Junior League of Omaha Members Out and About Enjoying Autumn Events

Vivid colored leaves still hang from trees in Omaha. The ones that have made their way to the ground, crunch and crackle under step. It is autumn, or fall, in the heartland and there is one thing on which we can all agree…

Autumn leaves are most beautiful when being raked by someone else.

There was a steady cool breeze in the air this weekend and many Junior League of Omaha members reached for their tall boots and vests officially marking the start of Han Solo Season.

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The cool air inspires many League members to fire up the oven or the slow cooker and whip up something delicious. Tracy Cartwright baked a batch of Mini Pumpkin Poppers.

Tracy Weis made a batch of yummy taco soup and cornbread. (Make something similar with this recipe.) And now that the slow cooker is working overtime, make sure it stays squeaky clean.

Melissa Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a fall-theme dinner party for friends featuring recipes that gave a nod to the season including: roasted walnuts, apple parsnip soup and baked apple roses.

Other League members ventured out and about this weekend.

Many members attended the Women’s Center for Advancement TGIF event. Angela Cutler was one of three co-chairs for the western-themed event and Veronica Wortman served on the silent auction committee. Many league members put together silent auction items and attended the event that raised money to help women in the Omaha area out of domestic crisis.

Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women's Center for Advancement's TGIF event include: Angela Kros Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Kate Hansen, Jen Olson Alloway (sustainer), Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Smith Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)
Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women’s Center for Advancement’s TGIF event include: Angela Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Carlberg, Kate Hansen,  Jen Alloway (sustainer), Lindsey Buchanan, Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)

League sustainer Catherine McAllister and her friend served as co-chairs for Omaha’s Great Pumpkin event this weekend. The event supports Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska‘s adoption and foster care awareness. Catherine has been involved in supporting the organization for five years.

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Done in a Day project organized volunteers to assist with the Omaha Symphony Spooktacular. League members helped decorate the lobby of the Holland Performing Arts Center, set up trick-or-treat stations, run pre-concert activities including instrument petting zoo, costume contest, and a Halloween-themed craft. Thank you to Kristen Bladt, Kelly Brooks, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Beverly Gorman, Kimberly Johnston, Racheal McMahon, Meghan Bothe, Caroline Drumm, Erin Fairchild, Megan Gerwick, Katie Lange Allebone, Terri Sharpe, Leigh Shea, Sarah Smith, and Ashlee Young for participating.

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Other League members were in the Halloween spirit. Megan Riebe and friends went to the Ranch of Terror at the Bellevue Berry Farm.

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Heather Vanourney ran the Bones 5K this weekend. The Omaha Running Club sponsored the run through the moonlit trails of Standing Bear Lake. Runners’ hearts raced in fear of all things that go bump in the night, according to the event page.

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Katie Triplett and Veronica Wortman spent an afternoon decorating Halloween and fall cookies to share with friends and colleagues.

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Before heading out to Trick-or-Treat with the kiddos, the Omaha Fire Department suggests several safety tips, such as adding a strip of reflective tape to trick-or-treat bags or clothing and costumes for greater visibility.

Going to a costume party? Revisit recent pop culture phenomenon for inspiration in creating a costume. Kelly Giese and her husband Matt, created this Double Rainbow costume.
(It was soo beautiful.)

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The party doesn’t stop when we put Halloween 2015 in the books. Tickets to the 3rd annual Barn Bash are available now through the Junior League of Omaha website. The event features a chili cook-off, BINGO, cash bar, pumpkin pie martinis, bonfire and s’mores. Members, significant others and friends welcome at the event.

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Barn Bash and Chili Cookoff

For many League Members, the Barn Bash has become a favorite fall tradition. Active member Lexie Frahm and her husband Shane graciously hosted the “friendraiser” at their home in Gretna for the second year.

One of the highlights of the event is a chili cook-off, which was done anonymously for the first time. In the end, Active member Alysia Radicia took home the coveted prize, the $150 pot created by cook-off entry fees and more importantly, bragging rights until next year’s event.

Attendees also enjoyed s’mores by the bonfire, a competitive game of bingo as well as a night of socialization and fun.

We asked Alysia to share her secrets; you can find that below!

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Personally, I love food. And I especially love food when it is paired with friends, bingo, and fall weather – so the Barn Bash is my jam. Last year I participated in the cook-off but made a chili that was far too spicy for the audience. The buffalo chicken chili is still one of my favorites but I knew if I was going to win this year I needed an option that would have greater appeal to the judges. Wanting a chili that is delicious but still interesting was a challenge. I was chatting with one of my coworkers and he shared this recipe with me. He and his family are Filipino and have loved this recipe for many years. With strict instructions he directed me to the Asian Market on 78th and Dodge to purchase the Longaniza Sausage. This is the make or break ingredient of the chili. To help any future cooks, here’s a plan of its exact location in Asian Market. I only include this because I initially picked up the wrong sausage and was wildly disappointed. I would hate for anyone else to do the same. Also, I’m a designer and can’t help myself sometimes. With all the being said, all other ingredients are easy to find and come together to create the 2014 Barn Bash Chili Cook-Off Winner. If there are any questions any aspiring cooks have please let me know – I would be more than happy to share all my mistakes with you to help you out in the future.

 

Homemade Chili Con Carne with Hot Pork Longaniza Sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)

1 medium onion, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small can pimiento, diced

1 package of Hot Pork Longaniza Sausage, sliced diagonally

1/2 pound ground beef

1 (14 -ounce) can cooked red beans

1 (14-ounce) can stewed diced tomatoes

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 bay leaves

2 stalks cilantro, chopped (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

olive oil for drizzling (optional)

cilantro leaf for garnish (optional)

  1. Heat oil in a saucepot. Add cumin in the hot oil. Add onions, garlic, and diced pimiento; saute until tender for 5 minutes.
  1. Cook sausage with 3⁄4 cup water in separate pan over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Let sausage cool and slice, set aside.
  1. Add ground beef and stir together in sauce pot cook for 5 minutes.
  1. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, and cilantro. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
  1. Season with salt, sugar, and pepper; cook for another 5 minutes. Place sausage on top of chili. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with a cilantro leaf.

Serves around 6. Prep Time 45-60 minutes.