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Just in time for the first official day of summer, we’re so delighted to share today’s Southern Newlywed post! Few people inspire me to cook up fresh, colorful, seasonal meals quite like Jeanine from Love & Lemons, who, with the help of her husband, Jack, is truly gifted at creating (and photographing!) meals that are both beautiful and delicious. I’m already excited to see what summer dishes she comes up with that I can add to my repertoire! Jeanine is as sweet as can be, and was so kind of give us a peek into her completely amazing kitchen and share her favorite recipes with us.

By day: Jeanine blogs at Love & Lemons full time and does freelance recipe development. Jack is a video game engineer (with a side job of helping Jeanine with food photography).

How they met: While living in Chicago, I went to Austin to visit a friend. Jack happened to be a friend of that friend, and we hit it off right away. We dated long distance for a year before I moved to Austin…to be with Jack, but also to escape the cold winters (kidding! Well, sort of).

Their wedding: We walked down the aisle, and just as our officiant began with “We’re here today to celebrate Jack and Jeanine,” a car in the distance let out the loudest brake-screeching sound you’ve ever heard. (As it turns out, it was a couple of our guests who were running late–we’re grateful that no accident ever took place!) Our wedding was beautiful, but that moment really sums up what our relationship is about–beautiful, but far from perfect. We’re able to laugh when tensions rise, which I think is the key to a good marriage.

Meal planning: Technically, I do, as the food blogger, but I’m still terrible at meal “planning,” per se. I’m more of a “hey, I got this pretty vegetable at the market and I think I’ll make something with it” kind of cook.

The cooking: I cook and Jack is the taste tester–he has it good.

Favorite meal-related memory: Since I do most of the cooking, the most memorable meals are probably the ones that Jack cooks. The fire department often shows up after he’s set off all the smoke alarms.

Top ten favorite recipes:
1. Migas breakfast tacos: We both love breakfast tacos (after all, we live in Austin, home of the breakfast taco). I make this healthier version at home.
2. Quinoa, Apricot, and Arugula Salad: Chickpea salads are one of my easiest go-to meals (for lunch or dinner) because it’s easy to keep a few cans of chickpeas on hand.
3. Shiitake and Napa Cabbage Gyoza: We often make gyoza (Japanese dumplings) together. They take a little time to assemble and it goes faster with four hands.
4. Spicy Watermelon and Avocado Salad: Now that it’s summer, I can’t get stop putting watermelon in salads with feta cheese. It’s so juicy and refreshing, yet wonderfully sweet and salty.
5. Mexican Street Corn Salad: This Mexican corn salad is also perfect for summer and ridiculously easy to make.
6. Brussels Sprout and Avocado Salad: We love anything with green vegetables, avocado, lime, and sriracha, so this brussels sprout and avocado salad is a favorite.
7. Any recipe from an Ottolenghi cookbook is always a win!
8. Walnut Miso Noodles: I’ve made this Walnut Miso sauce recipe from 101 Cookbooks more times than I can count.
9. Vegan Soft Baked Pretzels: Right now Jack is obsessed with soft baked pretzels. He enjoys making this recipe for parties because it’s easy, but impressive.
10. Avocado Almondaise Tartines: And of course, avocado on toast–I can’t get enough.

Follow along with Jeanine:
Blog: Love & Lemons
Facebook: Love & Lemons
Twitter: @LoveLemonsFood
Instagram: @LoveandLemons

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love this, Jeannine! Saving several of these, and especially excited to try the pretzels!

  2. avatar Carlene: Healthfully Ever After reply

    I have to comment! Love and Lemons is one of the best examples of food blogs that we have today! The images are so well branded and cohesive. She pays attention to showcasing produce- As a dietitian and food blogger I just love it!!!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The colors in the food are lovely and I am definitely going to try a few of these, yum!

  4. avatar Roshani reply

    Oh my! Hubby would love this! Pinning now! Thanks for sharing!!

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There is a long list of people I would love to have dinner with, and Carlene Thomas of Healthfully Ever After is certainly one of them! Not only do she and her husband, Chris, seem super sweet and down-to-earth, she is also passionate about helping brides achieve healthy lifestyles that last long after their wedding days. We love the idea of brides having such a supportive, inspiring, and uplifting presence in their lives during their engagements, and since that’s exactly what we aim to be as well, it’s safe to say that Carlene is an SW kindred spirit. Sit a spell with her at this beautiful dinner party she and Chris threw to introduce us to some of their favorite dishes!

By day: Carlene is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who also runs her own private practice and consulting company, Healthfully Ever After, which focuses on helping brides become healthier and happier. Chris is a project manager for a design build company that makes custom solar homes in the DC area and creates sustainable infrastructure in developing countries.

How they met: Let’s set the scene. You’re awkward and in fourth grade in a school of 100 kids. Chris was the new kid, and as he tells the story, his vocal performance as Pappa Mozart in the school play, Mice and Mozart, must have really sealed the deal. As fate would have it, Chris moved to a different part of Virginia in middle school and my family ended up moving to that same place. Fast forward to middle school and we became best friends. And after lots of persistence on Chris’ part, he eventually wore me down (kidding!) and we started dating in high school.

Their wedding: We had an October wedding at the Thomas Birkby House in Leesburg, Virginia. It was brisk, but warm, with no humidity (a big factor for all Southern girls and their hair!). Probably one of my favorite wedding details was my bouquet, which has become sort of everything my business stands for in one image. Holly Chapple graciously met my insane request for a total foodie bouquet. She called me the night before like “Are you all in?” and I just said “ I trust you!” She put in okra, green beans, herbs, carrots, brussels sprouts and more. Chris’ boutonniere had a baby carrot. She’s the best.

Meal planning: I almost always do the meal planning. I like to use overlapping ingredients throughout the week, and with our CSA, which runs from May to October, we don’t really have a say in what ends up in our kitchen. For us, it’s all about being flexible. Additionally, whatever I make often ends up on my blog, so I need time to plan during the day, photograph the food, and then eat it later! However, you should see Chris whip up a meal–he goes all out.
The cooking: I do most of the cooking, but Chris is the total sauce and dressing master. He’s also amazing at flavor pairings. Cooking is actually kind of my zen time and I enjoy it. It’s not a chore at all!

Favorite meal-related memory: We love to walk to the farmer’s market down the street, come back with some goodies, and have an outdoor lunch. When you have good ingredients, that’s all you need. We grab artisanal bread, cheese, produce, and bacon (says the dietitian). We put it all on a big platter with a salad and sit outside and nibble. It works on any scale, from two people to ten. Just add wine or cocktails!

Top ten favorite recipes:
1. Lentil burgers: These lentil burgers are “meaty” enough for the carnivore and a good meat alternative for the veggie lover!
2. Vegan chili made with fig jam: This easy, one-container meal (minus the salad) is our go-to for winter.
3. Schaum tortes: Our go-to celebratory dessert. I’ll take these over cake any day. They’re always great in summer with fresh berries, although they can sometimes be hard to make if it’s humid outside.
4. Fish sticks: This recipe has significantly less sodium and fat than your typical fish stick. And significantly more yum.
5. Whole wheat biscuits: Chris makes insanely good biscuits that we eat with soft, runny eggs and local bacon. We’ll have to do a blog post about them soon!
6. Salmon hash: For a luxurious brunch, we’d rather make salmon hash at home rather than battle the crowds out and about.
7. Lemon meringue pie: Some Grandmas make cookies, but Grandma Helble makes lemon meringue pie when we visit! It’s a heavenly, tart cloud.
8. Salmon with anything: On any given day, if you poke your head into my fridge or freezer, there are likely perfectly portioned filets ready for a quick cook. I usually swing by Costco and grab a half fish to portion/freeze and use for a few weeks.
9. Grandma’s tuna patties: Chris and I are obsessed with these tuna patties that my Grandma makes–they really taste more like a rich crab cake than a typical tuna burger.
10. Rainbow veggie slaw: We love this as a vinegar kick for everything from chicken to lentil burgers.

Thank you so much for sharing, Carlene and Chris! For more of their healthy recipes and tips, follow along on Carlene’s blog and Instagram.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Carlene: Healthfully Ever After reply

    Thank you all SO much for this feature! We are in love with what you all represent and are so happy to share our little part of the world with you. AND I found that picture of us from 4th grade!!!! Here it is on instagram:

  2. avatar Kristin Winchester reply

    I am dying over those grilled peaches and have added the lentil burgers to next-to-try recipes. Thanks for sharing a few of your secrets, Carlene! Newlywed cooking = my favorite

  3. avatar Molly reply

    OH WOW! Best bouquet ever! Such a hoot! And so pretty!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Every January, the Southern Weddings gals sit down and come up with a list of team goals for the year. One of our most important goals for 2014 was to create a space in the SW world for our married readers. There are a lot of y’all! We love that you’ve stuck around past your own I do’s, and want to honor that. We had no interest in starting a spin-off site, though — given our mission, including content in our mix for newlyweds just makes sense. After all, we adore weddings, but we adore life after the wedding, too.

We are very delighted to say that Fridays are the new home of the Southern Newlywed column (there’s a new category for these posts, too!). Regular weddings content will continue Monday-Thursday (and most Saturdays and Sundays!), but at the end of the week you can expect to find inspiration for life as a newlywed, straight from the hearts and homes of some of our favorite Southern couples. We are already giddy with excitement over our upcoming features, and hope you love them as much as we do! Most especially, we hope that you’ll find our Newlywed posts have the same heartbeat as the rest of our content – and that they help in the lifelong journey of building a marriage more beautiful than your wedding.

But on to today’s post! Y’all already know our dear Kristin, but we figured there was no one better to kick off our “in the kitchen” posts than this prize-winning baker and all-around lovable gal. Big hugs to Laura’s Focus for these sweet photos!

By day: Kyle loves colleges sports and does sales and marketing for Virginia Teach Athletics (Go Hokies!). Kristin loves marriage and does sales and client relations for a wedding magazine (Go Southern Weddings!).

How they met: We met during our fall semester of college in Chapel Hill. During the first few weeks, we exchanged pleasantries before, during, and after class. Fast-forward to early October. I needed someone for my sorority grab-a-date function and thought I might ask Kyle (after some serious advance research and networking through connected friends). Unknowingly, I had caught Kyle’s eye on the first day of classes so when I asked, he said yes. The rest is history (a long, juicy, marvelous kind of history that I will happily tell you over coffee, just ask). You can read more on his side of the story here.

Their wedding: It was the most lovely, heart-filled day. We got to celebrate with the people that mean the world to us, and we got to eat Thanksgiving dinner in June (I was like a pig in slop). Even with scorching summer temperatures, and temporarily losing the departure candles, it was the most perfect weekend filled with what mattered most to us — family, faith and fun! Oh, and it all took place smack dab in the middle of Chapel Hill, which is one of my most favorite places on the planet. You can see some of our favorite photos here.

Meal planning: We sit down on Sunday afternoon and I meal plan. Wonderful Nicole made my messy notes into a printable – download three versions here. I ask Kyle for feedback on anything he is in the mood for, and I also use the weekly grocery sales flyer to help me make decisions. We have a few go-to meals that make the rotation each week to reduce the stress of having to come up with 5+ new suppers (I tried this during our first few months of marriage and it eventually wore me out).

Admittedly, I love to cook, but I am cautious with trying no more than two new recipes each week, depending on how much available ‘free time’ I have in the evening. I try to go to the grocery on Sundays and then once during the middle of the week to pick up fresh bananas, fish, and milk, as needed. Because of our schedules and commitments, meal planning is a must, otherwise we would eat cereal for supper at 9:00 every night. It gives us a roadmap for the week, as well as the ability to detour when something unexpected happens. It also helps protect regular meals at the table, which are incredibly important to us.

The cooking: I love to cook, so I take responsibility for this “chore” most nights. Kyle is a great sous-chef when I need a little help getting supper on the table (see: salad prep, setting the table, drinks, etc.).

Favorite meal-related memory: After dating long distance for nearly six years, I don’t take the chance to eat together at our dinner table during the week for granted. However, if I had to pick, I think my favorite “meal-related” memories involve birthdays. Growing up, during your birthday week, you got to pick out your favorite meals and mama made them (she can cook circles around me). We have brought this tradition over into our little family — celebrating with our most favorite foods and meals during the given birthday week each year!

Favorite meal-related disaster: I tried a new recipe and didn’t pay attention and added way too much spice. The results were inedible. Kyle tried to choke it down, but after a few bites, he gave up. We threw the meal in the garbage, opened a bottle of wine, and waited on the pizza delivery man (definition of a detour).

Top ten favorite recipes:
1. Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal: This recipe reheats great and will last for a few days — you can even make ahead on Sunday and reheat a serving each morning. You can get creative with fruit — use whatever is in season/fresh/available. I love to make it with with blackberries, peaches or raspberries. I also like to mix the oat mixture and milk mixture together before adding to the baking dish because I think it blends better and cooks more evenly.

2. Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup: My favorite soup, EVER. It is delicious, and similar to potato soup (disclaimer, it does still have a cauliflower flavor so you must like cauliflower). We eat it at lunch, but it can also be served for supper with paninis or a big salad.

3. Roast Vegetables: This is the only way I eat cooked carrots. We love to roast vegetables in the oven. Chop everything ahead of time to reduce prep time. Great with grilled fish or grilled chicken for an easy (healthy) supper.

4. Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries: One of our 2013 goals was to try one new food each month, and as a result, we fell in love with roasted brussels sprouts. We probably have them once a week. We roast and eat them plain, with fresh squeezed lemon, or with just straight balsamic when they come out of the oven (I don’t make the PW recommended syrup).

5. and 6. Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken and Embarrassingly Easy Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs: With our busy schedules, crock pot meals are a lifesaver. These two variations of Mexican chicken make a regular appearance at our dinner table: over rice, on salad, in soup, in tacos, etc. The shredded chicken freezes and reheats really well for those nights when you need supper in a pinch!

7. Chicken Rollatini with Spinach Alla Parmigiana: Easy Italian and the leftovers can be frozen? Yes, please! I love that you can make the filling ahead of time, buy the thin-cut chicken, and prepare dinner in a matter of moments. I serve this stuffed chicken with a big garden salad and some homemade garlic bread.

8. Black Bean Cakes: The actual restaurant recipe for my favorite dish at Lucky 32? I almost passed out when I stumbled across this recipe online. These are remarkable — great with roasted sweet potatoes and a green vegetable for a meatless meal. They can also be flash frozen before being cooked for future meals!

9. Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas: Can you tell I love Mexican food? I also love recipes that can use similar ingredients in different ways (hello, crock pot shredded chicken) or can utilize my favorite ‘semi-homemade’ rotisserie chicken from the grocery.

10. Salted Chocolate Chip and Sour Cherry Cookies: This recipe took the crown last year during my family’s annual cookie competition. I am a big fan of simple desserts — chocolate chip cookies, Rice Krispie treats, preacher cookies — but this Salted Cherry Chocolate Chip cookie is prize-winning and sure to be a crowd pleaser!

In honor of our Southern Newlywed kick-off, we’re giving away a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook! Someone gave this book to John and I during our engagement, and it’s turned out to be one of our favorites – it’s very thoughtfully done, and both realistic and adventurous, a tricky combination to pull off! Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter widget below – we’ll choose a winner next Friday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last but certainly not least: We have great things in the works for this column, but we’d love your help! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also, 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!

Until next week, friends!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Mary reply

    Oh I am SO excited for this!! And Kristin is just too cute!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Love this peek into Kristin’s heart and home, and can’t wait to try out her genius meal planning system!

  3. avatar Christina L Frederick reply

    What a wonderful new column! I am excited for southern newlywed Friday’s and adore Kristin’s post to kick off the series! I’d love a piece of that pie!
    xo Christina

  4. avatar Abi Losli reply

    I love this column already! What a great idea, thank you.

  5. avatar Erin reply

    Such a good idea for a new column! Can’t wait to see more! :)

  6. avatar Mandy V reply

    Love this new series for us Married gals!

  7. avatar Laura reply

    Loving this new column! Can’t wait to see more!

  8. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] editorials that help inspire your own meaningful beginnings to married life to the secrets behind Kristin’s meal planning, we hope you love it all as much as we […]

  9. avatar Happy Birthday, Kristin! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] be sharing “ingredients” to the “recipe that makes KNW wonderful”—did I mention she’s a fabulous cook?—on social media. Follow along with the hashtag […]

  10. avatar Southern Weddings Blog Feature | Virginia Wedding Photography reply

    […] I was thrilled to get a call from Kristin Winchester, the Director of Advertising for Southern Weddings Magazine! She came up with a really great idea of a new Friday feature on the blog focusing on newlyweds and what happens after the big wedding day. The first story for “Southern Newlyweds” will feature Kristin herself and her sweet husband, Kyle. Together they made a delicious pecan pie, a recipe passed down from Kristin’s grandmother, and some colorful chicken enchiladas. Here is a peak at my favorites and here is the link to the Southern Weddings blog post! […]

  11. avatar A Day in the Life of the Southern Weddings' Marketing Director – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] After a quick lunch of cauliflower soup and a salad with KPW, I head back upstairs to continue the afternoon. I have some corporate […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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