Mix all ingredients well.
  
Jeep Momma’s No-Noodle Lasagna

Zucchini noodles
Jeep Momma’s Meat Mixture or your favorite meat sauce
Jeep Momma’s Cheese Mixture or your favorite cheese mixture
Shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9 X 9 baking dish layer the veggie noodles, meat mixture, cheese mixture and top with mozzarella cheese. (See photos below) Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese starts to turn brown. 

Step 1: thin layer of meat mixture. 









Step 2: Side by side layer of zucchini slices.
  




Step 3: layer of meat mixture.

Step 4: lightly sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the meat mixture. 





Step 5: Add another layer of the zucchini slices.




Step 6: layer of cheese mixture.
Step 7: layer of zucchini slices.
Step 8: layer of meat mixture.




Last layer: mozzarella cheese.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is brown.





I let the lasagna cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.  It was so fabulously good! I can't wait to have some left overs.

Don't forget my  Guilt Free Pizza crust! Check it out on my website. 

My next favorite -- gravy.  I usually use cornstarch as a thickener.  Cornstarch has no nutritional value. It is just wasted calories and carbs.  Plus, it's made from corn and most corn is genetically modified. YUK!!! Next week I'll give you my recipe for cornstarch free gravy! Clean gravy - the Jeep Momma Way!


    - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! -