Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks: Who Wants a Free Coffee?

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Dunkin’ Brands. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I have been a Dunkin Donuts fan for as long as I can remember. The only time I ever drank coffee in my life – during college – was from Dunkin’ Donuts in Shillman Hall (or any of the other FIVE locations on campus) at Northeastern University in Boston. Light and sweet. Usually during finals period to get me through some awful 8AM classes my senior year. Always paired with a couple of chocolate munchkins.

DD Perks

I didn’t stick with coffee – I was more of a soda drinker – but I always, always have loved their hot chocolate. When hubs and I first started hanging out back in 2006, it was in the early weeks of Autumn and a Dunkin’ Donuts had just opened up near Eastern Market. It was a few short blocks from his apartment, and I remember one night when a bunch of us were at trivia, we decided we wanted to hit up Dunkins’ so we asked if anyone else wanted to come along and then just sort of jetted out. We still claim it was our love of Dunkin Donuts that brought us together.

Recently, I was jones-ing for a hot chocolate (with skim milk and whipped cream – try it. i dare you, it’s my favorite) – the Dunkins’ in Annapolis aren’t super convenient to me – so hubs brought me a pick me up. My colleagues chuckled at my giddiness, “you’re such a northerner” they said – as if that’s a bad thing. I have more reason to go to Dunkin’ Donuts as of late though….

…My love of Dunkin’s was recently renewed when I heard they launched their own loyalty program earlier this year. DD Perks rewards customer loyalty with points towards every dollar spent. Currently, guests can earn 5 points for every dollar spent when you pay using an enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts card either plastic or via the ever so easy and super convenient app (you can also enroll with a plastic card) which Hubs and I are both huge fans of. Once you accrue 200 points (you get 5 points for every $1 spent) you earn a FREE beverage of choice. I sense a few free hot chocolates in my future.

So to all my pals out there who I’m trying to unabashedly trying to get on the DD bandwagon – check out DD Perks thru December 5th, simply  enroll in Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks using the unique Promo Code BLOG to earn a $5 enrollment bonus on your card! No brainer my friends!  It’s a bonus $5 for your fave DD products. This offer is only valid Dec 1 – Dec 5th so be sure to enroll now to receive this special offer.

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Recipe: Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve gotten in the habit recently of cooking one meal that can get us through a couple of lunches, and a couple of dinners. This is necessary mostly on busy weeks like this one, where if I don’t plan things out, we can easily end up eating out 2 – 3 days per week.

This week I wanted to bust out the slow cooker. In the fall and winter, it’s one of those things I like to do every couple of weeks. Our slow cooker is a total tank and takes up a lot of counter space so I tend not to use it as often as I probably should but unlike other appliances we got for our wedding (I’m looking at you waffle maker that Hubs has used TWICE in the five years since we got it). My favorite slow cooker meal? Chili.

I tried a new recipe, my boss had mentioned a slow cooker pumpkin chili so I took the idea to pinterest for some inspiration. Pinterest never fails, let’s be honest.

slow cooker turkey pumpkin chili

Turkey Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

1 -2 lbs ground turkey
1 bag frozen chopped peppers (or 1 each of red, green and yellow peppers sliced)
1 can (28 oz) Tomato sauce
2 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cans beans (I used 1 each of dark red kidney and black beans) drained
2 T chili powder
1 medium onion diced
8 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic puree or 2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

Brown ground turkey with garlic and onion.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker (tomatoes & sauce first, beans, veggies, meat mix, pumpkin, spices), stir well.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir.

slow cooker pumpkin chili

I love to eat my chili over either brown rice or a sweet potato, quinoa is another great choice. I top with a little bit of shredded mexican blend cheese (cheddar based) and sour cream. Hubs uses greek yogurt instead of sour cream and loves it – you could use either.

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Healthy Turkey Marinara Meatloaf

I always love when I start the week off right with actually prepping meals. This is even more important because Hubs has class on Monday nights so the urge to drive over to Chick-fil-A and grab dinner for little man and I is all too tempting. Alas, last week, because I was on another five day clean eating challenge last week, I planned out all of my meals for the week and prepped Monday night’s meal on Sunday evening so when I got home with little man, all I had to do was throw it in the oven.

parmesean turkey meatloaf

 

This was an INCREDIBLY easy recipe – although I still need to work on the timing for the oven. Had I done muffins like the recipe that inspired this meal, I would have cut the time in half. But prepping and throwing it in a bread loaf pan was just easier. Ain’t nobody got time for that…

parmesean turkey meatloaf

Mix together little onion, ground meat (the recipe called for chicken, but i used ground lean turkey), an egg and an egg white

Cover with your favorite marinara sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for ~45 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Turkey Marinara Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 lbs lean ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
dash of Italian seasoning
dash of oregano
dash of dried basil
dash of salt & pepper
dash of thyme
1 egg
1 egg white
6 T breadcrumbs or panko crumbs

Mix turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, spices, onion and garlic together until well mixed and molds together easily. Form in breadpan. Top with favorite marinara sauce. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Add cheese and heat for an additional 2 – 5 minutes.

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Meal Plan Monday: Clean Eating Style

So I’m getting ready to sign up as a Beachbody Coach – a friend of mine has been talking to me about it since we went to our RRCA coaching certification together. She recruited me this week to join her 5 day clean eating challenge. I’ve been a part of this other challenge group off an on but I think there are a few factors that contribute to me not…participating as actively as I should be. But because A is local, she can whoop my butt into gear if I slack. Which is exactly the kind of accountability I need.

Anyhow, I got the meal plan for this five day refresh and I’m kind of excited about it. I made some a few modifications to their plans…certain fruits/nuts/etc…we’re supposed to replace one meal for shakeology – I chose breakfast because it’s usually when I’m in the most rush – PB Banana Chocolate…here we come!

5daycleaneating

 

I’m kind of excited to have everything planned – I know for a fact that planning and prepping is the key for success. I’ll be sharing images over on my instagram throughout the week this week (trying to hold myself more accountable and all that jazz). Not to mention, I also have my workouts planned. The great thing about this menu is that it’s easy. I’ll have leftovers. And I prepped it easily (hello hard boiled eggs, and veggies). FINALLY I’m also using the containers from the 21 day fix to help with portion sizes. Dual purpose my friends.

Saturday I’m doing another 20 mile bike ride, and I’m going paddle boarding on Sunday morning (yay for knocking something off my summer bucket list!!!) so huzzah for activity!

How do YOU set yourself up for success through the week?

 

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Baby Led Weaning Week 1

So last week we started Baby Led Weaning.

Ethan’s sitting up enough and reaching for everything from food, to jewelry and especially hair. So since he was showing interest and reaching for our food any time it was near him, we decided to try out a bit of self feeding.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) it’s essentially self-feeding. Allowing babies to learn to feed themselves, learn to chew and explore textures from the get-go.

Granted, we’ve explored purees for the past month which I’ve enjoyed for the sake of introducing flavors to him and I didn’t think he was ready to try self-feeding a few weeks ago when we began introducing purees. The nice thing about doing both is that it gives us a little bit of flexibility for now. It works out really well when he naps late for instance and so we just get a pureed pouch (I love the Plum Organic and Happy Baby pouches)  rather than roasting up some veggies and letting him explore food for an hour (i.e. last night. He napped til 5:30 then we went out for a family run and got home around 7, gave him a pureed pouch and still had him in bed around 8) we can still do purees in a pinch if

But thats the great thing about BLW AND purees – it’s not a YOU MUST DO THIS type of thing. Granted, consistency is best for babies sake but Ethan doesn’t seem to prefer one way to the other.

So far his favorite foods are broccoli and sweet potatoes. He’s still uncertain about bananas and avocado.

Curious about Baby Led Weaning? Check out the tips to getting started. The great thing about it is that you don’t need bowls or spoons, you just cut up, then steam or roast (or pick naturally soft foods) veggies or fruits into stick sized pieces so baby can grip them easily and let them go to town.

Check out the book and the cookbook for more tips and ideas. Also, Hellobee did a great series on Baby Led Weaning for some great real life experiences and tips.

How did you start solids with your little one? 

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Currently…

Because I keep seeing this in my Feedly reader (yes, I finally made the jump from Google Reader. No I don’t want to talk about it. I do however, love that I can read Feedly on my iPhone during our late night feedings…which have been drastically cut down might I add!)…I figured I’d share my currents with you this rainy Sunday evening since I needed a little bit of blogging inspiration.

Current Book…I’m reading two really. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba and The Smart One by Jennifer Close for the revamped book club that Lexi and I have made a reboot to. Super excited to add some new members and to make it a monthly ladies brunch date.

the Honest life by Jessica Alba

Current Music…. I’ve been on a Darius Rucker kick since hearing “Wagon Wheel” on the way home from CT last weekend in the car. I don’t listen to counry often but when I do it always makes me think of summer time and summers in Vermont with the windows down. Otherwise, you can see my most recent mix that’s been playing on my iPhone here.

Current guilty pleasure: Fro-yo. And lots of it. With peanut butter chips. Omg. Could eat every day. Yolavie opened up in the mall down the street from us and I may be a convert. Seriously…cookies and cream froyo with a spoonful of peanut butter chips equals heaven.

Current nail color…Only my toes are painted currently. They’re a reddish orangish color from Essie. Time my monthly pedicure soon though. My feet are redic after yesterdays race.

Current drink…Chugging water lately. I’m going cold turkey on my caffeine intake – mainly my horrible Dr. Pepper addiction. I said I was going to cut it out of my diet cold turkey on June 1, and omg. I really want a Dr. P.

Current food…Just made dinner. I’ll be sharing this delicious recipe inspired by a dip we had yesterday at a BBQ. Stay tuned for a post with the amazingly easy recipe. It was delish.

Current Favorite show… The Next Food Network Star is premiering tonight. It’s a favorite of mine since the others have all gone into their summer hiatus’s.

Current wish list… This attachment for our jogging stroller so I can actually use it. New summer clothes – especially tank tops and dresses (though I just ordered 2 dresses from the Gap today for the price of one! Hello thrifty shopping!). Even though most dresses are NOT nursing friendly. It’s a problem I’m happy to have. Also, any of these. The price is right too!

Current needs…a clean house. My house is such a sty. Ugh.

Current indulgence… .these. They’ve been in our freezer for almost a month. I figured it’s time to go to town in honor of my Zooma Finish. And by go to town I mean 1-2.

Current blessing…These guys. So blessed to have the most perfect family ever.

Current outfit… yoga pants and this top – it’s a new favorite of mine. Nothing too crazy, I changed out of shorts into yoga pants when I got home from doing grocery shopping.

Current excitement… for my book club to meet in June! We’ll be enjoying brunch at Red, Red, Wine downtown and discussing “The Smart One” (as aforementioned). Also, am excited to head up north in July for the 4th of July weekend.

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Easy Spaghetti Squash & Elf4Health Updates

This week one of the tasks for #elf4health was to eat no meat for a day. Easy peasy right? (it actually was!)

It was a perfect excuse to bring back my favorite spaghetti squash dish for dinner – not that I ever need an excuse to cook one of my favorite dishes, usually I’m just too lazy to roast a damn squash (they take so long!!!). Except this time, instead of roasting it for close to an hour (after getting home late) I followed the instructions of a coworker (and the internets when I couldn’t remember the details) and nuked it in the microwave!

Cut in half. Scrape out seeds and pulp. Fill one half with about 1/2 cup of water in a small microwave safe bowl. If it’s not stable, cut a very thin strip of skin from the bottom half. Put other half cut side down (making it a whole spaghetti squash again). Depending on size, cook on full power for 10-15 minutes. (We cooked ours for about 15 mins). Test for doneness by squeezing the top half (careful! Hot!).  Drain water. Scrape inside of spaghetti squash.

We take ours and fry it up in the pan just to add a little extra flavor to it (add extra virgin olive oil to the pan). Fry up for 2-5 minutes.

Top with your favorite sauce. We fried up some vodka sauce, soy sausage and peppers and onion and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

What’s a go to veggie dish for you?

My elf has been amazing at sticking to the Elf4Health things where as me? I get a big fat fail whale. However:

  • I did send out a nice note to my Nana on  Tuesday (she had another tumor removed this week – keep her in your prayers!).
  •  I did NOT  fit in a good, new workout Wednesday (do new stretches and exercises during PT count? Walking sideways is HARD WORK!).
  • I did NOT meditate yesterday morning – but I am going to yoga tomorrow AM so I’ll fit it in then!
  • Today I’m trying to eat colorful – I had to eat lunch on the run and grabbed a black bean burrito from the ‘Bell but for dinner I’ll be snacking on veggies and such at some MDGOP parties that hubs and I are going to tonight.

Are you participating in Elf4Health how’s it going for you??

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Awesome Meal of the Week

Spaghetti squash
Turkey sausage
Organic Vodka Sauce.

Fry up squash and sausage together. Top with sauce and/or parmesean cheese.

Enjoy. This may be a new favorite meal. SO. TASTY.

Your welcome. 

 This is the thank you I got for making butt tons of progress on baby room and I cleaned all the papers off our kitchen table (it was a creation of the husband).

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Recipe: Nana’s Meat Sauce

There is something comforting about recipes you grew up with. Last night, I called up my step mom in hopes of getting a recipe that I grew up with – my Nana’s meat sauce. When I went up to Vermont to run my half marathon in April and celebrate my 29th birthday with family, I requested one thing…to have Nana’s meat sauce before my race. So the night before, she had it. The smell wafting through the house when I walked in the door. I have many memories of this meal – with spaghetti that my Papa and dad would slice until the spaghetti was small pieces, and would wipe up the left over sauce with white bread with butter spread thick on the top.

The trick, as I learned long ago before I taught myself to cook this, is letting the flavors simmer together.

So last night I cooked up the meat and veggies, and threw it all in the slow cooker ready to turn it on this morning.

Nana’s Meat Sauce

1lb lean ground beef
1 green pepper diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
Italian Seasoning
2 t sugar
1 jar marinara sauce
1/4 c. pepperoni chopped

Directions

Add onions, peppers and garlic to fry pan. Cook until onions are beginning to sweat. Add meat. Brown meat and add pepperoni – stir so meat and veggies are mixed well.

 Drain meat and veggies to remove grease. Add to slow cooker (alternative, adding to large stock pot to let simmer on the stove for 2-3 hours), mix with sauce, spices and sugar.

 Slow cook on low for 6-7:30 hours. We left it going for most of the day and it wasn’t burnt, but was a nice rich, red color when it was all done. It was delicious.

It may look a little overcooked in the corner, but I assure you, it was not.

Finally, serve over whole wheat pasta of choice – we chose spaghetti tonight. Add side of bread. Generally I’d have a side of vegetable – like green beans or squash but I had none. Wamp wamp.

Bon appetite! 

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Amazing Weekend

The weekend started off amazingly (though at first stressful) with a relaxing restorative yoga class in DC with Lexi. I wish it wasn’t so much of a pain in the butt trying to get into DC for a 6:45 pm class after getting out of work at 5p – I just really hate driving in to DC though I suppose if I want to make this a pseudo-regular thing I should probably get used to it or find an amazing restorative class here in Annapolis. Capitol Hill Yoga is one of my favorite yoga studios that I’ve been to since leaving Connecticut so I like what I’m comfortable with and back when I was commuting a few of my friends and I made Friday night Restorative at CHY a welcomed end to the workweek on a few occasions. I love that studio and only wish it had been around when we lived on the Hill  – I might not have wanted to leave so badly when our life went to the crapper.

Afterward we were blissed out, the husband met up with us and we grabbed a snack at Le Pain Quotidien which has amazing fresh food  – it’s a pseudo chain and I’ve been a few times but usually for breakfast. The hummus I had was delicious! A perfect late evening snack really.

Saturday

We headed back into DC for the National Book Festival with Lexi and Steve. The weather was hot and by the end of the day I felt horrid on our way home from being overheated. Lexi really wanted to see Dominique Moceanu speak which was very cool – we also checked out her book signing.

After Lexi got a book signed, we headed over to the Pavilion of the States – which is always one of my favorite tents at the book fest.

We headed up to Capitol Hill once we were thoroughly book festivaled out to grab late lunch/early dinner at Good Stuff Eatery – which while not my favorite burger place in the world, is worth the visit for the milk shakes alone (I got the black and white). I got a regular cheeseburger which is a feat in itself because for the past two and a half months any type of burger has repulsed the crap out of me … something about the texture didn’t agree with baby schmidt.

After dinner, we meandered up to PG County (cause we’re cool like that. Really.) to go to Target where I proceeded to lose my husband because well, his phone died and Droid doesn’t. Eventually, thanks to Best Buy Mobile, he found me and we headed home without dropping mounds of dough. I did however, pick up a belly band so my pants fit slightly better though I can’t seem to get the band to stay so I need to work on that.

We finally got home  late, very late, where I promptly passed out on the couch.

Sunday 

We stuck around Annapolis, getting stuff cleaned up around the house  and then heading over to West Annapolis for Oktoberfest –

What every Oktoberfest should be – sauerkraut and beer. Confession: I don’t like sauerkraut. And that was Adam’s beer. Oktoberfest fail.

It was a great street festival – the food was really good, I’m sure the beer was delightful (i can only imagine because nothing says oktoberfest better than beer. Even I can’t have any.), the weather was brisk and autumnal…really the perfect kick off to fall. It really reminded us how much we love our town and this home that we’ve adopted as our own.

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