Recipe of the Month: Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip

What is your go-to for game day? If your spread includes jarred salsa and a tub of pre-made dip, served with a side frozen wings and a store-bought pizza, know that it does not have to be that way. You can have a tasty, homemade dish in just minutes.

With a few hearty pantry staples and a handful of fresh flavors, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip can transform you from second-string to the Most Valuable Player. A real crowd-pleaser, Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available in Fall 2018.

Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip    

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Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 2/3 cup bottled picante sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 can black beans (drained and washed)
  • 1/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco-if desired

Instructions

  • Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender.
  • Add tomato, picante sauce, chili powder, cumin, and black beans to skillet.  Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
  • Partially mash mixture with a potato masher.  Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice.  Stir until cheese melts.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips.

After you make Cowboy Chic Black Bean Dip, share a photo on social media using #JLOCookbook.

Boots & Belles Roundup

Boots & Belles (formerly Barn Bash), a fundraiser for the Junior League of Omaha’s projects and initiatives, took place on Friday, August 4, 2017, at the home of Lexie and Shane Frahm in Gretna, Nebraska.

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The theme of the evening was a rustic BBQ. White and blue gingham tablecloths popped against the rich, warm tones of the Frahm family’s barn. Vintage outdoor string lights illuminated the venue in which fresh wildflowers adorned each table.

IMG_0795_FrahmFamilyBarn{Inside the Frahm family’s barn}

2017-08-04-BootsBelles Table Arrangement 1{Mason jars filled with colorful wildflowers decorated each table.}

Hog Wild Pit BBQ catered the meal of pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and macaroni and cheese. The Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Committee sponsored a dessert tasting featuring ten decadent and sugary treats, including Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Cookies, Rum Buttercrunch Toffee and Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables.

IMG_0730_DessertTable{The Junior League of Omaha Cookbook dessert tasting was a big hit!}

“This year’s event was a lot of fun. The weather was perfect and it was great to see so many JLO members and guests show their support for the first fundraiser of the year. The planning committee can’t thank the Frahms enough for hosting us at their beautiful property!”

The event drew 70 attendees who enjoyed BINGO, raffle prizes, a specialty cocktail of vodka lemonade and s’mores by the fire.

2017-08-04-BootsBelles Raffle 3{Raffle prizes were abundant and included tickets to the Big Red Block Party, an Oktoberfest-themed package (complete with German beer, pretzels and a gift certificate to Gerda’s Bakery), passes to Ditmar’s Orchard and so much more! }

IMG_0725_Guests{Guests relaxed indoors and out, many clad in denim and boots!}

IMG_0741_BingoGuests{BINGO aficionados enjoyed several rounds of the game while also giving the dessert selection a taste.}

IMG_0749_Dinner{Host Lexie Frahm and guests dined al fresco on Hog Wild Pit BBQ and refreshing summer cocktails.}

Host Lexie Frahm said, “Thanks to all who attended and planned the Boots and Belle’s event! We couldn’t have asked for better weather for an August evening. Shane and I look forward to hosting this event each League year!”

 

Our Favorite Places to bRUNch in Omaha

 

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If you’re looking for a good brunch after a long run (or maybe a long snooze?), members of the 2017 bRUNch5k Committee have you covered with their top recommendations of places to brunch in Omaha. Here are our favorites:

Pig & Finch is a great, central location in Omaha at One Pacific Place. You can’t beat their $5.00 Bloody Mary’s.” –Colby, bRUNch5k co-vice chair

“For a traditional breakfast, I like The Diner in the Old Market. The breakfast isn’t fancy, but the food is good and the staff is hilarious and makes your morning better!”– Lisa, bRUNch5k co-chair

Dario’s is a favorite for all meals, but their brunch stands out. You can not go wrong with anything on their menu—I highly recommend the Eggs Florentine.”– Britt, communications coordinator – bRUNch5k

“We go to Krug Park in Benson and order brunch takeout from Lot 2 next door to avoid the wait for a table. An added bonus is drinking a Krug Bloody Mary while we wait—there are over 10 kinds to chose from.” – Tanin, bRUNch5k treasurer

Mantra is my favorite brunch restaurant- great location and modern atmosphere.”           – Catherine, Development & Donor Relations development specialist – bRUNch5k

“The lemon ricotta pancakes at Railcar are amazing! Railcar also has a unique drinks menu if you’re looking for something a little different than your typical brunch beverages.”         –Emily, bRUNch5k co-chair

“I love Dixie Quicks in Council Bluffs for their fun atmosphere!” –Heidi, bRUNch5k prize & raffle coordinator

“The patio at Pitch West is a great place to brunch on the weekends. The breakfast meals are delicious and they offer ½ price bottles of wine on Sunday.” –Haley, bRUNch5k runner recruitment

Duggar’s Café in Dundee offers non-greasy diner food, has great lunch options and very good desserts.” –Alex, bRUNch5k prize & raffle coordinator

Of course, the unanimous committee favorite goes to Crave Restaurant in Midtown Crossing, who not only offers a delicious, huge Sunday brunch menu, but is hosting the brunch following this year’s bRUNch5k.

Join us on April 29, 2017 for brunch, mimosas, and raffles at Crave after crossing the finish line of the 5k. Not a runner? Brunch-only tickets are available as well.

 

Color, Pattern, Fun and Fashion-Forward Designs all Spotlighted at Kids Rule Fashion Show

Kids will take over the Omaha Design Center for the first-ever Kids Rule Fashion Show in Omaha this weekend on February 17 and 18, which benefits Junior League of Omaha. Kids will have the chance to strut the runway in fashion-forward designs by local designers, including Aubrey Sookram of Markoos Modern Designs, Kids Rule (by Omaha Fashion Week staff) and Wes and Willy by Les Kimmel and Bill Mullen. As an added bonus, all kids in the show get to take home what they wore on the runway!

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Fashion-show goers are in for a treat! Each designer brings something different to the show, their own flair, if you will. Wes and Willy is known for designing fashionable, good-looking boys clothing that has a classic lived-in feel. In an Omaha World-Herald article, Kids Rule designs were described as fun, comfortable and fashion-forward, while Aubrey says her inspiration comes from color and pattern.

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“I like to take a color, a specific pattern, or a really fabulous fabric and build a collection around that. Due to the large variance in sizes needed in this show, I kept this collection just a bit more neutral, as I needed to design for both young and older children,” Aubrey said.

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Aubrey says her love of pattern and color is why she focuses on kid’s designs, as her ability to combine the two may not be appropriate or embraced by an older crowd like it is with kids.

Another bonus for the child models: confidence-building opportunities.

“There is nothing quite like stepping out on a big stage in front of a large crowd,” said Aubrey. “This will be a wonderful confidence builder for all of these children. Every child is different. Some thrive playing sports or in academics, and some find their place on the stage.”

Want to be part of the fun and be runway-side at this event? Buy tickets now and support Junior League of Omaha for this new, exciting event.

Kids Rule Fashion Show

What: a new kids fashion show by Omaha Fashion Week and Junior League of Omaha

When: Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Where: Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St.

Tickets: start at $40; a portion of the event’s profits go to Junior League of Omaha. 

 

Best Places to Run in Omaha

Spring is around the corner, which means sunshine and warmer weather is coming. It’s time to dust off those running shoes and hit the trails, but choosing where to run can be a tough choice. Luckily, bRUNch5k Co-Chair Emily Anderson is an avid runner who’s willing to share her favorite spots around town to log some miles.

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Lake Zorinsky

 Although we’re not the Land of 10,000 lakes, Omaha is lucky that it has a handful of great options to run around. Lake Zorinsky is my favorite for several reasons: 

  • It’s comprised of two lakes separated by a reservoir, the smaller side slightly over three miles and the other side more than four miles (according to my Nike Plus). If I want to turn the four into a five or six-mile run, I’ve figured out some out and backs to make that side even longer.
  • You can combine both sides of the lake for a longer workout. 
  • Not completely flat, but not a hilly route by any means, the lake is always populated and the scenery is incredible. 
  • Deer, turkeys and some of the most breathtaking views that make me feel like I’m not in the middle of West Omaha.

Track Workouts:

 Running at a track is one of my go-tos when it comes to short, or long runs. When I was training for my first marathon I did a majority of my weekday runs at various tracks in Omaha. 

  • I like that most tracks in town have cameras for safety.
  • Tracks are well lit in the evenings and it’s rare that I’m the only person running. 
  • NO HILLS and a built in place to store and keep an eye on your water/Gatorade and anything else you may bring with you.
  • “Cons” for a track workout? It’s the least scenic and least interesting route… you’re running in circles around an AstroTurf or grass rectangle.

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Road Routes/Trails:

 I’m most likely to run a three to five-mile road route over my lunch hour. I try to push myself because I know I have limited time… and find routes that are challenging by adding hills so I can work on my inclines, finding routes that I’ve never tried (which works on my memory), and adding in anaerobic bursts to work on speed.  If I’m running on a trail (I love the West Papio Trail and the Big Papio Trail), it’s after work or during the day on the weekend.  It’s rare that I go on a  trail run with a distance in mind… I like that I can do an out and back… so I just turn around when my body (or mind) tells me that I’m halfway done whether that’s one mile or eight miles in. I do find it challenging (for the longer) distances to stay as hydrated as I would on the aforementioned track workout.

 No matter the route, the distance or the location, I try to go with some sort of a plan in mind. I like that it’s just me and my music, that I’m competing against my last best time, and that running is completely free. Finally, I also let someone know where I’m running and how long I plan to run. 

What are you favorite places to run in Omaha?   What do you run for?

The 2nd annual bRUNch5k will be held on April 29, 2017, at Midtown Crossing. Sign up online to register for the run/walk and brunch! 

Not a runner? Brunch-only tickets are available too!

Gifts That Give Back

The holidays are in full swing which means it’s time to exchange presents with the ones you love the most. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for someone in your life, consider finding a gift that not only will bring a smile to your loved one but will give back to noteworthy causes as well.

For the animal lover: AnimalGift.org

If you have a friend who just loves animals big and small, then this is the perfect gift for her! Help animals in need this holiday season by making a donation in their name to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Gifts for Animals program. Sending support in your friend’s name will help to protect endangered animals and provide emergency relief to animals in need such as dogs, cats, elephants and more.

For the beauty lover: Lush Charity Pot

This lotion does a lot of good not only for your skin but the environment as well. Made of a cocoa butter base, this lotion contains ingredients from the SLush Fund projects. With the purchase of every Charity Pot, 100% of the price (minus the taxes) are donated to small, grassroots organizations that help in the areas of animal welfare and environmental conservation.

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For the Baby: Cuddle and Kind

Every baby needs a cuddly friend! The duo behind these hand-knit dolls created them because they’re a family of five that are on a mission to feed children in need. For every doll sold, 10 meals are provided to children in North America and around the world. Plus, each doll is handmade by women artisans in Peru, making each doll unique and providing the female artisans with a sustainable, fair trade income.

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For the man in your life: Conscious Step Socks

Give the gift of style to the favorite guy in your life with a pair of socks. Each pair is designed to match a specific cause that helps an issue of global concern. Hunger, literacy and HIV are among some of the nonprofit organizations that benefit from each purchase.

For your bestie: Alex and Ani Charity by Design Bracelet

Show your bestie love and support by gifting her one of these stylish bracelets. Each of the Charity by Design bracelets by Alex and Ani support a variety of causes from Best Buddies International to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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For the #girlboss: Tory Burch Foundation Seed Box

Tory Burch is best known for her timeless accessories including shoes and purses. This holiday season, she takes it a step further and is showcasing the talents of fellow female entrepreneurs with this holiday box. Featuring a curated selection of products from seven women entrepreneurs, including a necklace and a clutch, the proceeds from this box benefit female business leaders with financial support and mentorship.

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And if you’re looking for a easy way to give back this holiday season while you’re out and about, consider downloading the TAGG app and choosing to support the Junior League of Omaha! By eating at your favorite restaurants and shopping at participating businesses, you’re helping to support the local community.

All That Glitters Is the (Newly Redesigned) Column

Allison Hardy  the Column co-editor

Ladies, I’m conducting a poll. Who here keeps glitter around in their homes? While I haven’t touched the stuff since elementary school, I recently learned that glitter is a staple at the homes of League members Sara Huse, Katie Triplett and Jennifer Peters. I also learned that it’s quite difficult to photograph.

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To introduce some major (read: incredible) changes we’ve made to to the League’s magazine, we, the editorial staff of the Column, thought it would be fun to do a fall photo shoot with our incredibly talented Social Media Coordinator, Jillian Humphries. For the finale, we thought we’d throw some red glitter up in the air and would get some great shots of it sparkling in the September sunshine. Long story short: what we got, in addition to these shots, was glitter everywhere – eyes, hair and covering our bodies. I’m quite sure my pillow is still sparkling.

When you try something new, you take risks with the hope that they are outweighed by the reward. This year’s Communications Committee, headed by our fearless, visionary leaders Communication Committee Chair Katie Triplett and Vice Chair Jennifer Peters, and armed with our ambitious Graphic Designer Sara Huse, decided to take the plunge to provide you, our readers of the Column, with a fresh new look. To that end, we’ve moved the Column to a full color, 20-page, magazine-like publication to keep you updated with what’s happening in the League. We’re putting a new spin on stories to make them more engaging and are including more attention-grabbing photos and infographics.

While it’s not entirely clear if our glitter photoshoot passed the risk-reward test (but hey, we had fun), we think you’ll agree that the redesign of the Column has. We invite you to check out our new style and weigh in with your comments. The Fall edition of the Column will be hitting mailboxes in early December.

For now, check out some of the fun outtakes from our sparkling photo shoot.

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What To Wear To Big Red Block Party 2016

Back-packs, bell sleeves and booties! Fall fashions are upon us, and we’re taking a look at some of the fun ways you can wear the latest trends for this year’s “blackout” themed Big Red Block Party on November 5th!

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Now that you’ve online shopped your way to a killer new outfit (or two), you need a place to wear it! Buy your ticket for Big Red Block Party today!

Junior League of Omaha Communications Committee Fall Favorites

Leaves are changing and the flavors are changing to all things pumpkin spice. You know what that means: fall is officially here! To share in the excitement of the changing of the seasons, we asked our Communications Committee to share some of the things that make them look forward to the fall season each year.

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Megan, Communications Coordinator for A Book of My Own, says that fall is her favorite time of year! The leaves are changing to their most beautiful oranges and burgundies. The crisp, cool breeze is in the air. A delightful warm latte in hand. And to top things off, a chic blanket scarf and cognac, knee-high boots to complete her cozy outfit.

One of the fall memories that Brandie, Communications Coordinator for Project Hope Pack, has is growing up in the picturesque mountains of North Carolina where the fall season meant driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view the beautiful changing leaves.

FASHION

The Communications Committee can’t get enough of all of the fall fashion. Bring on the scarves and flannel shirts!

  • Our social media guru Jillian loves pairing a scarf with a cute long sleeve or quarter sleeve dress and booties!
  • Communications Chair, Katie, just LOVES fall fashion! From cable-knit sweaters to soft leather boots to crisp capes to textured layers, autumn style is her favorite!
  • bRUNch 5K Communications Coordinator, Britt, is a big fan of wearing vests. Her favorite is from J Crew because you can throw it on over any outfit when the weather gets cooler.

OUTDOORS & EVENTS

Enjoying the crisp, cool days outdoors is also a fall favorite among some of the ladies along with all of the fun traditions that the season brings.

  • Sierra, Communications Coordinator for Cookbook, is a big fan of walking to Aromas Coffee and enjoying a warm drink and one of their delicious cinnamon rolls on the patio!
  • Apple Picking at her family’s farm is a favorite thing to do for Lakelyn, who is the Communications Coordinator for Done in a Day. Then, she loves to bake all sorts of yummy apple dishes!
  • Megan, the Column Editor, always watches Practical Magic once it gets close to Halloween. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as witches dressed in amazing late 90s fashion PLUS a stellar soundtrack with lots of Stevie Nicks? Yes please.
  • Our Website Editor, Sarah, especially loves Thanksgiving. Specifically, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She gets together with her high school friends the night before Thanksgiving to have dinner and catch up.

HOME DECOR

Bringing the aroma of all things pumpkin and spice indoors is also another favorite. A lot of the Communications ladies are crazy about fall candles!

  • Our Communications Vice Chair, Jennifer, says Fall is her favorite time of the year. Starting in July, she counts down the days until she can get out her fall scented candles… Kitchen Spice from Yankee Candle is her favorite. The name doesn’t scream fall, but once you smell it, you know scarf and boot season is upon us (which is another great aspect of fall, right?!)
  • For American Girl Fashion Show Communications Coordinator, Alysia, nothing christens fall like new candles. Warm hues of crimson and patchouli compliment the season perfectly! Her favorite candles for welcoming in the season are from LAFCO, and her absolutely favorite one this fall is Myrrh Cassis. And if you’re familiar with LAFCO their scents are fitting to areas of the home. This scent is appropriately named Boudoir. Nowhere she’d rather be on a cozy fall day than in some pajamas, hot cup of tea, and snuggled up in bed!
  • Assistant Blog Editor, Katy, loves the local candle maker wax buffalo (out of Lincoln, NE). They have a new fall collection that she can’t wait to get her hands on. In Omaha, you can find wax buffalo at Everbloom in the Loveland shopping center (and they will donate 5% of your purchase back to Junior League through TAGG).

 

Top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

Planning an event can be stressful. You spend months figuring out every detail, from venue to food to programming to donor recognition. So the last thing on your radar may be your social media plan of action. Never fear, here are our top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

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  1. Facebook Event Pages – Talk about a one-stop shop! Facebook event pages allow you to do so much, for instance: share time, date and location, ticket link, gather a head count, allow people to continue to invite their friends, give updates to attendees, share donation links to those who may be out of town and not be able to attend themselves, tag sponsors… the list goes on.  

We create a Facebook event pages for almost all League events open to the public.

  1. Instagram & Facebook Ads – Does your event need participants? Make a Facebook Advert –  it lends itself over to Instagram as well. You can manage this from a business or personal page. Just head over to your Ad Manager page to get started. Not sure where that is? On the left bar of your Facebook home page, at the very bottom is a button that says “CREATE” with Advert, Page, Group, Event, etc. below it.

We used Facebook & Instagram Adverts to advertise registration for our American Girl Fashion Show.

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  1. Live tweet your events – Now you don’t have to go all news reporter and we won’t expect your AP Style to be on point, so don’t be shy. Prior to the event, ticket links can be shared along with raffle prizes and auction items. Add to that showcasing and thanking sponsors via Twitter which can help get your tweets shared fast! Then, during the event you can share your event hashtag like #BRBP2016 (this should be used in all tweets prior to event as well) with attendees and give incentives for tweeting, or even have a live stream of tweets being shared at the event. Don’t forget to give shout outs during the event! Live tweeting allows social media users who follow your guests to see the fun during and after the event.

We love sharing details about our events and community partners via Twitter before and after events for the League.

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  1. Instagram videos & Boomerang – Photos can capture a moment, but video & boomerang tell a story! Log into Instagram and you can capture or upload videos you’ve already taken. (We always recommend horizontal for Instagram. Leave the vertical videos for Snapchat.) Or, create a Boomerang! What’s a Boomerang, you ask? It’s Instagram’s take on stop-motion and it often gets a lot of likes (which will turn into follows!) Open Instagram, click on the photo button, look for the infinity symbol and you will be taken to the Boomerang app.

This year Big Red Block Party has made quite the impression with their Boomerang videos.

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  1. Snapchat Geofilters – Who doesn’t love a good filter? Am I right ladies? Some may say oh, it’s just a filter for those attending your event, but trust me it goes WAY beyond that. How many people are going to see their friends on Snapchat that attend your event and want to know how they can attend next year? Or, join the organization that put on the event? A LOT. Everyone wants to a part of something fun and Snapchat is a way to touch an audience you may not have realized you could reach. Head over to Snapchat.com to create or upload your filter. You choose where, when and how long your filter lives with a corresponding cost and after a day or so, BOOM, it’s approved and your guests are ready to get your Snap on. Even better, it won’t break your budget!

The league has created filters for several upcoming events, the American Girl Show this weekend for instance! Prepare for the cuteness.
And there you have it. These are five amazing options, but don’t be afraid to get a little out of the box. Social media is all about having fun and being creative.

Special thanks to Jillian Humphries, Junior League of Omaha Social Media Coordinator, for sharing these tips!