Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Recipe: Little Applesauce Muffins

In the spirit of fall, I tested out my baking skills with these applesauce muffins. A recipe from the new Junior League of Omaha Cookbook. They’re easy to make, filled my kitchen with the cozy scents of the season and they’re super tasty!

I had most of the ingredients in my kitchen. Straying from the recipe slightly, I opted to use whole wheat flour and baked these as full size muffins because I don’t own a mini-muffin pan. 

Once all the ingredients were blended together, I poured my mix into the muffin tray and stuck them in the oven. Despite making larger muffins, they were pretty well baked through in the same amount of time called for in the recipe. 

Then, I dipped each delicious muffin top in butter and rolled them in my cinnamon-sugar mix for an absolutely divine topper! 

These were simple to whip up and they’re a crowd pleaser! I highly recommend.

If you don’t already have your own copy of A Century of Serving: A Centennial Cookbook Celebration, you can purchase online via the Junior League of Omaha website

Or, visit one of these local retailers: 

Alexandra Stone, Blog Content Creator

Junior League of Omaha Celebrates 100 Years

The 100th anniversary of the Junior League of Omaha is upon us, and the League has planned two events to mark this special occasion. The 100th Anniversary Celebratory Luncheon was held on March 15, at the Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District, and the 100th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception will be on May 3, at the Joslyn Art Museum. These two events are truly “A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future.”

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Bethany Banister and Patricia Stillmock are the co-chairs of the 100th Anniversary committee, and they have been creating and executing the plans that surround the festivities for nearly three years. When asked how the history of the League influenced their preparations, they responded, “The team of historians and our committee did an amazing job looking into the history of the League, and it inspired all aspects of our planning.” The Joslyn Art Museum, for example, not only has historical connections to the Junior League, but the architecture of the building dates back to around the same time as the Junior League of Omaha’s establishment.

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A great deal of time has been spent on making the 100th anniversary celebrations special, and this includes research into the past, as well as interviews with Sustainers and past members of the League. In addition to studying the records at Junior League of Omaha headquarters, the committee has worked with the Omaha World-Herald, the Durham Museum, and the Douglas County Historical Society to locate anecdotes, photos, and stories from the past. Sustainers have been generous with sharing their archives, and Banister and Stillmock agreed that these interactions have been “the most fun and rewarding part of this journey.”

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Highlights from the luncheon include guest speaker, Yesterday’s Lady, Sue McLain, who shared the history of the little black dress. A ten thousand dollar gift was made to The Rose Theater, an organization with whom the Junior League of Omaha has a strong history. And lastly, the anniversary video debuted an interview with the oldest living Junior League of Omaha Past President, who also attended the event!

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As we enjoy these special events, we remember the theme: A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future. Bethany and Patricia hope that the “League continues to be a strong organization that teaches women how to be great volunteers while making great friendships.”  

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New Learning and Networking through Junior League Training Opportunities

The Junior League Training Committee is halfway through their 2018/2019 event calendar, but far from finished with offering exciting trainings. I recently sat down with Training Chair, Mary Burnett, to recap the events held in the fall and see what exciting events they have coming this spring.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Training Committee and the committee’s role in the Junior League?

A: I always go back to the fact that the Junior League is first and foremost a training organization. We like to offer a combination of events that are focused on training women to be leaders in professional and volunteering roles, as well as trainings that offer a chance for League members to learn a fun new skill and network with other League women. This year we’ve already held trainings on financial acumen, parliamentary procedure, Google Drive, CPR/First Aid, cooking classes, mending clothes, and decorating ornaments with kids!

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Parliamentary Procedure training prepared these leaders for future meetings.

Q: How do you and your committee members come up with the types of training events offered? How many do you try to schedule in a year?

A: We use recommendations from multiple sources. We look at annual survey results, talk with League membership, and at the January General Membership Meeting we actually did live polling to help pick some events to plan for the spring. Since our committee has grown, we try to have each coordinator plan one or two events. This year we will have completed twelve trainings by May!

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League members sharpen skills.

Q: What events do you have coming up this spring that you’d like our membership to be aware of?

A: We are super excited about the events this spring. Our big finale is going to be our “Margaritas and Mulligans” event on May 19. This will include a mini golf training and then a sign-up for a Nine-Hole Scramble. We are opening up this training to Sustainers as well. Also based on the live polling from the January General Membership Meeting, we are going to do a training on wine (that was by far the most popular choice) and meditation. “Meditation and Mimosas” will be held on March 8 and March 23. Mark your calendars! We also have one more event that we will plan for April that is TBD! So keep your eyes posted on the Hot Sheet and Facebook for updates.

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Growing financially savvy through Women’s Finance Training.

Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.  

Big Red Block Party Celebrates Husker Spirit

This year, the Junior League of Omaha’s Big Red Block Party fundraiser hosted 108 people at the Scott Conference Center. The silent auction was a favorite among attendees with 62 fun, unique packages with a wide range of starting bids, appropriate for all spend levels! Attendees also enjoyed a delicious buffet with rotating, heavy appetizers, two bars, and yard games.

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This was the final year for this special event, and Lauren Anderson, the Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, stated, “The most meaningful moment during the event was honoring the previous Chairs and talking about the fundraiser. This event has raised $176,000 for the League over the last nine years, and that deserves to be celebrated.”

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Collaboration and communication were two key elements that contributed to Big Red Block Party’s success. As Lauren Anderson, Big Red Block Party Co-Chair, described, “Our committee worked really well together…between our (almost) weekly committee hot sheets and our committee meetings, we were able to efficiently plan our event.” Anderson also credited working with Jen Bartlet, their JLO Sustainer Advisor, and a past Big Red Block Party Chair, as a vital resource who gave both Co-Chair Hunter Taylor and herself additional insight into making the event a success.

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When asked if she had any advice for future Junior League of Omaha fundraisers, Anderson responded, “Yes! Create a timeline and stick with it. Check in with your committee, but don’t bombard them with emails. Say thank you. And most importantly, seriously evaluate your event every year to make sure it’s still relevant.”

For more information about upcoming Junior League of Omaha events or to become a member, visit our website at http://www.jlomaha.org.

 

JLO Past Presidents & Sustainers Luncheon

The Junior League of Omaha Foundation hosted the annual Past Presidents and Sustainer Luncheon on a beautiful October day at Champions Run. Kathy Martin, Junior League of Omaha Foundation Board President, welcomed a large group to the luncheon, introducing past Junior League of Omaha Presidents and past Foundation Presidents. Current Junior League of Omaha President Lindsey Tonniges updated the Sustainers on the exciting projects with which the League is currently involved.

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The 100th Anniversary Co-Chairs, Patricia Stillmock and Bethany Bannister, spoke on the upcoming events for the centennial celebration of the Junior League of Omaha in 2019.  Foundation President Kathy Martin shared, “All the Sustainers are looking forward to attending the March 15th luncheon celebrating our 100th anniversary!” In addition, the Junior League of Omaha Cookbook Co-Chairs, Ashley Rich and Jamie Schneider, were there to promote A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook.

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For more information regarding the Junior League of Omaha, visit the website at www.jlomaha.org. Learn more about the Junior League of Omaha Foundation at https://www.jlomaha.org/foundation/. To order a personal copy of A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration Cookbook, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook.

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Project Hope Pack Transitions into Leadership of CASA

Over the years, Project Hope Pack has positively impacted the lives of thousands by distributing necessities and comfort items to children ages 3-18 who are taken out of crisis situations. These backpacks are donated to several agencies around the Omaha metro. In addition to hygiene products, these backpacks also include items such as stuffed animals, blankets and activities, which help to boost children’s spirits during challenging times.  

The Junior League of Omaha is proud that this program has come full circle and that so many members have seen Project Hope Pack from its inception to the community launch to the Service Board of CASA of Douglas County, which will take place in May 2019.

The 2018-2019 League year has been filled with launch milestones, such as a complete move of products from our inventory to CASA. All of our project shifts now take place at CASA, located at 2412 St. Mary’s Avenue in Omaha.

The CASA Service Board members have been paired with Project Hope Pack committee members to ensure a smooth transition. So far, we have distributed 620 backpacks to organizations such as Project Harmony, Youth Emergency Services, Partnership 4 Kids, Lutheran Family Services, Completely Kids, Heart Ministry, Boys Town, and more!

The committee looks forward to  the continued success of Project Hope Pack through the hard work and volunteerism of CASA Douglas County Service Members!

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Project Hope Pack Committee Members

5 Questions for the Placement Fair

It’s that time of year again to start thinking about your 2018-2019 Junior League placement. With the League engaged in so many exciting projects and fundraisers, it’s hard to decide which placements to consider. As you flip through the Placement Bulletin (which will be published later this month), it is helpful to have a little direction. The placement committee has put together five questions to ask yourself and five questions to ask at the upcoming Placement Fair on Monday, March 12th before the General meeting.

 

Questions to ask yourself:

 

  • What am I hoping to get out of the upcoming League year?

 

Everyone comes to the Junior League with a different objective. Some join to grow their social circles, to network or to make new friends. Others want to learn a specific skill or get experience in a certain role within the League. Asking yourself this important question can help you narrow down placements to consider. Some examples: If you are wanting to meet new people, consider a larger committee. If you are looking to gain experience asking for donations, then consider a fundraiser.

 

  • What skills can I contribute and what skills do I want to develop?

 

The League is lucky to have women of many talents. When you think about next year’s placement, make a list of your current skills and which positions could help you expand upon those skills. The Placement Committee strives to match League member’s skills with the skills needed for the placement. For example: If you are proficient in excel and want to learn more about asking for donations, consider a placement on one of the Fundraising Council committees.

 

  • Am I seeking out a leadership role?

 

There are numerous leadership roles within the League. These leadership roles are a great opportunity to demonstrate and develop your leadership skills. However, these roles come with greater responsibilities, and may involve greater time commitments.. If you are interested in a specific leadership role, reach out to the member who currently holds that role or to members who have held the role in the past. Ask them about their experiences, the challenges and the opportunities. This will give you a good idea of the commitment that the specific leadership role would take.

 

  • Am I seeking a placement on a small or large committee?

 

See your answer to question #1. Ultimately, this comes down to your personal preferences and what you’re hoping to get out of the upcoming League year. If your objective is to get to know more members, on a more personal level, look at some of the smaller committees. If you’re looking to expand your social circle or do some networking, go for a placement on a larger committee.

 

  • How much time do I have to devote to my placement?

 

While this is the last of our five questions to ask yourself, it’s one of the most important. It requires you to take an honest and realistic inventory of your time. What are your professional, personal, social, and other community commitments? Junior League is a volunteer organization, so it is important that you identify how much time you have to give to your placement. Some placements require work that is “hands on” or “boots on the ground” work. Other placements might allow you to work remotely. Some placements require attendance at committee related events – such as sorting shifts, fundraising drop-offs/pick-ups, etc. Ultimately, by identifying how much time you have to give to Junior League, you can avoid overcommitting or feeling overwhelmed in a placement. (See also, question #3 below).

 

Questions to ask committee chairs:

 

  • What is the committee’s goals for the 2018-2019 year?

 

Each committee has a unique set of goals that they are looking to achieve. Perhaps the fundraiser is looking to hit a new revenue goal or a project is looking to expand its reach. Knowing the goals of the committee can help you identify if you have the skill set the committee would need to help achieve their goals.

 

  • When and how often does the committee meet?

 

Attendance at committee meetings is vital to the work of all committees. When considering a placement, it is important that you assess whether or not your own schedule will conflict with the committee’s meeting schedule. If the committee’s meeting schedule is not included in the Placement Bulletin description, be sure to ask the chair.

 

  • What is the time commitment like for the placement?

 

Asking this question can help you get a good feel for how much time you are likely to devote to your placement on a weekly or monthly basis. Be sure to also read the job description in the placement bulletin to get a feel for the expectations of the role. You can also check out the “Volunteer Hours & Placements” spreadsheet on the Google Drive. To access the spreadsheet visit the shared “JLO Members” Google Drive folder, then click the “Resources” folder. Keep in mind that these hours are for the duties and responsibilities associated with the placement for the specified League year.

 

  • Are there times of the year that the placement is more time consuming and/or does the committee require attendance at special events or work days?

 

Typically, committees meet on a monthly basis, however some committees may meet more or less frequently during certain times of the year. It is also good to ask about requirements for attending special events or work days. It is better to know about the requirements ahead of time instead of being caught off guard when you learn your attendance is required.

 

  • Does the committee have socials?

 

The women of Junior League work hard but they also enjoy time for socializing and celebrating a job well done. Many committees organize social events. If socialization is high on your priority list, ask the chairs if they plan to hold socials throughout the League year.

Hopefully these questions will help you through the placement process. Remember, advocating forms will be due by 7:00 p.m on Friday March 16 and open placement form will be due by 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 6, 2018. If you can’t make the placement fair, you can always reach call or email the committee chairs for the placements in which you are interest

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!”

 

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!