Bite This Book! Desserts in Jars (giveaway)

Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book! good reads on Simple Bites.

Wednesday’s pie-in-a-jar post was really the predecessor to today’s giveaway. It feels like I’ve been waiting for ages to share this cookbook with you from Simple Bites contributor, Shaina Olmanson, and next week Desserts in Jars will finally be released. For a few days now I’ve been privy to a copy and it has wasted no time in playing up to my insatiable sweet tooth and my inner party planner. Desserts in Jars is so. fun.

Shaina’s recipes are playful, like the Peanut Butter & Jelly Parfaits, which has transformed the favorite sandwich of your youth into a sophisticated and modern dessert. Whether creme brulée, pudding or cheesecake tops your list of favorite desserts, you’ll find creative interpretations of them all between the covers of Desserts in Jars.

Oh, and traditionalists need not to worry, you’ll spy classic peach cobbler and bread pudding here too, although I must say that served up in individual portions, they are looking sweeter than ever.

Shaina’s photography has an understated elegance that effectively shines through on every page. The images are enticing and the recipes so compelling, I predict that you will be making a run for the nearest Crate & Barrel and stocking up on pretty jars.

Read on for a short interview with Shaina and a chance to win a copy of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine!

Q&A with Shaina Olmanson of Food for My Family

1. You’re a mom and food blogger, just like me. How did you make the leap to published author?

When I started my blog I did it with the intention of turning freelance writing into my full-time job. I wasn’t satisfied with what I had been doing at the time, and I was looking to get back to what I had viewed as life goals before my life was railroaded by my husband’s graduate studies and four kids. I wanted to reclaim who I was a bit.

My editor was the one who actually approached me about doing a book after seeing freelance work I had done elsewhere, not even on my own site, and after thinking it through and determining whether it would be a good move at where I was, I agreed.

2. What was your favorite part about publishing a book and would you do it again?

Remember back to when you’re just starting imaginative play as a child and you’re exploring the world by pretending to be someone else. There is always that person who inevitably asks what you want to be when you grow up. My answer has always been that I wanted to be an author. I’ve been fascinated by stories and by written word my entire life, and if you looked into our home, you’d see that most shelves and flat surfaces are housing books.

All of that to say I am currently working towards my second book, and I hope there are many more to come.

3. The recipes in Desserts in Jars are so very creative. Where did you continually find inspiration for them?

I looked for the bulk of inspiration in the same place I always look for inspiration when I cook: the farmer’s market. I think about what’s in season and what I have to work with at different times of the year. Some of the recipes were family recipes or dishes I had made before that were adapted to fit in the jars. I brainstormed with friends about where the gaps were, and still there were those that were a natural fit because they work well in single-serving vessels.

4. For someone who might think that desserts in jars is too much work, what simple recipe from the book would you dazzle them with?

Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that naturally go into jars anyway, or the ones that are simple to execute. A good example would be the sweet corn panna cotta with bacon and blueberry sauce, which is a molded dessert whether you use jars or not. Besides, you can’t go wrong with bacon and blueberries for dessert.

Thanks, Shaina! And now, here’s the cookbook video trailer that has me wishing, not for the first time, that I was neighbor to Shaina and included in the party invitations:


Thanks to the publishers at The Harvard Common Press, I have a copy of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine to give away to a lucky reader.

To enter:

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment on this post and answer the question:

“What is one of your favorite summer desserts?”

That’s it!

(If you are reading this post via email, please note that you must enter on the blog post, NOT by replying to the email. Thank you!)

Giveaway ends Saturday, June 23, at 11:59PM. Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Anything with cherries!

  2. Blueberry crisp is one of my favorites, not counting just good salted watermelon!

  3. Peach cobbler!

  4. blueberry pie & ice cream!

  5. Jennifer hodge says

    Hope I’m scooting in under the deadline. My favorite dessert is ice cream. There just no topping icy cold ice cream on a steamy deep South kind of day!

  6. Courtney Drey says

    I love to make grilled pound cake and top it fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. Yum! I’ve got to try that corn panna cotta with bacon this summer.

  7. Hugh J.Dupre says

    I love to make grilled pound cake and top it fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. Yum!