Cooking Class Takes the JLO Cookbook

Earlier this week some ladies of the Junior League of Omaha partnered with Chief Leisure Officer, Jeff Dodgson to learn how to prepare some recipes. All recipes were made from the Junior League of Omaha A Century of Serving cookbook!

The virtual class allowed members to cook in the safety of their own home and make delicious recipes. The recipes included ale steamed mussels, steamed spinach paired with a steak with port sauce and finished with bourbon baked apples à la mode.

Interested in making these recipes? Get your Junior League cookbook: A Century of Serving today at JLOmaha.org/cookbook!

We’re (peanut) butter together!

There are few things that go better together than chocolate and peanut butter, and this pairing of decadent chocolate cake layers and creamy peanut butter buttercream frosting are a match made in heaven! 

The cake starts with moist, delicious layers of chocolate cake. Between the layers and covering the outside of the cake is a peanut butter frosting. Take the recipe up a notch by chopping Reese’s on top of the frosting and ganache but between the cake layers – every peanut butter and chocolate lovers favorite, am I right? 

After the cake is covered with frosting, drizzle the remaining ganache over the top and down the sides, then add more chopped Reese’s – you know, just for good measure 🙂

Now that you’ve made the most beautiful and delicious chocolate cake, don’t forget to take a picture and tag @JLOmaha when you post about it!

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving 

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

# Servings: 12

Category: Desserts

Pan Size: 8 inch cake pans

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting (below)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Microwave the chocolate and butter ina microwave safe bowl until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Beat the eggs and sugar at high speed in a mixing bowl for 5 minutes or until pale and more than doubled in volume. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift in the baking cocoa and salt and beat until well mixed. Add the chocolate mixture in a steady stream, beating until well mixed. 

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out with a few dry crumbs. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Microwave the semisweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, and butter in a microwave safe bowl at 50 percent power until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Let the ganache cool slightly. Spread the ganache and Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting between the layers and over the top and side of the cooled cake, ending with the ganache. Garnish the cake with peanut butter chips. 

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  •  1 cup salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Cream the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt. Add the confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time, beating constantly. Beat at high speed with the flat beater attachment for 15 seconds or until light. Add the cream and beat for 15 seconds or until fluffy, adding additional sugar if too thin or additional cream if too thick. 

You can find this recipe and more in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online at the link below or one of our many local retailers: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Images by Joshua Foo

L is for Lemon Love!

With it being peak cold and flu season, citrus fruits seem to be an all too common topic – and for good reason! Citrus fruits help boost your immune system, lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease, and are high in antioxidants, so what’s not to love?! 

Since all the hype tends to be around oranges and grapefruit, we’re going to focus on the underrated and very versatile lemon. It can be used to flavor meat or fish, spruce up a side dish, or create a bright topping to a dessert. Amazing, right?

The JLO Cookbook has recipes to cover anything you’re in the mood for. Looking for a healthy recipe after all of that holiday food? Try the recipe for Baked Lemon Salmon. Looking for a unique side dish? We’ve got you covered with the Sweet Lemon Glazed Carrots! But if you’re feeling like us and it’s just been a long winter, relax with a little comfort food and try the recipe for Lemon Cheesecake. This recipe is so simple to make and could be the bright spot this endless winter needs.

Lemon Cheesecake

# Servings: 10 – 12 Category: Desserts

Ingredients:

  • 25 golden sandwich cookies
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 32 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups lemon curd

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Proces the cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Combine the crumbs, butter, and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Press over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Let stand to cool. Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Pour two-thirds of the batter over the crust. Dollop with 1  cup of the lemon curd and swirl gently with a knife. Spread with the remaining batter. Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until set. Turn off the oven. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen. Let stand on a wire rack for 1 hour or until cooled completely. Chill, covered, for 10 to 24 hours. Remove the side of the pan. Place the cheesecake on a plate. Top with the remaining lemon curd. Garnish with candied lemon slices. 

To learn more or purchase your own copy of the A Century of Serving cookbook click here.

Images by Joshua Foo 

Once you’ve made it, break out portrait mode and show us your creation! Don’t forget to tag us @JLOmaha!

You can find this recipe and more in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online at the link below or one of our many local retailers: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Upcoming Bargain Bash Drop Off Dates

Do you have any gently used home goods, clothing, kitchen appliances, décor, or furniture that are
taking up valuable space in your home? Donate them to our JLO Bargain Bash Rummage Sale! We will
be holding several drop-off dates over the coming months to collect your donations.
Upcoming drop-off date:

There will be NO drop-off date in December, but we will be back in 2021 with more opportunities to
donate!

When: January 16, 2021
Where: Junior League of Omaha Headquarters; 12315 Pacific Street
When: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

When: February 20, 2021
Where: Junior League of Omaha Headquarters; 12315 Pacific Street
When: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Swing on by during one of our drop-off times, and our wonderful Junior League member volunteers will help you unload any items you wish to donate. Feel free to package smaller items into boxes, bags, or totes that you do not mind donating. Our volunteers are also happy to help you unload any larger scale items that you may wish to donate as well.

Additionally, in the interest of keeping everyone safe, you will notice that all of our volunteers will be
wearing masks and gloves for the duration of the drop-off timeframe, and we strongly encourage you to wear your mask as well! We are committed to ensuring a safe and hassle-free drop-off experience for
you, and will do whatever we can to be respectful of your comfort level.

So if you have donation item(s) that are good shape and/or working condition, bring them on down to
us! Your generous donations are crucial for the success of this event. Every single item donated
contributes to the fundraising success of this event, which allows the League to continue to impact and
support our community through our projects and league engagement.

And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and family. Every donation counts!

Adapting our Community Impact with COVID

COVID-19 has affected every family in our community, hear from Community Impact Council Director Catherine Harrington on how this has affected her family, the Junior League of Omaha and how were are continuing our community impact safely during these times.

This time of year is always my favorite. I love the decorations, the cheery music and the overall feeling of warmth and love despite the temperatures plummeting and  the days growing shorter. As we near the end of fall and enter the winter holiday season I like to pause and reflect on the past year. And this year has been quite the doozy.

Gratitude is a daily practice for our family. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. 2020 has taken so much from so many, and sometimes it’s hard to see the glass as half-full. 

For my family and I COVID has been more of an inconvenience. We haven’t seen my family in Chicago since February, and that’s tough. But for some families their lives have been turned upside down by the loss of a job, or worse, a loved one.

While this year has been “different”, I’m also grateful for some of the things to come out of our new covid lifestyle. I’m grateful for a slower pace of life and more time at home with my family. I’m grateful for the opportunity to join meetings virtually, although I do so miss seeing my friends in person. 

But what I’m most thankful for is seeing the way our community has come together. Neighbors checking in on each other. An extra trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies for an older couple. The love and outpouring of support for our medical community who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe is inspiring. Healthcare workers are super heroes.

 

I love to see people working together for the common good. As a public health crisis, we are all responsible for helping to flatten the curve and keep each other safe. Staying at home as much as possible is so important right now. It isn’t always easy, but it’s essential. To those of you who are doing their part to mask up and limit in person interactions, thank you.

Our league recognizes your sacrifice and we appreciate you. We are here to support you in any way we can. Reach out to your fellow league members for a virtual coffee date or happy hour. Attend one of our (amazing) zoom trainings and get in some virtual socialization. Pitch in and lend a hand in one of our virtual community impact shifts. The Done in a Day and Food Access teams have worked hard to offer opportunities to learn and help virtually. 

League Letters is a particular favorite of mine. We meet virtually for conversation and comraderie while writing hand written notes of support and encouragement to nonprofits, healthcare workers, or anyone needing a kind word. 

Virtual Meeting for League Letters

If you feel comfortable leaving home and volunteering in person we have physically distanced impact shifts available. Your safety, our partners safety and those we serve is of the utmost importance to us. We are only partnering with agencies who take their physical distancing and covid protocols seriously. 

Right now the need in our community is higher than ever. The nonprofits and agencies in our community are stretched thin and we want to support them as much as possible. 

But most importantly, we’re continuing to offer safe, physically distanced impact shifts for those we serve. Many members of our community don’t have the luxury of staying at home safely. They might not have enough food at home or diapers for their baby. They might not have a safe, stable home life. They might not have heat.

These are issues that many of our neighbors struggle with. These are the people we are committed to serving. Food insecurity in our community is through the roof. Our partners at Heart Ministry Center are seeing unprecedented numbers of people using their drive up pantry, and don’t expect those numbers to go down any time soon. 11% to 17% of Nebraskans are expected to face food insecurity, while 17% to 23% of the state’s children deal with hunger. 

I can imagine it’s hard to find gratitude if you’re struggling with basic needs. It’s hard to see the glass as half-full when you don’t have a cup. 

If covid has taught us anything, it’s that our community is only healthy and thriving if we all are. Like our city’s public health, the strength, vibrance and health of our community is a cumulative reflection of all of us.

This holiday season please remember that you get more by giving. That warm, cozy feeling we love so much this time of year is from the outpouring of love and generosity this time of year. Join us for a virtual or in person impact shift. Make a donation, however big or small to your favorite nonprofits. Do something kind for someone you love, or a perfect stranger. 

I hope you ladies have a beautiful holiday season with those you love. I’m proud to be part of an organization that was founded to serve others and make a positive impact in our community. I am grateful for all that you do, and I’m grateful for your friendship. Thank you for being here. 

The Junior League of Omaha Chicken Piccata

This amazing Chicken Piccata recipe will remind you of your favorite restaurant experience right in the comfort of your own home! With only 30 minutes of total work, this dinner recipe is simple, fast and delicious. Almost sounds too good to be true, right?!

Needs some extra help tackling chicken? Check out our tips below.

  1. Halve your chicken breasts. If you aren’t able to purchase thin chicken breasts, you can butterfly them to double your servings and ensure more even cooking.
  2. Don’t cook chicken cold. Let’s be real, chicken doesn’t taste good when it’s overcooked. The best way to avoid this is to reduce the amount of cook time needed. Instead of going straight from fridge to frypan, let your chicken sit on the counter for roughly 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. Don’t start with a cold pan. For the same reasons as above, it’s not helpful to start with a cold pan because the chicken cooks more slowly, juices start to seep out as the pan heats, and results in pale and overcooked chicken.

Now use these tips with the recipe below and go show us how it’s done! Don’t forget to tag #JLOmaha and @jlomaha in your social media posts when you brag about your cooking skills. 

Chicken Picatta

# Servings: 4 Category: Main Dishes

Serving Size: Pan Size: Saute Pan

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons water
  • ¾ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons (about) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 or 2 lemons, cut into halves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ brined capers, rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pound the chicken breasts to ¼-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper on a shallow plate. Beat the egg and water in a shallow bowl. Coat each chicken break with flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in the egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of hte olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Cook the chicken breasts in batches in the hot oil for 2 minutes per side or until brown, adding additional olive oil as needed and removing batches to a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan. Squeeze the lemon juice into the butter, adding the lemon halves. Add the wine, capers, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl the pan to mix. Discard lemon halves. 

Place a chicken breast on each of 4 plates, spoon equal portions of the sauce over each breast. Sprinkle each with parsley and garnish each with a lemon slice. 

Photos submitted by Nola in St. Augustine, Florida.

Chicken Piccata is one of the recipes in the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook, available online and in stores now: https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

#GivingTuesday402

SHARE Omaha and Omaha Community Foundation Change the Landscape of Giving in the Omaha Community

What gives? 

We’re all probably familiar with the Omaha Community Foundation’s “Omaha Gives! Day of Giving” – over the last eight years $58 million has been raised for 1,000 local nonprofits. WOW!! Omaha Gives focused on one day of giving each year. 

Sounds great, right? So what’s changing, and why? 

While they’ve had a truly amazing run, Omaha Gives will be going away. Don’t worry, the Omaha Community Foundation isn’t going anywhere! They are using the time and energy that went into developing Omaha Gives and refocusing it on different ways to better help the Omaha community. Now, SHARE Omaha will be taking the lead as the Greater Omaha Area donation and volunteer platform. SHARE Omaha is a one stop shop for finding helpers to support in our community And for becoming one of them. How great is it that you can find all that at https://shareomaha.org/?

Hey! What Gives? I’ll miss Omaha Gives! Will there be another day of giving?

Absolutely! Giving back isn’t canceled. SHARE Omaha participates in the global generosity movement, Giving Tuesday! And it’s right around the corner. . . mark your calendar! This is their second year being a part of Giving Tuesday, promoting #GivingTuesday402 and #GivingTuesday712. We are excited to join in and grow this movement with them! GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. This global movement will take place this year on Tuesday, December 1st. Our Omaha metro area celebrates December 1 with #GivingTuesday402. 

Why Give?

2020 has been a year unlike any other. We all share the challenges of 2020, and together we show our strength by giving – and doingall we can for each other. Giving Tuesday – December 1 – is our day. We can harness the power of all, with ALL gifts and ALL ways of doing good. All hearts and hands will lift the Omaha metro for #GivingTuesday402. 

With over 100 years of combining volunteer service and experience, the Junior League of Omaha is a 501(c)(3) organization of women committed to the women and children of the Omaha community. We focus on addressing one of Omaha’s most critical and unmet needs — hunger and access to healthy foods

  • According to the Food Research and Action Center, Nebraska is 7th in the nation for food insecurity.
  • 1 in 6 Nebraska children struggle with hunger (Map the Meal Gap 2019). 
  • 4 in 10 people living below the poverty line in the Omaha Metro worry they may run out of food (The Landscape Omaha).
  • 75% of students in Omaha Public Schools qualify for free or reduced lunch (The Landscape Omaha).

No one in Omaha should go hungry. You can provide their next meal. Will you help?

You can give early by visiting the Junior League of Omaha’s SHARE Omaha account here; enter GIVINGTUESDAY402 as your donation code to have your gift count towards the Giving Tuesday totals. 

You can learn more about the Junior League of Omaha and about participating in upcoming, COVID-19 friendly volunteer opportunities here.  

We can’t wait to see the power of ALL. Find your good with the Junior League of Omaha. 

2020 Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards

Junior League of Omaha members Colby Jensen, Alyson Manning and Alysia Radicia are not just leaders within the League, they are leaders in business and service, earning the 2020 Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. The 19th edition of the prestigious awards program for Omaha’s
entrepreneurs, executives and professionals was announced in September.

From left to right: Colby Jensen, Alyson Manning, Alysia Radicia

“I was blown away when I found out I was among the other great professionals on the 40 Under 40 list,”
said Colby, an Audit Senior Manager with BKD, LLP, and the League’s Diversity & Inclusion Treasurer and a Nominating Committee member. “Receiving this award displays my commitment to my career and community and acknowledges the progress all recipients have made professionally and in the greater Omaha area. It provides reassurance to ‘keep up the good work’ to create rewarding opportunities and experiences to those surrounding us, allowing others within our community to flourish and thrive. I’m so thankful to part of this list and a citizen on the Omaha community.”

Alyson, Employee Relations Director for Kiewit Corporation, agreed.

“It’s a true honor and privilege to be awarded this honor, along with the 39 other individuals recognized with such impressive volunteer and professional credentials,” she said. “Recognizing the great accomplishments of young people in these areas in our community each year also helps set a
precedence for everybody to understand and agree on. More so, it can help inspire others to exceed
these standards and foster the continuous improvement in our society.”

Alyson became a Sustainer after serving as the 2018-2019 Recording Secretary. She also previously held
the positions of Executive Vice President, Cookbook Chair and American Girl Models Coordinator Chair,
among others, throughout her time as an Active Member.

Alysia is the Executive Vice President-Elect. She works as an interior designer at RDG Planning & Design
while balancing her roles in the League and other community organizations.

“I don’t do the work I do for the title or the recognition,” she said. “In my role as a designer I strive to
design spaces that best position the organizations for success; same is to be said for the work I do as a
volunteer. The best recognition I can receive is when the organization is able to meet their goals and
better serve the community due to the design or volunteer time I have done. In this instance, receiving a 40 Under 40 Award solidifies that the work I do matters and makes a difference.”

Over the next several days, JLO Connections will profile Colby, Alyson and Alysia. Each woman will also be featured in the Midlands Business Journal’s Dec. 8 edition.

TAGG, You’re It!

Together A Greater Good (TAGG) has generated over $400,000 for local schools, nonprofits, religious institutions, and youth sports teams, since being launched in 2015. As a female-founded, Nebraska tech company, TAGG allows you to support your favorite nonprofits like the Junior League of Omaha by snapping a picture of your receipt from participating businesses, who will donate 5% of the total. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Click here to see the participating Omaha and Lincoln businesses.

TAGG makes giving back so easy that active member and Cookbook Committee co-chair, Katy Spratte Joyce, raised over $100 during the summer for the Junior League of Omaha. “Overall, since I began TAGGing in August of 2015, I’ve raised $1,735.88 for local causes. Recently, I’ve earmarked all my TAGG activity just for the Junior League of Omaha. In the past, I’ve also donated to the Red Cross, American Heart Association, Nebraska Children & Families Foundation, St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, and more.”

Katy’s a TAGG-ing pro and the former community relations manager at TAGG, where she worked for three years with the charities, schools, teams, etc. on the TAGG platform to help increase their fundraising efforts. When asked her favorite places to TAGG, Katy said, “Blue Sushi, Smoothie King, Kontempo, and The Bookworm.” She recommends making the commitment to go to TAGG businesses, when you’re just beginning to TAGG. “After a few TAGGs, it becomes second nature. And as you can see in my example below, if you are strategic about large purchases, like car maintenance and repairs, your amount raised goes up even faster. You can do everything from order coffee using a TAGG business to get a new roof using a TAGG business.”

Here’s how Katy raised over $100:

June 25: Smoothie King, $0.37 

June 30: The Bookworm $6.30 

July 31: Whisk+Measure, $0.95

August 1: The Bookworm $5.95

August 4: Reve Salon & Spa, $3.25

August 15: Smoothie King, $0.34

August 15: Spirit World, $1.10

August 25: Blue Sushi Sake Grill, $0.90

August 31:  Kontempo, $15.00

August 31: Smoothie King, $0.37

September 1: Smoothie King, $0.34

September 9: Omaha Car Care, $61.13

September 24: Omaha Car Care, $67.03 

Total Raised: $163.03

“I like that I can shop intentionally at places that care enough to give back to their community,” said Katy when asked what she enjoys most about TAGG. “Nothing shows your values like where you spend your money. TAGG makes it so easy to give back while just doing your normal expenditures like picking up takeout or supporting your favorite local shop.”

DIAD The Life House Diaper Wrapping

Throughout the year the Junior League of Omaha partners with different organizations to give our time and resources to help different community partners, we call this Done In a Day (DIAD). One of our community partners we choose to work with is The Life House.

The Junior League of Omaha chose The Life House because it is an organization that provides an essential need for the Omaha community and surrounding areas of Nebraska. The Life House is a diaper bank and food pantry serving families in need. They believe in changing lives by offering essentials that all babies and families need. Offering diapers and food to families who need it ultimately lessens their financial strain and stress and thus allows families to address their other needs/concerns. This helps them financially move forward.  In 2020 alone, they have provided 112,470 meals and 360,226 diapers to at least 15,000 individuals. 


Providing so many diapers to the community means that the two people in charge of The Life House (yes, only two!) need extra hands. This is where The League comes in. By helping the organization wrap diapers, we are essentially helping get diapers out faster to the community and it frees up time and energy for the two women running The Life House. It gives them the ability to focus on other parts of the organization that need attention. In our first shift with The Life House, 6 women wrapped 9,000 diapers in TWO hours and today 5 members helped to wrap an additional 6,500 diapers!

We hope to be able to volunteer once a month with The Life House. Members: You can sign  up on Digital Cheetah!