Holiday Baked Goodies

Let’s face it, the holidays just aren’t going to look the same this year. We’re all hunting for ways to spend distanced time with our closest family, and the Junior League of Omaha cookbook can help you find recipes that can be made into single servings to make life a little easier.

Have a peanut butter lover in the family? Try our Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting recipe! If you want something a little smaller, our Dark Chocolate and Seas Salt Sables more than get the job done. You can also find a recipe for Apple Pie Bars or Bourbon Baked Apples to put a single-serving twist on a holiday favorite dessert, or keep it even more simple with Sweet and Salty Caramel Brownie Bites. Whatever you’re craving, the JLO cookbook can satisfy.

The best thing we can do in this complicated time is keep the holidays simple, so our gift to you this holiday season is our amazing recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is right around the corner! Celebrated the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday is your reminder to shop local during the holiday season and remember that you are a key part of helping your local business owners thrive. 

The Economy of Shopping Small: Keeping it in the Community posted a report in 2017 showing that 42 cents of every dollar spent in a small business comes back to the local community in the form of salaries to local residents, payments to local suppliers, and sponsorships that support local schools, charities and other initiatives. 

One way you can support local business owners this holiday season is by purchasing Junior League’s A Century of Serving Cookbook at the area retailers stocking our book: 

  • Everbloom Floral & Gift (Loveland location only, 90th & Center)
  • Dusk Goods and Gifts (1234 S. 13th St, Suite 201 & 202)
  • Voila! Magdalene Blooms (4922 Dodge Street)
  • JH Interior Design (Clocktower Village: 721 N 98th Street)
  • Stir Coffee Bar (Legacy – 19650 Wright Plaza)
  • Salt Creek Mercantile (1502 Silver St – Ashland)
  • Made in Omaha (Countryside Village, Old Market)
  • Prairie in Bloom (1702 Cuming St.)
  • Village Pomegranate/The Linen Gallery (Countryside Village)
  • Village Grinder (Countryside Village, 87th & Pacific)
  • Clarkson Gift Shop (UNMC)
  • CornerStone Gift Shop (UNMC)
  • The Bookworm (90th & Center)
  • Mine Custom Gifts (114th & Davenport)
  • Spruce Interiors & Gifts (5022 Leavenworth Street)
  • Children’s Hospital Gift Shop (82nd & Dodge Street)
  • Reve (Rockbrook Village)
  • Hearts & Fire (Rockbrook Village)

Check out the link below for more information on our local wholesalers! https://www.jlomaha.org/cookbook/

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving: French Silk Pie Recipe

I will be the first person to admit that pies are very intimidating for me. Crusts seem complicated and the filling seems easy to screw up, but they’re also easy to buy premade.

That said, I’m a sucker for French silk pie. This recipe seemed doable, so I gave it a shot—I am so glad I did! This recipe is surprisingly simple and uses a lot of ingredients I already had at home. Bonus, it turns out AMAZING.

What surprised me most was that I already had most of the ingredients. (Ignore the cherry preserves in the photo—whoops!)

This recipe starts with the graham cracker crust. It calls for chopped almonds, but I couldn’t use them for dietary reasons, so I replaced the same amount with graham crackers. I also had a 9-inch pie plate instead of 10 so I did end up with a little extra crust. It did seem like I needed more butter to make the crust easier to form in the pan but using a spoon to spread the crumbs out actually worked well to make things stick together.

Next you cream the sugar and softened butter, then add your melted chocolate. I didn’t have any baking chocolate on hand, but I did have Hershey’s cocoa powder. The instructions on the back said to mix 3 tablespoons of cocoa with 1 tablespoon of oil and that worked great! I did add just a little more oil in at the end because it wasn’t the easiest to mix, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

Now this is the part where I was 100% not convinced this was going to turn into a pie. The chocolate did not mix well into the butter and sugar, and the recipe uses the words “cream” and “mix well” and was not sure how what I was seeing was going to get us to that but went with it. As you add each egg, mix it for four minutes like it says, but it definitely begins to get to a creamy mix by the end. Color me surprised!

Spoon the mixture into the pie crust and chill for 24 hours—and voila! You have French Silk Pie. Again, this was much easier than I expected the recipe to be. It took about 20 minutes for me to make everything and then it chilled for a day before serving. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! It is rich, but delicious.

I did not take any pictures of individual slices because it honestly isn’t pretty coming out of the pan, but dang it—so very good. I hope this becomes a new favorite in your household because it most definitely is in mine!

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving 

French Silk Pie

# Servings: 8

Category: Desserts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅔ cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • Whipped cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, melted butter and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl and mix well. Press over the bottom and up the side of a 10 inch pie plate.Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand to cool for 1 hour.

Cream ¾ cup butter and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the chocolate and vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating for 4 minutes after each addition. Spoon into the pie crust. Chill for 24 hours. Top servings with whipped cream.

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

Join Us for The JLO Classic!

The Junior League of Omaha’s newest fundraiser is taking place Sunday, September 26 at Topgolf Omaha, and sure to be a swinging good time. Contact karinakiewel@gmail.com for a JLO Classic flyer you can post or share.

Throughout the event is a silent auction with door prizes and a hole-in-one prize opportunity. Stay tuned to the Junior League of Omaha’s social media channels for more details on the awesome prizes and silent auction items. If you or someone you know would like to donate anything to this event, please contact our chair Beth Kalal at golfclassic@jlomaha.org.

Don’t know what to wear to the event? We’ve got you covered! This year’s theme is Caddyshack—the greatest golf movie of all time. Fire up Netflix (or do a quick google search) for outfit inspiration. There will be prizes for the best individual and team outfits that feature our theme, so come dressed to impress! Bottom line is you won’t want to miss this event!

Member Spotlight – Alysia Radicia

Alysia is an Interior Designer at RDG Planning & Design. She’s been there since graduating and really enjoys it. Alysia said the firm treats everyone like family and is extremely supportive in helping individuals succeed and pursue their interests. Like being involved in the community!

Speaking of community involvement, Alysia stays busy! Having been born and raised in Omaha (technically Elkhorn), she has a deep passion for investing in the community and helping make it a better place for everyone. She currently serves as the President of the Friends of Nebraska Children, serves on the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Young Professional Council, sits on Opera Omaha’s Community Advisory Panel, volunteers for the American Heart and Stroke Association … ALL while being an active member of the Junior League.

Alysia considers herself a cat lady, but not a crazy cat lady. Gus is her main squeeze, and she’s constantly teetering on whether or not to adopt another passive aggressive cuddle bug. Check back in a few weeks.

She thoroughly enjoy party planning and dinner parties. Which is also why she enjoys working out. Life is all about balance.

This year she is taking some sort of creative class each month. She previously enrolled in pottery classes at the Union for Contemporary Art and cooking classes Metro Community College. Have any suggestions? Send them her way!

Junior League of Omaha announces new focus area

The Junior League of Omaha wrapped up the year and the decade with the announcement of an exciting new focus area: hunger and access to healthy foods. On December 2, the Board of Directors decided on this focus area after assessing criteria including membership interest, opportunity in the community to make an impact, sustainability, variety of volunteer opportunities and potential barriers. 

The decision comes as a result of a tireless process led by the Community Research and Development (CRaD) committee. They assessed needs in the Omaha metro in three different areas: hunger and access to healthy foods, abuse of women and children and opportunity youth.

The CRaD committee worked to set up and host around 30 service learning opportunities in these three areas between June and November. Members completed the service learning opportunities and provided valuable feedback which was compiled by the committee. This feedback was critical in making a decision on a new focus area.

“The CRaD team has been working diligently all year to ensure that education and volunteer opportunities were available for members to learn and participate in with the three focus areas. The focus area and research teams have collaborated with local organizations to envision future strategic goals and programming for years to come. We are grateful to have such passionate women involved in this process and for the participation and feedback from all of our membership,” said Emily Barr,| Junior League of Omaha Community Research and Development Chair. 

Building on the impact made over the last 100 years, the Junior League of Omaha is entering this new decade with an exciting area of focus and renewed commitment to voluntarism. 

Third Annual Bargain Bash

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The Junior League of Omaha (JLO) hosted its third annual Bargain Bash at the Ralston Arena on Saturday, August 10, 2019 and Sunday, August 11, 2019. The event raised funds which help JLO to support community programming throughout the year.

The rummage sale featured designer and name-brand clothing, shoes and jewelry for men, women and children as well as baby supplies, toys, kitchenware, home decor and furniture. One of the standout items for sale this year was a 10 piece, hand-painted bedroom set.

For a $20 donation, early bird shoppers could shop 90 minutes before the official opening to get their first pick of the items for sale and enjoy coffee with donuts.

Bargain Bash co-chairs said the committee sold 50 presale tickets and they were elated to see a line of customers waiting Saturday morning when the event officially opened to the public. In total, shoppers purchased $14,000 in merchandise throughout the weekend.

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Also of note, nothing went to waste. JLO donated unsold inventory to Heartland Hope Mission, where items will be donated directly to flood victims who lost their homes and personal belongings.

Still not sold on shopping secondhand? Here’s a little more motivation to thrift:

  • Find unique pieces and valuable items at great prices
  • Reduce waste through reusing gently loved goods
  • Think of thrifting as a treasure hunt – you never know what you might find
  • One-of-a-kind goods that tell a story

Are you feeling motivated to shop secondhand?

Comment with some of your favorite thrifted purchases below!

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Ladies Who bRUNch

The Junior League of Omaha is hosting a new fundraiser this year and planning committee members are passionate. This April, the League will host a 5K fun run that combines two events that League members just love: running and brunching. The concept is pretty simple, really: run 3.1 miles, eat brunch, support the League’s child-minded community projects. And everyone’s invited. We asked the committee members what keeps them running.

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Lisa Tronchetti will tell you she is an indoor runner. She remembers doing a 5K before, but lately she hasn’t made it past the one mile mark. Even though her distance has shortened, she keeps plugging away, because she has motivation. “I run to stay healthy and prevent Type II Diabetes,” she says. “Type II Diabetes is common for women in my family as they grow older and my hope is that by living a healthy lifestyle NOW with a healthy diet and a regular exercise schedule that includes a little running, I will greatly delay or prevent any onset of Type II Diabetes in my own health,” Lisa says. When the Junior League of Omaha announced a 5K run this spring, Lisa saw an opportunity to volunteer and get back on a training regimen. “I’m in my favorite Athleta pants and listening to the second season of Serial while I train,” she says. 

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It took Stacey Sellers a little time to warm up to the idea of loving a run. “I started running in middle school when I started cheer and dance, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I actually started to enjoy it,” she says. “Living in Charleston, SC at the time, the scenery and weather were perfect; and running outside was a must!” Stacey runs for enjoyment, opting out of a music playlist, no formal training program and no set distances. There is one thing she does commit to, a lacrosse ball she uses to massage her muscles after good run. 

Colby Jensen prefers to run with a crew. “When I run with friends, we talk about our days, what’s new in our lives, etc. so no music is needed,” she says. Her friends and the training program she found with a quick Google search keep her focused when training for half marathons. “I train with friends to hold myself accountable and make the longer runs seem easier,” she says. But when no one is around, she’ll crank up a good Pandora station Jock Jams, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, 2000s Hip Hop – to name a few. Her Nike+ training app keeps her motivated when she runs on her own.

Running Selfie
Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

 

Lauren Hellman might just go crazy if she doesn’t hit the pavement. She takes all her frustrations and stress of the day out on the wide open road. Often she will bring her dog along for company. She uses this time to catch up on her favorite podcasts. When weather forces Lauren to run on a treadmill, she might deviate slightly from the podcasts and opt for some Taylor Swift. “My favorite item to have on a run with me is a great pair for shoes,” she says. Typically she gets her shoes from Altra Running. But she recently picked up a pair from Skora Running. “They may become my new favorite,” Lauren says. 

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Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

No matter what your running style- or even if you’re not a runner- Lauren, Colby, Stacy and Lisa agree that there’s a place for you at the April 16 bRUNch 5K. Families are welcome to bring their kids for a 1K fun walk around Turner Park and if you’re not up for racing, you can purchase a ticket to the after-run brunch. Registration information is now available on jlomaha.org. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Junior League Shop at Children’s Hospital

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Junior League members working in the Hospitality Shop at Children’s Memorial Hospital. The League founded the shop in 1948, giving all proceeds to the hospital. In 1956, they turned the shop over to the Friends of Children’s Hospital Guild.

Reprinted with permission from the Omaha World-Herald. This photo was part of the history in the 2006 Toast to Omaha A Cookbook Presented by the Junior League of Omaha.

Connecting with …

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Congratulations to Mary Lynn as a 2015 Junior League of Omaha Sustainer Hall of Fame award winner.

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Tell us about your family?
Husband Dick, two grown children, Todd Reiser and Sally Christensen, 5 grandchildren, Tyler, Nate, Luke Christensen, Caroline and Courtney Reiser

Pets: mixed breed hound, Cisco

Hometown: Lincoln, NE

College: UNL and UNO

Sorority: Alpha Phi

Job/Business: Director, UNO Center for Economic Education

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Serving as JLO President which led me in a entirely new career direction as an administrator at UNO.

Continue reading “Connecting with …”