Sparkling Jello Shots for a celebration (of my new cookbook!)

May 13, 2016

So, if you don’t follow me on social media—YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat (phew!)—you may not have heard the big news: This week, my new cookbook Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook From Scratch—with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them officially went on sale!

That’s right, peeps, you can grab your very own copy right now!

Being the classy lady that I am, to celebrate, I made Sparkling Jello Shots. . . of course!

I like making these with Champagne and either a splash of gin or St. Germain, but you can easily make these with sparkling cider or another sparkling juice to keep this festive and non-alcoholic. Either way, these are pretty damn fun.

I’ve shared tidbits about the book before but, before I get to the recipe, I just want to share with you why I wrote this book and the things about it that are nearest and dearest to my heart:


Make It Easy: A new family cookbook by Stacie Billis

First off, I wrote this book because I was fed up with the way that parents constantly judge each other over food. Instead, I wanted to empower home cooks to make healthy meals however it works for them, no judgement. In Make It Easy, I offer recipes to make incredible homemade meals with from-scratch and weeknight on-the-fly solutions so that getting dinner on the table in 15 minutes is actually possible. Both options. In the same cookbook. You choose (not me).

So on Sunday, you may put together a Mexican feast with homemade corn tortillas as delicious as it is ambitious. Then just like that, it’s Tuesday: your commute was a nightmare, your kids are starving, and it’s already past a reasonable dinner hour when you open the refrigerator. Good news: with just a few shortcuts and healthy store-bought tortilla options, the meal can still come together.

Each of the recipes in Make It Easy comes with a list of every other recipe with which it can be paired—so you can make an endless number of meals from mixing and matching the 120 recipes offered. Every recipe also has notes on how to make it entirely homemade, or where you can use shortcuts from the exhaustive supermarket guide, which includes lists of specific brands and products that help parents find the healthiest store-bought help. Because sometimes scratch is just not possible—but keeping your family healthy always is.

I worked hard to make the range super useful for you. Take Peanut Butter for example:

Make It!  Make homemade peanut butter using raw, shelled, unsalted peanuts.
Make It Tastier! Add pure maple syrup + ground cinnamon + extra salt for a kick.
Buy It! Delicious brands that you can count on if you can’t go homemade include Artisana Organics, Barney Butter, Justin’s, and Smucker’s Natural.
Cook with it! With extra time, try baking Extra Thick Peanut Butter Granola Bars.

I also offer tips and tricks, too, from how to handle picky eaters (of course!) to the best utensils to cut down on prep time. And, of course, my favorite part: A comprehensive supermarket shopping guide with the healthiest store bought options.


Lemon Ricotta Poundcake from the new family cookbook Make It Easy by Stacie Billis

Some recipes include:

Blueberry Almond Polenta (MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Almond Milk and the leftover almond pulp, too)
Chorizo Migas (MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Corn Tortillas, Chipotle Lime Cream, Guacamole: Classic, Tropical or Smoky, Fire-Roasted Salsa)
One-Bowl Honey Graham Crackers (MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Peanut Butter Dip)
Curried Cauliflower and Red Lentil Soup (MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Kebabs)
Thai Chicken Burgers with Quick Pickled Carrots (MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Avocado and Edamame Salad, 12-Minute Salt and Pepper Green Beans, Roasted Squash with Ginger Shallot Browned Butter)
One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake (pictured, MIX-AND-MATCH WITH: Fresh Ricotta Cheese).

I like to think of Make It Easy as a cookbook for family cooks that encourages scratch cooking without dogma, and a resource that takes seriously that parents still care about healthy, natural food even when they can’t go fully homemade.

You guys: I worked really hard on making this USEFUL, SIMPLE, MODERN and, of course, DELICIOUS. I hope you’ll give it a chance and let me know if you agree.

Until then, we celebrate with Sparkling Jello Shots (call ’em bites if you’re making them non-alcoholic to share with the kids!).

Sparkling Jello Shots
(the non-alcoholic version can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes about 12 single servings

1/2 cup simple syrup (watch video to learn how to make it)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup Champagne, sparkling wine, cider or pear juice
1/4 cup St. Germain or gin (optional in the boozy version)

1. Add simple syrup, orange juice, and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and allow it to sit a couple of minutes to bloom.

2. Set saucepan with gelatin mixture over low heat and cook until the gelatin dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add Champagne or sparkling wine or juice, as well as St. Germain or gin, if using. Mix and pour into a lightly oiled container (watch for dimensions that I like to use) and chill overnight before cutting into squares and serving.

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