Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Leslie’s Fruit of the Wild Granola -- Chai Another Day

LESLIE: A few years ago, one of Mr. Right’s patients brought us two golden raspberry plants and a container of her homemade granola. Naturally, we loved both, and asked for the granola recipe. She declined to share it, saying she planned to market it commercially. I thought the prospects of introducing a new granola recipe and profiting from it were slim, but said nothing. Instead, since cooking well is the best revenge, I made my own.

And we like it better.

I remembered this story when I was writing CHAI ANOTHER DAY and Pepper tries to weasel her way into getting Seetha’s mother’s recipe for chai masala, the spices brewed with black tea and milk to create an authentic chai. Mrs. Sharma will not share, but Pepper uses her wiles – all the while that she and Sandra, the Spice Shop's savvy assistant manager, create their own version. And Pepper shakes her head at the idea of sharing a dish but not the recipe, telling the story of the granola recipe that a friend of her mother’s wouldn’t share.

While writing posts for my book launch blog tour, I described how the granola recipe and a conversation with my mother about the tea her mother drank sparked the recipe subplot in CHAI. (I told the story at Femmes Fatales, in a post called Cooking Up a Subplot.)

As I wrote the post, I had to laugh at myself – I had thought about putting the granola recipe in the book, but ultimately left it out, since Pepper doesn’t actually make or eat it in the book. But here I was talking about the granola recipe and poking at characters who won’t share, and I’d never shared it with readers! So earlier this month, I made it, just for you.

It’s a moist, flavorful granola. It’s also quite flexible – the recipe calls for dried cranberries, but we didn’t have any so I used dried chopped dates instead. But don’t skip the dried apricots – they are the secret ingredient that will make your taste buds dance.

Don’t overbake this, the sin Mr. Right’s patient committed. The mixture will continue to crisp up after you take it from the oven.

And yes, I did name this in a nod to the late Euell Gibbons of Grape-Nuts fame, who proclaimed the cereal the “fruit of the wild” some-such tree.

Are you Team Pepper or Team Mrs. Sharma -- that is, do you share recipes? Obviously, we at the Kitchen LOVE sharing our recipes with you, our readers! And we love to hear from you, too!

Leslie’s Fruit of the Wild Granola

6 cups rolled oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup chopped apricots
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
½ cup honey

 Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, seeds, nuts, fruit, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Melt butter and honey in a small saucepan. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir again when you remove the granola from the oven. Allow to cool thoroughly – several hours – before storing in a tightly lidded container. The granola will stay fresh for several weeks.

Makes about 9 cups.


From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books, June 2019): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Oh this looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing. Oh my goodness, I really found an awesome site for stories and food. Woohoo. Thank you ladies.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  2. It has been quite some time since I last made granola. Thanks for putting a recipe in front of me.

    1. You're welcome, Lil -- this one is super easy and yummy, and quick to bake so you won't be heating up the whole house!

  3. This granola sounds yummy. I share recipes, unless it's something I just threw together & so then don't really have a recipe for it. I will try to remember what's in it tho.

    1. Oh, I know how that goes! The Shrimp Florentine in one of the Village books -- either Treble at the Jam Fest or As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles -- was a throw-together we liked so much we deliberately recreated it, with measurements, so I could put in the book!

  4. The granola sounds so good...I think even I could make this. Thanks for sharing!

    1. All you need is a bowl, a pan, and some measuring cups and you're set!

  5. I am going to try this one. I made a granola recipe years ago but the family said it was too dry. This one looks like it will be good. Thanks!! Jamie Gillespie bentleyboy22@comcast.net

    1. I know what they mean, but I promise, this one is fruity and moist!

  6. A great granola recipe which I will be making. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com