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Blogger of the week: Love and Lemons

September 3rd 2014 / Hanna Ibraheem

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Husband and wife duo Love and Lemons spoke to us about their mission to make us more creative with vegetables...

Love and Lemons is the brainchild of Austin, Texas-based husband and wife duo Jeanine and Jack. Inspired by seasonal local produce, Jeanine creates the blog’s delicious recipes and Jack lends a helping hand by taste-testing the dishes.

The couple is on a mission to inspire their readers to get more creative with vegetables and most of their recipes are vegetarian, despite not being veggies themselves. No matter whether you’re vegan, a meat eater, gluten-free, their blog won’t tell you what not to eat but rather what else you should be putting on your plates and how these healthy additions don’t need to be boring…

Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?

At first, I just wanted a place to document and keep track of the food I was making. I used to be a terrible note-taker so blogging has forced me to diligently write things down.

What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?

I work on the blog with my husband Jack so my favorite aspect is probably the collaboration and connection. In other areas of our lives we have pretty opposite interests - he’s an engineer and I’m more of a creative-type. We’re both obsessed with food so it’s fun to have a project to work on together.

Plus, food just makes everyone happy so it’s tons of fun.

How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?

I try to get out and go for a walk each morning - I leave my phone at home so I won’t be tempted to look down at it.

And, aside from an Instagram or two, I have a strict no-phone-at-the-table rule. For me, meals are about enjoying the food and connecting with the person I’m with. That re-tweet can always wait for later.

What is your personal food philosophy? Are there any food groups/types that you avoid?

My philosophy is to enjoy anything I want in moderation, except vegetables - I eat tons of those. The main foods I avoid are highly processed foods. I don’t think healthy eating is necessarily about being vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. I think it’s about finding what works for you and avoiding fake foods, which, in my opinion, taste terrible anyway.

How has eating healthily impacted on you personally? Do you ever find it difficult to stick to it?

When I start eating poorly, I feel really terrible. When I eat better, I feel better. I’m not strict about the way I eat - I don’t count calories, I enjoy desserts when I feel like it, and I’ll almost always have a glass of wine in the evenings. I just try to eat whole foods and use good quality ingredients.

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How do you create new recipes? Is it a trial and error process?

I start by walking the farmers market to see what produce is beautiful and seasonal. I load up on whatever veggies catches my eye and then experiment later in my kitchen. I try to make simple, delicious recipes that people will want to go home and make.

Have you had any cooking disasters?

Of course! I have a bad habit of leaving things under the broiler and forget about them until they’re on fire. Recently, we had a huge sticky mess of a vegan marshmallow failure. If you aren’t having kitchen disasters from time to time, you’re not really cooking.

How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?

When I make something and I crave it the next day, and the day after that - I usually know I have a winner.

What do you hope people will take away from your blog?

I hope people are inspired to get into the kitchen and get creative with vegetables.

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What are your three favourite recipes?

This is a hard one! These 3 are among my favorites: Peach Salad with Mint & Pistachios, Walnut Mushroom Veggie Burgers and these Mango & Zucchini Lettuce Wraps.

If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?

7am, breakfast: Avocado on toast or in a tortilla with hemp seeds. Or scrambled eggs with avocado and cold brew coffee.

Lunch: Usually a salad made of things that are leftover in my fridge: some type of green (arugula or kale), maybe a few chickpeas, a squeeze of lemon and a scoop of hummus.

3pm: Some kind of sugary snack for an afternoon pick-me-up: either a cookie, or a matcha latte.

5pm: A glass of wine and a handful of tamari almonds.

For dinner: Whatever I’m working on for the blog - Jack is my main taste-tester.

Which ten ingredients do you use most often?

Chickpeas, some type of green vegetable, coconut oil, olive oil, walnuts, pine nuts, sweet potatoes, feta cheese, greek yogurt & dijon mustard.

What five things are always in your fridge?

Eggs, almond milk, sriracha, greek yogurt, and Bota Box wine.

Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?

My local farmers markets, Whole Foods, Central Market and Wheatsville Coop. I also get a farm-share box from Farmhouse Delivery, which includes vegetables from many local farms.

Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?

My fridge, oven and 1 burner.

Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?

In Austin; Taco Deli, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Koriente, Second Bar and Kitchen, East Side King, La Condesa, and Uchi (yes, there is actually amazing sushi in Texas)

What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?

Don’t think about cutting out bad foods - focus on adding more good foods in.

What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?

Vibrant Food, Super Natural Everyday, Plenty, Tender, and Vegetable Literacy are among my favorites.

Who are your favourite bloggers?

That’s a hard one, I have way too many to list here!

What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?

At the moment, I’m doing what I love and I’ve made a career by following my passion. As far as I’m concerned, I’m living the dream right now! We’ll see what happens later…

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