Hobby Reads

Because everyone's hobby is having fun! Visit us @



Peanut Butter Pie by Janie DeVos

Author’s Content – by Janie DeVos; author of the soon-to-be-released THE ART OF BREATHING; and BENEATH A THOUSAND APPLE TREES (which is already on the market).

I was asked about my hobbies and interests recently, and I have quite a few, but they all revolve around the same thing: anything old.  And I mean OLD.  I love to do stained glass work, having been inspired by old church windows, and I enjoy needlework; the same kind the ladies learned to do by working on samplers hundreds of years ago.  I also love hunting for antiques.  My house is full of them.  The older something is – and the more nicks it has it in – the better.  I also have a passion for old homes, I’m intrigued by creepy cemeteries, I love Art Deco jewelry, and black and white movies.  Heck, when I was a little kid, I really liked old people!  Weird, I know.
There’s just something about the uniqueness of old things, and the fact that they survived long enough to have gone from being a “new” something to being an “old” something.  I wonder about the stories attached to them, and the amount of probable “near misses” they had that nearly prevented them from achieving the rank of old age.

As far as I’m concerned, one of the best places to see many wonderful antiquities is in the South.  Now, that’s not to say that the North doesn’t have their fair share.  I know they do.  But since I live in that part of the country where collard greens and peanut butter pie are staples in any respectable household, I guess I’m just a bit partial to that place south of the Mason Dixon Line, with all of its glorious and not-so-glorious history.  I love it enough to write stories about it, and many of my characters were inspired by true life characters – both the young and the old. Continue reading “Peanut Butter Pie by Janie DeVos”

Lemon Curd by Lynn Carthage

On the day before Valentine’s Day, I set out to make lemon curd for the second time in my life. I used the recipe on the Pioneer Woman site by Erica Kastner and hereby apologize for any sacrilege that results from my hackneyed efforts.

You see, I’m kind of a klutz in the kitchen. I have some anecdotes that would curdle your curd. Anyway…

The one thing I had going for me was the incredibly fresh, beautiful Meyer lemons given to me by a friend a few weeks ago. Yes, in the middle of winter, California trees are offering up fruit… sorry if that hurts anyone’s snowbound feelings. 😉

So what is lemon curd, really? It’s a buttery, lemony kind of thing you can spread on scones or shortbread (or what have you). It’s decadent—you may wish to scroll quickly past the photo of all the butter that goes into this further down the page—and very British. And that’s why I’m blogging about it today. My novel Avenged takes place in England and while there is no specific mention of lemon curd, I feel absolutely certain that my character Eleanor, the manor’s maid, would have delivered this delicacy on her mistress’s breakfast tray many times. Continue reading “Lemon Curd by Lynn Carthage”

J Bird’s Famous Recipe For Apricot Ginger Scones by Jacqueline Sheehan

Ingredients . . .

3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¹⁄³ cup sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
²⁄³ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup dried apricots, diced
¹⁄³ cup candied ginger, diced
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 cup buttermilk
Parchment paper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter. Add the apricots, ginger, and lemon peel. Add the buttermilk and stir until just mixed. You may need to add a little more buttermilk, depending on the humidity level of the day. Knead for five turns, folding and pressing with the heels of your hands. Form into two logs and place on greased baking sheets (or use parchment paper instead).

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut into hearty triangular wedges. Serves one entire book group. Enjoy!

—Recipe from Morgan Sheehan Continue reading “J Bird’s Famous Recipe For Apricot Ginger Scones by Jacqueline Sheehan”

7th Annual Irish Book Day-One Day Only! The Hunt Starts 3/17/2017 @ 7AM and runs until the books are GONE!

7th Annual Irish Book Day

One Day Only! The Hunt Starts 3/17/2017 @ 7AM and runs until the books are GONE!

Watch our Facebook Live Video featuring the books you’ll see tomorrow. Watch Video Here

Free books will be handed out to NYC commuters in celebration of Ireland’s rich literary history. If you have a chance, we would love for you to take photos of the books if they happen to appear along your stop. Share them on social media with the hashtags #IACBookDay or #IACBookDay17


About the event:

This St. Patrick’s Day, pay homage to Ireland and Mexico’s rich literary traditions as our annual Book Day expands to celebrate literature by Irish and Irish American authors alongside writers from Mexico and its diaspora.

With hundreds of titles to choose from, ranging from children’s books to poetry, fiction, nonfiction and books in translation, there is something for every New Yorker on offer at one of our many pop-up stands across all five boroughs.


Places To Find Books:

Manhattan #1
Southwest corner of 110th Street and Lexington Avenue, 6 Train

Manhattan #2
Christopher Street stop on the 1 train at Sheridan Square and 4th Street

Manhattan #3
72nd and Broadway outside the 1 train subway station Continue reading “7th Annual Irish Book Day-One Day Only! The Hunt Starts 3/17/2017 @ 7AM and runs until the books are GONE!”

Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers by Winnie Archer

This recipe was inspired by Jodi Elliott, the owner and chef of Foreign & Domestic Food and Drink in Austin, Texas.

Butter for greasing the popover pans or muffin tins

2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
Nonstick cooking spray
¾ cup Gruyère cheese, cut into small cubes, plus grated Gruyère cheese for garnishing (optional)

Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Prepare the popover pans or muffin tins (with enough wells to make 16 popovers) by placing a dot of butter in the bottom of each of the 16 wells. Heat the pans or tins in the oven while you make the popover batter.

Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. It should be hot, but do not bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat. Continue reading “Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers by Winnie Archer”

Book Club Party Kit for The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick

Celebrate Sisterhood by hosting a Promise Girls get together! Click below for your downloadable Book Club Party Guide, which includes activities, a menu and a suggested soundtrack – plus recipe cards for six of Marie Bostwick’s favorite drinks and dishes.

Suggested Soundtracks

Liebestraum #3, by Franz Listz, the familiar and fateful nocturne that young Joanie Promise plays in the opening scene of The Promise Girls. (Or, really, anything by Liszt because as Maestro Boehm, Joanie’s piano teacher, quite rightly points out – who doesn’t like Liszt?) Follow it up with the “Scarbo” movement of Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, considered one of the world’s most challenging piano solos, a piece that altered the course of Joanie’s life.

If you’re looking something with a bit more of a beat, put on The Ramones and listen to Rockaway Beach, the song that was playing when Joanie first met Asher. Or maybe some Nirvana, Seattle’s most iconic band, fronted by the talented but tormented Kurt Cobain.

Suggested Activities

Since fostering personal creativity is one of the primary themes of The Promise Girls, consider holding your meeting at a local Paint ‘n Sip studio. Or host your own paint party at home. Put out some acrylic paint, colored pencils, or other art supplies and give each member his or her own piece of cardstock or canvas to create a personal masterpiece while discussing the book. (P.S. We don’t recommend letting your Paint Party turn into a Promise sisters-style paint war, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put down some drop cloths. You know. Just in case.) Continue reading “Book Club Party Kit for The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick”

Mini Italian Meat Loaves by Kristi Rose

How I turned a chore into a hobby

In my day job, outside of writing, I work in special education. There, I am often called upon to make schedules for children: picture schedules, sensory diets, and even therapeutic listening schedules.

Drafting up a table or chart is mind numbing dull to me and when I hand over the boring black and white image to a teacher it’s almost comical to watch their expression glass over as they try and find the motivation to use such an uninspiring tool. I get it. I totally do. I don’t even want to use it.

Then I discovered pretty printable.

As the mom of young children, I juggle more than my two jobs. There’s therapy appointments, sports, and all the business that comes with feeding, clothing, and maintaining said children. If I don’t stay organized we would up eating spaghetti two or three times a week and tacos and pizza the other days.  And my son would run out of underwear. I would try and make list or a memo on my phone but was never successful with that strategy. The notes tend to blend in and get lost with the other paper in my life. The long list in the phone overwhelms me.

Pretty printables to the rescue. Continue reading “Mini Italian Meat Loaves by Kristi Rose”

Beignets by Rochelle Alers

2 cups of self-rising flour
1 Tbsp. Crisco
1 Tbsp. sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine the flour and Crisco in a bowl with a wire whisk until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with perhaps a few lumps.

Warm ¼ cup of water in the microwave oven until barely warm to the touch.  Pour the water into a large bowl, add the sugar, and stir until dissolved.  Add the flour mixture and blend it with a kitchen fork.  Work the dough as little as possible.

Turn the dough out on a clean counter and dust with a little flour.  Roll it out to a thickness of approximately ¼ inch.  Cut into rectangles about 2×4 inches.  Let sit while oil heats. Continue reading “Beignets by Rochelle Alers”

Snow Day Cheesy Treats by Bethany Blake

When winter clamps an icy hand down on my home in rural Pennsylvania, I live in pajamas as much as possible, hanging out by the fire with my equally cold-averse canine, Big Pup. And what goes with pjs and roaring fires? Snacks, of course!

And that means… cheese. Both Big Pup and I are addicted. In fact, our refrigerator has a dedicated cheese drawer that squeaks in a special way when opened. Big Pup can detect the noise from the far end of the yard and will magically appear at my side in two-point-seven seconds, flat.

You don’t have to be a serious cheese collector to make these easy pet treats, though. Most folks will have everything needed on hand in the pantry – which means no getting dressed in actual clothes and going to the store. Stay cozy in your jammies and still treat your pup to these simple, but tasty, snacks! Continue reading “Snow Day Cheesy Treats by Bethany Blake”

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: