May 19, 2016

Make It Easy with Stacie Billis + Giveaway

Make it Easy with Stacie Billis

Stacie has been one of my blogging friends from the very beginning. Waayyyy back in 2009, when all these blog shenanigans began, we met for lunch in New York and totally hit it off. It was one of those lunches were we could’ve chatted all day long and well into the evening, except there were babies to tend to so we didn’t. Fast forward a few years, and a few more babies, and Stacie has written is first book: Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch — with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them. I am SO proud and happy for her. This has been a long time coming and now it is here and the time is right. Brava, Stacie!

The premise of this genius tome is family-friendly food you can make for easily and using a few store-bought shortcuts if needed. Yes! (Because, honestly, we don’t always want to make enchilada sauce from scratch and if you can find a perfectly good jar at Trader Joe’s sometimes it is just worth buying in order to save time. Right? Right.) The book features dozens of new and accessible meal ideas for the family. I flagged several pages right off the bat for summer. Stacie’s writing style is clear and relatable, just like she is in person, and this book will give anyone the confidence they need to get in the kitchen. Today I am so thrilled to share a chat I had with Stacie about her new book and offer one lucky reader the chance to win a copy!

1) This book is the perfect blend of delicious food from scratch with a practical approach. What inspired you to write about family food from this angle? Store-bought shortcuts have been considered a dirty little secret for too long – they shouldn’t be!
I couldn’t agree more—though I didn’t always think this way, you know. When I first started blogging, I was an early hardcore scratch-only, all-organic proponent. It took working with parents one-on-one to snap me out of my own reality and truly understand with what parents are up against: budget constraints, barely any time to spend with their children, never mind cook, access to healthy ingredients, and so on.
Once that clicked, I was able to answer why, with all the many resources out there, parents were still struggling in the kitchen. I needed to leave all the judgment behind and provide parents with resources to be homemade, semi-homemade, and store-bought cooks—whatever they need to be at any given moment—while maintaining healthy choices. It’s possible!
Make it Easy with Stacie Billis
2) What inspires your food choices in your everyday life with your family? 
It’s really determined by my schedule, to be honest. When I have time, I elaborate and experiment. I hit the farmer’s market and allow it to see where it takes me. When I’m swamped, I hit the closest grocery store—or get my groceries delivered (thank you NYC!)—and just stick to the most basic, fastest meal plan I can come up with.
See, as much as I love food and relish work opportunities to develop gorgeous, creative, seasonal recipes, at the end of the day, food in my home is about nourishing my kids and being around the table with them. I don’t have to impress them, rather it has to fit our lives, our schedule, and our budgets. If it’s healthy and it tastes good, that’s all we need!
3) What is the single store-bought shortcut you simply can’t live without? We all have our crutches!
Mine are the little things. I LOVE making homemade hummus and think that it tastes better than anything I can buy (the recipe is in the book), but somehow I can only seem to make it on social occasions. Why? It’s so easy! But, hey, when that store-bought stuff is there for the taking, it’s hard not to grab and go. I also love myself a good rotisserie chicken. I can roast chicken like nobody’s business, but again, having one already cooked in the fridge is a lifesaver nearly every week. I even share an idea in the book for a no-cook meal that I make at least once a week using rotisserie chicken.
4) I’d love to hear a funny behind-the-scenes story from the making of this book! The recipe that never came together, the funny anecdotes from the kids. Spill it!
Ha! Well, first off, the original idea was not this one. My publisher had already signed on and I was a couple of weeks into recipe testing when I realized, oh my goodness, I’ll never finish this book and also not lose my job as managing editor at Cool Mom Eats unless I figure out how to recipe test on a schedule that also allows me to feed my kids this food. So I started mixing-and-matching much more practical recipes—and I thought to myself, this is what crazy busy parents who don’t love to cook or meal plan face all the time. Then Make It Easy was born.
Also, finding the right cake recipe to go into this book was really hard. Cake has to be perfect. Ha!
5) What’s next for One Hungry Mama? We love seeing all your cool projects!
REST! I am One Tired Mama! This book came in right as I transitioned into my role at Cool Mom Eats, so I was insanely busy for a year. Like too busy for my own health. I’m slowing down for a bit, though you can always still find me at One Hungry Mama, my YouTube cooking channel and on Cool Mom Eats, where I work with the best team of writers who are looking at food content with a parental lens like no other set of food writers online. We’re super proud of what we offer parents there—it’s fun, easy, and looks at food through a real life lens. So needed, right?
Thanks, Stacie!
To enter to win a copy of Make It Easy:
1) Leave a comment sharing one of your favorite store-bought shortcuts! (It’s okay, we won’t judge!)
2) Contest runs from May 19th through May 26th and will be announced in the May 27th newsletter. Good luck!
  • My fav store-bought shortcut is pie crust – it so similar to homemade and save a TON of time! 🙂

  • Kel

    I agree – both pie crust and whole chicken made at the store are my two likely shortcuts. Also condiments – I don’t usually make them except salad dressing.

  • miranda

    I use store bought puff pastry

  • gary

    I usually buy BBW sauce at the store

  • bill

    My shortcut is buying tortillas, although homemade is so much better