Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub

Earlier in the month after my trip to Fitbloggin, I took a quick trip to Florida to visit with my dad.  He’s lived on the northeastern coast of Florida for the past several years… retiring to his version of paradise.  After spending the previous 10+ years in Green Bay, you can understand why this Guy was looking for sunny, hot days as he was planning his retirement.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake

Since my dad has retired, he’s become quite the cook.  As a kid, I don’t remember him cooking much.  Grilling, yes.  Cooking, not so much.  That being said, it’s fun to see him enjoying something I love to do so much.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake

It seems like every time I get down there, I bring back a beautiful tan as well as a few recipes to share with you guys. Remember the Bacon Cauliflower Lettuce Salad??

Bacon Cauliflower Lettuce Salad | No Thanks to Cake

This trip, we ate a lot of grilled foods… all sprinkled with my dad’s spice rub.  A little sweet, a little spicy, I had a chance to watch him make it and to capture all his secret ingredients.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake

I made my first batch last weekend, and it was AWESOME.  I know this is something I’ll be shaking on grilled meats for months to come. Thanks, Dad, for sharing the recipe with me (and subsequently with the rest of NTTC!)

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub

INGREDIENTS

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
1 1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. salt (or seasoned salt)
1/2 Tbsp. Mesquite Smoked sea salt (or celery salt)
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. cayenne (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 cup brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
2.  Move to an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.  Note:  I got these at my local Penzey’s.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
3.  Apply the rub generously to your favorite grillable meats.  Note: I used chicken, but I imagine it would be great on pork, beef, etc.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake
Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub | No Thanks to Cake

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About the Competition: Rockstar

Wow.  As I sit down to write this post, I don’t really know where to begin.

I’m just getting home and back to reality after a whirlwind of a week in California. I know I posted some quick-hit posts about being in Cali and competing… but I’ll tell you all about it today.

So… I work for an amazing company. They do crazy things for their employees sometimes, and they like HUGE SPLASHY recognition programs, specifically sales competitions. This one is such a big deal… that they call it Rockstar.

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

I work in sales, so most days you’ll find me consulting with customers about how my products can revolutionize their business in some new and exciting way. So… when I had the opportunity to participate in a contest featuring the way I sell, I jumped right in.  You may remember that I participated in this contest last year from this post (and the four other posts I wrote about the trip I, II, III, and IV).

What I was tasked with doing is preparing 4 customer scenarios and developing a full presentation of products and services to “sell”.  Each scenario was 5-7 minutes, performed with no notes, and scored by a panel of judges on all sorts of specific criteria.  It’s intense to say the least, to pull all this together and still get your day job done.  But so worth it!

Each round of competition, the customers changed… so, I got to prepare 13 of these bad boys. During each round of competition, you’d pick a scenario out of a hat, one of the 4 you’d prepared… and then have 5-7 minutes to show your stuff!

Rockstar | No Thanks to Cake

That’s me with my girl Jade after the regional competition… you’ll see lots of pics of Jade as I recap this trip.  She’s amazing and so much fun!  I wish she lived in Denver!

So, after winning amongst my local team, beating out the remaining people in my department regionally, I along with 12 others got invited to participate with all of the competitors in the West.

This is where it gets splashy and fabulous…

On Tuesday, they flew all the regional winners into Southern California into gorgeous San Diego to compete. We took over the beautiful Loews Coronado Island, as there must have been about 200+ there. If you’ve never been to Coronado Island… wow. It is absolutely lovely.

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

My company is very big on making sure we got VIP treatment the entire time, so we stepped off the buses to find the paparazzi ready to take our pics, a step-and-repeat for us to pose in front of, and goody bags to pick up as we register.

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After a poolside cocktail party and a welcome dinner, it was time to get a good night’s sleep for the competition the next day.

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

I competed at 9:18am the next day (thanks for all the well wishes, y’all!) and nailed it. It went even better than planned, and I walked out knowing that I’d be moving onto the next round. I love that feeling… when you perform so well, when your preparations pay off. It just feels awesome!

Also awesome, I got this Diet Coke during lunch… coincidence??

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

With a few hours to kill, I got a quick chair massage, visited with co-workers, and waited patiently for the winners to be announced – - and I was so excited when my name was called to take the stage for my region.

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

As a finalist, we had more work to be done. We were given another fresh scenario and had an hour to prepare for the next round. That 60 minutes went by completely fast, and before I knew it, I was back on stage… hopeful that I’d remember all the details of what we’d prepared.

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

While my performance was strong, I didn’t end up winning this round… but GOSH! I had so much fun along the way. And, to be named “The Ultimate Mountain Rockstar” for my region was totally enough!  Playing up the whole “Rockstar” theme, the trophy awarded at the end of the night was a guitar signed by the bands who performed… mine was a pretty mint green bass, and I couldn’t be happier!

About the Competition | No Thanks to Cake

Overall, it was an amazing few days… and such an awesome opportunity to showcase my sales skills and to meet our executive team.  I am so appreciative to work for such a fantastic company, to have experienced such a cool event, and to attend the concert that followed that evening. I’ll tell you more about that in future posts…

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Currently: July

Whoa… how in the heck is it the end of July already??? Oh, summer… slow down!!

Currently: July | No Thanks to Cake

Let’s talk about what’s going on Currently!  So much…

Current Book(s):

I’m definitely enjoying “summer reads” this year.  Beachy, fun, chick lit has been all over my Nook.  Including these two!

I read The Matchmaker earlier in the month and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!  One of the best of Elin Hilderbrand, if you ask me… and I’ve read most!

The Matchmaker Elin Hilderbrand | No Thanks to Cake

This week, on my little mini vacation, I’ve started reading The Vacationers.  A few of you guys have recommended it to me, and I can’t wait to dive into it!

Vacationers Emma Staub | No Thanks to Cake

Current Music:

I’ve been listening to a bunch of Train this month!  I’ll share more about how it all went next week… but I got to see a private concert with these guys on the USS Midway this week!  OMG…

Train | No Thanks to CakeFavorite Song:  Hands down… Drops of Jupiter.  Takes me back to my college days… their new stuff is great too.  Love these guys!

Current Beauty Find:

Bright lipstick. This summer, I’ve started wearing some great bright-colored lipstick.  I just love it, and it brightens up your smile… so fun!

Revlon Matte Balm | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve been inspiring some other blogger friends to try these colors too… so first, let me tell you that they’re just Revlon.  And, you can find them at your local Target, Walgreens, etc.  They’re part of the Revlon Matte Balm collection, and are those crayon-style lip colors.  As a bonus, these are minty too!  Try them out, and let me know what colors you love!

My faves are Unapologetic (a super-bright coral), Standout (a pretty, pretty red that appears to look good on EVERYONE), and Showy (a lovely pop of fuchsia.)

Current Nail Color:

I keep switching my polish, but I’ve ended up with black on my nails this week and Essie’s Butler Please for my toes… there’s something about me and blue right now.  I’m just going with it…

Butler Please| No Thanks to Cake

Current Drink: 

This month, I also tried my first Paloma.  Um, so delicious!  And, what a lovely alternative to the super-high calorie seniorita called the margarita.  I just pinned this recipe so that I can learn to make them at home…

Paloma | No Thanks to Cake(Source)

It is fresh, made with grapefruit soda and so refreshing!  Perfect for summer.  Try it!

Current Guilty Pleasure:

I bought a new bag.  It was at Nordstrom Rack… it was scared and alone, curled up in the fetal position.  It was scared.

Michael Kors | No Thanks to Cake

Was I really supposed to leave it behind??  Good news, I don’t change out my purse very often….

Current Food:

I have a new snack that I can’t get enough of… Have you tried Balance Bars?  Thanks to my friends at Balance Bar for the introduction to these AMAZING bars this month… such a fan!

Balance Bar | No Thanks to Cake

OMG… the Cookie Dough and ESPECIALLY the Peanut Butter.  Perfect snack… and they totally feel like you’re cheating.

Peanut Butter Balance Bar | No Thanks to Cake

Try them.  You’re welcome.

Current Favorite Show:

I really may delete this category for next month.  I just don’t watch much TV…

Current Outfit:

In preparation for my rockstar competition this week, I got a few new pieces to take to San Diego, including my first jumpsuit!

Jumpsuit | No Thanks to Cake

This is a pic from the shopping adventures… but it has since been altered for length and accessorized to perfection!  The San Diego recap post will have the final look… very excited to share!

Bizarre Happening:

I keep losing things.  When I’m stressed, there’s no telling what I’ll do… but losing the makeup bag I keep in my purse last week and throwing away some new flip flops I bought are just a piece of the crazy that’s been happening here.

Makeup Bag | No Thanks to Cake

By the time you’re reading this, I will have seen the ocean, relaxed a bit at the pool, and returned to my normal, quirky (yet less crazy) self.

Current Online Find:

I absolutely love this commercial, and the fact that so many brands are aligning themselves with empowering young women.  Amazing work, Verizon…

Current Words of Inspiration:

I got a random envelope on my front doorstep last Friday.  And, inside of it was a message that I needed to read…

She Believed She Could So She Did | No Thanks to Cake

With all that’s going on, my friend Jen unknowingly sent me the exact message I needed, at just the right time.  I love it when that happens… and I love “just because” packages.  Note to self: I must do more of these for my people!

Current Mood:

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how grateful I am for everything these days.  For all that fills my days, for the people who make my world, and all of you who visit my little space on the internet.

Incredibly Grateful | No Thanks to Cake

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View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently:  June

Currently: May

Currently:  April

Currently: March 

Currently: February

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Avocado Salsa

Ever since the Fitbloggin Avocado contest, I’ve been completely hooked on avocados.  I just can’t get enough of them.

And… next week, as part of my prize pack for winning 2nd place in the recipe contest, the commission is sending me an ENTIRE BOX of California Avocados.  Can you imagine??? I’m so excited!

I’ve been eating a lot of carrots lately as snacks, and I wanted a different kind of dip to use with them.  I always like to put something on them… whether it’s Laughing Cow Cheese (a fave!) or one of my homemade healthy dips.  Then, I found this idea…

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

How delicious does that look? And, why haven’t I tried something like this before???  Adding an avocado to your favorite salsa gives it a creamy and decadent texture… perfect for dipping chips, vegetables, and it even can be used as a salad dressing!  So good!

Avocado Salsa

From The Picky Palate Cookbook

1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 small avocados, mashed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
½ lime, juiced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until blended.

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Serve with veggies or baked chips.

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

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