Tell us a little bit about you
My name is Gina Fontana, I am 33 years old and live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband, two-year-old son, two-month-old baby girl, and two fur babies. When I’m not being a mommy, cooking up a storm in the kitchen or photographing my newly developed recipes, you can find me outside, most likely at the park, enjoying nature. I also love to sing, play softball, go to the gym, and attend church on Sundays.
When and why did you start blogging?
I originally started my blog in 2013 after finding out I have Celiac and Thyroid Autoimmune Disease after a lifetime of unexplained and unanswered health ailments. Then, Happily Ever After Gluten, was my way to help others who needed to transition into a gluten-free lifestyle and didn’t know where or how to start. It was also a way for me to learn and hold myself accountable transitioning into this lifestyle. Since then my blog now, Healthy Little Vittles, has evolved to include a more plant-based, vegan and gluten-free lifestyle. I have found significant relief from my symptoms by changing the foods I eat and still hope to inspire others to do the same or help those who NEED to do the same because of similar health issues. I have made an impact by sharing my story and providing hope to others like me, as well as to others who simply seek healthy alternatives. My drive to help people has fueled me to work hard at perfecting my craft. I want to show my followers that creating delicious, flavorful meals is possible all the while still being an advocate for simplicity. My hope is to inspire people through my story, my recipes, and creative photography to pursue a healthier lifestyle and show that eating healthy can be fun!
What do you write about in your blog?
My blog offers allergy-friendly recipes, more specifically gluten-free, vegan, and plant-based recipes with original photography and use of my favorite products that I trust and love!
What does food mean to you?
It’s no secret that food is a huge cultural staple. I mean, not only do we need food to live, but we need food to thrive. It’s fuel for our bodies and I believe it’s so important that we feed it what it needs to live a quality of life. I am not saying that it’s the only thing that helps us fight disease, but it sure is one of the most important factors. I choose to eat gluten-free and vegan because it allows me to be my best self and feel my best. And I also want that for my family. I don’t force anything on anyone, I believe in “cheat days” and not depriving myself of the occasional indulgence, because mental and emotional health is important too.
What is your favorite meal?
As a food blogger I actually rarely eat the same meal twice because I am always creating and thinking of new ways to enjoy my favorite foods, but lately, I am totally crushing on a recipe I adapted from Bon Appetit, my Chickpea + Cauliflower Arugula Yogurt Bowls.
10 oz cauliflower florets
15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
~3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
crispy tofu (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste
Lemony Tahini Yogurt Sauce
1 cup unsweetened plain dairy-free yogurt
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp tahini
salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°. Mix garlic, coriander, cumin, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl. Add cauliflower and chickpeas; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat
- Transfer cauliflower mixture to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing halfway through until chickpeas and cauliflower are golden brown and cauliflower is tender, for about 20 minutes.
- If you’re making crispy tofu with this dish, cut your pressed tofu into strips/cubes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt + pepper and heat in a skillet over medium heat until they start to turn golden and crisp up, tossing frequently to get all sides crispy
- Meanwhile, mix yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then spread yogurt mixture in serving bowls
- Toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently until they start to turn golden brown
- Spoon the cauliflower and chickpeas into the bowls and top with fresh arugula, sliced cucumbers, toasted pine nuts and crispy tofu (if including)
What are the 3 products that should be in everyone’s kitchen?
I couldn’t live without my food processor, some good quality knives, and my Kitchen Aid mixer!
What would be that one meal leaving everyone speechless?
People are really loving my Kale + Crispy Chickpea + Caramelized Red Onion Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust!
Do you have any grocery shopping tips?
There’s a lot of highly processed food out there, and just because it says it’s gluten-free and/or vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It could be loaded with sugar, which isn’t good for us either. I like to stick to whole foods, organic is preferred, and not buy a lot of processed, boxed foods. I make myself a grocery list and stick to that list so I am not tempted to impulse buy. I also like to plan out my meals for the week so I can better stick to my list and then also have my meals planned in advance. I like to make extra at dinner to have for lunch the next day as well, so I am not tempted to go out and grab something that might be a less healthy option.
We are what we eat. Yay or nay?
I do believe that what we eat affects every part of our being. I believe that our outsides reflect our insides and if we don’t fuel our bodies with whole, nourishing foods it leaves us with all sorts of life-limiting weaknesses.
Thanks, Gina, for talking to us! Make sure to follow her journey on