5 ways Crater Lake prepared me for life

5 Ways Crater Lake Camp Prepared Me for Life

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Twenty years ago this month, I loaded my backpack, laced up my hiking boots, and boarded a bus that was bound for an Amtrak station. On that day, I said goodbye to what might have been the most memorable Summer I’ve ever had. After my seventh visit* to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico, I knew that a significant chapter of my life was coming to a close.

I was not going to return to Scouting Paradise in 1997. I was already committed to taking a Summer class at Milligan. 1998 was out, too. I was already on track for an internship that Summer. And who knew what was going to happen beyond college, but I was 99.99% sure that spending another summer on staff at Philmont was not going to be in the proverbial cards. I knew that my stint as a member of the 1996 Crater lake staff was going to be my last hurrah.

And I was going to make the most of it.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with during that final Summer. Andy, Ron, Karl, and Jon were some pretty great guys. They still are. Sometimes, I felt a bit out of my league as their teammate. They were hilarious. Creativity oozed out of their pores. You know how everyone talks about the Magnificent Seven from the Atlanta Games in 1996? I believe the 1996 Crater Lake crew was just as magnificent. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that I was in the presence of greatness the Summer of 1996.

There are a lot of great memories that I still carry with me from that Summer: getting pelted by golfball-sized hail, climbing on the roof of our cabin to gaze into the vast expanse of stars every night, throwing a loaf of bread across the dinner table any time someone asked for some bread, and the hundreds of Scouts we taught how to climb a spar pole, just to name a few.

Spar Pole Climbing at Crater Lake in 1996

The Summer of 96 was life-changing for me. I became friends with an amazing group of guys. I made some amazing memories. And it prepared me for the rest of my life.

5 ways serving on staff at Crater Lake at Philmont Scout Ranch prepared me for life:

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Easy Orange Chicken and Rice

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ReadySetServe #CollectiveBias

Easy Orange Chicken and Rice Recipe #ReadySetServe [AD]

Always on the go.

Life is pretty hectic around here..

Now that school has started, it’s even more hectic. While Christy’s getting ready for her teaching job, It’s my job to light a fire under our three high schoolers so they’re up, dressed, and out the door in time for the school bus to arrive before the crack of dawn. Then, after they’re on their way to their respective schools, our youngest and I get ready to go to our school.

That’s right. I work at my daughter’s school. While I love working there, I don’t think anyone is as excited as she is about this new development. She’s always excited to see Daddy when she walks down the hallway. It gives me a little lift during the day, too.

Believe me.

Work is fast-paced. I’m working directly with students and every day presents a new set of challenges, surprises, and opportunities. Almost every part of my day is busy. Even lunch.

It doesn’t really slow down after school, either. If I’m not picking up one of our two athletes from their practices, I’m heading to meetings or helping someone with homework. My afternoons and evenings are just as hectic as my mornings.

Lunch time?

I really don’t have very much time to pack myself elaborate lunches. Shoot, I’m lucky to get our daughter’s lunches packed in the morning. And since I only have a half an hour for lunch, I really don’t have much time to prepare anything during my lunch time. It has to be quick and easy. Because this is one of the few “down” moments I have in the day, I want to make the most of it. There’s no room for bland meals. It’s just unacceptable.

Minute Ready to Serve Rice is easily portable #ReadySetServe [AD]

That’s why Minute® Ready to Serve Rice has become a regular part of my school lunches. The cups are portable and easily fit inside my backpack. They’re ready to eat in 60 seconds. And with a wide variety of flavors, a Minute Ready to Serve rice cup can be served with almost any meal at any time of the day. The flavors include:

  • Brown Rice
  • Brown and Wild Rice
  • Multi-Grain Medley
  • Brown Rice & Quinoa
  • Basmati Rice
  • Jasmine Rice
  • White Rice
  • Chicken Rice Mix
  • Fried Rice

Available at groceries nationwide, I found several flavors at my nearby Walmart. They’re the perfect size for a meal, ensuring a healthy portion to help provide the necessary fuel for my day. With a quick stop at the store, I am able to pick up a few simple ingredients for some great lunches during the week.

Minute Ready to Serve Rice store collage #ReadySetServe [AD]

If you can’t come up with something amazing to do with these different flavors, Minute Rice has taken things a step further. They provide some great recipe ideas on their facebook page.

I’m a big fan of a recipe I’ve created myself: Easy Orange Chicken and Rice. Just like the Minute Ready to Serve cups, this meal is easy to carry, easy to make, and full of flavor. The sauce takes just a few minutes to make ahead of time, but it’s so quick even I can fit it into my hectic schedule.

Minute Ready to Serve Rice at Walmart #ReadySetServe

Here’s what I use to make my Easy Orange Chicken and Rice:

1 Minute Ready to Serve Basmati Rice Cup
1/2 Cup Popcorn Chicken
1/4 Cup Orange Chicken Sauce (see below)

Easy Orange Chicken and Rice Ingredients #ReadySetServe

It doesn’t really matter where you get the popcorn chicken. You can buy some hot popcorn chicken from your neighborhood grocery. Or you can buy a bag of frozen popcorn chicken if you’d like. That’s what I usually do. I grab a handful of popcorn chicken from the freezer, toss it in a storage container, and bring it with me to work. It’s almost as easy as grabbing the cup of Minute Ready to Serve Rice!

Once you have all of your ingredients, here’s what you do. Don’t blink while you read this or you might miss something. It’s that quick.

Heat the chicken, according to directions. Set aside and allow it to cool.

Remove lid from Minute Ready to Serve Basmati Rice. Heat according to directions.

Warm up the Orange Sauce.

Combine the chicken, Minute Ready to Serve Rice, and Orange Sauce.

Eat and enjoy! 

Here’s how to make the sauce.

1/3 Cup Orange Marmalade
1/3 Cup Barbecue Sauce
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce

Orange Sauce #ReadySetServe

Combine all three ingredients.

Simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes.
-OR-
Microwave for 1 minute.

Stir.

Keep in refrigerator in an airtight container until needed for your Easy Orange Chicken and Rice.

I told you it was easy.

This Easy Orange Chicken and Rice lives up to its name. I’m not sure if it could be any less complicated. And thanks to the convenience of Minute Ready to Serve Rice cups, it’s a dish that can be ready in five minutes or less. It’s perfect for my hectic work days. And the tangy sweetness of the sauce makes this an oh-so good lunch!

Ready for lunch #ReadySetServe [AD]

You can easily adapt this dish to fit your preferences. Sometimes I like to add some veggies, like broccoli and carrots to this dish. And diced pineapple is a fruit to have as a side.

That’s just the beginning.

There are so many different ways you can use Minute Ready to Serve Rice that the Easy Orange Chicken is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I can use the cups in my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It makes a great midday snack. It’s great in soups and salads. Shoot, I can even use it in a dessert!

The possibilities are endless. Fortunately, Minute Rice has compiled some great recipe ideas that are quick, easy, and delicious. You can find these ideas on Instagram and via their Twitter profile, They also have a searchable database of recipes available here. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have to try the Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding next Fall!

Which Minute Ready to Serve Rice recipe are you going to try?

Please share in the comments below.

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Politics, leadership, and just getting by

Leadership Quotes

This post may use affiliate links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

“Getting by”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that political season is in full swing as we are hurtling towards November’s General Election at breakneck speed. The two parties’ national conventions are behind us and I although I only listened to a few speeches during those two weeks, the fear-mongering was in full display. And now we’re about to be bombarded with even more negative ads after negative ads, accusing politician’s opponents of doing everything from willfully watching corporations send good-paying jobs overseas to secretly kicking puppies and taking candy from sweet, innocent children.

I fully expect a whole lot of arguments about why I should vote against candidates and not very many arguments about why I should vote for their opponents. Such is the nature of contemporary politics, unfortunately. But, hey, it works. Or so they say, anyway. I disagree. Shouting down your opponent isn’t winning. It’s bullying. Turning your opponent into a straw man caricature you can easily convince 51% of the people to vote against doesn’t give you a mandate. It’s just getting by.

Just “getting by” is not acceptable. It isn’t acceptable for my kids when they do their homework. It’s not acceptable at most jobs, either. So why is just “getting by” acceptable when it comes to our elected leaders?

Servanthood and leadership

As I was contemplating making a run at the governorship, I thought a lot about leadership and what I believe a public leader should be like. I thought back to one of my favorite classes from my seminary days. It gave me a lot of leadership concept to chew on. That was ten years ago. I’m still chewing on them.

I even went back to my notes from Dr. Wasem’s class. As I perused those notes, it strengthened my belief that true leadership isn’t displayed by those who shout the loudest or generate the most fear. Leadership is about servanthood. That’s the heartbeat of a leader. With that in mind, I wonder what our local, state and Federal governments would look like if leaders truly approached their positions as service opportunities – chances to get their hands dirty – instead of stepping stools and ways to grab more power. That’s what Hans Finzel says in
The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make
:

A servant leader must be willing to get ‘down and dirty’ with his [or her] troops in the implementation of his [or her] objectives.

Don’t get me wrong. I know some people who approach their leadership positions with true servants’ hearts. They are heroes. I wish politicians would emulate them more.

I also found a few quotes about leadership while I was reading. I think they’re worth sharing here:

Changes

Change is inevitable; not to change is a sure sign of imminent extinction. Hans Finzel

This is true in almost every area of life. Look at a teenager. Holy cow, things are changing every single day, and sometimes multiple times a day. There’s also regular change in Church life, family life, society in general, world affairs, government, politics…you get the point?

Things change. It happens. So we look to leaders – servants who have gotten their hands dirty with us, who lead from the trenches – to help us navigate change. That’s how we move beyond merely surviving to thriving. And that’s what I want to do.

Change is inevitable. So why not make the most of it? Why not use it to expect our leaders to stop shooting for “just getting by” into the realm of dynamic, challenging, and inspirational leadership. That’s what our country needs.

Changing laws and changing hearts

And then there’s this quote. I like it. A lot. I’ve tried saying something similar. I even did it in one of the first posts I ever wrote. Mr. Greenleaf was just more succinct and eloquent.

we in the United States are more naive than most about what can be done with law, especially with the labyrinth of laws with which business is surrounded. It comes out better if one persuades rather than compels. Robert K. Greenleaf

I could easily write several posts that disagree with this quote. I could also write just as many posts supporting it. With that being said, I’d like for this quote to remind us that we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket if we want real, lasting change. And since change is going to happen anyway (see above), let’s pursue lasting change that makes a difference.

A change in leadership

Meaningful change can happen, folks. It can even happen in the midst of our national parties doing nothing but puffing themselves up while tearing their opponents down. We need real leadership. Servant leadership. And I imagine this happens from the ground up. It doesn’t require a top-level position. It does require dirty hands. And a servant’s heart.

I’m tired of putting people into power who are simply aiming to “get by,” aiming for the common denominator that gets them just enough votes to slip them into power. Aren’t you? Let’s do something about it.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a towel. Let’s get started. Let’s navigate change together and make the world a better place. Together. If we do that, maybe our politicians will follow our lead. If not, maybe we need some new leadership.

Who’s with me?

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Here’s my decision about running for Governor of Indiana

State Flag of Indiana

My fellow Hoosiers (and all Americans, for that matter):

As you know, in the wake of Governor Mike Pence’s nomination to join Donald Trump’s ticket the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States, an interesting opportunity has presented itself. The Republican Party of the State of Indiana needs a new nominee to run for Governor. Several established candidates have announced their intentions to seek this nomination. And party leaders are supposed to gather Tuesday morning. They will decide Governor Pence’s on the ballot this November. And now that Governor Pence has thrown his support behind Lt. Governor Holcomb, it makes many wonder if the decision has already been made.

Nevertheless, there is still hope. There is still time for someone to swoop in at the last-minute and make a compelling case that he or she should be the Republican nominee. It would make sense for this person to be an outsider with no political baggage to weigh down a campaign that would have to hit the ground running. There’s very little time between now and November. It would have to take someone who is passionate about Indiana and can clearly communicate his or her ideas in a concise, memorable way. There is a chance that this kind of outsider could sway the voting public.

I love our state. And I love our people. I even love the people with whom I fundamentally disagree – both on the Right and the Left. When you count Summer jobs, I have lived in five different states over the past 30 years. Nothing against the fine citizens of those other states, but Hoosiers always have been and always will be my favorite people. That’s why we moved back to Indiana ten years ago. And that’s why we plan on staying here for a long time.

I’m an outsider.

I have leadership experience.

I love Indiana.

I have thought long and hard about this. I have bounced the idea off of family and friends. I have prayed about it with open eyes, ears, and an open heart. I even threw the question out there on social media several times. Thank you to the tens of people who answered my unofficial poll. Your encouragement strengthened my resolve.

Now, more than ever, we need to continue to seek new, strong, empowering leaders who are not part of the political machine. We need a fresh batch of political outsiders who remember what it’s like to be Jack and Diane Hoosier. And we need strong servant leadership.

I’ve taken all of this into consideration and have come to a solid conclusion.

I will not be seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for Governor of the State of Indiana.

That’s right. I’ve decided to side with #NoMattNo instead of #GoMattGo. I’m sorry if this disappoints you. But it’s the right thing to do for our State. It’s the right thing to do for my family. And those are the most important things when considering a decision like this one.

I’m sorry if this disappoints you. But it’s really the best decision for this election cycle. While I”m convinced that I’m not the right person for this position at this time, don’t rule me out in 2020, though. Who knows where I’ll show up on the ballot. Or maybe, more importantly, where will you show up on the ballot? Because one or two people cannot do it alone. If you’re disappointed in the candidate choices this year, then do something about it! Encourage people to run. Consider throwing your own hat in the ring. Choose people who are going to represent us, not the special interests. Support candidates you want to vote for instead of fighting against candidates you want to vote against.

I’m sure my Democrat and Republican friends will be upset with this, but don’t limit your choices to just one party. Consider a split ticket. Or maybe even consider a Third Party candidate or two. Don’t let the Establishment fool you. Remember, a vote for a “third party” candidate is not throwing your vote away.

My fellow Hoosiers, we need unity, not division. I firmly believe that the best days of Indiana are ahead of us. I am also convinced that we will not reach our fullest potential unless we figure out ways to work together. Perhaps the presence of more than two parties will require everyone to work together.

Because it’s only when we’re united that Indiana will truly be a state that works.

 

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Nope. No candidacy announcement today. Sorry.

Patriotic Juggler

I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat in anticipation, asking the same questions over and over and over again.

Which will it be?

#GoMattGo
or
#NoMattNo
??

I know I said I’d be making an announcement today about whether I’m going to pursue the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana. Sometimes, these decisions take time. So i don’t have an announcement for you today. I hear that the Indiana GOP leaders are supposed to gather and make a decision on Tuesday of next week. So I guess I have a little bit of time, although time is most definitely ticking away.

Tick-tock

Tick-tock

Tick-tock

Do not be troubled, though, friends. Not all is lost. You didn’t waste your time by visiting here today. I leave you with Uncle Sam juggling on the lawn of home of former Governor of Indiana and President Benjamin Harrison. Can things scream Hoosier Pride more than that? OK, maybe he could be eating a pork tenderloin sandwich while juggling, but that might be a bit too much…

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on


Are you not entertained?

This video is especially poignant for me right now. Of course, there’s the whole “politics feels like a circus” angle, but this is a bit more personal. I feel like I’m doing my best to be that guy, juggling my heart out and trying to keep everything in the air without crashing down around me. And I’m not nearly as skilled as good old Juggling Uncle Sam is. Unfortunately.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like you’re doing your best to keep everything moving just the right way, but you’re just one misstep from everything crashing down around you? What do you do? What has helped you get through the chaos?

If I’m going to run for Governor of Indiana, I need to be able to handle storms while keeping everything in the air that needs to be in the air. Even if I don’t run for Governor, I need to find ways to improve the way I navigate the chaos.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily think I need to have all of my proverbial ducks in a neat row. I do, however, think I should at least know how many ducks I have. And I’d like to keep them from crashing to the ground in a fiery ball of fire.

So, do you have any tips, tricks, or advice? I would love to hear it.

Oh, and if you want to voice your #GoMattGo or #NoMattNo opinion, there’s still time.

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If I ran for Governor of Indiana, what would be my campaign song?

Vote for Matt Todd for Governor of Indiana

If I was going to run for Governor of Indiana – and I haven’t decided yet; an announcement is supposed to be coming on Wednesday, remember? – But if I do choose to run for Governor of Indiana, I figure I should have a campaign song ready to use right out the gate. I thought about using “We are the Champions” by Queen, but that’s kind of generated its own controversy this week, so I should probably pass on it.

But, being the recovering Band Geek that I am, I know the power of music. So I know that I need to choose something that communicates what my campaign will be all about. It also needs to inspire. And it won’t hurt if it gets stuck in your head. You know. Like an earworm. So here are the songs that are on my shortlist for a campaign song.

Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi

The Great Adventure, Steven Curtis Chapman

It’s the End of the World (As We Know It), R.E.M.

Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship

Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin

SO, these are my finalists. Unless I think of another one. Then I’ll probably add it to my short list of songs. I think each song is pretty self-explanatory and captures some of the emotions of a dark horse like me trying to become Governor of Indiana. And that’s going to be pretty important for someone like me if I decide to throw my hat in the ring.

That’s, of course, if I decide to seek the GOP nomination now that Mike Pence is out of the race. And that’s a big if. I gigantic if. You might say it’s a HUUUUGE if.

There’s still time to voice your opinion about whether I should run or not. If you think I should not run, tweet this message:

If you think I should seek the GOP nomination for Governor of Indiana, tweet this message:

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’ve got to call my lawyers and get them working on obtaining permission to use these songs for my campaign. Of course, if I don’t get permission, I could wind up getting more media coverage. Right? And that would help with name recognition. And they say that no publicity is bad publicity. But do they really still say that? Because I know of plenty of publicity that’s bad publicity. But the real question is if this would constitute bad publicity.

I don’t know.

But the risk probably isn’t worth the potential reward. After all, I don’t have a huge campaign war chest to pay any potential legal bills for copyright infringement or anything like that. Speaking of money, I really don’t have any money to spend to obtain the usage rights for any of these songs. And I certainly don’t have the money to hire a crack team of lawyers to protect me.

So maybe I’ll have to just find a song that’s available in public domain. Anybody wanna sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” for me?

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Contemplating a run for governor of Indiana

Vote for Matt Todd for governor of Indiana?

Well, it’s official. Donald Trump has announced his running-mate. Indiana governor, Mike Pence, isn’t running for re-election anymore. He hopes to become our next Vice President. So it’s guaranteed that Hoosiers are going to choose a new governor this November. But who’s going to replace him?

John Gregg?

Representative Todd Rokita?

Representative Susan Brooks?

Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb?

me?

Like many Hoosiers, I held my nose when I entered the voting booth during primary season. I’m not sure if there were any candidates I was happy to support. I found myself voting against candidates instead of for candidates in many of the races. And those who ran for their nomination unopposed? I didn’t vote for anyone for that didn’t have someone running against them. This state is full of too many great people to leave the decision-making to just a handful of people. This state has extremely smart people who can think outside the box and get things done. There’s a lot of common sense in Indiana. Why do we leave government in the hands of just a few people, many of whom are beholden to special interests instead of the concerns of Jack and Diane in Everytown, Indiana?

So I left my polling place feeling kind of disgusted. I fully believe in the potential of American democracy. It’s a beautiful thing. But we’ve let much of our government fall into the hands of an oligarchy that’s bought and supported by Big-Fill-In-The-Blank (Oil, Pharma, Hollywood, Climate, you name it, there’s a Big label for it). And that’s not OK.

Maybe it’s my fault.

So after I voted, I started to wonder if maybe I was partially to blame? Well, not just me, but all of us who might be considered Jack or Diane Hoosier. Maybe we’re to blame because we’ve abdicated our responsibility. There’s a good portion of citizens in Indiana who would be great civil servants. But, for whatever reason, none of us have. And so we’re left holding the bag with less-than-exciting choices to lead our State and Federal governments.

Republicans and Democrats always seem to be duking it out. Can't we all just get along for once?

Is now the time?

So now there’s this tiny window of opportunity that presents itself. With Governor Pence leaving the governor’s race, the Republican nomination is now up for grabs. What if a non-establishment candidate, someone who isn’t bogged down by the insane politics we’ve experienced recently and can possibly bring some common sense and unity back to the State of Indiana threw his or her hat in the ring? I love our state. The longer I’m here, the more I love the people I can call my neighbors. And I want to see Indiana great again. So maybe I should listen to myself and take my own advice. I’ve told other people that if they don’t like the choices they see in the voting booth, then they should do something about it. Maybe that means they should run.

But maybe I should listen to myself. Maybe instead of telling everyone else they should do something about the choices by running for public office, maybe should practice what I’m preaching.

Should I run for governor of Indiana?

Remember when Pat Buchanan left the Republican Party and ran for President as a member of the Reform Party? I do. OK, I really don’t remember much about his campaign or what he stood for, but I do remember that he presented himself as  political outsider as he left the GOP.

And he had a catchy slogan: “Go Pat Go.”

As I’m contemplating this run for governor of the State of Indiana, I’ve settled on two slogans to help me with my decision. I’d really like your help in deciding whether to make this run.

If you think I should throw caution to the wind and toss my hat into the ring and run for Governor of Indiana in 2016, tweet something with the hashtag #GoMattGo. I know. It’s such a witty play off of Mr. Buchanan’s slogan.

If you think I should not attempt to become the Republican candidate, then tweet something with the hashtag #NoMattNo. I know. I’m so creative. Right?

Or you can leave your opinion in the comments section of this post. But please be respectful. No name calling in regards to other candidates. This post will be highly moderated and there will be a zero-tolerance policy.

Time is running out. I think the Indiana Republican Party has to make a decision very, very soon. I don’t have time to form an exploratory committee or anything like that. I don’t have a platform established. And I definitely don’t have the money to mount a campaign. This would have to be a major grassroots effort to convince the bigwigs in charge of the Indiana GOP to choose me over some well-established candidates.

With all of that considered, I plan on announcing a decision by Wednesday afternoon.

I know you’ll be on the edge of your seat in anticipation of this announcement. I know I will be.

 

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Grilled Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers with Lime

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyKCMasterpiece #CollectiveBias

Grilled Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers with Lime [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

I love to grill. I think it’s a passion that I inherited from my dad. I’m not quite the grill master that he is, but I’m learning more every day. If I could use my grill for every meal every day of the week, I think I’d be a happy man. I’ve even been known to occasionally fire up the grill after a snowstorm. Freezing air shouldn’t be a deterrent from flame-kissed goodness. And now that summer is here, there’s no excuse. The grill must be used early and often. I love experimenting on the grill and discovering new flavors. It’s such an exciting endeavor. KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub helps add even more variety to my grilling efforts.

KC Masterpiece Dry Mix [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

I found KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub in the condiment aisle at my neighborhood Kroger. It’s a versatile mix that opens up my grilling experience to a whole new world of possibilities. It is currently available in two different flavors: Original and Sweet Honey and it’s a great addition to my grilling toolbox.

My Grill [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

Between now and August 31, you can get $1.00 off your purchase of KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce & Dry Rub!

KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce & Dry Rub is amazingly versatile. Each box comes with two pouches of spice and can yields 16 ounces of sauce. It can be used as a dry rub. It can also be used to make BBQ sauce, marinade, or a dipping sauce. I can customize the flavors by adding my own liquid to the mix. You can use water, your favorite soft drink, coffee, juice, lemonade, or even beer or bourbon to create an amazing flavor that tastes just how you like it.

Mango Lime Coconut BBQ shrimp skewers closeup [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

The summer heat makes me long for fresh seafood. It reminds me of the great times we’ve had as a family on the beach. I wanted to give KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce & Dry Rub a try, so it just made sense to create a marinade for a great seafood dish: Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers with Lime. It’s a great combination of sweet and spicy with a tropical tanginess.

Putting together this marinade was almost effortless. Here’s what I did.

Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers with Lime

Ingredients [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

Ingredients:

  • 1 package KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes
  • 1 cup Mango Nectar
  • 1 or 2 Limes
  • 1 pound Raw Jumbo Shrimp, deveined and with shells removed
  • Bamboo Skewers

Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers with Lime [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

What to do:

  1. Combine mango nectar, coconut flakes, and KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix &Dry Rub in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add shrimp to the mix.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. While the shrimp are marinating, soak bamboo skewers for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Slice limes.
  6. After marinating the shrimp for at least 30 minutes, preheat your grill.
  7. Add shrimp and lime to skewers, alternating the shrimp with the limes. Make sure the limes and shrimp are touching. That’ll help encourage flavor transfer from the lime to the shrimp.
  8. Place shrimp and lime skewers on the grill, set at medium heat.
  9. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once.
  10. Remove skewers and put them on a plate when the shrimp has turned a nice pink color. The meat inside should be white and opaque. Don’t overcook your shrimp!It will be rubbery.
  11. Eat!

It’s really that easy! You can adjust the recipe as much as you’d like. Want more coconut? Go for it? Not a fan of coconut? Go ahead and take it out. You could add some lime juice to the mix to ensure some more tanginess. And I’m sure this would be great on chicken, too!

The sky’s really the limit with KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce & Dry Rub. This specially blended mix gives you the freedom to let your imagination run wild. I have some other ideas in mind for future grilling adventures. I definitely want to give it a try with some grape juice on a nice cut of beef or pork. The sweet and smoky flavors would be great for a mid-Summer date night at home.

Kroger [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

So head on over to the condiment aisle of your neighborhood Kroger. Grab a couple of boxes of KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub, and get to grilling!

Grilled Lime Mango Coconut BBQ Shrimp Skewers [AD] #MyKCMasterpiece

What flavors do YOU want to combine with KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub? Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

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Backyard camping with Southwest Chicken Foil Dinners

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias

Southwest Chicken Foil Dinners [AD] #KingOfFlavor

Thanks to the youth organization I participated in during my middle school and high school years, I used to go camping. A lot. Not counting our backpacking treks in New Mexico and the week-long summer camps that we ran ourselves, I could generally plan on going on eight or nine different campouts throughout the year. When you add that up over the course of seven-plus years, that’s a lot of camping.

I still love to camp. I still love to make memories. I love being outdoors. There’s nothing like sitting outside on a clear night and getting lost in the stars as they canvas the sky. There’s really nothing like camping with family and friends.

Playing in the backyard tent [AD] #KingOfFlavor

Of course, you don’t really have to go anywhere to camp. If you have a any size of backyard at all, you can pitch a tent without leaving home. That’s what we’ve started doing. And as you can see, our youngest is a big fan of hanging out and playing  in “her” tent.

El Yucateco® is giving entrants the chance to win a one-of-a-kind custom designed surfboard, camping packages and MORE!

El Yucateco Go-Native Sweepstakes

One of my favorite things about camping is the food. There’s just something special about sharing a meal around a campfire. In order to make sure the meal is bursting with flavor, you want to have the right tools on hand. El Yucateco® Hot Sauces are a great way to enhance the flavor of your camp meal.

El Yucateco sauces outside [AD] #KingOfFlavor

Available at retailers nationwide, El Yucateco® Hot Sauces are available in a variety of flavors. El Yucateco® is a fun, accessible brand of sauce that encourages me to get outside and make the most of these great Summer months. Of course, it is a must-have for camping because it is great at bringing out the flavors of other foods. And the bottle is small enough that it’s easily portable. You can bring it to neighborhood block parties, family barbecues, and even your neighborhood restaurant, taking advantage of its great food-enhancing flavor.

I love the variety of flavors of El Yucateco® Hot Sauces. There’s Black Label Reserve, which is made from fire-grilled habaneros and has a unique smoky flavor. There’s also the Red Habanero Hot Sauce, a combination of habanero peppers, tomatoes, and spices. It’s the perfect “all-purpose” sauce. There’s also the XXX Habanero Sauce from the Mayan vault, Chipotle Hot Sauce, and Caribbean Hot Sauce. And, of course, there’s the Green Chile Habanero Hot Sauce, which is their national bestseller.

I found El Yucateco® Hot Sauces in the “Hispanic Foods” section of my neighborhood Walmart.

In store collage El Yucateco [AD] #KingOfFlavor

I have discovered some amazing campfire recipes during my camping excursions. Some of my favorites include Peach Cobbler, Spaghetti Creole, Racin’ Eggs, and Foil Dinners. Foil Dinners are a great meal for any campout. They’re easy to make and each camper makes his or her own foil package and fills it up with favorite veggies and meat. After cooking them in the campfire, they’re ready to eat. While you can use any meat you’d like: shrimp, pork, chicken, ground beef, a family favorite of ours is chicken. Southwest Chicken Foil Dinners, to be precise. They’re so easy to make and each bite is full of flavor thanks to the El Yucateco® Red Habanero Hot Sauce that’s part of this recipe.

How to make Southwest Chicken Foil Dinners

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Go after your dreams

"Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without the will to start, the enthusiasm to continue and, regardless of temporary obstacles, the persistence to complete" - Waite Phillips

Is there really anything else that needs to be said about this quote from Waite Phillips?

“Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without the will to start, the enthusiasm to continue and, regardless of temporary obstacles, the persistence to complete”

Waite Phillips should know. The oil tycoon turned philanthropist is the benefactor of Philmont Scout Ranch and his generosity has impacted millions of young men and women around the world. And I’m one of them. I learned a lot about life, leadership, and perseverance during my Philmont experiences. These lessons set a foundation for the rest of my life.

Thanks to the generosity of Waite Phillips, I have several dreams. And I’m not going to give up pursuing those dreams – even when it seems impossible. Because sometimes things are supposed to be hard. Life is hard. Obstacles can be difficult. That’s what makes them worth pursuing. And that’s what makes the achievement even more rewarding. Right?

I’ve got this. We’ve got this.

What are you dreaming about? Do you have any big, hairy, audacious goals?

Feel free to share your dreams and goals in the comments below. Let’sl work together to encourage, challenge, and support each other as we pursue our dreams. Because the dreams might be yours, and they might seem impossible, but you know what they say…

teamwork makes the dream work.

We’ve got this. No dream is too big. No dream is too silly, either. Let’s work together to accomplish our dreams. That’s how we’re going to make the world a better place. And it’s through this process that we discover what we were made to do, what we were made to be. And when we’ve discovered that, it’s when we truly start living.

So no more excuses. No more delay. It doesn’t matter how difficult things are. Let’s start working together to see our dreams become a reality.

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