Hi my NEMs!
Some of you might remember that I competed in my first bikini fitness competition back in November 2013. At the event, I met an awesome mom of 4! We instantly connected and have remained friends ever since. I would like you to get to know Melanie better and I hope you enjoy her Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps/Rice Bowls recipe!
Asian flavors can be so bold and comforting, almost a healing effect probably from the ginger and garlic. Great ingredients to use for our children especially entering cold and flu season. I also enjoy a recipe that allows and encourages the kids to use their hands, lettuce wraps are a fun way to also get them to eat a little salad without even knowing it … I’ll start with who I am before I get into our healthy dinner options.
Me… I’m Melanie Spampinato, formerly Melanie Jones some 13 ½ years ago. My husband and I actually attended high school together, me a freshman and he a senior, however it wasn’t until we were in our twenties that we officially met. We were married in February of 2001. We welcomed our first child in August that same year, a son named Jacob who is now (crazy as it seems) a teenager! Our second child was a girl, our Elle, and our little family was complete – we thought. Almost six years later we welcomed our third child and second daughter, Brooklyn, into our now family of five and decided this is good… well sometimes life has its curve balls and fourteen months after my tubal ligation we found out we were expecting baby #4. I had lost all of the 65+ lbs I had gained while pregnant with Brooklyn and became quiet depressed that the weight gain, body changes, mood swings, sleepless nights and overall stress with the thoughts of this ‘unexpected’ pregnancy.
You see I’ve always admired fit people, athletic individuals who accomplish these amazing goals and have wonderful abilities. As a child my family didn’t have the funds to put any of us into a sport and our religious goals were a priority over engaging in after school activities with those outside of our faith. But as an individual I knew I needed something physically engaging. Once I was old enough for a gym membership I signed myself up. While attending Junior College I also took a weight class that was more of what most gyms call a total body class. This started my passion and drive and although I had a job (which turned out to be my first career) I still made a point of incorporating fitness and healthy foods into my lifestyle as well as my family as it grew.
After baby #3, Brooklyn, our finances allowed us to make the decision of me becoming a stay at home Mom. I had anxiety leaving my last child (haha now) and going back to a demanding work schedule. Once this decision was made I decided to focus on my passion once again in fitness and work off the excessive weight gain from that pregnancy. With diligent work outs combined with basic clean eating I lost the weight and was getting ready to pick my first bikini competition, a goal I had put on the back burner since 2005. Well I wasn’t feeling my greatest and when I finally figured it wasn’t a lengthy flu I took a pregnancy test and it was correct, I was pregnant with our fourth child Peyton. Even though I kept active with this pregnancy, I still put on 60+ lbs and now I was even more determined to get my body to a place I would feel proud to put on a stage. This took me 16 months and I DID IT!!!
Recently I’ve had many requests for healthy eating assistance and I love to give advice and assist others. Well this has turned into an opportunity to combine my fit passion and love for food into a business which we started this past May. Fit Fuel OC provides weekly meal prep for those with busy life styles and desiring healthy go-to quick and easy meals. Check us out at www.fitfueloc.com or my IG page @fitfueloc … I am also working on a Fit Fuel cookbook and hope to have something to release by the beginning of next year.
In the meantime how about that recipe 🙂
- 2 lbs. Ground Chicken (I used half breast meat only and half thighs)
- 4-5 Crushed and Minced Garlic Cloves
- 2-3 Tbsp Minced Ginger (peel and crush just like garlic)
- 1 Small Red Onion, Minced
- ¼ Cup Soy Sauce (Coconut Amino’s, Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s or Tamari are all great substitutes)
- ¼ Cup Hoison
- Splash Spicy Chile Oil
- 2 Tsp Sesame Oil
- ½ Cup Coconut Oil
- 3-4 Shredded Carrots
- 5 Sliced Scallions
- ½ Cup Cilantro Chopped
- ½ Cup Chopped Cashews (Peanuts or Almonds)
- 1 Head of Iceburg
- Cooked Rice
How to cook it:
- Heat a large pot (I prefer this over a skillet due to the spitting oil) with the coconut oil and hot chile oil.
- Add the garlic, ginger and onion to flavor the oil on medium heat.
- As it becomes fragrant add the ground chicken and cook through stirring to break up the meat.
- Add the Soy sauce, hoison and sesame oil and stir incorporate into the cooked meat, add the carrots and allow to cook for another few minutes on medium high heat.
- Before starting chicken decide if you’ll want the rice, it will add a complex carb to the meal which is essential in protein absorption.
- Start rice prior to chicken since this dish cooks quickly.
- Break down iceburg by slicing down the middle and removing core. Then simply pull apart the leaves so you have individual leaves for wrapping.
Serve cooked chicken on a large platter (I chose to put it over rice) and top with chopped scallions, cilantro and nuts. Wrap in leaves and enjoy!
This meal will easily serve 6-8 individuals and makes great left overs for the next day’s lunches… something that we do often.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and the little intro to me 🙂 … Please don’t forget to check out other great food ideas and recipes at my IG page. I’m on this journey of life and I think sharing is the best part about it cause let’s face it, we all have our own story. Xoxo, Mel
Well, there you have it NEMs! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Melanie and her family! Let us know how you like the recipe by posting your comments below!
Until the next recipe 🙂