Penny's Passion: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemon Tartlets

Easter is fast approaching and I've been thinking about what desserts I'm going to serve.  Since it will be April, I'd love to have a "springy" looking dessert for this holiday.  We are typically so full from dinner that the desserts sometimes go uneaten.  This year I'm thinking about having several mini-desserts so my guests can eat one even if they are full.

One of my favorite mini-dessert is Lemon Tartlets with homemade lemon curd.  I blogged about these little gems back in June on this post, but I thought they were so good they deserved another shout out.  What says Spring more than the taste of lemon!  These are so easy to whip up that they won't take you away from your egg hunting for very long at all.

Here's what you do:

Here's the ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar.  Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel.  Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened.
This recipe is found on and it's by Margaret Balakowski

Heat the fillo shells in the oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.  When the shells are cooled completely, fill with the lemon curd.  Garnish with a bit of grated lemon peel.

These tartlets have a wonderfully fresh taste.  Perfect for a light dessert after a big meal.  And just look at them -- don't you think they just scream Spring?!?


Handmade Tuesday's with Kristen
Let's Be Friends Blog Hop with The Dwelling Tree
Green Fashionista and Martinis & Bikinis: Recipe Swap
Eat Drink & Be Mary: Delicious Dish Tuesday
Love From The Kitchen: Tuesday's Table
The Diary of a Real Housewife
Andrea at Momfessionals

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekending - March 27, 2015

Guys -- who doesn't love a weekend?!?  Can't really say I had a super productive weekend, but had so much fun that I won't mind having to put in some extra effort this week to get us ready for Easter next weekend.

Friday night we celebrated Carol's birthday.  By "we" I mean me, Sherri, Carol and Tracy.  We have been a foursome for years and if you've been reading my blog for any period of time, you know I chat about these friends often.  We started the evening at Social Gastropub in Edwardsville, Illinois.  Fun place that we hadn't been to together before.  It came to our attention quickly that they serve our new favorite liquor - St. Germain - so we ordered up some cocktails!

We had a great time sharing appetizers from their "Share" menu.  Then there were presents and dessert.

We moved over to Wang Gang's for another cocktail and more chatting before calling it a night.  Of course, we had to end the evening with a selfie and hugs all around.  Happy birthday, Carol!

Eric was off on Saturday so we managed to get some errands done during the day.  Saturday evening we played trivia with our neighborhood friends.  The theme was Superheros and Villains and it benefited our local school.  I made a banner to string across our table and cupcake toppers for our Superhero themed evening.  The organizers did a fabulous job putting this event together and the categories were fun.  One of the toughest categories for our table was one where they would read the first and last line from a book and you had to identify which book it came from.  We used our mulligan on this one quite a bit!

On Sunday, I FINALLY finished reading The Language of Flowers. I had seen it on several other bloggers posts and thought I'd give it a try.  Interesting read.  Can't say I totally fell in love with it, but is was a decent book.  Have you read it?  What did you think?


Here's the Amazon summary:
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Just as I was finishing making dinner on Sunday night, Ian and Kayla called to see if we wanted to meet them for dinner.  Well heck yes we wanted to meet them!  So the dinner I had prepared will be eaten on another day and we headed out to meet them at Bailey's Range located in downtown St. Louis.  Great place for burgers if you're in the area.  Their burger menu has a multitude of unique burgers, great sauces to dip your fries into and wonderful shakes to have for dessert.  I love being married to a man that is okay with being as spontaneous as I am!  We had a great time with our dinner companions and were so happy they called us to come with them!

                                     Image result for baileys range restaurant st louis

This will be a short work week for me because the company I work for is closed on Good Friday.  Only four days until we get to have another weekend -- can't wait!!  And here's a little something to help cure everyone's Monday blues -- me and some blog friends have a little something special for you all.
How about $125?
And how about from a group of super gorgeous gals?

Win. Win.

No, seriously… check out these gals. 
And then enter to win some cashola.
I think I just turned your Monday around.
You're welcome.

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Five on Friday - March 27, 2015

We've made it to Friday!  I'm still recovering from my weekend away last week so I'm super excited to have a few days off work.  As you will be able to tell from my Five on Friday this week, I was able to catch up on some of my magazine reading last week on the plane and I want to share a few fun things with you.

1.  Spring Cleaning
With Spring officially here, I'm feeling the bug to do some cleaning around my house.  Hopefully I'll actually get some cleaning done before this feeling leaves me.  I ran across this handy chart for a 30-Day Cleaning Challenge and am going to try it.  Starting tomorrow (why start today when I can start tomorrow).  We'll see where I am in 30 days.  Want to join me?

Lisa loves John

2.  Give Me A Hug
Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm just not a hugger.  Don't know why, but I'm just not.  Well, in my Family Circle magazine this month it talks about the benefit of a hug.  Now I'm rethinking the whole hugging thing.  Here's what it said, "Embrace this fun, easy way to avoid a cold!  Research from Carnegie Mellon University found that study participants who received daily hugs had a lower risk of stress-related infection.  And for those who did get sick, frequent snugging was associated with milder symptoms.  People benefit from knowing they have social support in times of need, and hugging is a simple and effective way to show this, says Denise Janicki Deverts, PhD, co-author of the study."  So, want a hug?


3.  Hard-Boiled Eggs
With Easter fast approaching, many of us will be boiling eggs for dying and decorating next week.  Here's the recipe for the perfect hard-boiled egg.  Place eggs in a pot and top with 2 inches of cold water.  Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn off heat and keep covered for 10 minutes.  Drain and immediately run eggs under cold water until completely cool.  Decorate into beautiful Easter eggs.  (This info also came from my Family Circle magazine.)


4.  Coloring Those Eggs
Want to come up with some fun colors for your Easter egg dying?  Well, here's a handy little guide that will get you some fun colors.  
  • Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 10 to 20 drops food color in a cup to achieve desired colors. Repeat for each color. Dip hard-cooked eggs in dye for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, wire egg holder or tongs to add and remove eggs from dye. Allow eggs to dry. 

5.  Makes You Think, Doesn't It?

Have a great weekend!  I'm off to celebrate my friend Carol's birthday night with the girls and we're playing trivia tomorrow night.  I'll be back on Monday to tell you all about it.  Oh -- If you missed my post yesterday, you should check it out HERE.  You can enter to win a $120 Sephora gift card.  Fun, right?!?

Linking up with:

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - March 26, 2015

X-tremely V

Hey guys -- we've made it to Thursday already!!  WooHoo!  One more day and we can call it a weekend.

Thanks for stopping by the linkup.  The rules are simple.  Link back to me and Vanessa and make sure to link your Thursday post below.  Super easy!  #ThinkingOutLoudThursdays

So here's what I'm thinking about today - birthdays.  This weekend we're getting together to celebrate my friend Carol's birthday and I can't wait to spend Friday night out with my friends.  Not that we need a reason to get together, but it's always fun to have a specific reason to raise a glass and cheer.

Today I'm helping a blogger friend, Kaelyn, celebrate her 26th birthday.  She blogs over at My Fair Daily and has great makeup tips.  So let's hear from Kealyn about her birthday giveaway ~

Hey Everyone!
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me! Today is my 26th birthday and I am so excited to share my celebration with all of you too. There are some days I feel all 26 years all at once, and then other days when I feel like a careless teenager again. We had a little get-a-way weekend last week with our friends, where we got the opportunity to kick back, relax, and hang out with good company to celebrate. I plan on enjoying the rest of this week in celebration of my birthday, and the best way I know how is to kick it into high gear with our giveaway below!

I teamed up with a group of lovely ladies to host a Sephora gift card giveaway as well as one lucky reader will receive ad space on The So-Called Homemaker. Thank you for helping me celebrate, and here's to another year of fun, laughter and love. And as always, Good luck <3

Hope you enter to win the Sephora gift card and good luck!  It would be so great if someone who entered from my blog won!!

Now it's your turn -- what are you thinking out loud about today?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peanut Butter Scotchies

If you saw my Weekending post, you already had a preview of the cookies I whipped up when I got home on Sunday.  This is my mother-in-law's recipe and one of Eric's favorites.

These Peanut Butter Scotchies were a perfect surprise for Eric -- so simple to make that even I could do it after a fun weekend away with friends. Check out how simple they are:

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 packages butterscotch chips
6 cups cornflakes

Pour the butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Put in the microwave with a small cup of water beside the bowl of chips and heat for 2 minutes.  Stir.  Heat for another 2 minutes.  Stir again.  The chips should be completely melted, but if they are not heat again in 30 second increments until they are completely melted.  Stir in 1 cup peanut butter.

Add in the 6 cups of cornflakes.  Mix until all the cornflakes are well coated with the melted mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a tray covered with wax paper.  Place in the refrigerator to cool until set.

Love the crunch the cornflakes give these sweet little treats!  One batch makes about 40 cookies.  From start to finish, this recipe took about 15 minutes to complete.  Can't beat that for a quick dessert.  Enjoy!

Handmade Tuesday's with Kristen
Let's Be Friends Blog Hop with The Dwelling Tree
Green Fashionista and Martinis & Bikinis: Recipe Swap
Eat Drink & Be Mary: Delicious Dish Tuesday
Love From The Kitchen: Tuesday's Table
The Diary of a Real Housewife
Andrea at Momfessionals

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekending - March 20, 2015

Oh my goodness guys -- this weekend was SO.MUCH.FUN!!  Me and two of my friends (Debbie and Jane) busted out of town Thursday afternoon and headed to Florida for some Cardinals Spring Training action.  We flew into Orlando and drove south.  Warning:  this post is going to have an overload of baseball and beach pictures.

On Friday morning, we woke up to this view ~

It was a calculated plan for us to find a hotel on the beach.  We were seeing a Cards game in Port St. Lucie at Tradition Field on Friday and Jupiter at Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday, so we found a hotel in between the two cities.  Winner plan!!  The Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina was just what we were hoping for.  The ocean view from our room was fabulous and the beach was literally steps away from our hotel door.

We were pumped to see our first Spring Training game on Friday!  Here's some scenes from our our day.

We had left a chilly 50ish St. Louis.  Here's the temp right before game time -- a lovely 84 degrees!  

We may or may not have totally lost the car in the parking lot.  Oh well, the traffic was so bad getting out of the stadium even if we HAD known where the car was we wouldn't have been able to get out of there any faster.  Honestly, we were just so excited when we got to the game we didn't even pay attention to where we parked.

For dinner Friday night we stopped by the grocery store on the way back to the hotel and picked up some picnic food.  As soon as we were back at the hotel, we headed to the beach with some shrimp, cheese, grapes, and a bottle of wine to enjoy the sights and sounds of the beach.  There is nothing better than picnicking on the beach!  What a great way to recharge and relax!!

Saturday we were ready to see our Cardinals take on the Braves in Jupiter.  Great game!  This one was a winner.  Our ace pitcher, Adam Wainwright, was on the mound for the first time since returning from an injury.  We got so lucky to see the line up of players on the field!  Special shout out to my new friend, Christine, that I made while standing in line to get in the game.

We hung around after the game to catch some of the Cardinal players leaving.  We'd like to believe this was Yadi.  Yes, we're pretty sure it was him.

I have a confession -- I'm a lot little directionally challenged.  For whatever reason, left and right just doesn't come naturally to me.  Thank goodness I had a great couple of navigators to help get us to our destinations.  Sorry, Debbie and Jane for all the u-turns we had to make.  Poor Siri was so sick of me by the end of the weekend.  I really thought at one point she was just going to start cursing at me!

We headed to the airport Sunday morning. It was so hard to leave this view.

When I got home on Sunday, I made Eric one of his favorite snacks - Peanut Butter Scotchies.  I thought he deserved it because he was so wonderful about me going on my girls weekend.  Recipe will be coming on Tuesday.

I can't even come up with words for how wonderful it was to be in warm weather for a fun few days.  Sitting on the beach and feeling the sand on my feet was just what I needed to re-energize.  After the long winter, this was such a wonderful way to start Spring.

So now I'll try to be patient for the Cardinals to start playing ball in St. Louis.  In the meantime, I need to see where I am on my March Madness bracket.

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five on Friday - March 20, 2015

Coming to you from sunny Florida today!  We made it to the hotel and are so excited to see our first Spring Training game.  So let me share my Five on Friday before we head to the stadium ~

1.  Welcome Spring!
Today's the first day of Spring and I'm celebrating by attending my first ever Spring Training baseball game!  I can't think of a better way to usher in this season!  Coming to Florida for a Cardinals game has been on my bucket list for years and now here I am with two friends ready to hear the crack of the bat.  Today we're in Port St. Lucie to see the Cardinals take on the Mets (Wacha pitching) and tomorrow we'll head to Jupiter to see the Birds against the Braves (Wainwright pitching).  I'm seeing two great games with two great friends -- it just doesn't get much better than this!  Hey Yadi, want to do dinner?  GO CARDS!


2.  Painted Shoes
Did you see these adorable St. Louis Blues shoes on my Weekending post?  We had them painted for our daughter-in-law for Christmas.  Every time she wears them, she gets tons of compliments (no surprise -- just look how unique they are!).  The artist, Jennifer Rericha, paints loads of designs.  She puts tons of love into each pair she paints and was a joy to work with.  If you would like her to customize a pair for you, she can be contacted through her Etsy page (Rericha Designs).  I'm seriously thinking about getting a pair with St. Louis Cardinals painted on them.

3.  Kraft's Food & Family Magazine
I'm obsessed with magazines -- all kinds of magazines.  Well, if you haven't seen this one you don't know what you're missing.  It's published four times a year and is stocked full of great recipes the whole family will love plus wonderful tips that help you out around the kitchen and entertaining.  I can honestly say that I've found recipes to make out of each and every publications.  If you're interested in a subscription, you can get one HERE.


4.  Bacon-Flavored Cream Cheese
Guess what new product I read about in my latest Kraft Food & Family ~ Bacon-Flavored Cream Cheese.  You know everything's better with a little bacon!!  I'm going to be on the lookout for this in my local grocery store.


5.  Travel Observation
                                 " Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?" #travel (20 Of The Best Travel Quotes Of All Time)

Enjoy your weekend!  I'll be back on Monday with highlights from my trip.  Hope to see you then.

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