Bonnaroo- The Happiest Place on Earth

Happy Hi-Five Friday to all my fellow Roovians! I dont know about ya’ll but I sure am missing the farm right about now.

This was my first time at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. and it was magical, hot and surprisingly had really good food! Whoever said Disney was the happiest place on Earth clearly has never been to Bonnaroo.

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The Experience

The whole Bonnaroo experience is hard to sum into words. It’s more of a feeling than anything else. A feeling of acceptance, a feeling of community. I talked to total strangers and made an effort to get outside my comfort zone and be more friendly and open to everyone. And that’s just the beginning of what your experience on The Farm.

But I feel the best way to really understand what it’s like at Bonnaroo is to see a part of it for yourself. Enjoy.

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To The King of the Castle

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DAD’S OUT THERE!!!

I want to take a second and brag on how absolutely amazing my Daddy is! The first thing you should know about him is that he is one of the funniest people you will ever meet. He is just like a big kid that loves to have a good time and make people laugh.

The second thing you should know about my dad is that he bleeds orange and white. That’s right, because of him our entire family are HUGE Tennessee Volunteers fans. Additionally, because of this my sister and myself have had sports ingrained in us from a very young age and I love that! We have an annual tradition to take a trip up to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville to cheer on our Vols. This has become on of my favorite memories that we share.

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Washington D.C.

Last week my parents, sister Jordan, and grandparents, along with my boyfriend Bradley (Lord bless his heart) went to our Nation’s capitol, WASHINGTON D.C.! To say it was amazing is an understatement.

My sister planned everything out for us and she did such a fantastic job. The first night we arrived and we immediately hopped on the Metro and headed to Union Station for a night tour of all the monuments. It was breathtaking. All these historic figures, lit up like Christmas, truly beautiful.

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The next day was Smithsonian day. We toured the Natural History Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the Air and Space Museum. There were so many neat things to see and do in these museums, like the Hope Diamond, a GIANT squid that was found in the deep deep ocean, and some of the most incredible photos from the 21st Nature’s Best Photography Awards.

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Lazy Rainy Mornings

Happy almost end of the semester to all my fellow students! We’re almost done! Hooray!!

This semester has been an exhausting one for me, I’ve had a full-time class schedule, an internship with a local sports radio station, I work part-time as an after-school family, AND I tried to maintain some form of social life; although some Friday nights all I wanted to do was have a glass of wine, take a bubble bath and go to bed by midnight.

In the midst of my stress, one thing always relieves my tension; and that is baking!

I think it’s important to have a stress relief coping skill because sometimes life just gets hard and you need an escape, even if it’s only for a little bit. Whether its writing, fishing, painting, baking or any other form healthy relief, find what makes you happy and use that when life gets overwhelming. Stress can make you feel as though you have to get everything done right now, but faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s timing.  And while you’re waiting for His timing, do what you love!

For instance, this past week I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed and stressed with all the final projects, exams, and assignments I have as finals week is rapidly approaching. So, this Monday was a rainy one (and also my mornings off) and I decided to take a step back, trust God and pray that He will get me through this stressful time. And I decided to make homemade scones and enjoy a little R&R with my boyfriend, Bradley.

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Spring BAKE

So like many American’s recently, I have become OBSESSED with The Great British Bake Off. If you don’t know what that is you are seriously missing out! But don’t worry, 3 seasons of it are on Netflix and I highly suggest you go binge watch it right now.

Because I have this strange obsession with British people and baking I have been inspired to channel my best Mary Berry impression and bake during my spring break. The first baked good I decided to conquer, that the bakers on the show made look super easy, is doughnuts.

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These are lemon poppy seed doughnuts with a lemon vanilla glaze. I chose to do these doughnuts because my boyfriend Bradley, who also loves the GBBO even if he won’t admit it, LOVES lemon poppy seed.

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My Grandpa

My grandpa is one of my biggest cooking inspirations and has been since I was a little girl. One of my earliest memories is baking and decorating Christmas cookies with him and my sister, Jordan on Christmas Eve. I cherish that memory dearly and we have continued that tradition to this day.

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This first thing you should know about my grandpa is that he loves his grandchildren and great grandchildren fiercely. When my sister and I were little it’s safe to say we were his world. Both he and my grandmother would spoil us so much and spend countless days with us. We loved having them around all the time and loved going on McDonald’s and “Duck Park” trip with them. Now that we’re grown, I get to see him spoil and love on my cousin’s four children as well. The two youngest boys love their ‘Papa’ and he loves them just as much.  Grandpa poured so much love on Jordan and myself and it’s so heartwarming seeing him pour that some love one his young great grandchildren as well. Continue reading “My Grandpa”

Deeda

Ya’ll I am SO excited for this week’s blog because it is about one of my favorite people featuring one of my favorite foods.

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My Deeda is a remarkable woman. The first thing I’m sure you’re thinking is “what the heck is a Deeda?!” Well, she is my paternal grandmother and even though she SWORE she would only be called ‘grandmother’ by her grandchildren, everyone calls her Deeda (pronounced like dee-dah).

My Deeda married my grandfather and they had 3 children together; my late Uncle Alex, my Aunt Joanna and my father, Eddie. While they were growing up, my Deeda worked a full-time job but still found a way to have dinner on the table. She would make a calendar for the month and although the kids always tried to change the menu so they wouldn’t have to eat beets, my grandmother was always prepared for dinners; and that is still the case today.

She loves having the entire family for a meal, whether it be to celebrate a birthday, holidays, any special occasion. She just loves to host and have people over.

My Aunt and my dad both have found memories of the summers when they were home from school and although my Deeda was working, she would make homemade ice cream sandwiches. They loved those things!

My Deeda is motherly, kind, classy and such a fantastic cook. She is hard-working, involved with her church, and has love to give to every one she meets. She has taught me so much over the years and I’m so excited to learn and practice even more of her delicious recipes. Continue reading “Deeda”

Great Mama

My fondest memory about my Great Mama is centered around food. The earliest memories I have of my mom’s grandma, who we called Great Mama, were from our family reunions in Sacramento, California were my mom’s extended family lives.

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The first time I remember traveling to California for the family reunion is a little fuzzy since I was still a kid, maybe 7 or 8? But I can remember the first time I met my Great Mama. I remember thinking “my grandpa looks just like her” and that she had the most beautiful rose bushes in her yard. Then I tried her homemade, from scratch tortillas. HOLY GUACAMOLE! These tortillas are still a taste memory for me today (I can taste them as I type this). So naturally I was super excited to feature her and learn one of her favorite recipes. Continue reading “Great Mama”

Grandma Eva

Oh how I have heard SO many wonderful stories about my great Grandma Eva. She is my dad’s grandma and based on the picture to the left, my grandmother is a spitting image of her.

Eva Taylor was what I imagine the epitome of a “mother”. She had a house full of children whom she cooked for every single day. She loved baking just as much as she did cooking; she was famous for her chocolate cake and apple stack cake. Not only did she enjoy cooking but she also loved teaching her daughters how to cook. My grandmother and my great aunt both learned most of their cooking skills from her.

In addition for cooking, Grandma Eva also enjoyed canning. She would can fruits and vegetables from the garden and keep them all winter long.

Grandma Eva was motherly and resourceful. I sure do wish I had met her. But I can ‘t wait to try her recipes; cakes are one of my favorite things to make and it seems like they were hers too.

The recipe I’m doing for Grandma Eva is her famous chocolate cake with “topping”.

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For the cake, you will need: Continue reading “Grandma Eva”

My Momma

My momma is one of my biggest mentors when it comes to cooking. Nearly every single thing I know about cooking and baking I have learned from her and I can’t think of a better person to teach me even more. As you can tell, I’m definitely her mini-me.

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GiGi Bradford was born in California but her parents very quickly moved to England when my grandfather was stationed there. After living in England until she was 3, her parents moved to Brandon, Florida to start a family. She comes from a big Mexican-American family; all of whom are very close still today. We always joke that her side of the family is pretty much the family from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, only Mexican instead of Greek, HA!

According to my dad, she was not much of chef when they first got married (he may get in trouble for that…) but she has really become such an amazing cook today. She learned to cook from her own father and from her mother-in-law, Brenda. Her favorite thing to make is her DELICIOUS pot roast (her secret is red wine… shhh!) . However, she is also famous for her chocolate mocha chiffon cake in our house. What makes my mom such a great cook is that she loves taking recipes and then changing and adapting them to what she thinks taste best or will elevate the flavors in the dish. She is not a traditional cook by any means but that’s what makes her meals so tasty. Continue reading “My Momma”

Grandma Cecile

Grandma Cecile. Where this journey begins.

The wooden recipe box I received for Christmas (which is also the inspiration behind “Bless the Food”) belonged to her. I never met her but I have heard SO many wonderful stories about her.


Grandma Cecile is my dad’s grandmother, my great grandmother. She was all of 5 feet but had the temperament as if she were 10 feet tall and bulletproof. She loved to cook, bake and host company any time she could and always served tea or lemonade on her porch. She was the epitome of a “Southern Lady”.

Although she was a very proper classy lady, she also was not afraid to get her hands dirty by working in the massive garden her husband and she owned. She would drive the tractor, plant different vegetables, and mow right alongside my great grandfather and would do it happily. Everyone talks about what a green thumb she had (something I definitely admire because I kill every plant I have). According to family members, Grandma Cecile was a very traditional southern cook who loved to cook for her family. She always wanted to take care of anybody that came to her  home.

Grandma Cecile was poised, hardworking, hospitable, and feisty; everything I aspire to be. I never knew I had so much in common with her.

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