A Birthday Celebration

Today is the love of my life’s 23rd birthday and I cannot wait to spoil him like he spoils me every single day! Fair warning this may be a mushy, lovey-dovey post but when you have an amazing boyfriend like I do you wouldn’t be able to help it either. 😉

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Bradley and I met our freshman year of college but we didn’t start dating until our sophomore year. He just graduated from Kennesaw State University in May with an America Chemical Society certified degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He now works for Opti Medical as a Formulations Chemist and words cannot begin to describe how proud of him I am!

He is smart, genuine, loving, funny, this list goes on and on. He makes me laugh uncontrollably and is always up for an adventure. He’s made more confident in myself and has always encouraged me to reach for the stars and don’t settle in life. He is the calm to my chaos, the logic to my emotions, my other (better) half, and I thank God for him daily.

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Over the past 3.5 years, Bradley has changed my life. I know that must sound cliche but it’s true. He makes me think about the world differently and challenges me in ways I never knew I wanted/needed to be challenged. He makes me a better person just by being himself. He truly is my best friend, soulmate, and partner in life.

But, I think one of the things I love most about Bradley is that he is just as big of a foodie as I am! Even though he won’t eat anything green, he enjoys trying new foods and exploring different restaurants just like me. But his absolute favorite meal is a big ‘ol steak and a baked potato. So what the birthday boy wants, he gets.

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Bradley’s Meal:
Appetizer – Queso Fundido

  • 1 c. mozzarella
  • 1 c. Oaxaca or Quesadilla Cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. chorizo
  • Tortilla chips or warm tortillas (duh)

Heat oven to broil. In a skillet over medium heat, add chorizo and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet or ceramic dish add the cheese and broil until melted. Top with chorizo and serve immediately.

Rosemary Compound Butter steak

For the compound butter:

  • 1/2 c. fresh rosemary removed from stem
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly minced garlic
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) softened unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, using a rubber spatula mix ingredients until everything is incorporated (it will smell AMAZING).

Scoop the mixture onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Roll into a log and twist the ends shut. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until the butter is firm.

This can be used on just about anything; chicken, veggies, turkey, etc. But since Bradley is a complete carnivore this delicious butter is going on STEAK. I prefer to cook steak on the stovetop, I feel I can control the char and the internal temperature better this way. Once the steaks are cooked to their desired doneness (I prefer medium, Bradley prefers medium rare).

I top both steaks with about a tablespoon of the butter and let that melt completely. Once melted I continuously douse the steaks with the melted butter with a spoon until they are finished cooking. Remove from heat and rest for at least 5 minutes.

Nothing pares better with a steak than a baked potato. But regular isn’t my style. So I’m making my famous ‘Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes’ that are so sinful but SO delicious.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 1/2 c. Sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. Milk
  • 2 c. Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3-4 strips of Bacon, crumbled
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bake potatoes as you would a normal baked potato, about 45 minutes in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Pull the potatoes out of the oven and carefully cut a small slice off the top of the potato. Then, scoop the insides out of the potato, living enough on the sides of the potato to keep its shape without collapsing in. Place innards in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Add butter, sour cream, milk, and half the cheese and bacon to the potato and mash as you would mashed potatoes. Make sure everything is well combined. Scoop the mixture back into the potato shells.

Top with remaining cheese and bacon. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and pop them back in the oven just until the cheese is nice and melty on top.

This birthday meal has become a tradition of ours that I hope we carry-on for years to come. Bradley always seems to love my cooking and I love being able to make his favorite meal for him.

Happy birthday my love! 23 never looked so good!

Xoxo,

Jess

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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”