About Me

Once upon a time I was a self-professed trash-hound, living off McDonalds and Taco Bell because cooking was for moms and I wasn't one.  My culinary skills included making a big pot of my Italian grandmother's sauce and boiling some macaroni to go along with it.  When my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it didn't just change her life, mine was turned upside down as well.  As she began researching her condition and looking for some helpful dietary changes she began to discover the dirty secrets that in those days, were still lurking in the fringes of our food and drug industry...hormones in milk and meat, pesticides in animal feed and produce, genetically modified snacks, and petrochemicals and endocrine disruptors in nearly every cleaning and beauty product.  In the aftermath of her marathon research sessions, I was afraid she would starve.  She went through the house pitching nearly everything she found with vague-sounding chemicals in the ingredients.  There was not a bottle of shampoo to be found and the only things in the fridge were some organic apples she'd found at the grocery store.  She outright refused to have any more toxins in her life and vowed not eat anything until proven safe.  She ate apples for a week with unwashed hair.  It was an unsettling time for all of us in the family.  Not only were we facing my mother's illness, but the ground had crumbled beneath us and our whole way of life suddenly seemed dangerous.  If a lifetime of exposure to toxins had pushed my mother over the edge and into an autoimmune illness, what would it do to me?

I was reluctant to part with my box of glittery eyeshadows, cellulite creams, pink boxes of Miracle perfume, and hair thickeners but after looking at it wistfully for a week I finally threw it in the trash.  My life became a constant search for safe products and food.  In 2004, awareness of these issues were just a tiny blip on the radar in central Ohio and in her frustration at not being able to find any safe food, my mother opened an organic grocery store.  This introduced me to the clean brands but it wasn't until I met my husband in 2007 that my curiosity in cooking was piqued.  We met at mom's store...me keeping the books and him looking for dinner.  I was surprised when he told me he bought organic not for the same reasons I did but because when you're serious about cooking, you just know that real food tastes better and has superior quality.  Over time he helped me expand not only my cooking repertoire but helped me learn to infuse my prevailing adventurous spirit into the realm of food.

The food circles I traveled in led me to understand just how completely ignorant I'd been.  You can't start caring about your food without that leading to caring about where it comes from and then caring about the agricultural practices and the farmers who produce it.  What I'd thought was a simple matter of eating quickly evolved into a complex web of earth, animals, and people and my life hasn't been the same since.

After losing my job in 2009, my husband and I struggled to make ends meet and a brand new respect for self-reliance was born of my resourcefulness.  My first attempt to save us money while still allowing us to eat clean, organic food was meal planning.  It saved us some money but not enough.  I cut convenience foods from the grocery list and started making everything from scratch.  No more canned soups or mixes or prepackaged crackers or cookies.  I spent a lot of time learning what was worth it to make and what we should just give up altogether.  No one wants to spend two hours making crackers that are gobbled up in five minutes flat.  It was a difficult time riddle with fears about surviving but I learned a lot about self-reliance, thrifting, and my own resourcefulness.  For the first time in my life I felt the glow of satisfaction that comes from making something by hand and then directly benefiting from it.  I started making aprons from upcycled thriftstore finds and handcrafting soap to sell on etsy for a little extra money.

Gardening is one of those things I will never be able to know enough about.  I'm a self-professed lazy gardener, preferring companion plantings and wild growing vines to constant weeding, deadheading, and fertilizing.  I prefer to learn to work with natural systems rather than try to impose an artificial one but I've never been quite satisfied with the way my gardening turns out.  It's a perpetual work in progress.

I currently live in a cute little cottage next to the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio with my husband, little one, two cats, and two chickens.  We were only here a couple months when we found out that we were expecting our first child, a little boy, in January of 2015.  We have big plans for our big yard but for now, we're just focusing on feathering the nest for our little boy and just taking things as they come.

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