Category Archives: favorites

08.20.15book club



I recently joined a book club. This has been a long time coming because I love nothing more then talking about books, researching books and reading books. It began when I was in high school and worked at a library shelving books, it was and still is my happy place. I plan to do more book type posts on this blog: reviews, book cover designs and library goodness.


this series called food/feeling is where i’m going to introduce a dish, a photo and a description of a feeling it invokes. hope you enjoy!


you have a full belly then cozy up in your favorite chair with a book and a mug of something warm then a nap.

Baked Gnocchi with Taleggio, Pancetta & Sage

2 packages (13 oz./410 g. each) prepared gnocchi
1/4 lb. (125 g.) pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) pieces
2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 g.) half-and-half
1/2 lb. (250 g.) Taleggio cheese, rind removed, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm.) cubes
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) bread crumbs, toasted
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter an 8×8 inch shallow baking dish. Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. In a large frying pan, saute the pancetta over medium heat until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sage, half-and-half, Taleggio and gnocchi. Divide the gnocchi mixture among the prepared dishes. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and season with pepper. Bake the gnocchi until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve. Serves 4.



Spiced Holiday Tea

1 1/3 cups of Tang
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of instant tea (i use lemon unsweetened tea)
1/2 tsp. cloves
Combine ingredients and store in a tightly covered jar.
For one serving : add 1 tsp of mix with 8oz of hot water.

Gift idea: make a big batch then place in a jar with a holiday bow and a tag.
I’ve designed some holiday tags that would be the perfect finishing touch to this homemade gift!

alunadesignsTags2     alunadesignsTags

(download here)



what i’ve been listening to lately:

Serial : if you love true crime, then this is for you. they are short episodes perfect for listening to while in traffic or on your morning commute.

The Lively Show : ranging from business tips to work/life balance to living with intention, Jess (the host) interviews people that i would be friends with, there is so much good stuff!

Ben Howard : our whole family loves Ben Howard, his music is the definition of heart and soul.

Hozier : how have i just heard of him, all i have to say is wow.

Calm app : a nice simple guided meditation, they range anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes.

Heather Waxman : She has a beautiful voice and an even more beautiful message, she’s a gem.



this series called food/feeling is where i’m going to introduce a dish and a photo of a feeling it invokes. enjoy!


waking up late to the smell of coffee, the sun rising and the light coming in just right…time for breakfast!

Smashed Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Pancakes
by joy the baker

serves 2
makes about 10-12 small pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
maple syrup and powdered sugar for garnish
butter for skillet

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients, all at once to the wet ingredients.  Whisk to combine.  If there are a few lumps in the mixture, that’s totally fine.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes while the skillet heats.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Place a heat-proof plate in the oven to help keep cooked pancakes warm.

Over medium-low heat, add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the non-stick skillet.  Add 2 tablespoon of batter to the pan for each pancake.  Cook until browned, flip once and cook on the other side until golden brown and cooked through.  Place cooked pancakes on the plate in the oven until all of the pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.

To serve, smash raspberries in a small bowl.  Place a few smashed raspberries on a plate.  Top with three or four small pancakes and more raspberries.  Add maple syrup as desired.  Serve warm.





much like our sense of smell, our sense of taste can trigger feelings too. when there’s a shift in the seasons i find myself getting a particular feeling while eating food. some dishes are cozy, some are comforting and some are just perfect.

this series called food/feeling is where i’m going to introduce a dish and a photo of a feeling it invokes. enjoy!


Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 2
  • 2 cups dry whole grain shells
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ounce light cream cheese
  • ¼ cup fat free evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions or green onions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pan. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Add pumpkin through salt and pepper and stir until cream cheese is melted and mixture is warmed through.
  3. Divide between two bowls and top with crumbled bacon and green onions.





wake up to the smell of coffee
breakfast in bed
morning meditation
bake scones
take a nap
afternoon yoga practice
cook dinner while drinking a glass of wine
conversation by a fire
journal, then bed

when I need to envision my happy place I can find it here



i am craving warmer days. we’ve had our far share of soups and comfort food around our house but it is time to break out the fresh fruit, salads and picnic lunches. for the next 20 days, I will enjoy my cozy house, under a warm blanket and read.



:: no matter what mood i’m in, i can always go for a: chocolate chip cookie
:: my favorite go-to outfit would have to be: a cardigan, dark washed jeans and flats
:: a good source of inspiration is: blogs and pinterest
:: am so glad my parents taught me: to talk things through
:: the best thing in my makeup bag is: bareMinerals All-Over Face color “warmth”
:: my dream vacation spot is: Palm Springs @ the Ace Hotel
:: this may be a surprise (or not), but i am passionate about: a clean house
:: a book that changed me: The Gifts of Imperfections by Brene Brown
:: one of my pet peeves is: when sprinklers are on while it’s raining
:: i can’t live without: My husband and my child(ren)