Shrimp, Fennel and Avocado Salad

NEMs!   Summer is finally here!  It’s the time of fresh fruits, veggies, and lots of fresh salads.

Jen Walsh is a San Diego NEM member and a personal CHEF!   She is sharing this fresh and healthy Shrimp, Fennel & Avocado salad recipe with us.  But first, let’s get to know our fellow NEM!


How many children do you have and their ages?  2 boys 8 months and 4 1/2 years

How did you get involved with NEM?  Health and fitness has always been an important part of my life and something I think is imporant to share with my boys.  I saw the “controversial” article about Maria being passed around on Facebook and thought, “that’s my kind of mom!”  I began following her and was excited to find out about the regional groups.  ​​

When do you find time to workout?  I’m lucky enough to get to (mostly) stay home with my boys so we all head out to the gym first thing in the morning before the days’ tasks get in the way.

What is your favorite workout?  I love Turbo Kickboxing (TKB).  I did it all through my most recent pregnancy even including the day I went into labor!

How do you stay motivated?  I love to eat so I have to do something to counter that!  Working out is also my form of therapy.  I feel better and more centered after working out and my kids love the kids club at the gym so its a Win-Win!


This is a beautiful salad that could be served to company for a special occasion or lunch any day.  Sometimes if I’m having shrimp for dinner I will set aside a couple to make this salad for lunch the next day. You can take the time to make the fancy culinary school orange supreme, or you can just toss them on there however you like.

Servings 2 lunch sized salads


  • 10 each Shrimp size 6/20, cooked*
  • 1 bulb Fennel or Sweet Anise, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small blood oranges, or regular oranges.
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Mixed greens
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


*You can buy cooked frozen shrimp or raw shrimp, my preference.  To cook shrimp, simply line a baking sheet with foil.  Toss shrimp with oil of choice and salt and pepper.  Lay shrimp flat and broil about 3-5 minutes, until opaque.


For Orange Supreme:

  1. Cut off the ends of the orange and slice down around the sides to remove rind.20150520_130607
  2. Over a bowl, cut between pith to remove segments. Remove any seeds from segments.20150520_130756
  3. Squeeze the remaining pith over the bowl to collect the juice. For 2 salads you want about 2 Tablespoons of juice.



  1. Add balsamic vinegar to orange juice, until you have 2 Tbsp.
  2. Whisk in 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. If you have extra juice, just add equal parts olive oil. This vinaigrette is delicious on lots of salads or for marinating vegetables.


  1. Divide sliced fennel, shrimp, sliced avocado, and orange segments between 2 plates over mixed greens. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad.  Enjoy!


There you have it NEMs!  If you make this, let us know how you liked it!  

Do you  have a recipe that you would like to share?  Email me: 

Meeshie LOGO w Maddox - website


For more about JEN WALSH you can find her here:

Quick & Easy SNACKS for your child’s classroom!

Hey NEMs!

I signed up to bring morning and afternoon snack to Maddox’s class of 21 kids this week!  Since I’m limited on time in the evenings I wanted to make both snacks quickly but still have fun and be creative.  

Here is how I made the AM SNACK…




IMG_1563   IMG_1570 IMG_1564   IMG_1565


Now it’s time to conjure up the PM SNACK!  

I LOVE going on Pinterest to get healthy snack ideas!  Doesn’t this one look so FUN???


Here’s how I made the PM SNACK…


As you saw from the video, I decided to “do it my way”  😉   LOL!!!  (It’s not too bad right???)


You can also use these quick snack ideas for play dates or to take with you at  your NEM workout meet-ups!  🙂


REMEMBER (I know you know this):

  • When handling food that others will consume be sure to always wash your hands and use items to help you scoop (I used one of Maddox’s plastic cups to get the goldfish out of the box)
  • Be sure to wash fruit/foods thoroughly



Have a recipe that you would like to share on our No Excuse Mom website?

Email me!

Meeshie LOGO w Maddox - website

No Excuse Mom RECIPE BLOGGERNEM LEADER – San Diego County

Chicken Stuffed Manicotti

Hi NEMs! 

Are you ready for another great recipe?  Well here it is!  CHICKEN STUFFED MANICOTTI!

One of our San Diego No Excuse Moms Calista Mejia who I met earlier this year is sharing this yummy recipe with us.  🙂


But first, let’s get to know our fellow NEM Calista and her adorable family…

calista family

  • How many children do you have and their ages?  
    • One little love-bug, she is 5 ½ …though she practically BEGS for a little sister!
  • How did you get involved with NEM?  
    • I first heard about Maria back when her strong, yet controversial “What’s your excuse” image was posted online back in 2013…I was immediately inspired, as that’s about the same time I began my fitness journey. I requested to become a member of the NEM Facebook page shortly thereafter and loved seeing these extraordinary mothers, balancing their health & wellness along with all of their family & other responsibilities in life. I became more engaged with NEM just this year, when Maria posted about her upcoming book & the 12-week challenge in mid-January. I was also fortunate enough to assist & meet other NEMs at Maria’s booth at the LA Fit Expo in February as well.
  • When do you find time to workout?
    • I don’t “find” time…I make it. Plain and simple. Just like, I don’t “find” time to eat breakfast, lunch & dinner each day…I make the time because it’s at the top of my priority list.
  • What is your favorite workout?
    • I honestly don’t know how I can pick just one favorite. I consider myself a ‘fitness enthusiast’ – so to me, the more variety, the better. I feel like there is always more to learn, to try, to experience… and I don’t want to ever get bored or burnt out with exercise. I love weight training, yoga, hiking, running (especially along the beach here in sunny San Diego!), pilates, & outdoor bootcamps.
  • How do you stay motivated?
    • Motivation, that’s a tough one for many of us. Even for those who have implemented fitness into their routine & live a healthy lifestyle. There are good/easier days than others…but mainly my motivation comes from inside (intrinsically), as it should…whereas some have ‘extrinsic’ motivation (doing it for someone else, or just to look good in an outfit…outside reasons). I truly enjoy exercise.

…and now for Calista’s awesome recipe!

final pic


  • 14 pieces manicotti pasta tubes
  • Tomato sauce of your choice (I used Delallo Roasted Garlic)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 12.5 oz can of premium white chicken in water – drained (I use Trader Joes)
  • ½ cup “riced” cauliflower
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach – chopped
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts – chopped
  • 6 oz container of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt (I use the Fage brand)
  • ½ cup, ricotta cheese – low fat
  • 4 oz lite shredded mozzarella cheese (I use Trader Joes, pre-shredded)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 375.
  • Boil manicotti tubes for 5-6 min, do not overcook or they could break! Once done, set aside to cool.


  • You could definitely use cooked chicken then chop it up…I just try to save some time and it’s quick and easy to use the canned sometimes.
  • To ‘rice’ cauliflower, I cut off a few florets from the head and put into a mini food processor. Pulse a few times to get a ‘rice-like’ consistency and then measure out ½ cup.
  • Frozen spinach would work for this as well…just thaw & drain out moisture first…measure out to your liking – maybe about a cup.

In a 9×13 baking dish, pour in your tomato sauce – just enough to cover the bottom.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the filling. Once combined, scoop the mixture into a large plastic zip lock bag, squeeze out all the air & zip shut. Snip off the end about an inch or so from a bottom corner of the bag.

Hold a manicotti tube securely in hand to prevent it from breaking, then slowly begin to pipe the filling inside – it’s best to fill from both ends to make sure each tube gets filled all the way without air pockets. Don’t overfill, to ensure you have enough for all 14 tubes. If you have extra filling afterwards, go back & add a small amount to each. Place all into baking dish. If you choose, you can pour some additional tomato sauce on the tubes – I chose not to so I could measure out my own amount of sauce afterwards.

Cover lightly with foil & bake in oven for 15 minutes.

Plate & spoon tomato sauce on each one, then garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional) and a pinch of julienned basil (optional).

Serves 3 (4 tubes each) or 4 (3 tubes each, with 2 leftover).

calista card pic


Calista Mejia


**Nutritional Info per Manicotti Tube (based on the products used):

  • 125 calories
  • 2g fat
  • 231mg sodium
  • 15g carbs
  • 11g protien


Well NEMs, I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Don’t forget that if you have a recipe you’d like to share on our website, please email me at: 😉

Meeshie LOGO w Maddox - website

Baked Salmon, Cous Cous, and Salad

NEMs! ​

I love this dish because I can quickly prepare it, throw it in the oven, and multi-task some house stuff while everything is cooking! 😉


Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 25-35 min


This is a quick and easy dinner, here’s what you’ll need:

~ Salmon Filet 1.5lbs

~ Lemon Pepper

~ Olive oil

~ Foil

~ CousCous (I love Far East Olive & Garlic)

~ Salad and your toppings



~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Salmon 8

~  In a baking dish, cover the bottom with foil. This is so you won’t have to wash the dish when you’re done! Easy clean up! 😉

Salmon 1

~ Place another two sheets of foil on top of the bottom foil. This is what you will wrap the salmon in.

Salmon 2   Salmon 3

~ Rinse your salmon then place in the foil that is already on the baking dish

Salmon 4

~ Drizzle with olive oil

Salmon 6

~ Spinkle lemon pepper – don’t be shy with the lemon pepper!

Salmon 5

~ Wrap the salmon in the foil so that the steam cannot escape – this will ensure that your salmon comes out moist

Salmon 7

~Depending on the thickness of your salmon, place in the over for 25 minutes, check once timer goes off, then put back in for 5 minutes at a time until you reach the level of firmness you want. I don’t like my salmon overcooked

~  Prep your side salad

~  Prep your cous cous per the box directions

The 1.5 lbs of Salmon makes 4-6 servings

Salmon 9 - small - no excuse post


Meeshie LOGO w Maddox

Fish & Shrimp Tacos (w/a Gluten Free option)!


Let’s face it…we all LOVE Mexican food!  Here is my quick, easy and healthier recipe for those taco cravings! 😉



What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb. Talapia (or any white fish)
  • 1.5 lbs. De-veined Shrimp (31-40 ct)
  • Cabbage
  • Flour and/or Corn Tortillas (corn are gluten free!)
  • Low sodium salsa
  • Avocados (if you like guacamole)
  • 1-2 Limes
  • Shredded cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Tarter sauce (optional for the fish tacos)

IMG_7590   IMG_7589

Cooking Directions:

    • I just mash the avocados with a fork and add lime and a hint of sea salt
    • Put the pit of the avocado in the guacamole to keep it from browning 😉

IMG_7587           IMG_7591

  • FISH
    • If you have a toaster oven this is the quickest way to cook the fish
    • Pre-heat the toaster overn to 400 degress
    • Place the fish on foil
    • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lemon pepper
    • Cook for 15 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork

IMG_7594  IMG_7598


While the fish is cooking start the process for the shrimp…

    • Peel the shrimp
      • In a non-stick pan, add olive oil
      • Add the shrimp, sprinkle with lemon pepper
    • Thoroughly cook, then set aside

IMG_7595  IMG_7600

  • HEAT the tortillas and place in foil to keep them warm


  • Once the fish is done cooking, you can place out the toppings and everyone can serve themselves!

IMG_7606  IMG_7602

  • If you want to SPLURGE, go ahead and add some tortilla chips!


If there’s someone who doesn’t like seafood, you can always use chicken, beef, or shredded pork instead.  I know you’ll love these tacos!

final pic


Meeshie LOGO w Maddox

Happy New Year! More in 2015!

Happy New Year NEMs!

I’m so excited to be ringing in 2015 with all of you!  I’ve been your Recipe Blogger in 2014 and this year I’m taking on a bigger role with No Excuse Mom.  2015 is going to have more healthy recipes, different comfort foods with a healthy twice, and “How Tos” (such as hosting a healthy kids party, play dates and various events).

NEM jan Flyer - USE

For the month of January, we are launching a nation wide NEM Regional contest!

Here’s how it works:

  • Find out which region you are located in

  • Take a pic of you working out and be sure to post on our No Excuse Mom Facebook page with the following hashtags:

    • #NoExcuseMom

    • #NEM

    • #NEMRegion xx (enter your region number in the xx)

    • If you are a NEM Regional Leader, also hastag:  #noexcusemomleader

  • Contact your local NEM Regional or Local Leader for more info or if you have any questions

Once January is over, we’ll be reviewing all the posts by filtering on your hashtags to determine the following individuals for:

  • Best workout

  • Member with the MOST workouts

  • Great Member Story

  • Region with the most posts

So DON’T FORGET TO Hashtag the list above in your posts!  And YES!  There will be PRIZES!!!  YAY!!!  🙂

If you have a RECIPE that you’d LOVE to SHARE with other NEMs, please send them my way! You can email me at:

Be sure to include:

  • Pics

  • Step by Step instructions

  • You can also send a short video!

Let’s get started TODAY!

Fit & Fab,

~  Meeshie 😉

Meeshie LOGO w Maddox

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps or Rice Bowls



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!

me and Melanie - nov13

….here’s Melanie…


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.

melanie and kids

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!!!

 melanie at bikini

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 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.

final dish

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

melanie's family

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 🙂







NEMS!  I’ve been blogging about lunch and dinner recipes so thought it might be fun to do my first video blog on something we all love… SNACKS!  This one is especially easy and FUN for the kiddos!

Snack #1:  Grapes & Colored Goldfish

grapes goldfish

What you’ll need:

  • Washed grapes off the stem
  • Big box of golfish
  • 3oz. dixie cups for service


Snack #2:  Strawberry shortcake


What you’ll need:

  • Strawberries
  • Graham crackers
  • Soft cream cheese
  • Seedless raspberry or strawberry preserves

Now, just click on the video and watch how easy you can make these snacks!




Chili that Everyone can Enjoy!

Hello fellow NEMs!

I’m bringing to you an easy and HEALTHY CHILI recipe that my best friend Kim found online at (click here for original recipe)!  We make this all the time and it’s great to make a big pot of it to take to work or for the kids to have for any meal!

What you’ll need:

Original recipe makes 8 servings   
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil




Time to Prep & Cook:

(*** If you are using lean ground turkey, cook this first)

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat
  • Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt 


  • Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers
  • When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles (or your cooked lean ground turkey).


  • Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper.
  • Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.


  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
  • Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving




Flavorful Pork Chops


Happy Friday NEMs!  Have you figured out what you want to make the family for dinner tonight?  If not, here’s a quick and easy recipe if you like Pork Chops!  This recipe from my best friend Jennifer who has a full time career and two boys ages 5 and 3 and is also a fellow NEM.  She whipped this dinner up last night for me, her, and the three boys:  Ryker, Kai, and my son Maddox in less than 15 minutes!  The recipe does call for a few pats of butter…but it’s OK to splurge a little!  😉

Prep Time:  5-10 min   Cook Time:  12 min


What you’ll need:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick)
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 pats of butter
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Salad of your choice w/dressing
  • Easy make Quinoa & Brown Rice (Costco)
  • Broccoli (or veggie of choice for the kiddos)

Let’s Cook!

  • Salt and Pepper both sides of each pork chop

raw chops

  • Steam your broccoli (or veggies)
  • In a frying pan, add 1/4 cup of olive oil

olive oil

  • Add 2-3 pats of butter and mix in with olive oil- cook on HIGH
  • Once the oil/butter are slightly sizzling, place the pork chops in the frying pan, cover and let cook for 3 minutes

chops in pan

  • Turn the pork chops over and cook for another 3-4 minutes on MED heat (or until desired meat temp) If you are also giving this to the kiddos, you should cook the meat thoroughly

photo 4

  • Remove the pork chops
  • For the remaining sauce, turn the heat back up to HIGH and let the sauce get to a “bubbly” texture then turn off stove

bubble sauce

  • Make the Quinoa & Brown rice mix according to the package


  • Serve the Quinoa/Brown rice, with veggies, and pour some of the sauce on top of the pork chops for awesome flavor!

pork  chops final

Let me know what you think! 🙂  The boys really loved this dish!

boys eating