Today, January 14, this blog actually begins. Like I said in my welcome post, which I recognize has had no viewers because why would anyone stop at my little hovel on the internet that had literally nothing on it, I will be reading and eating this year. What do I mean? I am going to create meals, treats, or other food related items for every book I read this year. Part book review, part recipe blog, this is my fusion.
The first book to make its appearance this year is Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers. Ranked a 3.58 on goodreads at the time of this review, I gave it 5 stars. Moriarty tends to be one of my favorite authors as of late. I have read many of her books including the all-famous Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, and The Husband’s Secret.
Nine Perfect Strangers is a story of a nine individuals who spend 10 days at a health retreat. The plan is to eat healthy, do yoga, and reconnect with themselves – to leave feeling more fulfilled and more complete. And perhaps they do leave that way, though there is much drama along the way. I don’t want to give away too much about what that drama is, because it is one of the reasons the book was so gripping.
Moriarty is wonderful at her character development. Many times when I read books filled to the brim with characters, I have a hard time keeping them straight. I can’t remember their names. I can’t always remember their backgrounds. But with the characters Moriarty focuses, I really felt like I got to know them. I felt I knew Frances, the romance author. I felt I knew Zoe, the young woman on this retreat with her parents. I felt I knew Lars, the divorce attorney. The only character I didn’t really feel like I knew or could understand was Masha, but once you read the book, it makes sense why Moriarty wrote that character as she did.
As for the food stuff, there were many food references throughout this story. My list of foods include:
- Smoothies (mango, coconut berry flavored and apple, honeydew, and pear flavored)
- Steak with baked potatoes
- Quinoa salad
- Giant bowl of green salad
- Chicken and vegetables
- Vegetable curry – “The curry, of which she savored . . . had a hint of saffron.”
- Stir-fry with noodles
- Poached eggs and steamed spinach
Most of the food references surrounded one specific meal, where each client at the retreat was served a meal that suited their needs. The salad was for the big indulgent guy, the fish for the woman who thought herself too fat – each meal was supposed to suit the guest it was made for. So I thought to myself – if I were in a health retreat, what would they feed me?
I have been on a keto journey for half a year now. I have made considerable changes in my health by cutting out the vast majority of carbs. I decided I needed something very green for my dish. They would make me something stuffed with vitamins, packed with flavor despite the lack of carbs, but something light so I could go do some yoga after lunch.
Kale and Pine Nut Salad
- 1/2 cup chopped kale
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
- McCormick’s Citrus Chili and Garlic with Chia spice, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 355. Toss kale pieces and broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. During last 5 minutes, add the pine nuts.
- Toss together the kale, broccoli, and pine nuts with the lettuce and alfalfa sprouts in a bowl. Top with avocado slices and goat cheese and sprinkle with the chili seasoning.