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Wishtree dinner menu

Wishtree dinner menu from

This month’s theme for Family Dinner Book Club is Inclusion, and our lead book is Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children. Head over to Growing Book by Book for a full reading list of books about Bravery. Then visit Sunny Day Family for family activity ideas. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook or Instagram page!

Wishtree dinner menu from

Wishtree is a beautiful and heartbreaking story that perfectly encompasses this month’s theme of inclusion and respect. The book is narrated by an oak tree with appearances from all his animal friends. The main character, Samar, and her family are Muslim and they are having a difficult time being accepted into their new community. Red tells the story of how he came to be a wishtree, and tells of the struggles of other new cultures that had been introduced to his neighborhood and who also had once occupied Samar’s house. Maeve came from Ireland, and Franscesca’s ancestors from Italy.

Wishtree dinner menu from

This month, we’re taking our family dinner book club outside to have a picnic underneath our very own wishtree. The main course is Halal Beef Shwarama which is a recipe from Samar’s culture. We also have Sausage Rolls from Maeve’s homeland and Tuscan Pasta Salad from Francesca’s lineage.

Wishtree dinner menu from

Just like the community where Red lives is a melting pot of diverse cultures, our dinner this month represents a few of the cultures we find in this book. I encourage you to try out a meal from another culture that might be unfamiliar to you. When I first made beef shwarama for my family, Abby and Katie were highly skeptical and couldn’t pronounce the recipe name for the life of them. They still struggle with the word shawarma, but they now ask for this meal regularly!

Wishtree dinner menu from

Family Dinner Book Club
Picnic Menu

Beef Shawarma (recipe below)
-pita, hummus, red onions, cucumbers, red bell peppers, tomatoes
Irish Sausage Rolls
-stone ground mustard, sweet chili sauce
Tuscan Pasta Salad
Banana Nutella Pastry Bites
Water and Lemonade

Wishtree dinner menu from

Wishtree dinner menu from

Wishtree dinner menu from

Wishtree dinner menu from
Yield: serves 8

Beef Shawarma Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds halal prime rib or top sirloin


  1. In a gallon sized freezer bag, or in a shallow baking dish, combine all the spices and mix well.
  2. Add the vinegar and oil, and mix to form a paste.
  3. Slice the beef into thin strips, add to the bag or baking dish, and coat with the paste. Marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours, up to 2 days.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the beef and marinade, and cook stirring frequently until no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Serve with your favorite accompaniments.

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