Aviston cookbook includes flavors of fall

News-DemocratOctober 13, 2013 

Marilyn Rakers headed the effort 25 years ago to put together a cookbook for Aviston's 125th anniversary.

Then in 2004, she helped with one to benefit the school in town.

When 2013 came around and she was asked to organize the village's sesquicentennial cookbook, her reply was: "... I will help anybody who decides to do it."

Guess who volunteered?

"My three daughters!"

Karen Braundmeier, 43, and Cindy Robben, 52, are teachers, while Connie Zurliene, 48, works at Scott Air Force Base in the contracting office.

Marilyn, a retired Aviston School librarian, can laugh now, looking back at the nine-month effort they made to pull together, type and edit more than 500 recipes submitted by residents.

The result is "KISS (Keep it Simple Sista!) the Cook." The hardback, spiral-bound book sells for $20. Proceeds will subsidize the 2014 sesquicentennial activities to be held next June.

Marilyn's children were raised on a dairy farm, where they learned how to cook. She and her husband, Jim, now live in town.

"The girls are good cooks; they know how to whip stuff up," she said, laughing. "They can have a heck of a party."

The Touchdown Taco Dip is a favorite for family gatherings.

Her children ask for Marilyn's hot German potato salad, she said.

The four worked around each other's schedules to put together the book, mostly at night. Having them close by helped, said Marilyn.

"We have seven children, four boys and three girls; six of them live in Aviston. The one that got away lives in Birmingham (Ala.). I don't know how that happened!"

Marilyn, 74, said that the initial theme for the cookbook was to fill it with fast and easy recipes. Then classics started coming in from residents, as well as family favorites.

"We put in everything we got," she said, noting that some duplications meant putting more than one name on the credit line for a recipe.

And while there was some tedious work involved, Marilyn said the result is a great cookbook that reflects the community.

"We have to say a big thank-you to everyone who sent us recipes; this wouldn't have gotten done without them."

The cookbook is $20; if you buy in multiples, it's less expensive: two for $35, three for $50 or four or more for $16 each. lt is available at Centrue Bank in Aviston and St. Rose, 1st National Bank in Aviston and Carlyle, Aviston Village Hall, Aviston Lumber, Aviston Family Restaurant and lmming Insurance in Carlyle.

If you would like to purchase the cookbook through the mail, send a check for the proper amount, plus $2 shipping for each book to Aviston 150, Attn: M. Rakers, 601 E. Fourth St., Aviston, IL 62216.

Here are four recipes from "KISS (Keep It Simple, Sista!) The Cook."

Turkey Lime Cilantro Chili

1 pound ground turkey

Salt and pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 (15.5 ounces) cans chili beans

1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes with green chiles

2 cans water

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

Handful chopped cilantro

Put turkey in a large pot and season with salt and pepper. Brown with onion and jalapeno.

Add dry seasonings and stir to cover the meat. Add all the other ingredients and simmer 1 hour. Can serve with cheese/sour cream.

Peggy Rakers

Touchdown Taco Dip

2 pounds hamburger

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup water

1 packet taco seasoning

2 packets dry vegetable soup and dip mix

1 can green chiles

1 can Ro-tel

1/2 can drained black beans

1 can Mexican corn

1 can sliced black olives

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook hamburger with onion in a large skillet. Drain.

Add remaining ingredients, ecept cheese, and simmer. Transfer to a slow cooker (to keep it warm) and add the cheese to the top. Serve with tortilla chips, Frito Scoops or taco shells.

Karen Braundmeier

Pumpkin Squares

1 cup vegetble oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon (heaping)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda


3 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

3/4 stick margarine

1 tablespoon Milnot or other canned evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly-roll pan.

Blend oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin; set aside.

Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.

Mix dry and wet ingredients together well.

Pour into pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Topping: Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip well; spread over cooled cake; cover loosely.

Doris Goestenkors

Pumpkin Pie Cake


4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 (16-ounce) cans pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 cups Milnot, or other canned evaporated milk


Box of yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup nuts, chopped

Whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add all batter ingredients, mix well and pour into a 13-by-9-inch cake pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Topping: Mix cake mix, butter and nuts. Sprinkle on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake 75 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Serve with whipped topping.

Suzanne Albers

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