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Green Beans and Cranberries


This is the time of year when you are invited to so may Christmas parties or you're throwing one yourself.  Why not make things a little easier?  When planning a dinner menu, I always pick one or two items that will take little to no effort.
With my family, it's usually the same green bean recipe everyone loves.  My mom gave me these easy green beans, and I'm not quite sure where she got this from, but it's awesome.  And good ol' homemade cranberry sauce is so easy that I had to throw it in.
 Enjoy!

GREEN BEAN ALMONDINE
servings: 8 - 10

2 lbs green beans, washed and snapped
4 - 6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 - 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
salt and pepper

Cover green beans with water in a large pot, add garlic, and set to boil.  Let green beans cook until tender and bright green, about 15 minutes after boiling begins.
Pour green beans into ice cold water to stop cooking process and keep bright green. Once green beans are completely cooled, drain water and dry green beans.
Remove garlic and place green beans in a bowl. Add as little or as much olive oil, poppy seeds, and almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss. Serve at room temperature.

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CRANBERRY SAUCE
servings: about 8

1 bag cranberries
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinamon
1 pinch salt

In a pot add all ingredients, let boil for 15 to 20 minutes, until berries have softened. Place in bowl and let cool in refrigerator.
If smooth is preferred, blend until smooth. Pass through a strainer and cool in refrigerator.

Adapted from Ocean Spray Cranberry bag

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