Lovely Ladies Luncheon League

March 29, 2017

Circling the Sun

Filed under: All This Month...,Page Turners — LLLhost @ 8:10 pm

Funny how time goes by, circling the sun in the blink of an eye. The ladies have been busy with their hectic lives, many glasses of wine and margaritas to contemplate our lives. Family obligations have kept me from keeping up on the reading, and from writing here or anywhere. I wonder if I will ever find a routine and find the time to share how incredible the journey is with these fine women. With all the madness and chaos around us these days, the pages of a good book allow an escape. Right now I am taking one day at a time, one page as I can. I was inspired to quickly share this little gem, Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. A story celebrating a woman far ahead of her time, flying around in a unique time and place. We all need that for ourselves, a sense of independence and the will to be brave when the world around us is fighting against us as strong women. All I can do is one day at a time, one book at a time and one post at a time.


So many books, so little time.


October 11, 2015

Book Club October 2015 The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Filed under: All This Month...,Page Turners — LLLhost @ 10:00 pm

Book Info:

Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher’s precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family—which includes Eva and four sons—and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New—in the person of Delphine Watzka—the great adventure of Fidelis’s life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted. She meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine’s life, and the trajectory of this brilliant novel.





Fermentation Fest 2015

Filed under: All This Month...,Road Trip — LLLhost @ 9:45 pm

After and incredibly long haitus from blogging, I am roaring back with the 5th Annual Fermentation Festival 2015. On the final day of the fest, we wandered the backroads of Wisconsin in Sauk County’s through beautiful working lands and natural landscapes.

The DTour is dappled with temporary art installations and stands selling fresh, locally grown produce. There are educational sites, Farm Forms, Pasture Performances and more!

Standout moments—Brenda Baker’s laundry on the line, Monday is Wash Day and the Driftless Brass Quintet reminding us that it’s Blue Skies from now on! Sometimes, there is no place like home. I am happy to a Wisconsinite…keep fermenting until next year!


The Driftless Brass Quintet


Pickled beets, my favorite!


Salad in a pickled jar


Bails of billiard balls

Candy bail of hay

Wrapped candy in the corner


and just because kids and cows are so cute…


March 25, 2014

Honey and Pine Nut Tart

Filed under: Food for Thought — LLLhost @ 11:44 am

At our most recent book club gathering, someone brought the most amazing tuscan style tart in honor of our Italy travels. Everyone deserves a bite so I am sharing the recipe. Martha Stewart certainly knows how to sweeten our lives!


Honey and Pine Nut Tart

Honey and Pine Nut Tart

Honey and Pine Nut Tart from Martha Stewart

Two types of honey lend this luscious tart its elusive taste. Intensely floral leatherwood honey, which could easily overwhelm the buttery shortbread-like crust and mild pine nuts, is tempered by mellow acacia honey.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch fluted tart
Source:  Martha Stewart Living, September 2008


For the Filling

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup acacia honey*
  • 1/4 cup Tasmanian leatherwood honey*
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups pine nuts (6 ounces)

*NOTE:  Store honey at room temperature for up to 2 years. If it no longer flows freely, place the bottle in warm water; the gentle heat will return the honey to a liquid state.


  1. Step 1

    Make the pasta frolla: Whisk cream, egg, yolk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pulse flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a food processor to mix. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, add cream mixture, and process until dough just comes together. Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate 1 disk until firm, about 1 hour; reserve remaining disk for another use. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using.)

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (If dough is soft and sticky, transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until firm but pliable, about 5 minutes.) Cut out a 12-inch round, and fit it into a fluted 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (Patch any tears with scraps of dough.) Freeze while making the filling (or cover and freeze for up to 3 days).

  3. Step 3

    Make the filling: Bring sugar, honeys, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, whisking until sugar dissolves. Add butter, and whisk until incorporated. Transfer honey mixture to a medium bowl, and let cool for 30 minutes. Whisk in cream, egg, and yolk until incorporated.

  4. Step 4

    Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter pine nuts over bottom. Slowly pour filling over pine nuts, redistributing pine nuts evenly with your fingers. Bake until crust is golden brown and center is set but still slightly wobbly, about 1 hour. Transfer tart to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Remove from pan, and serve immediately.

January 13, 2014

Book Club January 2014 — A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

Filed under: All This Month...,Page Turners — LLLhost @ 12:56 am
Tags: ,

In December, we met at the new downtown Madison public library to explore the new facility (which is wonderful) and specifically to peruse the special book group collection. The library has over 190 kits of popular book selections available for book groups. The library makes it so easy to select your next book and will even  put all the copies you need in a canvas bag along with discussion questions and related information about the author in a folder for you.

As a group, we all gravitated to the latest Go Big Read selection for 2013,  A Tale for the Time Being. This is a powerful story is about the ways reading and writing can connect two people who will never meet. The story spans across the globe from Tokyo’s Electric Town to Desolation Sound, British Columbia.  A Tale for the Time Being begins with a diary, washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, and it has a profound effect on the woman who discovers it.

A Tale for the Time Being

The 2013 Go Big Read

“A Tale for the Time Being” is a sprawling book that spans both time and the globe, but at heart, it’s a story about the relationship between a writer and a reader. UW News

So an interesting thing happened to us while reading our book this month. Although two people finished reading it, everyone wanted to savor the pages, to not rush and truly enjoy every page of the unfolding story.

Book Review

Since we extended our reading of A Tale for the Time Being another month, we were able to fully relish the characters and the intricate interwoven story they share. So many small details of culture and history along the way. Themes that are relatable to everyone. It was a joy to read, fresh and real, sometimes painful. All and all worth the extra time to savor. We me at the historic Greenbush Bar (or the Italian Workman’s Club as it is fondly known) for wine and a sampling of their spectacular pizza (arugula, tomatoes & goat cheese and one with sausage, very thin, crispy almost burnt crust but very tasty) and over the intimate crowd were able to share our appreciation for the meaning of time in our lives, relationships with our families, along with death & suicide, from a the fresh and modern perspective driven by a story of two characters bound through time.

September 4, 2013

Lovely Ladies Return

Filed under: All This Month... — LLLhost @ 1:00 pm

We have been on the journey of a lifetime together, the lovely ladies and I. Originally, I intended to use this blog as a place to record our journey day-to-day but in the midst of having an incredible trip to Italy, I decided to stop blogging, stop photographing and just live moment to moment on our amazing trip. Just drink in all the incredible beauty that is Italy. In the next few weeks, I will plan to recapture some our adventures through stories and photos and will share some of our favorites moment from along the way.

March 29, 2013

2013 Spring PEEP Show

Filed under: All This Month...,Food for Thought — LLLhost @ 11:06 am

Spring. Finally, after an endless winter, spring has arrived. In a time of renewal & rebirth, many celebrate Easter with its homage to stuffed bunnies & chicks, colored eggs, neon baskets,  jelly beans, chocolate & the enduring PEEPS. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of the PEEP but I do look forward to inspired visionaries who, like great LEGO artists, see something special in the humble PEEP. Each year, the Washington Post hosts a diorama contest, a review of the previous year through PEEPS.  I’ve borrowed a few images from the Post to share and encourage everyone to take a closer look at this years clever entries. There is something for everyone to smile about & appreciate. Happy spring!! Happy peeping!!

The Washington Post Peeps Contest

Rest in Peeps Winner 2013

“Rest in Peeps” Winner 2013

Peep Pope Mourns Twinkie Loss

DETAIL: Peep Pope Mourns Twinkie Loss


and a few favorites……

Peepton Abbey

Peepton Abbey

Life of Peep

Life of Peep

Peep Art

Peep Art

Zero Peep Thirty

Zero Peep Thirty

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Peep

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Peep

Dispeepable Congress

Dispeepable Congress

Pope Peep

Pope Peep

We the Peeps

We the Peeps

Peep Floyd

Peep Floyd

January 5, 2013

New Italian Cookbook

Filed under: All This Month...,Food for Thought,Italy — LLLhost @ 9:16 pm

In honor of our upcoming trip my sister gave me a copy of Francis Mayes cookbook, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen. We immediately set to work on sampling recipes. The first of many is in the photo below…a beautiful red pepper tart with a nutty parmesan flavor and caramelized onions over a bed of zucchini held together with farm fresh eggs.


Everything in the book is enhanced with wine, cheese and love. Simple flavors where the ingredients shine.

A few other early favorites from the book that we already sampled are…clams with lemon & white wine over spaghetti (sans garlic and still fabulous I might add), shrimp with orecchiette and delectable poached pears in red wine. I look forward to experimenting with the ladies and preparing for our cooking class in Tuscany!

December 9, 2012

Annual Cookie Extravaganza

Filed under: Food for Thought — LLLhost @ 12:00 am
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Today was our annual cookie exchange. We make a few batches of traditional Spritz cookies together (lemon & almond) and exchange other tasty treats for a beautiful plate of homemade goodies to take home. Before we can work the dough though, there has to be a delicious meal, usually soup and bread to keep us warm & allow for conversational catch-up. Once full, we have the strength to squeeze the spritz press and get started.

This year we shared curry lentil, turkey chili and a bacon spagettiOs ala joe. An amazing peppery bread from the farmers market (from an italian bakery in Stoughton called Cabibbos) and a sourdough with cheese and fig jam.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Then it was on to the art of the spritz. Getting the dough to the proper temperature, the press working smoothly, the decorations just right, we all have a hand in these yearly delights.


Pressing the dough onto the baking sheets

Art of Decorating

Art of Decorating

Cookie Flower Art

Flower Spritz on display

Recipes will follow in another post soon….Enjoy!

December 3, 2012

Holiday Season Kicks Off with “A Madison Symphony Christmas”

Filed under: All This Month...,I Hear Music — LLLhost @ 11:27 pm
Tags: ,

The first weekend in December means it’s time for the traditional holiday concert at the Overture in Madison. Young and old join together as the Madison Symphony and Symphony Chorus fill the Overture Hall with joyful holiday revelry. This year, the special guests included tenor David Portillo (he gave be goosebumps!) from Texas and mezzo-soprano Emily Fons (a Wisconsin Native), the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir and the Madison Youth Choirs.

It’s hard to believe that we could have attended so many over the years. We were trying to count them and though we can’t be certain it might actually be many as 19 years!

However you may celebrate—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or simply time off of work—the music of the season can still be spectacular. This year was fantastic, or maybe it’s the company I keep.

The Madison Symphony in Red Santa Hats

Tenor David Portillo

An Angel Over the Organ

I wish I could share the real thing. There is nothing like the way so many voices fill a concert hall with such amazing acoustics. These are a few samples of the first half from across utube.

NEALE (arr RUTTER):  O Come,  Oh come Immanuel
HANDEL:  For Unto Us a Child is Born from the Messiah
PIETO YON:  Gesu Bambino
NEALE: Good King Wenceslas
SCHUBERT:  Gloria in Excelsis Deo and Cum Sancto Spiritu
HANDEL:  Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah  

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