Hello! I’m Melinda Novak. I’m a pharmacist, crazy cat lady, healthier baker, fitness fiend, and geek. I am currently living just north of Baltimore, MD, after living in Buffalo, NY for the past 6 years for pharmacy school. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA and forever will be a Pittsburgh girl at heart.
My favorite desserts always involve chocolate, although anything with cinnamon is definitely a close second. I can’t be trusted around a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread; it may be my kryptonite.
I find nothing more exhilarating (and relaxing) than a large cup of tea, a good book, and a kitty to cuddle with. I’m a sucker for a good fantasy series; I visit Narnia and Hogwarts once a year, every year. Jane Austen, Rick Riordan, and Brandon Sanderson are favorites of mine. I’m firmly convinced that reality will never be better than a book, and I’m perfectly okay with that.
I try not to watch TV, but let’s be honest here – Netflix has eaten away a lot of my weekends. My particular favorites are Doctor Who and Downton Abbey (I haven’t watched a British show that I haven’t loved yet!).
When it comes to fitness, I tend to stick to it most when I have a written schedule. I absolutely adore all of Shaun T‘s programs; I’ve completed 4 rounds of Insanity to date, but I’m hooked on T25 and Insanity Max 30 right now! I’m also a diehard fan of biking; skiing, hiking, and camping are also wonderful. Sometimes, I’ll stick with swinging my kettle bells around or jumping rope for a quick workout. I love it all!
I have the craziest little monsters kitties ever (yes, I am unashamedly a crazy cat lady).
This big guy is Tesla (or Mr. Bear, as we like to call him). We like to eat greek yogurt together (his love of ice cream almost surpasses mine).
This little one is Nymeria (the Little Miss). She’s the best at fetch (with butterfly hair clips).
And THIS monster is Morty. He loves chirping at birds or toys, and he’s a pro cuddler.
The kitchen is one of my happy places. This is where I like to share the recipes I’ve created (or found/adapted) and loved.
This blog originally started out as a place I shared the food my fiancé, Alex, and I made when we decided to forgo the college meal plan while still living in the dorms – it quickly escalated into an almost entirely healthy baking blog, with occasional “normal food” recipes. Such is why it’s titled cooking ala mel, rather than baking ala mel.
I try to lighten up recipes as best as I can without sacrificing flavor (mostly by eliminating refined sugar as much as possible). This is also why I often post gluten free recipes, as the gluten free flours that I use are generally healthier than your standard flour, with more protein and fiber. No gluten intolerance here, but I like a challenge and allowing people that do have intolerances to enjoy a healthy treat now and again. Either way, though, moderation is key in all aspects of life. You won’t see me ever passing up the ice cream. Life’s too short for that! 😉
A quick note about reposting images/recipes:
If you copy/paste the entire recipe and use my photos without permission, that is copyright infringement, so here’s what you can do:
If you want to share one of my recipes, feel free to do so, writing the recipe in your own words and sharing your own original photographs of your product – just be sure to link back to my original post as a source.
If you want to use my photos, please drop me an email asking my permission. You can share one photo, without any of my text, as long as you link back to my original post.
If you don’t adapt the recipe/write it in your own words, you can just link back to the original recipe. Do not copy/paste the recipe directly from my site.