Hi! I’m Gin. I’m glad you’re here!
So here’s a little about me. I’m settled in rural PA, where I grew up, after long stints living in Pittsburgh, Phoenix and Seattle. I’m addicted to match 3 games, my favorite food is peanut butter and my favorite cuisine is Indian, followed by Mexican. I love thrift stores and road trips. Best of all – road trips to thrift stores.
I can’t decide which I like more, cooking or taking pictures. I’m going to go with cooking, because I can’t eat pictures. But it’s close!
I have 5 cats and live in a 10 room house, so that’s only half a cat per room.
I’m very close to my mom, and we do pretty much everything together. I also have a wonderful boyfriend, Graeme, who’s smart and supportive and handsome (aw) and right on my page when it comes to taking pictures and thrift stores. And a librarian. I hit the jackpot with him.
So a little about my blog.
We all have reasons for choosing to eat healthy. We’re trying to loose weight or keep weight off, we want more energy or to make our health better. Maybe we want to hang on to the good health we have.
They’re different goals, but the feeling within all of them is the same. We want to live happy. And we’ve decided that for us, eating healthy is part of a happy life.
The same is true for those of us deciding to cook plant-based. We like eating food that grows from the Earth, for a lot of reasons. It’s a happy choice for us.
For me, strict definitions and judgement aren’t part of happiness. Whether we eat healthy and/or plant-based all the time, or often, or are just opening up to some Meatless Mondays, I say bravo to us. We’re eating intentionally and making choices that feel good.
Choosing to eat healthy and plant-based reinvented my relationship with food. Well, why hold back. It reinvented my life, really.
I’ve always been a cook and a foodie, but for the first part of my life I didn’t eat intentionally. Well, I intended to eat a lot and I intended to enjoy it, but that was it. I didn’t give any thought to what I was eating, and I made choices that led me to gain a lot of weight.
When I was in my mid 20’s my weight reached a crisis level, and I finally got it together to lose over 100 pounds. I know, that’s awesome! And I knew that if I went back to my old ways, I’d gain it all right back…so I didn’t. I did everything opposite to how I’d done it before. I ignored fast food and processed food and focused on nutritious, plant-based foods that were good for me.
When I started, I was afraid it would be impossible to cook healthy food that I love. More than 10 years later, I look back at that and I’m so glad I set my fears aside and gave it 100%. Proof that we never know what we can do until we try.
I’m all about comfort food. I love meals that make me want to lick the plate. My biggest cooking influences come from Indian, Mexican and diner-style Americana cuisine. They share a knack for turning simple ingredients into wonderfully delicious food, and that’s what I aim to do, too.
Indian does it through a clever…ok, genius!…use of spices, seasonings and sauces. I picked up my love of Indian food in Pittsburgh, where I visited every Indian restaurant in town (there were a lot!) instead of going to my college classes. Considering me…I was better off at the restaurants.
When I lived in Arizona I was exposed to a world of fresh, bold, earthy flavors I’d never known before. Authentic Mexican food, created for and by Mexicans, is easy to find on the streets and in the small cafes and shops in Arizona. If it was plant-based, and a lot of it is, I tried it. It taught me ways to use fresh, grown-in-the-earth ingredients for flavor that’s so good it sings.
Just make this salsa fresca. I’m calling it authentic Mexican salsa to reach the most people. That’s what I’m talking about.
I’m into Americana food for the neighborly portions, the kitchy fun, the sense of humble richness that makes me feel like blue collar royalty…it’s a good vibe. I have a lot of fun coming up with healthy, plant-based versions of my diner favorites. I started going to diners with my grandparents when I was a kid, and never stopped. All across the country, up and down Route 66, from Pennsylvania to California, I leave a trail of diner visits in my wake.
Because once in a while, diner fries are the only way to go.
You can see what I’m up to and thinking about outside the kitchen in my Happy Life posts, or catch me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Graeme and I share a Flickr where we upload lots of pics; some great, some bizarre, all interesting.