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    Cranberry Orange cheese spreadYou know the drill. Maybe it's an office party, maybe it's a get-together with family or friends over the holidays -- could even be at your house. Whatever it is, your assignment is to bring a dip. What's less exciting than a dip? It's not even a nice word. But have I got a treat for you. This is so not gourmet, so not fancy, and so the most addictive dip you'll ever have the joy of devouring.

    It's a recipe I stole from my mom, that she in turn picked up from a bank teller. She brought it out one winter night while my family was playing cards and it was all over for me. I can pass on dinner seconds and desserts, but all willpower vanished when this bowl of sweet goodness landed on the table.

    It's a deceptively simple blend of cream cheese, orange juice and cranberries. Sounds like a church basement dish doesn't it? I'll tell you a secret. Sometimes those ladies know what they're doing with their dump and stir recipes! Served with salty, crunchy crackers, it's the ultimate sweet and savory combination that makes it impossible to stop, well, dipping!

    I've since requested this dip at any and every holiday gathering with my family, and whipped it up for parties at my house. Cliched though it may be, friends will totally ask you for your recipe for this. So here you go:

    Cranberry Orange Dip
    (note that you have to plan ahead for this -- get started a couple hours, or longer if you can, ahead of serving time)

    One package Neufchâtel style cream cheese
    1 cup of dried cranberries
    zest and juice of 1 orange
    1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

    Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until well-mixed. Refrigerate covered for an hour. Serve with crackers or pretzels .


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