Leaning back in your chair, completely relaxed. The smell of warmth and comfort filling the room. That slightly full feeling from eating just-barely-too-much, while still saving room for dessert. A glass of wine, always nearby. Surrounded by the chatter of the people most important to you, completely engaged in the conversation around you.

Slow cooker meatballs are such a delicious dish, and the red wine puts the flavor over-the-top. These are sure to be a family favorite!

That scene is my favorite place to be. Between jobs and commitments, working out and running errands, we’re busy. We eat breakfast in the car, if at all. We scarf down lunch at our desks while we keep working. Dinner has to be rushed so we can get to other activities, or it’s rushed because we got home late. It’s a different picture than the relaxed conversations we crave. But it doesn’t have to be.

After being in business for 17 years, the owners of Dish Osteria in the South Side of Pittsburgh are taking a break...so go while you still can!

It doesn’t matter if you’re eating Chinese takeout or homemade lasagna or a gourmet meal at the fancy restaurant on Mount Washington. I’m here to encourage you to take the time to enjoy the company of the people you’re with, regardless of what’s on the plate in front of you. Hopefully that plate contains something delicious, but we can keep working towards that 😉

The Ginger Bread Girl

The Ginger Bread Girl does a photo shoot! A fun look at a bunch of photos from my recent photo shoot to spruce up the blog!

I’m Lauren, the head ginger here at The Ginger Bread Girl. Some of my favorite memories are in the kitchen or around the table…baking ladylocks with my mom and grandma (exactly what I’m doing in this picture). Making the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Learning to use our smoker. Enjoying an apple pie baked with apples we picked that day. Having friends over for a picnic. Playing games while we eat all of the pasta salad. Randomly trying a new restaurant on a weeknight.

Smallman Galley, in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, is a fun restaurant concept that's home to 4 restaurants, 1 bar, and 1 coffee bar.

Lately, I’ve been trying to slow down, and I think you should do the same. We’re always in such a rush, but we forget to sit down and enjoy the meal. So…let’s sit down and enjoy the meal together. I’ll help with lots of recipes for every situation you can think of, plus restaurant recommendations in Pittsburgh and around the world. All you have to do is come to the table.

Cinnamon rolls are one of everyone's favorite dishes, but I stepped up the flavor a notch by proofing them in a charcoal smoker to add just a kiss of smoke!