As a kid, my favorite Christmas treat was my mom’s Christmas Crack. Because it is super addictive and sugary, I haven’t made it in years…but it is 2020 so I made three versions of it to share with my church staff earlier this week. The leftovers at home have been a hit for Arianna, too.
Here is how you make it:
Classic Christmas Crack Recipe
2 sticks salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
40-50 saltine crackers
2 cups chocolate chips
Christmas chocolate candy and sprinkles
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Arrange crackers to fill the tray…this is easy to do while you melt butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan,
Once the sugar and butter start to boil, set a timer for 3 minutes and let it keep boiling. You might want to stir with a wooden spoon while it boils.
Pour the boiling toffee (butter and sugar) over the crackers….once they are all covered, pop the pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes or until bubbling.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bubbling toffee then return to the oven for 3 minutes.
Spread the melted chocolate over all the crackers then quickly sprinkle in desired Christmas chocolate candies and sprinkles.
Allow to cool at room temperature then break into pieces.
Watch for the other two recipes I made this year and check out my Instagramfor a Reeldemonstration! What is your favorite holiday treat?
In our house, candy is definitely an addiction. I had been doing really good with substitutes like grapes and apples when I started to eat healthier back in 2011, but there were just some things I was jealous that everyone else got to eat – gummies to be exact. When I started doing ww three months ago, I renewed my motivation to avoid sugary snacks but started to look for alternatives. That’s when I found SmartSweets in the checkout aisle of my local Walmart!
What are SmartSweets?
SmartSweets is a brand of candy that offers low-carb versions of those gummy favorites I was missing. Gummy bears. Swedish fish. Peach rings (oh, peach rings). They are made from a combo of Stevia, tapioca starch and plant fiber, coming in with just 3g of sugar per bag and around 80 calories a serving.
You can get these sweet treats in stores (like I did at Walmart, but also have seen them at Whole Foods) and even online through Amazon. Check out this 7-pack variety to try all of their 2020 options!
What do SweetSweets Taste Like?
When I saw the bright “3g of sugar” labeling on this bag in the grocery checkout, I had to whip out my phone and open my WW app to see how many points these fish were.
Three. Just 3 sp and at the time I had 30 to work with. I could definitely budget those into my day, so I snagged two and sent them down the checkout belt with my turkey pepperoni and fat free cheese.
The bags sat in my office for two days because I was scared I’d get addicted and start filling my days with “empty” calories, but once I opened that first bag I was so glad I did. The size and texture of the Sweet Fish are a little different from the firmer, tiny Swedish Fish but the taste is pretty much on point and takes me back to my childhood.
Which SmartSweets Will I Try Next?
Right now it is a toss up for me between the Peach Rings and newSourmelon Bites. I’m trying not to spend too much over on Amazon so I might need to rely on what my grocery store gets in first, but honestly for a 12-pack I’d consider that cost with the savings on Subscribe and Save. I’d opt for the multi-pack variety option first to try them all before I went and “bought big”.
Which flavor would you want to try? Share this post on your social media + let me know!
So how is ww going?
While we’re here and talking about ww, I might as well give you a three month update on how things are going for me on the Blue Plan.
Things were going amazing for my first two months (July and August). In early August, my obgyn and local ER found some concerns in my uterus. I had a D+C in September but kept losing the weight. By the end of September, I’d hit some milestones (over 25 pounds lost, over 10% of body weight shed). I was super happy but was keeping some post op pains under wraps.
Turns out my left ovary grew another cyst after the procedure. It was 2 cm at the end of September and by the 6th of October looked to be around 4 cm. That’s rapid growth, so I stayed overnight in the hospital and had a cystecomy on October 7, removing the 5cm cyst. In the week since then, life’s been an uphill climb. I am healing but it takes lots of rest. I’m eating lots of things I know I shouldn’t and I keep saying that October 19 when I’m fully back to normal activities I’ll get back to ww swing of things.
I know I can do this, I’m just so scared for that next weigh in and to see what damage caring for my body in surgery and recovery with emotional eating has done to my amazing progress. I’d love your prayers and encouragement!
This past weekend, while stuffing a grilled asiago chicken sandwich in my face, I embarked on a life-changing decision. Yup. here she goes again. It is yet another weight-loss journey for this (self-proclaimed) #fitmomintheremaking. And this time, I’m going back to basics with the help of a community. I’ve joined ww (formerly known as Weight Watchers). Hi. I’m Becky. I’m Blue.
The truth is, I have issues with gluten and a to-the-core addiction to food. Over the years it has become evident that I need to change that. And it hasn’t been for the lack of trying.
In 2011, I started my first weight-loss journey and lost 130 pounds. I had a nutritionist at my side every step of that 3 year journey and was encouraged to start running. I logged my first half marathon while on that journey and have not fallen out of love with running (have you seen my list of races coming up?).
At my lowest weight since probably 8th grade, I got pregnant with twins. I gained back 70-ish pounds with them and returned to a stressful job. It took leaving that job and getting back on track with my running + shaking up my eating habits to lose about 50 of that. Truth: I was doing Keto and LOVED how the pounds shed.
Then a new door was forced open and I started a new job working remotely. I do not blame my work environment, I blame my personal lack of motivation to keep moving combined with a really tough 2019 with what comes next.
The harsh reality hit this morning when I stepped on my scale to weigh in for day one. I’ve gained 67 pounds since October 2018 and it hurts physically and mentally.
WW Blue – I’ve joined!
Encouraged by my best friend to make this change, I joined WW (formerly weight watchers) this morning while sitting in my bed, tears flowing after seeing the number on the scale. I entered all my details, including lofty answers to questions about how I eat.
The results came back that I should be “green” – meaning I got more points in my day but had to make more choices (less 0 point foods) for myself. Knowing people on blue, I decided that I’m blue, too.
As a blue, I get 31 points a day (if you join ww, your points will differ based on your starting weight, activity, and goals). That means I need to scan in or search for my foods and plan my day based on the ww blue rules.
The first few days I’m expecting will be bumpy, but I think that’s normal on this plan. I got out my kitchen food scale, measuring cups and spoons, and went to work making good choices today. It was NOT easy, especially since our cupboards and fridge are still full of Keto-friendly foods.
Why Not Keto?
I was TOTALLY stalled. I found myself going for sugar-free foods that were probably spiking my sugar anyways. I was living on pepperoni and cheese and pickles plus an occasional whipped cream. I was eating Keto Ice Cream EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I did NOT feel good.
About a week ago, I got a little loose on my foods and had spaghetti and pizza – both of which are no-no’s unless they are gluten free. But I did NOT care. I wanted to feel sick, I wanted to remember that unhealthy relationship I had with food and I wanted to change it.
The funny thing is, although today was the first time I’ve weighed myself since my last doctor visit in July 2019, I SWEAR I lost weight eating like CRAP versus eating Keto. And that + knowing I’d have accountability from a friend was plenty to push me into my first month of WW.
If you are interested in connecting with me (you existing ww rock stars), you can find me on connect as mrsgregwillis. If you would like to take the plunge with me, consider joining (and get a month free from me) and let me know you’re in this thing, too. It’s been a long time coming and I’m excited to officially give this program a try!
If you’re just interested in connecting with me but not interested in joining ww, follow me on Instagram – I’ll keep posting lifestyle posts over on @mrsgregwillis like you’ve seen in the past (but include some more ww-friendly “food” content) and/or@mrsgregwillis_ww where I will be starting to post my food inspirations and progress. Here on the blog, things will stay the same – faith, food, fitness, family, and fun – but with a ww twist every now and then!
Thank you for following along and for supporting my journey!
What are your personal goals in 2020? Are you on a weight loss or fitness journey? Reading through the Bible? Just trying to survive? Share below so I can cheer you on, too! xoxo
This post contains affiliate links. This recipe was brought to us by Huron House Bed and Breakfast.
I know, earlier this week I was telling you about being good and going back to Keto, but this recipe has been in my inbox and I just can’t help but to share it. Besides, maybe you can use a recipe from Keto Bread to make that waffle keto friendly or substitute in some almond flour for regular flour? I mean, c’mon with this one!
Chorizo Bacon Waffle with Chili Butter
1 package of chorizo
1 ¾ cup of AP flour (looking to sub in almond flour? This is my favorite!)
1 tbsp of baking powder
¼ tsp of salt
1 ¼ cup of milk
1 full bunch of green onions, diced
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
8 pieces of bacon
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 can of diced green chilies
First, plug in your waffle iron (this one is a little pricy but so good for families that make waffles on the regular!) and let it heat up.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo for about 2-minutes or until it starts to releaseits juices. Set aside on a plate.
Next, fry up the bacon slices, let cool and chop into crumbles.
Assemble your waffle batter. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and egg. Mix slowly and gradually add in the milk. Be careful not to overmix, batter should be thick and slightly lumpy. Once mixed, fold in the chorizo, bacon crumbles, green onions and cheddar cheese.
To make the chili butter, place the slightly softened butter in a bowl and add the diced green chilis. (green chilies are spicy so you can add as much or as little as you would like). With a mixer beat the butter for about 2 minutes.
To make the waffle, place a half a cup of batter into the center of the waffle iron, close the lid and cook according to your iron directions or until waffle is golden brown.
Top the waffles with chili butter, cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles and green onions.
*Also great with slightly warmed maple syrup
About Huron House
Located on the beach of Lake Huron between Tawas and Oscoda, the Huron House is an award-winning 14 room luxury Bed and Breakfast lakefront destination with stunning Lake Huron views and direct beach access. Huron House features King beds, private decks, fireplaces, personal hot tubs and Jacuzzi tubs, and daily breakfast delivered to guestrooms. Privacy and individual attention define the Huron House experience.
The Huron House Bed and Breakfast is located at 3124 North US-23, Oscoda, Michigan 48750. To make a reservation call (989) 739-9255 or visit www.huronhouse.com.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Keto Bread in exchange for sharing this post with you. This post also contains affiliate links – when you shop through them I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are 100% my own.
Hey there, I’m a carb addict and I know it…how about you?
What I also know (thanks to several cycles of Whole30 that ending up pointing me to give Keto a try) but that I kept feeling like something was missing even though I knew I had gluten issues. Every time I’ve cycled out of Keto (uh, mistake) I would turn to my old favorites, pizza and pretzels, and be so very sick.
Before our vacation, I went back to Keto to jump start my feeling better and now I’m back at it again with a new resource in hand – the “Keto Bread” book!
This book was written by Faith Gorsky and Lara Clevenger — the Keto Queens (http://theketoqueens.com) — and gives us 100 delicious options to enjoy some of our old favorites while sticking to the Keto plan. Think bagels, pizza crusts, and some fall breads like pumpkin and apple and zucchini (YESSSSS)! Clearly, I am really excited about the Pretzel Bites and Spiced Beef Empanadas found in the snacks section.
I don’t love making things with a lot of ingredients, but this collection of recipes is easy enough to follow and uses the basic staples of keto (also explained in the introductory chapter which gave me some great new tips).
In my Keto cycles over the past two years, I’ve not been used to substituting bread other than my pizza crust; however, it’s clear that I’ve been missing it. The substitutes in this book will help aid in what I hope will be an even more successful keto journey this time around!
Want a copy yourself? You will be able to pick up a copy of Keto Bread on Amazon starting September 10 – pre-order it here!
Like this post? Pin it!
About the Authors of Keto Bread
Faith Gorsky is a lawyer turned food stylist, photographer, and published author. She owns the food blogs AnEdibleMosaic.com and HealthySweetEats.com. Faith and coauthor Lara Clevenger, known for their beautiful photography and delicious, family-friendly recipes, formed TheKetoQueens.com to simplify and demystify the ketogenic diet for real world success and health.
Lara Clevenger is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and Keto Coach; she has her own food blog at LaraClevenger.com. Lara and coauthor Faith Gorsky, known for their beautiful photography and delicious, family-friendly recipes, formed TheKetoQueens.com to simplify and demystify the ketogenic diet for real world success and health.
Keto Bread sells for a suggested retail value of $16.99 and is available on Amazon and other retailers in paperback starting September 10, 2019.
This is a sponsored post with Drink ZYN and BraVoMark. All opinions are 100% my own.
2019 has been a year of hurdles for this mama’s health journey. Between a knee issue and trying to find the “just right” way to eat, it’s been interesting to say the least. But the steady thing in my eating choices is my quest to keep sugars at a minimum and consume food products that are tasty and beneficial to my health.
The ZYN Goodness
For the past few weeks, Greg and I have been trying out ZYN, a low-sugar beverage with all-natural ingredients. ZYN, meaning life, is a holistic wellness option that is good for the whole family. There are only 2 grams of sugar and the added benefit of 200+ mg of curcumin (which is a natural compound derived from turmeric). These beverages come in four flavors – Mixed Berry, Lemon Ginger, Mango Lychee, and Pomegranate Cranberry.
Drinking ZYN has become part of my half-marathon training regimen for two reasons:
Curcumin has the potential to benefit our bodies with inflammation support, gut health, and muscle recovery. All three are things that I need while training!
It’s a sweet bonus that ZYN believes in the “root of what matters” – that nature has plenty to provide us without filling drinks with preservatives or artificial sweeteners. I can feel good knowing that I’m consuming something all-natural that is backed by science.
Benefits of Curcumin
Here’s where I must rely on the experts to tell you a bit more about what makes the Curcumin in ZYN a big deal. These findings are backed by over 28,000 scholarly and scientific articles and over 160 clinical studies on Curcumin.
According to research, the bio-active source of Turmeric’s healing power is CURCUMIN. However, the typical CURCUMIN content is 2% to 5% of the Turmeric root. In addition, the body does not readily absorb CURCUMIN. ZYN is crafted with one of the highest CURCUMIN contents (200 mg) in the market.
The refreshing beverage also optimizes absorption by combining CURCUMIN with Piperine (black pepper fruit extract). Research shows that Piperine may increase bioavailability of CURCUMIN by 2000%. And ZYN includes only 2 grams of sugar and 10 calories per serving!
I’ve already mentioned a few benefits above, but there are even more ways that Curcumin can help the body such as Alzheimer’s, Psoriasis, and Glaucoma (all diseases that have impacted my family personally).
Find out more about the benefits of Curcumin here.
Ready to Try ZYN?
If the benefits listed above haven’t got you ready to give ZYN a try, let me tell you what I personally love about it.
As I’ve mentioned maybe way too many times, I’ve got a knee giving me issues. When I drank ZYN, I could notice a change in the amount of inflammation I was suffering from. Granted, Greg and I split a dozen bottles, but even just drinking my share of the case made me feel better. It also helped calm my gut when I’d realized I had too much dairy in my day. The flavors are delicious, and the taste is light. Because they are all-natural, you skip that sugary taste of other “fruity” drinks and just get to enjoy the benefits. Personally, I loved all the flavors, but Mango Lychee took the top spot in my book.
If you’d like to commit to making healthier drink choices for you and your family or to add ZYN to your fitness regimen, check out their store locator or purchase ZYN online or add to your next Amazon Prime cart.
++ You can follow ZYN on Instagram or like them on Facebook. They are the PRODUCT OF THE YEAR winner in the Healthy Beverage Category and a BCorp (good for the world brand). More details on their company can be found here: https://drinkzyn.com/about/
Mondays are usually so motivating but unfortunately, this one feels a bit different around here. It’s time to do some confessing! Two weeks ago, I dove head first into Rachel Hollis’ Last 90 Days program, vowing to be the best me I could be as we head into the holiday season. Things haven’t been going all that well. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you make a purchase through a link on this page.
The Last 90 Days
What is the Last 90 Days program? It’s a movement by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face) to get us ramped up into 2019 in the last three months of the year instead of slipping into the holidays without good habits.
The concept is that we always try to start the year with good intentions, why not go into the end on top then it won’t be like starting over?!?
21 days to create a habit, 90 days to change your life – Rachel Hollis
Rachel guides the Last 90 Days community into committing to “Five to Thrive”:
Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for YOURSELF.
Workout for at least thirty minutes.
Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.
Nothing that lasts is accomplished quickly. -Rachel Hollis
How Has it Looked for Me?
Ugh city. I tried. I really tried. I got out the gate knowing I couldn’t sneak into the kids’ candy bags but seven days in we went treating at Idlewild and I caved to a gummy cherry slice. Then another. Then a gas station hot dog in a pretzel bun (and I have gluten issues). My stomach hated me. I dove back into a relatively keto diet last Monday but had some treats over the weekend and even tonight just before coming here to tell you how it’s been going. Sigh.
I attributed my binges to the fact that I was dealing with losing my job and training for the Half, but I quickly had forgotten the values that job had brought back to my life in the health realm and the fact that the leaner I am on Sunday the better my pace will be.
But those excuses need to take it to the curb. I’m going to start tomorrow by recommitting myself and I’m putting this out here because I need support. I’ve done this so many times with some amazing success. Now I need to raise that flag and say I don’t have it all together and need my tribe.
How Do You Get Started?
If you aren’t already in the Last 90 Days community, there is still time!
Commit. Commit to a better you. Maybe tackling all five of the principles is too much. I get it. There’s a LOT on my plate right now and something has to give. I’m going to commit to doing this the best I can and with honesty. Will you do the same?
You can read more and join the community here and get caught up with a bit of grace in that the last 75 days starts tomorrow and we can be on the same page, sound good?
This post contains affiliate links to products that will help you make cauliflower crust pizza. Although I earn a commission when you shop through the links, all opinions are 100% my own.
Back to the Food Basics
I’ve been stress eating and now (with 8 days until my next half marathon) is not the time to do that. With the help of the #Last90Days, I’ve used this week to commit to making better food choices which started out looking like Keto then went to no “added carbs” when I remembered how much fruit we had at the office and home. Five days in, and I’ve done pretty darn well with the exception of pumpkin spice in my Dunkin’ today but I confessed to my accountabilibuddy and now to you all so there’s that.
Because I don’t want to spoil my progress, I tried to make cauliflower crust pizza for my dinner tonight. Usually, on Keto, I’ll go for a “fathead pizza crust” but that uses almond flour and I frankly see that as added and unnecessary carbs right now. This was only my second time attempting this crust and I basically hadn’t since the first because I had PTSD from how awful it was that first time.
Spoiler time. Nothing has changed. I do not like my homemade cauliflower crust pizza. People, you can keep raving about how the steps below are perfect and how I just need patience but as a kid raised on pizza every Friday night, this healthy version doesn’t do me justice. It’s so simple I don’t know how I mess it up. Here’s how others suggest making cauliflower crust pizza:
How (Not) to Make Cauliflower Crust Pizza
12 oz bag of frozen riced cauliflower, cooked and drained
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1 TBSP shredded parmesan cheese
pizza toppings as desired
Pre-heat the oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the riced cauliflower, egg, and cheeses together in a bowl.
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (I love the coconut oil spray in this pack!)
Press the mixture onto the cookie sheet and form into a circle.
Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are a crispy, golden brown.
Top the pizza as desired.
Bake an additional 10 minutes, optionally broil on low for the last 2 minutes for crispier toppings.
The pizza should come out looking like something on Pinterest. Mine doesn’t. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. It comes out like this:
I get all frustrated and still feel hungry after. Clearly I am doing something wrong.
How to Make Cauliflower Crust Pizza Casserole
Follow the instructions above but forget that you are making pizza. Get it out of your brain. Scoop the baked goodness into a bowl and enjoy your cauliflower crust pizza casserole. It’s better that way anyhow.
Maybe what I need to do is get into a partnership with a company that sells those pre-made cauliflower crusts? Is that the trick? I’m totally going to need to try before I buy or it’s back to fathead dough for me!
2020 UPDATE: As of October 15, Fogo Pittsburgh is open for dining. Aren’t able to make it to town or rather eat at home? You are still able to enjoy your favorites from Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. While you won’t experience the atmosphere that I described below, you can bring the taste sensations right to your home. Check out their catering options, including the Full Churrasco Grill At Home experience for 6 OR the fully cooked Celebration Experince for four. These look SOOOOO good! Stay well, friends.
I was invited to a media opening night of Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.
Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh
Is there a better date night location for Greg and I than a Brazilian Steakhouse? The answer is nope. When I told him that I’d be treating him to dinner at an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, he was all in.
Located at the Luminere building (Oliver and Smithfield Streets, Pittsburgh), Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh is going to attract many couples for date nights, families for celebrations, and groups for events. Fogo de Chao is a chain Brazilian steakhouse, but if I didn’t tell you that, you probably wouldn’t realize it when you first step into the building.
The Bar Experience
We actually arrived on time to an event, early even, which was perfect because it gave us a chance to check out the front of house bar. I’m on a Keto lifestyle (hence my excitement for a night of meat) and didn’t indulge in the custom cocktails even though they looked really cool.
Like the Carmelized Pineapple Old Fashioned. I watched on as a bartender carmelized the pineapples and tried not to think about how amazing they’d be with the cane sugar.
There is a Happy Hour at the bar Monday to Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm with Brazilian Bites and Beers, wines, and Brazilian inspired cocktails like the one created above.
Before I dive in to tell you about the food, I have to stop and tell you about the service. It was so good, we had to ask the Manager over to thank him for the experience. From the host station to the bartenders, to the wait staff and Gauchos, not one person disappointed us. They worked together as a team like magic.
I’ll let Greg describe it to you – “The operation is pretty fluid, seamless. Seems like the staff is operating in a hive mind fashion. So much going on at once but they impressively keep it together.”
Incredible. We’ve been to Brazilian steakhouses two other times (in Aruba and Myrtle Beach) but never felt this connected to the team that was there to make us happy at Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh. Once I told a gaucho how I liked my meat, they remembered. The gaucho with lamb knew not to ask me if I wanted it again after I told him I didn’t prefer the taste of lamb and would not like to try it – but he did remember to continue to visit Greg with the cuts of lamb. And another realized how much I loved the top sirloin and just kept bringing it on repeat. Amazing.
Dinner starts at the Market Table, a selection of fruits, veggies, salad, soup, and some cold cut meats and cheeses. It is modeled after the feasts that villages would have at harvest time, each family bringing to the table what they had grown and were proud of. I was particularly drawn to the different hot peppers and (no surprise) chorizo cuts. Bonus? EVERYTHING on the Market Table is gluten-free.
Back at the table, a basket of rolls has arrived. Greg noted that they were light and fluffy – a little thicker than a croissant – but not so thick that you might fill up if you had one before the meat. He cautions you to take it easy on the Market Table and rolls and/or don’t eat all day before. Because when you turn your token green…
bring on the meats. (via Churrasco style service)
And by meats I mean 17 glorious cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. (There are seafood options, but we didn’t experience those in our preview.) The Gauchos are quite vested in you enjoying it – and no surprise, as they are selecting it and part of the cooking process. They bring the rack of meat to the table and cut your choice of done-ness right in front of you.
Try not to be too anxious to use your tongs to grab the meat off and chow down while they are still there – I dare you. Or if you do, they’ll know how much you love it. (Someone might have had to be reminded to calm down her yinzer, we were on a fancy date, you know. That didn’t stop me from throwing up big praise hands more than once when I ate a cut of meat that I thoroughly enjoyed. No shame.)
The table also receives sharing sides – garlic mashed potatoes, polenta, and fried plantains. I can’t tell you how they were, but Greg made sure not a crumb was left behind. Two dipping sauces (one chimichurri, the other a delicious mystery to me) are also given.
When you are ready to “tap out” and have the meat take a break from coming to the table, turn the token red and the Gauchos will know you’re done (even if just “for now”).
After you’ve had your fill of food from the Market Table and Churrasco service, you can indulge in dessert (just ask your waitress) and/or coffee. I had to go with a coffee and yes, they had heavy whipping cream. Greg was tapped out, so I can’t tell you about the choices but I know from being nebby n’at they looked pretty darn amazing.
Will We Return?
Absolutely. I am already scheming a way to experience the brunch and another dinner. I want my parents to try it, and I think the kids would even enjoy (kids 6 and under eat free, seven to 12 are half price).
And of course I tried to scheme a way to change our carb-load pre-marathon dinner from the club to Fogo asked about the event spaces so I can convince my co-workers to come try for a future party. (There are three rooms, the biggest holds up to 100 guests, and you can enjoy the menu items and or get Churrasco service!)
Treat yourself and your family to this experience, it is absolutely a Pittsburgh must.
About Fogo de Chao
With 52 locations across the United States and others worldwide, Fogo de Chao has been around since 1972. If you are not lucky enough to be treated to the amazing service we experienced in Pittsburgh, add Fogo to your list of restaurants to look for while traveling (locate the nearest to you here).
Fogo de Chao Pittsburgh opens April 23 for seven days a week with lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. Prices start at $15 for a lunch option (without churrasco experience) up to $48.95 for the experience described above. More details on this location available here.
Mistakes I Made: Whole30
There are plenty of resources out there to help you have a successful Whole30. Mine was! I am not a medical professional, so please be sure to consult with one before starting a lifestyle change like this.
Mistake 1: Not trying Ghee in Round One.
I loved putting this on my sweet potatoes and cooking with it during Round 2. But in Round 1? I didn’t spend the money on it, nor did I care to take the time to make my own at home (because it involved cheesecloth and patience, but is totally doable with the recipe in the Whole30 Cookbook). That was a big mistake!
Ghee is a healthy fat that is made from pulling all the water and milk solids out of the butter, leaving you with pure goodness. If you’ve ever had an addiction to honey butter, this is a close friend. You should be able to get Ghee at your local grocery store (I did, even in Kittanning!). This is the brand I used and fell in love with – you might just want to put two in your cart now.
Mistake 2: Not keeping compliant snacks handy.
While snacking isn’t a thing on Whole30 (you should really eat three solid meals a day), I was training for the Half Marathon and sometimes needed a little extra to boost my energy and progress. Or there were times that I wasn’t fully hungry (or not feeling well) and just needed a quick, small bite.
For those times, I should have had some good snacks around – like cashews or macadamia nuts. (When I was in Round One, plantain chips were my jam. They’ve now been removed from the plan but will show up in my meals when I’m not 100% Whole30.) And while bars – not granola! – are not shortcuts, they’re really good to have on hand, too.
Mistake 3: Not trying RXBAR until the last day of Round 2.
It was the last day of Round Two. There I was, overwhelmed in Trader Joe’s and super hungry. Knowing my Crispy Angry Chicken Drummies wouldn’t be ready for at least another hour (because the coconut aminos Greg needed to make them were in my basket), I was staring at RXBAR in hopes that I’d see one I’d like that could tide me over yet be compliant. It was only a few hours left, but I still didn’t want to mess up.
I did it. I went for the Coconut Chocolate Rx Bar because I love those two ingredients so much (yes, I’m a Samoa girl). And guess what? Not only was it okay and compliant and delicious, it took me FOREVER to eat. (Perspective, I was at the Penn Ave Trader Joe’s near-ish to Chatham and I didn’t finish it until I was passing the Harmar exit on 28.) As a sweets girl, this was huge. My enjoyment of the bar lasted and it made me feel so much fuller than anything else I’d tried as a “quick win” snack.
If you’d like to try RXBAR, you can get them right from their site and if it’s your first order, you get $5 off your order when you click here!
That being said, I did have a few Lara Bars this time, too – Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie. They sound so “bad” but they are good too! I just ate them way too fast and will be sure to have a combo of these and the Rx Bars on hand next time – see Mistake 2.
Mistake 4: Evangelizing Whole30 Too Much
Guys. I love this program / lifestyle. Maybe I talked too much about it, but it’s really changed my life. Sorry, not sorry. Some of my fears are that I made it sound scary and tough, but it’s really not. If you have your mind set on being successful with this, then every meal prep is worth it. Every “sacrifice” is worth it.
And it really helped to talk to everyone I knew about it – because then they understood when I couldn’t try their oh so delicious looking brownies or sloppy joes or have a beer at Beer Friday. And it helped them know that I am committed to making myself better. That’s big when you do something big like Whole30.
Mistake 5: Not keeping coconut aminos in the pantry.
Some of our favorite recipes (Spicy Turkey, Chicken Drummies) call for coconut aminos and we always seemed to run out. I’d been buying them on Amazon which was fine, but a little pricey. Thankfully I was clued in that Trader Joe’s has them for just $2.99 a bottle! We are now stocked up and ready – we’ll be using this for our stir fry, meatloaf, wings…anything that called for soy sauce in the past! (I’ve found throughout the years that soy makes me itch from the inside out – before I go to a hibachi or enjoy sushi, I have to take benedryl to “survive”!)
Mistake 6: Not trying Passion Fruit La Croix sooner.
Alright. This one is tough. As someone who really only drank pop when it was a birthday party or pizza night (hey, there’s something about Diet Pepsi with chocolate cake and pizza), giving up the sugary drinks was not an issue for me. Instead, I actually added something by giving La Croix waters a try. But I didn’t give my absolute favorite, Passion Fruit, a try soon enough!
Say what? These don’t sound like Whole30 mistakes! The honesty about this post: if you make a true mistake on Whole30 (stepping on the scale, eating dairy, etc.), then you start over at Day 1 the next day. These mistakes I made aren’t like that, they’re mistakes I learned from and want to pass on to you – you’ve stuck around this long, why not give the Whole30 life a try?
What’s the first step to Whole30 Happiness?
Buy this book and this recipe book because they will teach you everything you need to know. We got some really great recipes from living out of these books during my Whole30 rounds and they’ll be family favorites for a long time. Promise.
And ditch the scale. This isn’t about weight loss. This is about feeling good again. My mood has changed for the better. My body is lifting heavier and working harder and smarter. It doesn’t matter what’s on that scale. Just ditch it.
If you’ve decided to embark on the Whole30 lifestyle, let me know! I’d love to support you in your journey. Good luck!