Hi, all!  We’re talking today about our favorite appetizers.  There are certain appetizers I love just because they remind me of the Christmas gatherings my husband’s family has. But I have a new favorite, called “Neiman Marcus Dip”.  No idea why it’s called that, or if it was ever served at NM (I’m on the hunt for the answer, however, as I have an ‘in’ at Neiman Marcus).

It’s so simple, there are only 5 ingredients.  While I’m not the best in the kitchen, I can make this – it’s so good my husband even likes it!

Neiman Marcus Dip4 to 5 green onions
 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
5-6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
(or you can cheat and use 1 jar Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
1 pkg. slivered almonds, toasted at 250 degrees for 10 minutes
Chop the green onions. (fine)
Shred the cheddar cheese… or if you’re me, open the bag of shredded cheese
Mix the onions, cheese, mayo, bacon bits, and slivered almonds together.
Chill for a couple hours.
Serve with crackers – we really like the Pita oven baked Sea Salt chips by Keebler
See? Easy peasey.  Most time-consuming part is cooking the bacon if you use the real stuff.
(Since I forgot to take a picture of the dip when i made it this past weekend, I borrowed a picture from http://www.allrecipecenter.com.)
Now on to my guest for today, author Kim Hotzon.  Welcome, Kim!
And don’t forget to enter to win great prizes!

Hands Full of Ashes by Kim Hotzon

Kim Hotzon  Hands Full of Ashes  Book Cover

Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her.

Just as time begins to heal the wounds of Olivia’s fragile heart, her world is shattered when she is involved in a violent encounter with an armed rebel group in the picturesque mountains of Uganda. Olivia flees to the safety of Rwanda, where she learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal.

As Olivia hovers on the brink of an emotional collapse, her broken soul is reawakened with a startling new love – but her life is about to take another dramatic turn as she struggles to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war. It will take every ounce of Olivia’s courage to hang on to those she loves the most but it may come at a great cost to all of them.

Hands Full of Ashes will be available on Amazon January 14, 2015.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Kim donated a $5 Amazon card, paired with an ebook set and autographed PB of The Marker from Meggan Connors to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

 About the Author

Kim grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia and from a young age she developed three passions – travelling, teaching and writing. Always fascinated by different cultures, Kim travelled to Tokyo, Japan as a young adult where she began a two year adventure teaching English.

Ultimately, Japan changed the course of her life by introducing her to the field of education. She started her own business in Japan teaching English and thanks to her students, she gradually developed her skills in teaching. While living in Osaka, she learned to adapt to a vastly different culture and to appreciate the beauty and distinct traditions of this Asian nation.

Upon her return to Canada, she decided to publish her memoir, When the Cherry Blossoms Fall: My Life as an English Teacher in Japan, detailing the experiences and challenges that she faced while living as a ‘gaijin’ in Japan. She also began a lengthy career at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, teaching young adults with learning disabilities.

In October 2012, Kim joined a group of volunteers and she embarked on a humanitarian trip to Rwanda, Africa. Working with the non-profit organizations Developing World Connections and Building Bridges Rwanda, she worked alongside local villagers, building a kitchen facility for a group of genocide survivors. Rwanda has seen tremendous growth and development in recent years, and reconciliation is a major national initiative. Her debut novel, Hands Full of Ashes, was inspired by this trip.

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