Yesterday I did something I HATE to DO!

There are not many things that I force myself to do, if I don’t like doing them. Â But there are a few exceptions…ROLLING GRAPE LEAVES!!!! Â I hate rolling grape leaves, it’s so tedious, and my shoulders/neck hurt when I’m done. Â BUT the payoff is so rewarding. I LOVE LOVE LOVE grape leaves!!! I especially love when my mom sends me a tupperware full of already rolled grape leaves…but she didn’t have any ready for me the last time I was in Michigan. So I decided yesterday that I had to do it myself!

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So I set up my rolling station, and I like to wear gloves when I roll grape leaves. Â Now, let me warn you, when you start, it may seem like you will never finish rolling and you look over and you see that you have only rolled 12 grape leaves. Â But eventually you get through it. I found that if I put something interesting to watch, it goes by faster. And if you can find someone to help you, you’ll be done in a blink of an eye. I remember being a kid and helping my mom roll grape leaves, at that time I thought it was so much FUN!

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I finally have my tupperware full of nicely rolled grape leaves…although I think my mom rolls them half the size of the ones that I roll, I was happy with my work. Â I decided to save these for a nice dinner and freeze them, plus I didn’t have any nice fatty flap meat to layer in between the leaves, I feel like that’s a must with ending up with flavorful and juicy grape leaves. Â But if you have some time and you love grape leaves like I do, then I would say commit to it and start rolling! IMG_6045 (1)   AND don’t forget, there are 2 different grape leaf recipes on my site, one vegetarian grape leaf and one meat and rice grape leaves.

What to take with you when you’re invited to Lunch/Dinner

Baklava I’m a firm believer that you should never go to any ones house empty handed.  My mom taught me that and it’s stuck with me. Even my husband now remembers to always take something with him.  AND it doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy something!!! Now, everyone LOVES hummus, so I find it easy to whip up a batch of hummus, put it in a nice tupperware, drizzle it with some olive oil and paprika and take it with me. If I happen to have pita bread or pita chips, I’ll take those along too. Or if you’re invited to lunch, you can just take it in a tupperware and then serve it in a nice plate when you get there, just don’t forget to take your garnish with you, and just let that person know that you’re bringing hummus and if they have some olive oil to spare. I mean, you don’t want olive oil spilling all over your car.  You can even get fancy and make a different flavored hummus, check out the variety of different recipes on my site.  Best of all, hummus is great as a snack, a side dish, or an appetizer. IMG_6052 (1) If you’re looking for something to take with you that’s more along the salad/fresh angle, then I’d shoot for a caprese salad.  It’s fresh, light, and super easy to assemble with minimal ingredients.  You can actually buy the ingredients and take them with you to put together when you get there.  You need fresh mozzarella that stored in water/brine, or if you can find buffalo mozzarella that would be even better. Then you need some good firm, yet ripe, red tomatoes.  Find some fresh basil, but if you can’t find fresh basil, look for ready made pesto.  You’ll need some good extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and if you like a reduced balsamic vinegar.  Some people like vinegar with their caprese salad and some don’t. I like to drizzle a little bit of reduced balsamic vinegar on top.  Just slice up the tomatoes and mozzarella and layer them nicely on a plate, if you have fresh basil leaves then layer that in too, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and that’s it! IMG_8790 And if you’re looking  to take a dessert that will impress, then I’d go for some baklava. It’s not hard to make and you can really get creative and show off your baking skills.  There are a few different types of baklava, depending on what you like. Some people like to use walnuts, some like to use pecans, or peanuts, or even cashews.  You can add chocolate, or even cinnamon to the baklava layers.  You can top with pretty green ground pistachios, or leave it without.  Either way you make it, I’m sure everyone will be impressed. IMG_9942 Find all these recipes at www.DedeMed.com  

It’s SUMMER Time!!!

Well, it’s officially SUMMER TIME!!! Time for pools, ice cream, and of course barbecues!!!  You have your good ol’ hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs…but my favorite is some shish kabobs.  I love to use a nice juicy tender fillet, with onions, peppers, and the occasional tomato, but it’s that tender meat that gets nice and smokey on the outside and juicy on the inside. IMG_7112 I of course always use charcoal for my barbecue, sorry I’m NOT a fan of gas grills…they just don’t give that right barbecue flavor. Sometimes I even add some extra skewers of onions, I love how they get sweet and tender when they are grilled.  No you don’t really have to season your meat, but sometimes I like to do that, just follow the recipe on my site shish kabob. IMG_1704 My mom doesn’t put anything on the meat but seasons it with salt after it’s grilled and that tastes good too.    Either way, if you haven’t tried these shish kabobs, then you’re missing out…Happy Barbecuing!!!!

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