It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets (+ guest post)

Posted December 4, 2020 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, contemporary, cozy mystery, Gayle Leeson, Gayle Trent, giveaway, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) 2020, mystery/suspense / 28 Comments

today’s book: Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets

Welcome to another post in my annual blog series spotlighting new and recently-released Christmas reads! (Over 50 this year – And I’m SO EXCITED about it!)

Christmas is only 21 days away (YAY!!!) and I think we all could benefit from some extra Christmas cheer this year, right? Continuing through just before Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several new/recent Christmasy releases. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)

Today’s first book is the latest book in one of my fave cozy mystery series – plus author Gayle Leeson shares a yummy recipe from the Down South Cafe!

Down South Cafe Mystery #5
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Grace Abraham Publishing
RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2020
PAGES: 163

Christmas comes with chaos—and a murder—in the fifth book in the Down South Café cozy mystery series!

Amy Flowers thinks her biggest problem is going to be creating an enormous cake dummy to mount atop her car for Winter Garden’s upcoming Christmas parade. But when one of Roger’s employees is murdered, making the float is the least of Amy’s worries. Her childhood friend is a prime suspect, Aunt Bess is making a new Pinterest board: Things That’ll Probably Kill Me, and her boyfriend’s mother is insisting on helping Amy make three-hundred-seventy-five sugar cookies to hand out along the parade route.

When Amy starts trying to clear Roger of the murder, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in international intrigue. How will our favorite café owner outwit sophisticated criminals who want to deck the halls with her head?


affiliate links used

for the love of oatmeal pie

by Gayle Leeson, author of Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets

As I’m writing this, the holiday season is already in full swing. It seems to have moved in earlier this year than usual because everyone needs some happy in their lives right now.

“You know what would be good?” my husband asked me.

Of course, a million things went through my mind because so many things are good this time of year: pumpkin roll, coconut cake, peanut butter candy, truffles, Grandmother’s dressing, homemade rolls… [Better stop before I drool on the keyboard!]

“What?” I asked.

“One of those oatmeal pies.”

When I wrote the first book in the Down South Café series—The Calamity Café—I asked readers to submit recipes. I’ll admit it, dear readers, I’m not much on creating recipes from scratch. The ones I’ve shared in this series either come from readers or from bloggers (with permission) or from my family recipe box.

I asked readers to send in recipes they loved, but I did ask if anyone had a recipe for oatmeal pie. When I was a little girl, I went into my friend’s house and smelled something delicious baking. I asked what it was, and her mom told me it was oatmeal pie. It had to bake for a while, and I didn’t get to taste the pie. I never forgot that wonderful aroma, though, and I thought oatmeal pie sounded like an authentically Southern dish.

Prior to including any of the recipes in the book, I made them. I couldn’t let my readers have a recipe fail because of a typo or my failure to include an important step. That’s how I came to make the oatmeal pie submitted by Suzie Welker. It was every bit as tasty as I’d hoped. Below is the recipe so you can try it yourself:

Granny’s Oatmeal Pie

(Recipe contributed by Suzie Welker)

1 pie crust (Directions for pie crust below.)
4 large brown eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (You can take cinnamon sticks and grind them yourself for a better-tasting pie.)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup (Do not use dark.)
¼ cup softened butter (I use only butter, never margarine. Soften by leaving out of fridge about an hour; do not put into mixture hot/boiling, as this will cook the eggs, creating a bad-tasting pie.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350°F for metal pan or 325°F for glass.

Beat eggs until frothy. Sift sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. The sifting mixes the dry ingredients together for a better blend. Add eggs to the dry mixture. Stir well. Mix corn syrup, butter, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add to the first mixture. Slowly mix in oatmeal. Stir 2-3 minutes to ensure even distribution of oatmeal.

Pour into pie crust and bake for 45 minutes.

(Optional diced apples, raisins, or cranberries can be added for additional flavor. If adding apples, use 1 cup, diced very small; 1½ cups if using cranberries or raisins. I prefer the golden raisins but any can be used.)

Pie Crust

1¼ cups all-purpose flour (Do not use self-rising.)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter cut into small squares (cold, not warm/softened)
¼ cup cold water

Mix flour and salt, then sift. Using a pastry cutter (a pastry cutter is best, but you can use your hands), cut in the butter until the dough resembles coarse crumbles. Slowly add ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Roll into a ball and chill in freezer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, take out and roll out using a heavy rolling pin. Place in metal or glass pie dish, then crimp edges with fingers or mash down with small fork.

FYI, this author didn’t add any of the optional ingredients and used a store-bought pie crust, and it was still delicious. I did find that the pie was even better the second day after all the ingredients had time to meld together.

Tell me your favorite holiday dish in the comments below to be entered into the giveaway!

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Gayle Leeson is offering a print copy of Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets to one of my readers! (US only for print. Ebook if international winner. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What about you? What makes you want to read Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets by Gayle Leeson? What’s your favorite holiday dish?

Tags: , , , , ,

28 responses to “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets (+ guest post)

  1. Megan

    I’ve never heard of an Oatmeal Pie before but it does sound interesting. I find it fun when cozy mysteries include recipes in their books, I’ve found some pretty good ones that way. Thank you for sharing and for the chance to win!

  2. amanda gannon

    I love mincemeat pies ( they are english) i was born in the Uk and lived there 24 years before moving to the USA and they are a Christmas tradition, most people here think they are meat but they are fruit ( apples, currants, raisins, etc ) delicious, This year i even learnt how to make my own

  3. Kay Garrett

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets”. Love the title and cover! The story sound amazing as well, but I’d expect nothing less from this author.

    The recipe for Oatmeal Pie intrigues me. I love that you can take the basic recipe and add the flavors you like. I will be trying this unique recipe this holiday season.

    When I think of Christmas, I always think of the fresh grated coconut cake my Mom made. It took hours to make since she actually cracked, peeled and grated a fresh coconut on top of make a cake and icing from scratch. As she began to get older and it was harder to get it all done, we happened upon the recipe for this Three Day Coconut Cake. I began to replace the harder cake from my youth, but with equally anticipated results. The great thing about this cake is yes you actually have to make it three days prior to eating it leaving the time around a family gathering free for the zillion other things that need to be done. This is the recipe:
    Three Day Coconut Cake
    1 box of Duncan Hines Butter Cake mix
    3 pkgs of the fresh frozen coconut (freezer section at WalMart usually during holidays or Kroger year round) thawed
    8 ounces of sour cream
    2 cups sugar
    Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
    Recipe calls for 3 layers – this gal now used the 9 X 13” pan and then just split the cooled cake into two layers.
    Cool 10 minutes and then cool on racks.
    While cake is baking make the icing.
    Mix the sour cream and sugar stirring until sugar dissolves – DO NOT BEAT.
    Then stir in the thawed coconut and place in refrigerator until ready to ice cake.
    When cake has cooled spread icing onto cake already on cake plate that has a sealed cover like Tupperware. Top with layer(s) and finish icing. Cover with lid, seal and place in refrigerator for a minimum of three day before eating. I check once a day and if any liquid comes off cake I spoon back to top of cake. If you do the sheet cake with two layers, you can also put first layer back in pan, put half the icing mixture, top with top layer and then top with remaining icing. Doing it this way you don’t need to check it daily. Just put in refrigerator and forget it for 3 days.

    After three days, you will never know there is sour cream in the icing and it’s the best moistest cake you will eat. It will just continue to get better. It will never dry out. The longer it sits the better it gets IF you can have it last long enough to find that out. It also freezes very well.

    Shared and entered hoping to be the very fortunate one selected. Thanks for the chance!

  4. Anne

    This cozy sounds captivating and the recipes an added bonus to enjoy. Apple cake is a delectbale treat we make each year.

  5. Sandy Todd

    I love this series! Thank you for the Oatmeal Pie recipe. I just might like it! My favorite holiday dish is a German soup called Butterball and rice soup. Very tasty and easy to make.

  6. Lynn Brown

    It looks like a very cute mystery. I like the cover and that it is a series. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Roxanne C.

    My grandmother made delicious fruitcake, and I always looked forward to my portion in the goody bags she made up for her dozens of grandkids.

  8. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds

    I’ve never made oatmeal pie but I’ve made oatmeal sheet cake with coconut frosting. My favorite holiday treat is homemade white fruit cake. My nanny made it and my mama and now I make it and so does my daughter.

  9. Sheryl Sens

    Gayle Leeson is a wonderful author! So yes, I want to read her book!!! My fav holiday dish??,,Gosh there are so many, but homemade cherry pie is my all time favorite. The oatmeal pie sounds good, I’m saving the recipe 🙂

  10. Dianne Casey

    I’ve read books by Gayle Trent and have enjoyed her books. This one sounds like a great holiday read.

  11. Sharon Gullikson

    Favorite dish? Ham, I guess. I would like to read this because I like food, just not cooking 🙂

  12. Julie Waldron

    I want to read it because I love cozy mysteries! My favorite holiday dish is the stuffing but I also like the sweets too. 🙂

  13. Brandi

    A new to me author. My favorite holiday side dish is sweet potato casserole. I love our homemade grilled pizzas though.

  14. Betty Curran

    My favorite holiday dish is pecan pie but I’ll never refuse peppermint fudge or the nut roll my daughter makes every year. Now I have to try that oatmeal pie. It sounds like a winner.

Leave a Reply