Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

Celebrate Lit Blog Tour

Click here to purchase your copy.

 A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.

Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.

Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.

My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.

Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.

Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

I knew once I'd read the Honeybee Sisters books that I wanted to get some of the recipes they mentioned.   After all, all three of the boys were enthralled with their cooking.  :D   So I was delighted when I saw the offer to review the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook!

These recipes are clear and concise with easy to follow directions.  You have several different categories that include main dishes, salads, breads, and treats.  All the recipes contain honey at some point in the process.  I love honey so this is not a bad thing for me...lol.  There are pictures with each recipe so you can see how delicious everything looks.   There are also quotes from the three books that'll give you a chuckle as you look through the cookbook.

Smiling Book Reviews
Oatmeal Honey Scotchies collage 
There were so many of the recipes I wanted to try but time only allowed for one so I went with the Oatmeal Honey Scotchies.    Oh boy!   Can I just say ... YUUUM!   The flavor reminded me a lot of the Amish Friendship bread with butterscotch chips that I've made countless times.   Mmmm ... my mouth is watering just thinking of these cookies. :)

Ok, so on to the recipe itself.  The instructions say drop by tablespoons and that it makes about 4 dozen.   I used a generous rounded tablespoon and I'd say it made about a medium sized cookie.  I only got 2 1/2 dozen.   So if you want 4 dozen out of one batch, you definitely have to go with a smaller spoon and they will be small cookies.   With the size of my cookies,  I cooked them for 8 minutes (and resting 5 minutes on the hot pan) and it made the cookies look really pretty and they were soft and chewy.   They really were almost too soft and they stuck together after I stored them.  (I should have put some waxed paper between the layers.)  They also fell apart easily.   However, they were REALLY good this way...lol.   My second pan, I cooked them for 10-12 minutes
Smiling Book Reviews
Oatmeal Honey Scotchies (Honeybee Sisters Cookbook)
and they came out much browner and more crispy.   They almost had a little bit of a burnt taste to me but my husband (who likes crispy) thought they tasted fine.   So I think the next time I make them (and I will make them again because they were SO good!), I will maybe flatten out the dough a little bit so that maybe they will cook more thoroughly in 8 minutes.

On a side note, one of the reasons I really enjoyed this series of books and the cookbook is that I have two separate friends that are actually bee keepers and I've gotten some really good raw local honey from both of them.  I used honey from the most recent jar I'd bought from one couple.   As you can see in my picture, I'm getting low!  Hint, hint, Boren's Apiary!  :)

*Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Purchase them here:

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.

Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.

I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal that fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.

The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.

My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.

This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Mix together:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups rhubarb, diced

Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.

Mix together:

¼ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg


2 cups flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.

September 20: Smiling Book Reviews
September 20: Book Babble
September 23: Artistic Nobody
September 24: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 25: Bibliophile Reviews
September 26: Simple Harvest Reads
September 28: Blogging With Carol
September 29: Bukwurmzzz
September 29: Donna’s BookShelf
September 30: cherylbbookblog
October 3: Quiet Quilter

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away one set of The Honeybee Sisters Series! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a2ba