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At Southern Weddings, we’re big believers in family dinners–cell phone-free quality time spent at the table with your significant other. One of the best tools to have in your arsenal in order to make that happen? An inventory of delicious, healthy meals that can be prepared quickly and easily after a busy day of work. That’s why we love Dana and John of Minimalist Baker, and their commitment to sharing recipes that consist of 10 ingredients or less, use only one bowl, or take under 30 minutes to prepare. Their blog is a fantastic resource for making those family dinners happen, and we’re so excited to introduce this Kansas City couple to y’all!

Thanks so much to Whitney Knutson for these sweet photos!

By day: I’m a recipe developer, professional food photographer, and content creator for Minimalist Baker. John is the designer, technical guru, and brand strategist for Minimalist Baker, among many other roles.

How they met: We became familiar with each other through a group of friends who were in the same college church group in Wichita, Kansas (where we grew up). We first met at a dance party a friend of ours hosted. John says we locked eyes on the dance floor, but it wasn’t until months later that I fell for him and we began dating.

Their wedding: Our wedding was on a chilly day in March 2010, and it was simple and elegant. Since we were only engaged for a few months, the planning process went rather quickly. Friends and family watched us exchange vows at our church, and a dessert reception nearby followed. We may be biased, but it was kind of perfect.

Meal planning: I do the meal planning! Every Saturday, I plot out the week ahead and make a grocery run on Monday for everything we need. The grocery store is my happy place.

The cooking: That’s me again! John isn’t big on cooking, but thankfully, I happen to love it.

Favorite meal-related memory: There are so many, but I’d have to say eating sushi together during our trip to Bali, Indonesia last summer. We’d had a long day of lounging on the beach, and we got all dressed up and went out for dinner. I remember our time being particularly sweet, and John making me laugh a lot (which he does frequently).

Top ten favorite recipes:

1. My Favorite Vegan Pizza: I make this simple, healthy pizza every Sunday. It’s our favorite standing meal tradition.

2. Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu Stir Fry: I make some version of this dish every week. I love how bold the flavors are, and how it yields crispy, perfect tofu every time, even without frying!

3. Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes: This pasta gets thrown into our meal rotation at least every other week. I’m a sucker for white sauces, and this one satisfies my cravings every time, no dairy required.

4. Vegan Chai Ice Cream: Hands down the best ice cream I’ve ever made! I’m smitten with how creamy and perfectly spicy and sweet it is.

5. One Bowl Gluten Free Banana Bread: This is the most tender, moist banana bread I’ve ever had, and I love that it’s gluten free! I whip up a batch any time I have overripe bananas.

6. 5 Ingredient Detox Smoothie: I make some version of this smoothie most mornings for breakfast. It’s a simple way to squeeze more greens into our diet, and the tart-sweet flavor and creamy texture are near perfect.

7. Baked Herb and Pistachio Falafel: I’m a sucker for Mediterranean food, and this dish by Sara of Sprouted Kitchen satisfies my falafel cravings every time.

8. Chickpea, Spring Onion, and Tuscan Kale Panzanella Salad: I could eat this salad by Laura of The First Mess every day for the rest of my life and be one happy woman. Every time spring rolls around, I find myself reaching for this recipe as often as I can.

9. Shawarma Nachos: This recipe from My Name is Yeh looks like absolute perfection. This is technically cheating because I haven’t made it yet, but it’s on my menu plan for this week! I mean, look at all those flavors and textures! Amazing.

10. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes: Hands down, my favorite pancakes of all time, and the recipe that started it all on Minimalist Baker. I whip them up whenever I’m craving pancakes (which is rather often). I love their moist, slightly dense texture and how they taste just like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, only healthier!

We’re so grateful to Dana and John for sharing their favorite meals with us! Be sure to follow along with them on their blog, Minimalist Baker, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Love this and love Dana to bits. These photos are so wonderful!

  2. avatar Mandy volpe reply

    Love this and totally agree that dinners around the table are important. I think I will try those oatmeal pancakes!

  3. avatar Kathy Mader reply

    What a fun article. Minimalist Baker is my favorite food blog. I thought you were going to show us some wedding pictures, though :)

  4. avatar Best of September | My Recipe Network reply

    […] did an interview with Southern Weddings about how we met, what our wedding was like, and what our 10 current favorite recipes are. Check […]

  5. avatar Best of September 2014 | Minimalist Baker Recipes reply

    […] did an interview with Southern Weddings about how we met, what our wedding was like, and what our 10 current favorite recipes are. Check […]

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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.

Jenny Steffens Hobick

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.

Jenny Steffens Hobick

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Jenny Steffens Hobick reply

    Thanks so much for sharing my story and favorite recipes! I enjoy your site so much – lots of great inspiration!

    Best,
    Jenny

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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Ten words, y’all: Marshmallow Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes with Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce. I just about ran down to Lara‘s kitchen, laptop in hand, after reading those words to whip up a batch for the Southern Weddings office, but not before growing totally smitten with the couple who shared the recipe. Trisha is a longtime SW reader, and we were so happy when she sent over her and her husband Adam’s story and top ten favorite recipes. Adam travels during the week, so they sometimes have to get creative when it comes to meal planning, but armed with a few go-to dishes and strategies, they make it work. Trisha also documents some of their favorites on her adorable blog, Stew or a Story. I can hardly wait to try some of her recipes, including the aforementioned decadent dessert!

Lime Green Photography

By day: I am a former teacher turned law student studying at UNC. I love dreaming up recipes for my food blog, reading, and being outside. Adam is a financial consultant, and he loves airplanes, the Kansas City Chiefs, and barbecue.

How they met: Nine and a half years ago, Adam and I were both dateless for high school prom. My friend asked me to list all the guys I would consider going to prom with, and since I had harbored a serious crush on Adam all summer when we lifeguarded together, I said Adam’s name. She said “Oh, I can do that!” Her prom date was best friends with Adam, so she passed on the word that I liked him. Apparently, he had a crush on me at the pool too! A week before prom, Adam asked me to be his girlfriend, and despite a few ups and downs (and going to rival universities!), we’ve been together ever since.

Their wedding: Our wedding was a colorful, fun, and hot celebration in July 2012. We loved every minute of it! For our wedding favor, we created recipe books featuring favorites recipes from our friends and family. It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding, and I’ve loved finding the recipe book in my friends’ homes months and years later.

Meal planning: I wish we had an organized meal planning system, but the truth is, our schedules change so frequently that we don’t have a system in place. In general, we try to do the bulk of our grocery shopping on the weekends, planning out a couple of dinner ideas and stocking up on veggies and staples so that we can whip up easy dinners later in the week. Living apart during the week while Adam travels has been a huge challenge, but one benefit is that we don’t take our time together for granted. We cherish our meals together–whether they’re home cooked meals with candles and wine or a frozen pizza we devour while sitting on the couch.

The cooking: Our breakdown of cooking is roughly 70:30, with me cooking dinner the majority of the time. Adam has his specialties though, like Tex Mex and pot roast in the crockpot.

Favorite meal-related memory: We spent our honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii, and every morning, we ate fresh pastries and drank local coffee outside overlooking the Hanalei Bay. It was magical.

Favorite meal-related disaster: Adam’s mom makes a delicious dessert called strawberry salad. I’ve tried my hand at it a couple of times, and each time has been a disaster. The first time, I splattered strawberry jello all over our white kitchen. The second time was at Thanksgiving, and I added frozen strawberries to the jello mixture before it had solidified. I had a meltdown at the table over the runny jello!

Stew or a Story

Top ten favorite recipes:

1. Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken: We love this recipe. It’s simple, but impressive! A great one to serve when having friends over for dinner.

2. Caramelized Onion Frittata: We make lots of frittatas. We always seem to have eggs in the fridge, and frittatas are a great way to use up leftover vegetables and cheese.

3. Chopped Salad with Feta, Corn, and Avocado: Chopped salads are our favorite. This recipe uses lots of fresh summer ingredients, but we also make them in the fall with roasted veggies and chickpeas.

4. Chicken Sautéed with Apples: Simple chicken dishes like this are great for busy week nights. Adam sometimes adds onions and balsamic vinegar.

5. Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Slaw: This is our favorite way to eat lots and lots of raw broccoli.

6. Fiesta Rice: We love Mexican food, and often serve this rice with black beans and guacamole.

7. Roasted Brussell Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar: This is a quick and easy side dish. We enjoy roasting all kinds of vegetables–carrots, potatoes, broccoli, etc. Pretty much any vegetable is delicious when roasted!

8. Healthy Pasta alla Vodka: We make lots of variations on this pasta dish with whatever vegetables we happen to have around.

9. Easy Balsamic Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Another easy and delicious weeknight meal!

10. Marshmallow Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes with Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce: Chocolate and peanut butter? Enough said.

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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar admin reply

    As someone who met and started dating my own boyfriend because I needed a date to prom, I love love Trisha and Adam’s story! :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Bookmarking lots of these! Great picks!

  3. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I am always looking for easy weeknight chicken recipes! These sound great! I will be pinning them, stat :)

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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