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. 😉

8ABB1899-D339-427B-8C31-6090AC80EB12

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.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, outdoor and nature

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.

Image may contain: Jessica Rae Bradford, smiling, indoor

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

Advertisements

Quick and Easy Breakfast

Adulting is hard Y’all!!

Most mornings, I’m running around getting ready and grab a protein shake as I run out the door. But sometimes I want more than a drink for breakfast. I need a little more substance, something a little more hearty to keep me full until lunchtime (or snack time, whatever comes first).

But if you’re like me, you don’t have time to make eggs or any other big breakfast before hurrying out the door. So, I’m sharing my recipe for Baked Oatmeal with Y’all! Continue reading “Quick and Easy Breakfast”

Southern Fried Catfish Tacos

When I was a kid, from ages 6 to around 9, my family lived in the middle of NOWHERE. My dad was in seminary to become a pastor and while he was finishing his degree at Candler School of Theology at Emory University he also preached at two small churches in The Rock, Georgia. Yes, that is a real place. Located about 7 miles North of Thomaston, The Rock is a small unincorporated town of Upson County.

We lived two houses down from the church, the only thing between the house and the church parking lot was the cemetery and our neighbor Mr. Johnny’s house. Although there was NOTHING around, as a small child I absolutely loved living in the country with a lot of open fields, tall trees to climb, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle all summer long.

IMG-3735.JPG
The Rock house, circa 2002, on a rare snowy day

It was incredible living in the country. I shot my first BB gun while living there, saw a deer get skinned, shucked buckets of corn, and had neighbors who owned multiple goats and a donkey named Marvin (who frequently escaped). Continue reading “Southern Fried Catfish Tacos”

A Weekend Getaway in Savannah, GA

This past weekend, I traveled to Savannah to visit my best friend, Marta, for her birthday! It’s been WAY too long since I saw her last (I think my bday last year) so I HAD to go see her and celebrate with her!

Snapseed.jpg

I’ve mentioned this before, but Marta has been my best friend since 8th grade. She’s smart, beautiful, funny, sassy, and truly one of the best people I know. She now lives in Savannah and works for Hancock Askew And Company CPA. Even though we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, our friendship will last a lifetime. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have her in my life.

Continue reading “A Weekend Getaway in Savannah, GA”

A Royal Tea Party Fit For a Queen

Raise your hand if you’ve been fangirling over the Royal engagement since December like I have!

If you know me at all, you know I have been obsessed with all things UK/England since
the sixth grade. And when I found out we have English blood on my mom’s mother’s side I was delighted. I cling to the little percentage because I just want to be able to say that’s part of my heritage.

In 2011, when Prince William and Princess Kate got married, my mom and I woke up SUPER early, made homemade scones and had a little ‘English tea party’ as we watched the Royal Wedding. I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT! So when Prince Harry got engaged to America’s Princess Megan Markle, I was stoked to have another tea party with my mom. Continue reading “A Royal Tea Party Fit For a Queen”

The Ultimate Guide to Travel in Israel

Shalom Y’all!

It’s been nearly two months since I was in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, Israel. It has everything you would want in a trip abroad: rich history,  incredible landscape, delicious food, diverse culture, and perfect temperatures. It’s a travel bloggers DREAM! I’m already planning on going back some day.

One of the reasons I had such a wonderful time was because of our tour leader, Jimmy. We LOVED Jimmy. He is from Jerusalem and has been leading tours for Educational Opportunities for decades, and he is SO good at his job. Each location we went to he had history, stories, and insights to the locations that just made each site memorable and impactful.

Continue reading “The Ultimate Guide to Travel in Israel”

Never Underestimate the Magic of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

“Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.”Ina Garten

Comfort food. It can be anything. Pizza, fried chicken, soup, cookies, you name it. Comfort food isn’t about the food itself, but the feeling it gives you while eating it. For a lot of people, comfort food can provide solace just as much as it can fuel.

Did you know that even King Solomon had a favorite comfort food? In Song of Solomon chapter two he writes “Strengthen me with raisins, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.” The idea of comfort food is not a new notion, but one that was been around for centuries.

Being a foodie, food is partly emotional and partly about taste. Growing up, both sides of my family are fantastic chefs and bakers and certain foods always remind me of various loved ones.

Homemade flour tortillas remind me of my Great Mama. Pancakes remind me of my Grandpa because he would always make my sister and me Mickey-Mouse shaped pancakes as children. And pot roast makes me think of my Mom, there were lots of Sunday lunches or dinners that consisted of pot roast, mashed potatoes, and biscuits.

Continue reading “Never Underestimate the Magic of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich”

Egg-cellent Deviled Eggs 3-Ways

First thing first, I know you guys are dying to see some pictures from Israel and to read my trip recap and I PROMISE it is coming (check back here on Wednesday). I also have some exciting news to share with you guys! God has been SO good to me lately and I want to share with y’all. So check back here later this week, you don’t wanna miss it!

Now on to the deliciousness that this post contains.

HAPPY EASTER Y’ALL!!

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, the two biggest holidays in the church were Christmas and Easter. As a kid, I was so excited to see my basket from the Easter Bunny, get dressed up in a new pretty dress and go to church with my family. And what child wasn’t stoked for the Easter Egg Hunt?!

IMG-2799

Continue reading “Egg-cellent Deviled Eggs 3-Ways”

Let The Shenanigans Begin!

“May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door”-Irish Blessing

In case you weren’t sure, here’s a quick history lesson on St. Patrick’s Day….

St. Patrick’s Day is the observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. He was kidnapped at age 16 and taken to Ireland; while in captivity he became a devout Christian and was encouraged by a the voice of God to escape from his captors.

After he escaped, he received a vision from an angel telling him to return to the country in which he’d been held captive and spread the word of the Bible. He trained to become a missionary for 15 years, then set off on a return trip to Ireland.  He spread Christianity throughout the country over the next 40 years.

Continue reading “Let The Shenanigans Begin!”

Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist

“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” -Andrew Zimmern

For me, traveling has completely opened my eyes and let me experience what life is like beyond my own backyard. I think traveling is an important tool to living harmoniously. It pushes your comfort zones, enhance your tastes, and makes you more accepting of those that are different than you.

One of the main reasons traveling abroad is so important is because you get to experience life outside the box, outside your comfort zone and outside the small bubble you live in at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring Atlanta and all that Georgia has to offer, but traveling to a far away place just feeds the soul in a way that is unmatched.

Traveling to a foreign country also expands your palate. You will experience a cornucopia of flavors and colors, some you can only find in the country you’re visiting. The more I travel and taste various authentic dishes, the more I want to experiment in my own cooking. Those spices and flavors I would never think to use become more apparent in my cooking.

Continue reading “Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist”

Ask and You Shall Recieve

Hey y’all!

I’ve had a lot of you ask how I made my chicken and vinaigrette from the Galentine’s post so, I figured I’d share the recipes with you. Both of these recipes can be made quickly for a super easy dinner any day of the week.

So the chicken tenders recipe comes from my mom originally. I’m calling them “Sweet heat bacon wrapped chicken”. They have a sweeter outside and a heat that creeps up on you and warms your mouth. Not too sweet or spicy but the perfect balance of both

Continue reading “Ask and You Shall Recieve”

Support Your Local Girl Gang

“Whether you’re throwing up or breaking up, you want your girlfriend right there! I don’t trust women who don’t go to their girlfriends.”     ~Drew Barrymore

It’s so important for women everywhere to have a group of girls they can turn to no matter what. These girls teach you about life, love, and how to connect with people around you. They’re essential throughout life for guidance, confidence, perspective, etc… the list goes on and on. And I think that importance continues to grow as you age and mature.

I have a group of high school besties that I cherish dearly. Marta has been my best friend since 8th grade (wow we’re old HA!) and she’s never afraid to put me in my place and tell me when I’m just being stupid. I also met Carley in 8th grade and in high school she became a spiritual accountability partner for me. She’s also my long lost cousin, we’re just sure of it. 😉

Continue reading “Support Your Local Girl Gang”