Events that are beautiful and elegant, but also approachable and stress-free, may sound like an oxymoron, but as Jenny Steffens Hobick demonstrates time and time again on her inspiring blog, Everyday Occasions, with a little bit of planning and a big dose of Southern hospitality, they are absolutely doable. The Southern Weddings gals all share a love for celebrations, so it’s no surprise that Jenny’s thoughtful approach to entertaining and meal planning is a favorite of ours. We are so grateful that she shared her story with us, as well as the recipes that she and her adorable family gravitate toward again and again!
By day: I am the owner of Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick, a home entertaining blog and online store. Mike works in commercial real estate for a real estate investment trust.
How they met: We met and became friends in college. After college, we had both moved to the same city and were in the same very close circle of friends. After becoming even better friends, we started dating a year later.
Their wedding: About six months after we started dating, Mike took me to Seaside, Florida for my birthday. Three years later, we were engaged, and decided Seaside would be the perfect place for a destination wedding. It was our favorite place in the world and we wanted to share it with our closest family and friends. We were married on the front lawn of a grand house in Seaside, and our guests watched the ceremony from the large porches. We had long tables set for dinner in the backyard under lanterns. Our colors were ivory, pale blue, light gray, and navy.
Meal planning: Since I am a food and home entertaining blogger, the kitchen is my domain. I do ask him what he’s in the mood for for dinner, but we have a running joke that his suggestion is always either steak and baked potatoes, or tacos. Such a typical guy!
The cooking: I do all of the cooking with the help of our two-year-old daughter, Emma. She is a great help washing the veggies and baking treats for her dad! Mike is in charge of the dishes, which he is much better at than I am!
Favorite meal-related memory: Our favorite meal of all time was on our honeymoon in Florence, Italy. It was our last night there, so we splurged on a very fancy dinner, where we discovered white truffles with homemade pasta and Brunello wine. That meal has inspired so many hands-on homemade pasta dinners at home, as well as special dinners out.
Top ten favorite recipes:
1. White Truffles with Homemade Pasta and Seared Filets: This is our favorite “fancy dinner”–we make it for our anniversary, birthdays, and other celebrations.
2. Braised Beef and Italian Vegetable Stew: This is my favorite cold weather entertaining recipe. It is an elegant and indulgent beef stew that everyone loves.
3. Spaghetti and Homemade Meatballs: We fix spaghetti and meatballs almost every Sunday night–it is our go-to comfort dinner.
4. Korean Beef Tacos with Mango Cilantro Slaw: Mike is a huge taco fan. These are our new favorite from Tessa’s blog…also my favorite :)
5. Rustic Penne Shrimp Pasta in a Parmesan and Red Pepper Cream Sauce: This is a great make-ahead recipe for entertaining. I make it in individual bowls for an elegant presentation.
6. Shrimp Scampi and Linguine: Simple and elegant–one of my favorite recipes for an easy dinner party.
7. Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad: I’m obsessed with this salad right now–which is saying a lot, because I’m not a salad person. There is so much going on with it, from the creamy goat cheese, to the heirloom tomatoes, to the crunchy marcona almonds.
8. Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef: A staple for us around the holidays–this recipe tastes luxurious and feeds a large group. You’ll be shocked by how easy it is to prepare!
9. Cranberry Orange Scones: We make these almost every weekend. They take about five minutes to stir together and fifteen to cook–much quicker than a run for donuts!
10. White Pizzas With Arugula: The Barefoot Contessa is my ultimate recipe resource–her food is just so good. I love these goat cheese pizzas with arugula. Emma loves homemade pizza night, too!
We’re so grateful to Jenny for sharing her family’s favorite meals with us! Be sure to follow along with Jenny on her blog, Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick.
P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!