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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

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When I was trying to come up with a good appetizer for this year’s Thanksgiving spread, I thought about what dish I wanted to spice up, what ingredients I wanted to use and what I wanted to pass over.  Last year, I decided to skip over the calorie-heavy favorite, the green bean casserole, in favor of other dishes.  Instead, I made apple cider green beans, which I loved but were not a complete head over heels crowd pleaser.

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I thought about other holiday favorites, and realized everything I thought of had one thing in common- it was wrapped in bacon (or prosciutto).  Perfect!  Green beans roast well because they’re a very firm vegetable, and their flavor is strong enough to stand up against bacon.  I decided to pair it with a glaze, something that would play well with the essence of bacon but also tie the dish in with the rest of the meal.  Thanksgiving is, after all, about blending dishes.

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I prepared this side dish as part of a larger meal for Springpad’s 2009 Thanksgiving competition.  Because of this, I wanted this dish to have notes of flavor in common with the other dishes in my spread.  The marinade on my roasted mango and habanero turkey was roasted mango, roasted habanero, and orange juice.  So I made a glaze for the green beans out of brown sugar and orange juice.  The orange juice tied the flavors in with the turkey (and the cranberry sauce).  I used sugar to thicken the glaze, brown sugar in particular because it’s richness compliments the bacon.  The end result was scrumptious, leading Dan to suggest (not for the first time) that everything in life is better wrapped in bacon.

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Don’t forget, springing this recipe onto your springpad, either from b&s or my springpad page, will automatically enter you to win $100!  And if you’re feeling generous, spring all my thanksgiving 2009 recipes to help me win $500!

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

2 cups fresh green beans

1/2 lb bacon

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Toothpicks

Snap the ends off of your green beans.

Preheat your oven to 400. Cut each slice of bacon in half. Bunch together 5 or 6 green beans, and wrap a piece of bacon around them. Secure with a tooth pick. Repeat until all the beans are wrapped.

Roast for 20 minutes.

While the beans are in the oven, combine oj & brown sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.

When the beans are done, plate them and drizzle with sauce.

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Melted Brie & Cranberry

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You know that dish that everyone gobbles up around the holidays and ooohs and ahhhs over, relishing in consuming countless calories of delicious pre-New Years Resolution goodness?  This is so that dish in my family.  My Aunt Lori brings this to every family gathering and it is a hit, every time.

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When I was trying to come up with a good appetizer to include in my Thanksgiving spread this year, this one immediately came to mind.  At first I pushed it out of my head because I thought it was too common, too traditional.  But then I thought- that’s what people want on Thanksgiving.  Sure, they’ll take a little twist here and a little spike of new flavor there, but for the most part, around the holidays, we want tradition. And for my family, this is tradition.

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You’ll be happy to know that, since this is a food blog and I was entering this recipe into a recipe contest (after all), that I did add a twist.  Usually when this dish is served in my house it’s strictly brie and puff pastry.  Which, by itself, is one of of the most delicious things ever.  I mean, soft cheese and puffy buttery dough?  Please. But, being a professional and all, I added a little of my  homemade cranberry sauce.  I know.  I’ll take that invitation to MENSA now for my groundbreaking ideas.

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Even if my twist isn’t revolutionary, I’m happy to report that it is delicious.  It adds a burst of flavor to the dish, not to mention a beautiful layer of color, which is important while you’re trying to show up the rest of your family during the holiday season.  Not that I try and show up my family.  Though my sister does make these oreo balls that I’m perpetually trying to one-up.  But that’s a story for another day.  What I’m saying is- delicious.  Perfect for the holidays.  Gobble gobble gobble.

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Don’t forget, springing this recipe onto your springpad, either from b&s or my springpad page, will automatically enter you to win $100!  And if you’re feeling generous, spring all my thanksgiving 2009 recipes to help me win $500!

Melted Brie & Cranberry

1 sheet puff pastry

1 round of brie

1/4 cup fresh cranberry sauce (recipe here)

Spread the puff pastry out. Place brie on top. Spread cranberry sauce onto the brie. Fold up the edges of the pastry so that a circle is formed.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Allow to rest 5 before serving

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Thanksgiving Spread

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Thanksgiving is, and has always been, my favorite holiday.  For most people, whatever winter holiday they prescribe to, Festivus, if you will, is their favorite.  I mean, those holidays come with presents!  But I like Thanksgiving.  Presents just get in the way of what I see as the best part of any big family holiday, the food.  I mean please people, who cares about your new homeless American Girl doll when there is BRIE CHEESE COVERED IN PUFF PASTRY.  And the very best foods come out at the holidays.  We throw caution to the wind and soak things in butter, deep fry them, and load them with more calories than usual.

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In fact, my family took it to the extreme- competitive eating.  We started a tradition among the six siblings where you would weigh in Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and weigh out Saturday or Sunday.  Whomever gained the most weight over the course of those few days would be the reigning champion eater until the next year.  Inevitably my brother Ryan always won.  He’s the youngest, the gangliest, and the one with the most unstoppable appetite.  My sisters and I burnt out after 5 or 6 twice baked potatoes, but the boys could just keep on going.  It was almost nauseating.  If it hadn’t been so incredibly hilarious.

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This year I am participating in a different kind of Thanksgiving competition- a recipe based one.  My favorite life organizational site, Springpad, has pitted their partner food bloggers against each other in a Thanksgiving meal blog-off.  Starting today you are able to visit my Thanksgiving spread on Springpad and spring my recipes into your holiday plans.  The incentive for me, besides fame and glory, is the chance at $500.  The incentive for you, dear readers, besides the benefit of my delectable recipes on your table, is the chance to win $100, just for springing a recipe. That’s free money with which to buy yourself a Festivus present.

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Starting tomorrow I will also be posting the recipes here, my ideal holiday spread.  Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce, Potatoes au Gratin, Bacon Wrapped Green Beans, Roasted Mango & Habanero Glazed Turkey, and finally, the long awaited Caramel Turtle Pie.  Starting today they’re all available on Springpad, and as they go up on b&s you’ll be able to spring them via the “save it” button.  Either way you do it, put your springing powers to good use because the more collective springs my Thanksgiving spread gets, the closer I am to $500!  Which will totally come back to you in good ways, I’ll pay it forward with more of the recipes that keep you coming here.  Additionally, for our complete list of holiday favorites, visit here.  Stick with us this holiday season and your table with be the envy of all.

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