Monday, March 31, 2014

Clean Eating Party Snacks the Jeep Momma Way!

A good friend of mine asked me to host a jewelry party for her. As a host you provide the place for the party, a few snacks and the drinks. I love party snacks! But most of them are off limits in my book. I'm much more cautious about what I eat nowadays since my body doesn't process foods like it used to.

I wanted to be able to enjoy the snacks at my own party so I planned the menu to fit my needs. I stuck with my healthy eating motto - Simple, Clean, Organic, Healthy. 

sliced red peppers - pea pods - Hummus
fresh organic salsa - organic tortilla chips
organic dark chocolate covered pretzels

organic guacamole
organic crackers - sliced cheese 
skewered cherry tomatoes - mozzerella balls - fresh basil

I served baked pita chips for those who wanted an alternative to chips. I also made a great salsa but it could work as a salad too.

Black-eyed Pea Salsa

1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained
1 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 chopped (seeds removed) jalapeno
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

sliced artichokes, chopped roasted red peppers, chopped avocado, chopped fresh basil and some olive oil -- all organic. This is a very yummy simple and easy salad.

Freshly air popped organic popcorn

Your topping options are endless.

drizzle olive oil mixed with your favorite spice -- paprika, curry powder -- garlic powder or coconut oil or grated Parmesan cheese.

Mini sandwiches or I like to call them pinwheels. 
Whole wheat tortillas wrapped with your favorite sandwich fixings. I used provolone, turkey, ham and spinach leaves. I mixed a little garlic powder with some mayo and there you go! So simple and so yummy.

Of course what jewelry party would be without wine. I bought all organic wine and we combined the jewelry party with a little wine tasting. 

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

It takes more than just a camera to make you a Photographer


The winter doldrums have set in for me. I am growing tired of the cold grey days and would like to see the green buds start to sprout amongst the dingy brown branches covering our view. But no -- Old Man Winter doesn't know he has worn out his welcome and I believe Mother Nature has lost Spring.

The leafless trees, salt covered roads and white covered lands have broken my desire to take pictures. So I sit and wait like the rest of my fellow Northerners waiting for those first blooms of color to brighten out days. 

In the meantime I find myself IGing (on Instagram) more -- checking out other fellow photography enthusiasts' pictures. It seems now a days everyone is a photographer.

Everyone carries a camera with them ever where they go. Never has there been a time in our history where we have documented it so throughouly with pictures.

 But as I scroll through all the photos I realize it's not the camera that makes a good photographer it's the eye. Everyone can take a picture. But can everyone take good pictures. Or even great pictures for that matter.

So today I dedicate this post to the Phone Camera. All the pictures posted today are ones I took with my Iphone 5.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jeep Momma in Beast Mode - Warrior Ready

Jeep Momma in Beast Mode  

I'm going straight from 'Mom workin' out in the gym mode' to 'Beast Mode' I'll be running, crawling, trudging, slogging and wading for 3.16 miles on May 10th. Yes, I signed up for the Warrior Dash. It will be three miles of twelve different obstacles scattered through out the course. I will be running through mud, wading through water, jumping over fire and a lot of climbing up walls. It will require endurance, balance, and a lot of upper body strength.

So as Emeril says, I'm going to need "to kick it up a notch". But at the same time I don't want to overdo it and re-injure my leg. I will continue to lift weights three days a week at the gym but increase the weights I'm pumping. Gotta build up that upper body strength. Then I will continue to run three days a week when I'm not at the gym. I will even add some core exercises and a couple of bike rides a week. If old man winter ever decides to leave! 

This is all hard to do on your own without a buddy. Since no one else I know seems up for the task I will look to one thing that motivates me -- pumps me up -- music!  
These are songs for a Warrior's workout. They bring back some great memories and help motivate me. 

As I look at this list there seems to be quite a few Heavy Metal Bands from the 70's & 80's that are my favorites. Does that make me a metal head? 

Jeep Momma's Top 20 Songs for a Warrior's Workout

"Thunderstruck"  AC/DC
"Hold on Loosely"  38 Special
"Shook Me All Night Long" AC/DC
"Paranoid" Black Sabbath
"Run to the Hills" Iron Maiden
"Lonely is the Night" Billy Squier
"Back in Black"  AC/DC
"Sweet Home Alabama" Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Kashmir" Led Zeppelin
"Rock You Like a Hurricane" Scorpions
"Flirtin' with Disaster" Motley Crue
"Smoke on the Water"  Deep Purple
"Baba O'Riley" The Who
"Livin After Midnight" Judas Priest
"Tom Sawyer"  Rush
"Hair of the Dog"  Nazareth
"Jack & Diane"   John Cougar Mellancamp
"Can't Stop" Red Hot Chili Peppers 
"Rock and Roll All Night" Kiss
"I Will Wait"  Mumford and Sons
     Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -- The Jeep Momma Way!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Clean Eating Recipes -- Grilled Pineapple Chicken Healthy & Tasty

This is a simple, easy meal to make with very little clean up. It's tasty, filling and light dish.

Grilled Pineapple Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 sweet Vidalia onion
1 package whole button mushrooms

½ cup Agave
6 oz pineapple juice
¼ cup organic soy sauce
¼ cup organic teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 finely chopped scallion

Place all ingredients in an airtight container. Shake well to combine, makes 2 cups.  Use 1 cup to marinade chicken & 1 cup to marinade vegetables.  Cut up vegetables into large pieces. Marinade for at least 2 hours.  Grill.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's Foto - Gettysburg National Park

Last week I had the opportunity to go camping with my son's Boy Scout Troop. Well they camped --in tents. I cheated by camping -- in a cabin. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day but it did get a little chilly at night. The temperatures dropped below freezing. I was lucky enough that the cabin had electricity and I had a heater to keep me warm. 

We took a hike and I brought my camera along to capture the event for the scouts. I was able to sneak in a few shots for myself. It's all still a work in progress. Trying to figure out my camera, it's a digital camera. The camera does most of the work for you but I still like to be able to set my own shutter speed and aperture. Trying to figure all that out is quite time consuming with all the different settings on the mode dial. The icons are quite small and I need to carry my reading glasses with me. It can be very frustrating. Getting old stinks!

But I will keep forging ahead and testing out the different settings getting to know my camera. I'm sure I will find a comfort level soon and start to see the pictures I want to capture. In the meantime it's fun and relaxing, a hobby I am really enjoying myself at.

Here are a few of the photos I took at Gettysburg I thought I would share.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jeep Momma getting ready to become a Warrior!

Warrior Dash Here I Come! 

I have started running again after a three month hiatus. I finally got back out on the road last week and so far all is going well. KNOCK ON WOOD!!!   Last November I ran the 10K Turkey Chase at Thanksgiving. A couple of days before the race I aggravated my sciatic nerve which caused immense pain in my leg and numbness in my foot and toes during the race. After several doctors visits, a MRI and a nerve test it was concluded, that most likely, I did something to my piriformis muscle which is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. The only thing that will help is time and lots and lots of stretching. So that is what I have been doing. Plus I continue to build my muscle strength by going to the gym and lifting weights. 

Last Fall I created a mini-bucket list for myself. Included on it was to run the Warrior Dash which will take place in Maryland on Mother's Day weekend. So last Wednesday night I registered for the race. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Some of the obstacles look pretty intense requiring a lot of upper body strength. The good news is I can run around the obstacles if I don't feel like I can handle them. If you decide to skip an obstacle it takes you out of being able to place in the top 25 which would move you on to the national race. Ha -- like that would be a possibility for me.

So I'm going to try it -- Run and crawl and trudge through the mud. Test my balance and courage and strength to see if I can pull myself up and over a wall. It will be great fun and an test of my grit and endurance. I will have to dig deep and presevere. But the best part is I get a free beer at the end of the race. I can't wait!

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

Monday, March 17, 2014

Simple, Easy Beef & Tomatoes

Crock Pot Beef & Tomatoes 

This recipe is so simple and easy!
It takes only about five minutes of prep time.

2 pounds beef stew meat, (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

I like to sneak in finely chopped spinach. My kids never know.

Simmer all ingredients on low for 6 to 7 hours in a crock pot.  Serve with wild rice and your favorite green vegetable.

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Foto Friday - Winter Sunset in Maryland

Making Time for those Moments in Time!

Last week while I was making dinner I noticed the beautiful sunset out the kitchen window. It was a colorful sunset and it would have made a great picture. As I got back to frying up the hamburger I thought, "Don't let life get in the way!" So I quickly grabbed the camera and went outside to get a few shots. After experimenting with the aperture and shutter speed I headed back in to finish up dinner. I must have run in and out about ten times during that time while making dinner.

Squeezing in my passion for photography that night was a great lesson for me.  Not just gaining experience using my camera but a lesson on living in the moment. Time goes by too quickly and you can't get back that time nor those sunsets. I'm taking every advantange of the here and now. So what if dinner is a little late. I was enjoying myself and in the end very happy I stopped to take the time to get a few shots. Now I'm not looking back thinking I should have....  No Regrets!

And again I couldn't just post one photo for Friday's Foto of the Day!

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simple Skin Care Naturally -- The Only Way!

Simple & Natural Skin Care

Getting older stinks! Our bodies just aren't the same as when we were younger. If I only knew then what I know now. When I was in my 20's and 30's I would have taken a little better care of my body and skin.  Less sun, healthier eating and most of all better skin care. A little too late to turn back the clock now.  But it's not to late to start taking care of my skin.

As we get older our skin starts to wrinkle, loses it's elasticity, and tone becomes uneven. Spending hundreds of dollars on those fancy skin care products isn't the answer. There are simple and natural ways you can take care of that precious skin -- ways to rejuvenate and tighten up your skin. Here are two links to my website for some simple natural recipes for your skin. 

READ YOUR LABELS.  If there are a lot of names on the label that you have no idea what they are I would suggest not buying it. There is also a lot of information on the internet about the nasty chemical sodium laureth sulfate and it's connection to cancer. One website says it is true and another disputes it. Who do we believe? I'm going to go with first hand knowledge of the chemical. 

My son would constantly get canker sores in his mouth. His dentist recommended he switch to a toothpaste that didn't have this chemical in it. Now that we've switched his toothpaste, he no longer gets canker sores. I'm going to play it safe and stick to the basic and natural ingredients.

You can pamper yourself without all those expensive skin care products. You can give yourself your own spa treatments at home for dollars less.  Create a regular skin care regiment now, it is so important as you get older with your skin losing its elasticity, wrinkles are forming and skin becomes dehydrated.

Here are some simple and natural ways to take care of your precious skin.

  • Exfoliate 
  • Dry body brushing
  • Hydrate your skin 
  • Natural skin-firming 
  • Natural skin mask
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat raw foods
  • Weight training
  • Calisthenics
  • Get massages
  • Avoid harsh soaps
  • Sun protection

My Simple Living Enjoying Life Website has more detailed information on taking care of your delicate skin.  

With all the skin care cleaning products for your face out there, it can get quite confusing. Trying to figure out what to use and when to use it requires a skin care manual and who has the time. There are exfoliation scrubs, toners, tonics, moisturizers, hydrate sprays and cleansers. 

First we need to be careful not to over clean our face as this does more harm than good.  Skin care doesn't need to be that complicated. I've broken it down into some basic, simple steps.

In the Morning

Cleanse: If you've properly cleansed your face in the evening all you need to do in the morning is splash your face with warm water. In the evening make sure you use a small amount of cleanser on your face, and use gentle circular motions. A thorough rinse is important to get rid of all the soap residue. Soap residue left on the face clogs your pores and attracts more dirt.

Exfoliate: Proper exfoliation makes a big difference on your skin. This will remove the dead cells on your skin and any left over dirt and oils. 

Toner/Tonics: These products are meant to remove leftover soap residue, make-up, dirt and oil. If you've done your job cleaning and exfoliating this step is not necessary. However some toners can help you reduce your pores.

Moisturizer/Hydration Sprays: Keeping your face hydrated through out the day is important. When our skin gets dried out the wrinkles start to form. Proper moisturizer for you face is important.

Facial Masks: These should only be used twice a week. The masks are meant to tighten up your skin and reduce the size of your pores .

And remember all you moms with Jeeps -- some important accessories you will need.  A hat, sunscreen, water bottle and plenty of lotion!

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicken, Barley & Okra Stew - Clean Eating Recipes

Here's another simple, easy recipe for these cold winter days! It's loaded with good health and lots of yumminess. Just pop all the ingredients in the crock pot -- slow cooker -- in the morning and you are good to go at dinnertime. 

Jeep Momma’s 

Chicken Barley Okra Stew 

32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp thyme
1/2 tbsp basil
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp  black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas
1/2 cup barley
1 medium sweet Vidalia onion
1 ½ cups celery chopped
1 ½ cups okra chopped

Fill a crock pot with broth, 1 cup water, garlic, herbs and pepper. 

Add the cubed uncooked chicken breasts, black-eyed peas and barley. 

Then layer onion, celery and okra overtop. For a firmer okra add it 2 hours before cooking is complete. Or you can replace the okra with carrots. 

Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir. Cook on low for at least 4 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving. 


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

Friday, March 7, 2014

Foto Friday - More Action or More Creativity

Friday's Foto(s) of the Week 

When I worked in television news as a videographer I also covered many sporting events. I shot football, basketball and hockey games, even a golf match here and there. The number one rule as a sports videographer covering a game is to follow the action -- follow the ball. It was ingrained in me -- a natural instinct when I picked up the camera. Even after fourteen years my natural inclination is to follow the ball which makes it difficult when taking pictures at my son's basketball games. 

Now I'm retraining myself with the still camera trying to figure out the best way to catch the action. So far I'm not doing so well in the action department. My gut is telling me to stick with my creative side. If I want more action -- like I said before -- Practice, Practice, Practice!!! 

And I do believe I will need a different lens which will entail some research on my part. Possibly a little cash too!

In the meantime I will make due. I will do a little bit of action, but stick to the creativity I feel most comfortable with. I will leave those action shots for the videographers and go for the human emotion side of the game!  

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