6 Great Book Ideas with appetizers for entertaining
This post was sponsored by Canadian Turkey. As always opinions are my own.
Is anyone else exhausted this month? Between school routines, earlier wake up and bedtimes, homework angst and Diwali season arriving soon, I am craving a mom’s night in and maybe a spa day to follow. Both of which would do well with a good book or two.
What’s better than a mom’s night in/out with a great group of close friends and a fantastic book that inspires debates, smiles, tears or just some inspiration? For most of us between cooking for our family, prepping lunches and everyday challenges the last thing you want to do is entertain or cook for that matter. But we all need some ‘me time’ and book clubs can be a great way to get creative, relax and yes, make a snack!
We know thinking of menu ideas is the last thing on your mind or on your list of things to do—so that’s why we picked a few snack ideas that will go a long way to keeping things simple, healthy and packed with protein for those long nights chatting over a great book. We all know that anything you can do to make your meal decisions easier and healthier is a big win. Why not think turkey? Any recipe made with turkey is a healthy choice. Each 100-gram serving provides about 30 grams of high-quality lean protein and is packed with nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium and zinc.
Here’s a list of some great books for your next book club we love with snack pairings. These are in no particular order:
- Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors, By Sonali Dev
Sonali Dev is an award-winning author and a masalamommas favourite! This book is described by some as ‘Bollywood meets Jane Austen.” This book has it all, heart, laughter and inspiring characters that will foster conversation at a book club. The story’s Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules: Never trust an outsider, do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations, and never, ever, defy your family. Unfortunately, Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. Chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. In the midst of their clash, is a family that is trying to build a home in a new land, a man who has never felt at home anywhere, and a choice to be made between the two. This book works well with a snack that is packed with multiple flavours and spices and something that pairs well with chai!
Pairing: Mini Masala Turkey Pot Pies. The spice mixture alone will impress your guests along with a lean turkey breast mix. All you need is your mom’s best garam masala, chili powder, chilli flakes, mushrooms, cheese, onions and few other items in every momma’s pantry and you’re set. Leftovers make for a great lunchbox addition too!
2. The Secret Daughter, By Shilpi Somaya Gowda
This is one book that I couldn’t put down and it’s definitely one that will get a group of women talking well into the evening. Gowda does a fantastic job in this book which Goodreads says is “a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives and the indelible power of love in all its many forms.” The story unravels as Somer, a newly married physician in San Francisco discovers she never will be able to have children. At the same time in India, another young mother makes the choice to save her own newborn daughter’s life by giving her away. It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back again. If you’ve read this book already, we recommend waiting for her Gowda’s latest novel, The Shape of Family, which comes out in March 2020!
Pairing: If you’re hosting this book club, or bringing a snack item, you’ll definitely want something that will allow for filling up your guests tummies but also a lot of them as let me tell you, the conversations around this book’s themes will keep you going well into the evening! Our go-to, Turkey Samosas are favourite. Adding a bit of broth to the turkey mixture helps keep the samosas moist and flavourful. Use large sheets to make regular sized samosas or smaller sheets for bite-sized samosas. Bake immediately or freeze so they are ready for a quick appetizer.
3.The Balance of Fragile Things: A Novel, By Olivia Chadha
Olivia Chadha’s novel came highly recommended by some of my friends and even on our social feeds. The story as Amazon reviews, is about a multicultural and multigenerational family that comes together even when things fall apart. The story beings with Vic Singh finding a dead blue butterfly—out of place in his cold, upstate New York village. At the same time as he’s dodging the bully at his high school, he is trying to live up to his father’s expectations, For Vic’s father, Paul, the ghosts of the past impact him to pressure his son to live up to his Sikh traditions—while his Latvian wife, Maija, is haunted by the present: She’s having new and ominous psychic visions even though she can’t read her own teenage children. Isabella, attempting to lose herself through her role in a school play, has an illness she can’t seem to shake—and Vic, trying to find himself, is spending more time alone in nature. Then Paul’s father and Maija’s mother move into the family home, upending the delicate balance of this Indian/Latvian family and its two American teenagers.
Pairing: Masala Turkey, Potato and Kale Cups. These are showstoppers and packed with spicy protein with kale and the perfect puff pastry to impress fellow masalamommas. See full recipe by our resident dietitian, Nazima Qureshi, below!
- 8 phyllo sheets
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 large potatoes, diced
- 1 lb turkey breast, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- On medium high heat, sautee onions in 1 tsp olive oil. Add ginger garlic paste, potatoes, turkey, and spices.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes until potato and turkey is fully cooked through.
- Add chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Phyllo pastry cups:
- Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the counter and brush it evenly with melted butter. Carefully lay a second sheet of phyllo over the first and brush on melted butter. Repeat with 2 more sheets. The top layer should not have butter on it.
- Repeat this process of layering phyllo sheets and melted butter with the 4 other phyllo sheets.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the phyllo into eight rectangles. Place the phyllo rectangles into the greased mini loaf pan, pressing them into the bottom. Keeping the edges of the phyllo upright, prick the bottom of the shells with a fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove pastry cups from pan and let cool completely.
- To assemble, fill a pastry cup with 2 tablespoons of turkey mix
4. The Chai Factor, by Farah Heron
In Farah Heron’s debut novel, she inspires laughter as story talks about opposites colliding. Amira is a Muslim feminist engineer who falls in love with Duncan, a singing lumberjack type of guy. But when intolerance rears its ugly head and people who are close to Amira get hurt, she learns that there is more to Duncan than meets the eye. This book was listed as one of 10 new Canadian books to read this past summer. For hosting a book club with this book, you’ll need to have an item that is fun but healthy and you’ll need time to put this one together. It will definitely be a conversation piece!
Pairing: Chat Pattay Gol Gappay
Who doesn’t love the smooth and spicy taste of a gol gappa? Of course you’d pair this book with chai and a protein-packed version of the traditional gol gappa. This appetizer is a twist on the traditional gol gappay or pani puri. It is healthier too since the potato mixture is swapped with a salad seasoned with chat masala dressing and topped with ground turkey also seasoned with chaat masala. The great thing about using turkey as your protein for this recipe is that it adapts to all of your favourite flavour profiles and spice combinations.
Mira Jacob is as always, inspiring in this novel as she shares candid conversations with her son. In this book, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything and as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. As she tries to answer him honestly, Mira reflects on her own journey about race, color, sexuality, and, love. Her book gives a great snapshot of what it’s like to be the mother of a South Asian child in post 9/11 world. It’s a great read for parents as some of these conversations are ones we’re likely to have at home as well. Her honesty and humour go a long way in keeping this a page-turner.
Pairing: Sliders spiced three ways. This is a great mini app or snack and if you’ve got the kids home as a host, these will be great for a dinner addition too! The Harra Masala Turkey Burger Topped with an Egg uses fresh herbs to spice and colour the burger. The burger is topped with a sunny side up egg. The combination of cilantro, onion, a sunny side up egg, and a warm bun reminds me of the Desi “bun kabab”. The Masala Turkey Burger topped with Sautéed Mushrooms is a more classic burger with a bit of spice and the Mexican Style Burger Topped with Corn Mango Salsa is perfect for something spicy and sweet with a spicy Mexican twist.
- Home Fire, By Kamila Shamsie
Home Fire won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018. Home Fire is a riveting, heartbreaking story of an immigrant family who pits love against loyalty, with devastating consequences. The focus of the book include the identity and security of Muslims in Britain. It focuses on the struggles of Muslims as they try to maintain a unique cultural identity while defending their ”Britishness” and loyalty to the state against political and social activists who wish to alienate them.
Pairing: Turkey Quesadillas are the perfect potluck recipe and our favourite for leftovers too! All you need is 1 cup of cooked masala turkey breast, whole grain tortillas and mozzarella cheese.
Why use turkey for your mom’s night in menu?
- Turkey is packed with high quality PROTEIN.
- White meat. Dark meat. Either way, turkey is LEAN.
- Turkey gives you a boost with energizing IRON.
- Turkey builds up your body with immune-strengthening ZINC.
- Turkey is naturally low in SODIUM.
- Turkey is bursting with VITAMIN B12.
- Turkey is chockfull of NIACIN.
- Turkey supplies you SELENIUM for healthy skin.
- Turkey delivers bone-building VITAMIN D.
- Turkey provides you with heart-healthy POTASSIUM.
- Turkey is filled with PHOSPHORUS.
- TRYPTOPHAN in turkey does NOT make you sleepy!
Cooking tips to consider when planning your menu or your potluck item:
- If you have purchased a fresh whole turkey, remove the giblets and refrigerate in a covered container for use within 2-3 days
- Whole turkeys can be kept frozen for 1 year, parts for 6 months. Once thawed, treat as fresh turkey and do not refreeze until cooked
- Ground turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 day, or in the freezer for 2-3 months
- Cooked meats or cold cuts should be used within 3-4 days after placement in the refrigerator, or after 2-3 months in the freezer
*NOTE: Count the number of days from the “packaged on” date
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