Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pollo Tropical #PolloTropiCulture Review

Last month we had the chance to visit Pollo Tropical and try out their delicious food.  We live in the farthest corner of Gwinnett county, and the closest Pollo Tropicals to us are either Lawrenceville or Cumming.  Both require a bit of a drive, but we found out it was well worth the trip to Lawrenceville. The decor is Caribbean, very light and sunny.  The service was great, too.  You place your order, then get a card for your table, and a server brings your food.  Ours checked back throughout the meal to refill drinks, bring napkins, etc.

Caribbean food is the specialty at Pollo Tropical. I've never really tried anything like that before but obviously, I've been missing out - it's delicious! We ordered the Family Meal on our first visit, which came with a whole grilled chicken, rolls, fried plantains and sides.  We chose Caribbean Corn Souffle - it was amazing! and Macaroni and Cheese (for the kiddo). You can also choose from beans, brown, white or yellow rice,  yuca and other dishes.

We also added two grilled boneless chicken breasts for my son and I.  Everything was so tasty!  The chicken is marinated in tropical fruit juices and spices and then grilled.  Really moist and delish.  The sides were great, and they had a variety of sauces and salsas to add to your meal.  My favorite is the pineapple rum, which was zesty and fresh.  David likes their curry mustard which definitely had some heat to it.  If you are counting calories, check out their Tropical Lite menu. There is something for everyone at Pollo Tropical!

The second time we visited, we used the drive through.  We had just spent the morning at the park and were hot and tired.  So we went a little out of our way so we could hit up PT on the way home. This time David got a kids meal (mac and cheese bowl with a drink and a guava bar) and I had the pineapple chicken wrap with a yummy sauce and grilled pineapple plus that delicious chicken.   Everything we've had there has been fresh and tasty!

The Lawrenceville location always seems crazy busy when we've passed by, and the two times we visited it was packed!  I was really excited to find out that we are getting a new Pollo Tropical location right here in North Gwinnett, by the Mall of Georgia! It opens later this summer.  It's hard to find fresh, healthy options when you are eating out, but you can't beat the grilled chicken at Pollo Tropical. We will definitely eat there once it opens. Next visit I will be trying their new Chicken Avocado Club Tropichop - yum!  They've just added fresh avocado to the menu since it is in season, and also Cheezy Yuca bites!

***I am so bummed that I can't use the pictures I took at Pollo Tropical of their tasty food. My phone's camera was acting up this Spring and many pictures I took were blurry and horrible.  So the pics included in this post are actually from the Pollo Tropical website.***

Time for another giveaway!! Pollo Tropical wants to give one my readers a fantastic swag bag full of PT swag and coupons for their amazing food!

It's easy to enter via the rafflecopter widget below.  (if you don't see it, click the read more link) Please enter only if you live in an area with Pollo Tropical locations.  (They are only in the South East - FL, GA, TX, TN) All entries will be verified.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Series: White Water: the NEW #DiveBomber!

Hey y'all! How is your summer going? Ours is AWESOME so far! We've been to Alabama to visit family, we've been to the pool, lots of park visiting, plus Six Flags White Water and Stone Mountain - two of our favorite Atlanta destinations!

Today I am excited to share our day at White Water with you and tell you about their coolest new ride ever, Dive Bomber! It's a thrill ride like no other at the park! So, here's the scoop....

Earlier this month,  White Water invited us to visit and check out their brand new thrill ride, Dive Bomber.  I was so excited, as I practically lived at White Water during my high school summers. We lived in Marietta so it was really close and so much fun! I was a sunbather back in those days, so I preferred the Little Hooch, White Water's version of the lazy river. There was nothing better than floating down the river, soaking up the sunshine! No cares, no worries, nothing but sunshine and lots of cool, refreshing water lapping at your toes.

Yep, I spent many summer days there. Good times!  Then I grew up and moved to the other side of town.  I haven't been to White Water since my oldest was a preschooler. (She just got married last year, so you know it's been a while!) So it was way past time for a visit with my youngest.  That morning we met up with our good friends Renea & Blake and headed out early so we'd get there for the grand opening of Dive Bomber!

Once there, it felt like being home again.  Seriously! I remember so many fun days at White Water, and it looks very much the same.  They've added lots of new slides since then, though.

Our boys, getting ready to experience White Water for the first time!

Our first stop was the all new Dive Bomber ride! It is the tallest slide ever built at White Water.  It's approximately 100 feet tall, and you climb 144 stairs to get to the capsule on top!  Step inside, and check out a really great view of Marietta before you the floor literally drops out from under you....then you will fly at almost 90 degrees down the waterslide below.....wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Here's my kiddo, and in the upper left is #Dive Bomber. You can see the railing in front of the "capsule"
 that drops you down, and the slide underneath.

I didn't get the best video of the slide, but here you go!  Our boys were not quite ready to take on Dive Bomber that day, so we were content to watch people drop down the slide.  (Be careful where you stand at the bottom, because you can get seriously soaked down there!) Everyone we talked to who tried Dive Bomber absolutely loved it! What a great addition to White Water's slides - this is definitely a thrill ride you will want to try.

Here's a link to the Six Flags White Water park map, where you can see everything they have to offer! So many slides!

We stayed for most of the day and White Water treated us to delicious food and a fabulous cabana. Let me tell you, these mamas had the best time staying cool and shaded inside a cabana - they even have ceiling fans! Ours overlooked the wave pool, aka Atlanta Ocean and the Little Hooch Lazy River. Those were the places where our boys spent the majority of their time and we could keep an eye on them.  The cabanas are well worth the money if you want to splurge for the day! The boys came back often to cool down, enjoy a cold drink, funnel cakes or dippin' dots, then went back to the waves. The cabana  was a wonderful base camp for our families that day.

We enjoyed plenty of yummy food at White Water, too.  We tried the Buffalo Tenders and Loaded Fries - delish! They have lots of flavors of Dippin' Dots ice cream, the funnel cakes come in several varieties, and they have freshly popped popcorn.  Our boys sampled a little of everything that day!

Purchase a refillable 2015 Sports bottle (not pictured) and you get unlimited drink refills all season!  (They also offer a Deluxe Dining Pass for Season Pass Holders)

More about the park: 

There is plenty of seating, especially if you get there early in the day.

Some of the other places to play at White Water:  (full list of rides/attractions here)

The Tornado

Black River Falls, Photo from Six Flags White Water website

If you have little ones, there are several places for your kiddos to splash and play too! 

Buccaneer Bay (picture from SFWW website)

Captain Kid's Cove (picture from SFWW website)
Cabana Time:

Our cabana had a table and chairs for four, two lounge chairs, a storage locker, ceiling fan, plus food and beverage service.  It was great to have a private space to keep everything during the day.  So worth the splurge, and when the kiddos need to rest and cool down, they have a nice place to do so. Totally doing that again next time!

White Water offers Dive In Movies on Thursday nights in June and July; you can see the schedule here.   Great family fun night with the kids!

Six Flags White Water is located at
250 Cobb Parkway N #100
Marietta, GA 30062

Nashville/Chattanooga: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Birmingham: 2 hours
Montgomery/Huntsville: Less than 3 hours
Greenville-Spartanburg: Less than 3 hours Augusta: Less than 3 hours
Macon/Columbus: 1 hour, 30 minutes

You can win 4 passes to Six Flags White Water by entering my rafflecopter giveaway below!  (Only enter if you are close enough to Six Flags White Water Atlanta to visit this summer, location will be verified at the time of the drawing and out of area entries will be disqualified)  There are lots of ways to enter - Good Luck!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

THM-friendly Cinnamon Roll with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama yet?  This plan is sweeping the internet as a healthy way to lose weight and get sugar out of your life! I have been eating about 50% on this plan for a few months now, and it is amazing.   THM helps me eat the right foods for my body.

If you want to do the plan, the best thing to start with is the book: Trim Healthy Mama  (affiliate link)

Yes, it is a little pricey.  I couldn't even find a cheap used copy!   But it is so worth it.  I know I can spend that for a meal for us, or on drinks throughout the week, etc. But they are gone right after I buy them.  This book will last forever, it is an investment in YOU!   You can also purchase the book from the THM website, where they also sell plan approved sweeteners, flours, and other ingredients.

After you read the book, you will have a basic understanding of how to separate your fuels.  E meals contain carbs, and are Energizing.  S meals have fat, and are Satisfying.  You don't eat carbs and fats together.  By eating this way, your blood sugar doesn't spike. Your metabolism revs up!

I try to alternate my meals, or at least my snacks and meals.  There are lots of things you will learn in the book, like the ideal time to take between meals, so your body burns through that fuel before you eat more, and keeps your blood sugar on a more even keel.  You will probably be interested in pinterest recipes.  There are lots of them on there! (I have several THM boards on my pinterest and I'd love for you to follow them)

Facebook has some great groups devoted to THM too. I am in several, including the THM Beginners group.  I learn so much from these women who have met their goals or are on their way!

I am a fan of muffin in a mug recipes. They are so quick: assembled and cooked in less than 5 minutes! My favorite is an S recipe (well, actually 2 recipes) that I found online and tweaked to make my own. This is a quick, satisfying breakfast for me, and my kiddo likes it too.

Note: you will probably not LOVE this at first.  Our bodies are used to sugar! It's in everything.  This is sugar-free and is made with nut-based flour, so it isn't like a cinnamon roll from the bakery, or a can.  It's got the flavor of one, but in a healthy recipe! I didn't care for many recipes while I was detoxing from sugar and too many processed foods.  I crave these healthy recipes now, and I think they taste better than the others - mostly because I don't crash after eating this, and I don't feel stuffed and gross after THM meals.  Give yourself time to adjust to sugar-free!  Things taste so much better when you take that out. Trust me!

Original recipes I started from are here and here.  (If you choose to use the original cinnamon roll recipe linked here, it is an E recipe, so you can't frost it with the frosting I make from the 2nd recipe, as it is an S recipe!)  Once you read the book, this will make sense!

Printable Recipe Link (no pics)

THM Friendly Cinnamon Roll with Cookie Dough Frosting  (S recipe)

1 1/2 tsp. butter
2 tbsp. almond or pecan flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp. on plan sweetener (I used to use either Stevia or Truvia but now I only use Xylitol)
1 egg
1/2 tsp of vanilla

Cinnamon Mixture
1 Tbsp. on plan sweetener
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Melt butter in mug in the microwave (20 seconds is how long mine takes).  I like to roll the mug around a bit so the butter coats the sides of the mug.  Set mug to the side.

Mix your dry ingredients in bowl,  Add egg and vanilla and melted butter and mix well.
In another small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sweetener.

Add about a third of the wet mixture into the mug, then add about a third of the cinnamon mixture over that.  Repeat this step two more times, until both mixtures are used.  This gives it that "cinnamon swirl" that cinnamon rolls have.

Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Slide the muffin out onto a plate.  Then cut in half and add frosting onto each half.

Notes: I like to mix up individual batches of the dry ingredients in snack size baggies.  Then I just add the egg and vanilla, mix well, and pour into the buttered mug to cook.  Makes breakfast a breeze on busy mornings!  I also make up a big bag of the cinnamon/sweetener mixture, then take out what I need when making this.  I also use it for other THM recipes!  Oh, and in the picture of ingredients right below, you can see my Butter Bell.  We love it - our butter stays soft and spreadable and it's an adorable little crock. They come in many colors and designs.  I use butter often, so this was a great investment!

THM Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting (S recipe)

In a bowl, cream together:
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter

Once creamed, add 1/4 to 1/2  tsp caramel extract (to taste)
1 1/2 Tbsp on plan sweetener (I used to use Stevia or Truvia but now I only use Xylitol)
a few shakes of sea salt (to taste)

Mix well, and add 1 1/2 - 2 oz of chopped, on plan chocolate chips (Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips are on plan and delicious - see notes below for purchasing info)

Let this sit in the fridge to set up a bit, then you can add a schmear to each half of your finished Cinnamon Roll.  I love the cinnamon, caramel and chocolate flavors together.  Feels like I'm eating a decadent dessert! I usually have this with either Bulletproof Coffee, iced black coffee with stevia and heavy cream, or a big mug of Good Girl Moonshine! You can find the first and last recipes on Pinterest. 

Notes:  I used Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (not on plan, but all I had) to make these today, but you can find Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips sweetened with Stevia (on plan) at stores (I've heard they can be found at Sprouts or Whole Foods).  I have ordered them online.  They are $12.99 a bag from Amazon, but this 4-pack is what I'm getting next, it will last you forever (well, almost!).  It's a bit cheaper to buy them this way, plus shipping is free!

I like to make this dip and chill it in the fridge for a while.  Once it's set up, I use a melon baller to scoop out individual balls of the dip, and freeze them in a large ziploc bag. I set one or two out before I make my Cinnamon Roll, then use it for the frosting once done.  However, my son thinks they taste fantastic as a frozen snack, kind of like a cheesecake bite.

If you have any questions about THM, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer.  I'm still a newbie myself, but I love living mostly sugar-free thanks too Trim Healthy Mama!  And if you want to order Saba's NEW ACE G2, just leave a comment with your email and I'll message you!

Disclosure:  Affiliate Links in this post!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dive Bomber ride opens at Six Flags White Water!

We had such an amazing time at Six Flags White Water on Monday! I've got a review (and hopefully a giveaway!) coming up later this week.  Til then, check out Dive Bomber, the crazy-fun new ride at Six Flags White Water!