Update: here’s our latest tutorial on how to make and roll spring rolls.
I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this, so I thought I’d finally say it publicly after 3 years of blogging. Food blogging made me chunky-er, pleasantly plump or what ever you want to call it. My jeans didn’t zip anymore.
I’m not comfortable with the term “fat”. That F-word is so harsh and ugly. As true, blunt and effective it might be to get the point across that I need to get my ass on the tread mill, I don’t like “fat”. I love chunky and pleasantly plump because it’s delicious sounding. These are yummy words to say how much I appreciate my foods and eating, but are fun and kind enough to tell me to get my ass in the gym. Nicely. Or in an exercise class. Politely. To get my ass off the blogging chair and start moving again. The daily reminder was that my jeans didn’t zip anymore.
My love of blogging has pretty much changed my life, my obsession with food and everything related. But if I wanted to continue doing this and still stay healthy, I knew I had to make a lifestyle change again.
Pre-blogging years left me at a comfortable 135 pounds and in a size 7 size jeans. I was exercising 3-4 times a week and loved every hour I had to myself to sweat, listen to loud music and enjoy being healthy. Those were the days that I could eat anything I wanted and still zip my Levis jeans without having a heart attack trying to suck in my gut. But then we started this blog, then we found social media and I spent my free “exercise” hours cooking, recipe testing, photographing food, eating then writing. All this required only a few steps going from the kitchen to my computer and my calorie intake always exceeded my calorie burning outtake.
Easily, I gained over 25 careless pounds because I was eating heavy foods, in larger portions and had absolutely no exercise.
When I presented at various photography workshops and speaking events around the country, I started seeing images of myself on various blogs. The person I saw on these blogs wasn’t me. Well, at least I didn’t recognize myself at 25 pounds heavier. After not even recognizing myself anymore, the serious reality check splashed in my face like ice water. I immediately moved my bootie away from the computer and to the gym again. And the hiking trails. And out the door for the evening neighborhood strolls.
The return to exercise, sweat and feeling good about myself started to revive again.
In my kitchen I started to eat more of what I already love to eat that was healthier. I didn’t want to give up my eating because no matter what, I still love food. I’m a cooker, taster and lover of food and to give up anything that makes me happy to chew on would turn me into a complete meanie-weanie.
To keep my mental spirits happy and my body in check, I started to eat more fresh spring rolls. Fresh vegetables, light proteins and fresh herbs rolled in a rice paper is like a salad in a roll. It kept my meals interesting, versatile and most importantly, spring rolls kept my mental state happy.
I am, after all, Vietnamese and spring rolls are a comfort food that always satisfies. This garlic chicken spring roll is one of the many that I munched on for lunch and dinner.
After a few weeks dedicated to the gym, weekly meals of spring rolls and taking care of my body again, I started to shed some pounds.
The best news of all this is that my jeans are finally start to zip all the way up again. Yes!!
a healthier me,
Here’s a Few of our Favorite Spring Roll Ingredients and Tools:
It can sometimes be hard to find good spring roll ingredients and tools. Here’s some of the favorites:
More Spring Roll & Vietnamese Recipes:
Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls Recipe
Yield: Serves 3-4
Total Time: 40 min
Fresh basil, fresh mint or any herb will be a wonderful addition. For the crunch factor, you can add raw carrots, celery, bell peppers or cucumbers. In this recipe, I added pickled Vietnamese carrots and daikon that I always have on hand. Here's a link on How to Roll fresh Spring Rolls.
- 2 pounds of boneless chicken
- 4 Tablespoons of grape seed or vegetable oil
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce or fish sauce (use Tamari for gluten free)
- fresh basil, mint or other herbs
- fresh lettuce, chopped or torn in small pieces
- carrots, celery, cucumbers, daikon radish or bell peppers
- rice paper
For Garlic Soy dip:
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten free)
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
- For the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine chicken, vegetable oil, sesame oil, garlic and soy sauce. Cover well and allow to marinade for about 20 minutes.
- Heat frying pan on medium high heat. Cook the chicken until it's cooked through and a nice crust is formed. Slice in chicken in thin slices, about 1/4 inches for rolling.
- Gather vegetables, rice paper, board surface to roll on and bowl of hot water.
- For the Dip: combine all ingredients well.
- In large bowl, fill it with water and make it warm by adding hot water. Gently dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for a few seconds till damp. Don’t over soak the rice paper. Place rice paper on plate, or working surface. As rice paper begins to absorb the water and become more soft and pliable (about 5 seconds, depending on wrappers and water temp.), begin to add the fillings.
- On the 1/3 section of the rice paper wrapper closest to you, start layering your fillings of lettuce, herbs, chicken and vegetables.
- Start rolling the wrapper over the fillings away from you, tucking and rolling the wrapper with your fingers, making sure all the fillings remain right and round within the rice paper wrapper.
- Serve immediately with soy dip, or cover with plastic wrap to eat a few hours later.