An Italian home-cooking cookbook that you better believe

Elsa DeChellis DiCicco is the quintessential Italian grandmother, a slip of a woman with a big hairdo and even bigger smile who doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to her cooking. “What, you’re not hungry?” she asks, pushing a plate of tea sandwiches across the dining room table, despite the fact that […]

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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario: The quaint village is a real charmer during autumn

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario — Tell someone you’re heading to Niagara, and she’ll probably think of one thing: the fabulous falls straddling the Canadian and U.S. borders that draw more than 20 million visitors a year. Been there, done that. Time for a new adventure. Less than 10 miles north of the steel arch bridge that transports […]

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Habitat to host foodie, Mark Bittman

An avid home cook since the late 1960s, Mark Bittman has authored more than 10 best-selling cookbooks, including his “How to Cook Everything” series and 2008’s “Food Matters,” a no-nonsense volume promoting agricultural sustainability and slow food. But he’s probably just as well known for his weekly dispatches for “The Minimalist,” the New York Times […]

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Oktoberfest isn’t just about beer. It’s also about the food

I appreciate a nice pilsner or dunkel-style dark beer as much as the next frau. My ancestors on my mom’s side hail from the tiny village of Frommern in southern Germany, and to pay homage, I’ve nursed many a stein of this most delicious liquid while waiting for my daughters to finish their weekly dance […]

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Gretchen McKay’s ‘Cooking with Gretchen’ wins big

From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: The Post-Gazette’s “Cooking with Gretchen” video series has won a national award in the Association of Food Journalists’ Awards Competition 2010. To see the winning video, click on Cooking with Gretchen Gretchen McKay and videographer Steve Mellon and their “Plank-grilled fish” video (see PG video below) won a first-place award […]

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What’s for Dinner: Reuben sandwich

By now you’ve probably adjusted to a new school year. (Isn’t it great being back on a schedule?) But I bet that also means you’re as busy as I am, juggling sports practices with homework and helping the kids study for tests, all the while doing endless piles of laundry. I say give yourself a […]

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Ben Avon family turns home over to film crew; Proves to be insane yet exhilarating

A movie production crew set up shop inside the Ben Avon home of PG reporter Gretchen McKay (center) for the filming of “Riddle,” As someone who writes about homes, I’m usually the one knocking on front doors, trying to sweet-talk homeowners into letting me tell the world about the architectural delights beyond the threshold. Sometimes […]

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Adventure just around the bend on overnight kayak-canoe trip

BELLTOWN, Pa. — Every paddler has her moment when the only thing on her mind is placing her water shoes on dry land. For me, it came about five hours into the overnight kayaking trip my husband and I took a few weeks ago on the Clarion River. We’d slid our boats into the water […]

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Meet the ‘Blonde Elvis’ of Mount Oliver: Tribute artists are alive and well

Dan Casne makes his living redesigning and rewinding electromagnets used on overhead cranes in steel mills. It’s a technical job, and not a bad-paying one. But his true calling just might be singing. He discovered this when he was well into his 50s. Watching karaoke one night at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in […]

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New River Gorge offers scenic outdoor challenges

West Virginia’s New River offers some of the best white water in America. On the Lower New, rafters can expect to crash through giant waves but still float through calm sections with spectacular scenery. NEW RIVER GORGE, W.Va. — Teenagers can be hard to entertain, especially when the event is a no-texting, try-to-keep-the-iPod-to-a-minimum-so-we-can-actually-have-a-conversation family vacation. […]

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