Monday, March 31, 2014

Clean Eating Party Snacks

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! - 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grilled Pineapple Chicken

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! - 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bucket List: Warrior Dash Prep

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

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!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simple Skin Care Naturally

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. 

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

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

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!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Jeep Wave Code


The one thing that annoys most Jeep Wrangler owners is when other Jeep Wrangler drivers don't return 'The Wave'. What is 'The Wave' you might ask? It's an unwritten code within the Jeep Wrangler community, a tradition amongst loyal Jeep Wrangler owners across the world. It's a tradition we all must uphold.  It dates all the way back to World War 2 and has been going strong ever since. 
Urban Dictionary Definition: When two Jeep Wranglers pass each other on opposite sides of the road, one of the drivers initiates the wave and the other waves back, a symbolism of bondage between Jeep owners.

There are codes we all must follow in life. Truckers have codes, what they are I don't know, but I know they have codes. Police officers have codes, hackers have codes, coders have codes -- we all have codes.

When you decide to buy a Jeep Wrangler you should know and embrace the code. It's expected! However, there are some Jeep owners or drivers who have miserably failed at their responsibility. I have had many drivers not return my wave. It's disappointing to say the least. There is talk of revoking the driving privileges of these drivers. Others say Jeep owning privileges should be revoked. I know if you plan on driving MY Jeep you make a commitment to 'The Wave'.  I had to revoke my husband's Jeep driving privileges because he didn't know how to properly do 'The Wave". I'm still not sure if he's ready. 

If you are going to commit to a Jeep you must embrace the lifestyle. Now, I know the Jeep Wave code is not written in your Jeep manual but come on -- if I can figure it out -- and I'm blonde -- then anyone should be able to figure it out. 

To get a 'Wave' back first thing in the morning is better than a cup of coffee. It definitely makes your day. Being part of such a bonded community, there is nothing like it.  But if you are going to 'Wave' make it a good wave -- not like the weak, pansy-assed (pardon my language but enough is enough!) flick of the fingers wave I got this morning! You have to make your 'Wave' count, give it some enthusiasm. You're in your Jeep for crying out loud -- the best place to be when you are out and about! 

So fellow Jeep Wrangler owners and drivers next time you come across a fellow Jeeper PLEASE show your Love and give a 'Wave' -- with a some enthusiasm!
More on the Jeep Wave 

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top 3 Reasons Every Mom should Drive a Jeep!

Getting my Jeep last Memorial Day ranks high on my list of great things in life. It rejuvenated my energy to enjoy life and to live my life to the fullest. Now I am having more fun with the ordinary tasks of everyday life and having adventures I wouldn't normally have. It's been a breath of fresh air, something every mom needs in her life. In my opinion every mom at one time should have the experience of driving a Jeep Wrangler! 

Personally, I think every mom should buy a Jeep! It can be an older soft top Jeep, a Sport, a Sahara Unlimited or even a Rubicon. Just make sure it's a Jeep that will go "Topless" -- it's the only way. 

Top 3 Reasons Every Mom Should Drive a Jeep!

1. Buh-Bye Carpools -- Are you tired of carpooling -- dragging other people's rugrats around in your car -- cleaning up their spilled juice or crumbled pretzels -- listening to them scream and yell in your car? Well, when you have a Jeep you can say good-bye to those annoying carpool kids! With a Jeep you are limited in your seating capacity. Most carpools that I know of haul 3 or more kids around. The Jeep at best can only haul 3 kids. You can't count the front seat because you shouldn't be driving with children in the front seat anyways.
CDC Website: All children aged 12 and under should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. In 2012, more than 1,100 children ages 14 years and younger died in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 176,000 were injured. 

2. Snow Days - Schmo Days -- Are you tired of being stuck in the house with your kids every time it snows and there is no school? Are you kids constantly nagging you that they are bored after an hour of being home? If you drove a Jeep that problem would be solved. Just put it in 4 wheel drive! Getting through the snow to the school-- No problem. No teachers at school? Does it matter? Your kids are at school -- and not at home -- being bored (add a little sarcasm here).  Better yet you leave the kids at home with the husband. You head out in the snow for a little "Mommy 4X4 time". Something every mom needs once in a while. 

3. Calgon Take Me Away Moments 
You remember those Calgon bubble bath commercials.  When life gets too stressful just hop in a tub full of Calgon bubbles and life is great. I found something a whole lot better than a bubble bath. A drive in a Jeep with the top down. It will sooth your soul and take away your stress. 

WARNING: Once you go "Topless" you are not going to want to go back to your plain old Soccer Mom car again!

Take it from me, a Jeep owner, buying a Jeep was the best vehicle purchase I have ever made. I am feeling younger and enjoying the simple things in life. Mom's of boys especially should buy a Jeep. I am building a bond with my teenage son that I never would have had if it weren't for the Jeep. 

SO... Jeep Life -- Jeep Living -- Jeep 4 EVER!

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Yummy, Yummy for the Tummy!!!

This is a great soup for those cold, snowy, rainy, sleety, icy days like today. All you need to do is throw it all in the slow cooker -- crock pot -- in the morning. You can relax the rest of the day -- because today is a snow day and we are all at home. By dinner time it's ready to go.  It's so yummy, healthy and filling.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 ½ cup frozen Okra, chopped 

**If you want your Okra a little firmer add it 2 hours before cooking is finished, if you are cooking it on low. 1 hour before if cooking on high. 

**You can also replace Okra with carrots.  I prefer Okra because they aren't as starchy as carrots. 

1 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine onion, okra, celery, garlic, wild rice, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper in crock pot. Top with chicken breast halves. 

Add the chicken broth. Cook on low heat for 6 to 6 1/2 hours or on high-heat setting about 3 1/2 hours. Carefully remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir. Remove the bay leaves. Add the parsley and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

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

60 Before 60

I recently shared about revisiting my bucket list on this new season of my life.  Bucket List Revised - 2023 As I approach another milestone...