Whet your appetite! Great Mysteries -- Great Appetizers!

With those July 4th cookouts just around the corner, how about some great appetizers to whet your appetite. And pick up a great mystery to read while the lights are flashing the rockets are exploding. Adds a little excitement to that edge of the seat page.

<strong>The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery</strong>

The sound of the door closing downstairs cleared her mind and spurred her on as she threw off the covers and stood on shaky legs. Fear was a great motivator. Nikki. She had to get to her. She stumbled, her legs still not obeying the commands her brain issued. The hallway stretched out before her. Tears filled her eyes. She felt weak, helpless. She hadn’t felt this way since—no, she wouldn’t think about that. That was another life, another lifetime. She was almost there. The same fear that had given her strength, now seemed to paralyze her. She forced her trembling fingers to open the door and flip on the light. Relief robbed her legs of the last vestige of strength. Sinking to the floor, she rested her head against the door jam, tears flowing down her face. Nikki lay, one hand tucked under her angelic face, sleeping peacefully, unaware of the darkness that surrounded them. Safe. It was just a dream.

Sarah pulled herself up and reached for the light just as her gaze fell on the stars floating above the bed. It hadn’t been a dream. Reaching out she touched a star, recoiling from the evil she felt there. He’d been here. In her house. In her daughter’s room.





<strong>Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery</strong>

Standing up Bud walked back to the window. “She’d a stayed if I’d a asked her to. But I had my pride.” His shoulders slumped. “You get old you realize pride ain’t so important. Family’s important. Somebody to love. Somebody to love you.”

Turning he faced Jacody, eyes pleading. “Seems like you’re pretty good at finding people, Mr. Ives. You can see I ain’t got much, but if you could find my little girl and bring her home I’d give you everything I got.”

Jacody felt the rage building as Bud’s pain penetrated the shell around him. Bud Lynton had grown up in a time where a man’s word and his handshake were all that were needed to seal a deal. Jacody extended his hand. “I’ll find her, Mr. Lynton. And I’ll bring her home.”






<strong>Chipped Beef</strong>

1 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream
2 (8-oz) pkgs. cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. minced onion

Then add:

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper (I like red and yellow too)
1 (6-oz) jar chipped beef, chopped
Mix well in 1 quart casserole dish
Bake 20 minutes in 350 degree over
Cover with chopped pecans. Serve hot with shredded wheat crackers
Serves 8 to 10 people

<strong>One of my favorites</strong>

1 (12-oz) roll of braunschweiger
1 (8-oz) pkg. cream cheese

Cream together until smooth (I do this in the blender although it's hard to clean afterwards)
1 envelop dry onion soup mix
1/8 tsp. garlic salt

Blend well.  Serve as a mound on tray with crackers

<strong>Cheese Log</strong>

1 oz. Roquefort cheese
1 cup finely-grated pecans
1 (8-oz) box soft American Cheese
1/8 tsp. garlic power (or more or less to taste)
6 hard shakes of bottled hot sauce (or more or less to taste--I like it hot)
1 wedge (or 6 to 8 ozs.) extra-share grated cheddar cheese

Shape into two logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Roll logs in chili power (about 1/2 of medium can) until heavily coated
Wrap logs in plastic wrap.  Chill until firm.  Cut into slices before serving.  Serve with crackers.

<strong>Crab Meat Spread</strong>

Melt in top of double boiler: 1 lb butter
Add:  1 lb. soft, boxed American cheese cubed
Stir constantly with whisk or spoon until completely blended together.
Add 1 (6-oz.) can crab meat
Keep hot in chafing dish
Serve with sesame crackers

<strong>Sausage Balls</strong>

1 lb. sausage (I like it hot, but mild is fine)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups prepared biscuit mix
Blend well
Shape into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  Place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes in 350 degree oven.
You can freeze these for breakfast or snacks.  If fozen, bake for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven.

<strong>Scalloped Mushrooms</strong>

Saute 1 lb. fresh mushrooms in 1/4 cup of butter for 5 to 10 minutes (you can substitute margarine for the butter if you like)
Season with salt and pepper.  Spread in shallow baking dish, rouded side up.

1/2 pint whipping cream
2 tbsps. very dry sherry
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. instant onion
Add a dash of hot sauce if you like things hot.  Pour over mushrooms.  Bake uncovered at 325 degrees until cream has been reduced to half and mushrooms are golden.

You can use this for a meat sauce also.  If you're making it as an appetizer bake until almost dry and serve with toothpicks.

<strong>Sweet and Sour Meatballs</strong>

Brown 2 grated medium-sized onions in butter

1 1/2 lbs. ground veal
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
3 cups soft bread crumbs
3 tsps. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 beaten eggs
Form into bite-sized balls.  Brown in butter in heavy skillet

1 (15-oz) can tomato puree
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
Pour over meatballs.  Simmer 1 hour

Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup brown sugar
Simmer another hour

Have a great holiday!

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