Still Cookin’ with Aunt Gerry

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Columnists

Ypsilanti weather has been hot & humid the last few days, reminding us that those “Lazy Days” of Summer are just around the corner.  So Aunt Gerry went through her recipes looking only for the word “EASY.”  Here’s what she came up with:

Easy Mexican Casserole
“Hola mis amigos! Este guiso es fácil y deliciosa. Disfrute!”
(I really don’t know Spanish so I hope I wrote that correctly.)
I don’t want to start an international incident
! -Aunt Gerry

2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt & pepper
1 10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
1 small can chopped green chillies
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Brown beef & onions with chili powder and salt & pepper. Add enchilada sauce. Put 6 tortillas in a 9×13 pan, pour beef mixture over, then put remaining 6 tortillas on top. Mix together soup, milk, and chillies; pour over tortillas. Cover with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Easy Corn Bread
This is just sweet enough to be the perfect accompaniment for spicy dishes.
For a sweeter treat, serve it with honey.
If you need more sweetness than that, come meet my granddaughters!
-Aunt Gerry

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9 inch pan. (Recipe can be doubled for a 9×13 inch pan.) Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or untl light golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
The recipe says that instead of pineapple you can use apples, apricots, prunes or peaches.
In my opinion, pineapple is the original and only “Upside Down Cake.”
This one is good enough to stand you on your head
! – Aunt Gerry

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 slices drained pineapple
5 cherry halves (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts
whipped cream

Combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir with whisk until thoroughly mixed and then sift. Add softened butter and cut into the flour mixture with whisk until mixed. Combine beaten egg, milk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture until blended, then beat vigorously for one minute with whisk or electric beater. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in 8x8x2″ pan or oven-safe skillet over low flame. Add brown sugar and cook & stir until thoroughly mixed. On this, arrange drained pineapple slices with half cherry (if desired) in center of each pineapple slice. Sprinkle with chopped nuts to fill the empty spaces. Pour batter over and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan with spatula. Turn upside down on dish so pineapple is on top. Serve with whipped cream.

Gerry Burns (Aunt Gerry) is an octogenarian & Ypsilantian who has resided with her husband Joe in their Augusta Township home for 43 years. After working 20 years at Eastern Michigan University, she retired in 1992. In addition to knitting and baking, Aunt Gerry enjoys the company of her husband & family which includes three grown children, three grandchildren and Minnie; a large, rambunctious, black Labrador retriever. At 80 years old, Aunt Gerry is happy that she’s “Still Cookin'” You can email Aunt Gerry at

Still Cookin’ with Aunt Gerry

June 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Columnists

While at the family cabin in Paradise Township last week, Aunt Gerry was unable to submit her column because she was without an internet connection – which for Aunt Gerry, really made it paradise!  This week, Aunt Gerry’s son is visiting from Florida so she’s pulled out a couple of his favorites!

Italian Spaghetti Sauce

Looking through my cookbooks, the best recipes are on pages that have been stained, torn and written on in faded ink.  This recipe comes from a particularly messy page in the 1965 Better Homes & Gardens “Meat Cook Book.”  Don’t forget the garlic bread!  -Aunt Gerry

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound (or more) ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1-pound cans (4 cups) tomatoes
2 8-ounce cans (2 cups) seasoned tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 3-ounce can sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Spaghetti, cooked
Grated Parmesan cheese.

Cook onion in hot oil till golden. Add meat and garlic; brown lightly.  Add remaining ingredients; simmer uncovered about an hour and a half or until desired consistency. Remove bay leaf. Serve sauce on hot cooked spaghetti. Pass bowl of grated Parmesan cheese.   Makes 6 servings.

Strawberry Summer Shortcake

Every summer my daughters and I would pick strawberries at the local U-Pick farms.  It’s a good thing they didn’t weigh the girls before and after they went into the field!  -Aunt Gerry

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup milk

Sift together dry ingredients; cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Combine egg and milk; add to dry mixture in bowl. Stir only enough to moisten. Turn out on slightly floured surface. Pat dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 1/2 inc floured biscuit cutter. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 13 to 16 minutes. Makes 8 shortcakes. Serve with sweetened strawberries and plenty of whipped cream.

Still Cookin’ with Aunt Gerry

May 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Columnists

Aunt Gerry heads north to the family cabin in Kingsley, MI for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.  However, you won’t find her in the kitchen and Aunt Gerry recommends you don’t spend your day there either.  Here is a menu of recipes that can be prepared early so you can enjoy the parade, your family and the day.

Tasty Pork Ribs

Recipe from “Taste of Home” magazine

“If you’re not going to stand over a hot stove all day, why stand over a hot grill?” – Aunt Gerry

8 bone-in country-style pork ribs (8 ounces each)

1 cup ketchup

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place ribs in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until meat is tender. 8 servings.

Home Econ. Potato Salad

“This recipe is from a cookbook of recipes compiled by Home Economics teachers from across the country.

My husband gave it to me early in our marriage.   I’m not sure if it was a nice gift or a subtle hint.” -Aunt Gerry

5 cups potatoes, cooked and peeled

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup celery, chopped

2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons vinegar

½ teaspoon prepared mustard

For the dressing, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard.  Quarter potatoes then cut into ¼ inch slices.  Add remaining ingredients.  Gently stir in dressing.  Chill for 4 or 5 hours.

Three Bean Bake

Recipe from “Traverse City Record Eagle”

“Yes, it calls for lima beans.  Before you say ‘ewww’ give ’em a try – they taste great in this dish!” -Aunt Gerry

3 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

2 cans (16 oz. ea.) baked beans

1 can (16 oz.) lima beans, drained

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, undrained

½ cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons vinegar

½ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon pepper

Cook bacon in a medium skillet, drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.  Crumble bacon and set aside.  Saute’ onion and green pepper in drippings until tender.  Combine onion mixture, bacon and remaining ingredients;  spoon mixture into a greased 2 ½ quart casserole.  Bake uncovered, in 350 degree oven 1 hour.

Choaptee’s Peanut Butter Cookies

“Renamed this recipe for my granddaughter Haley, who always wanted two cookies;

One for herself and one for her imaginary friend, Choaptee.” -Aunt Gerry

½ cup shortening

½ cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix thoroughly shortening, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs.  Blend in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Cover and chill.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  With fork dipped in flour, flatten in crisscross pattern to 2 inches.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not hard.

Gerry Burns (Aunt Gerry) is an octogenarian & Ypsilantian who has resided with her husband Joe in their Augusta Township home for 43 years. After working 20 years at Eastern Michigan University, she retired in 1992. In addition to knitting and baking, Aunt Gerry enjoys the company of her husband & family which includes three grown children, three grandchildren and Minnie; a large, rambunctious, black Labrador retriever. At 80 years old, Aunt Gerry is happy that she’s “Still Cookin'” You can email Aunt Gerry at

Still Cookin’ with Aunt Gerry

May 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Columnists

For Aunt Gerry, the fresh breezes of spring mean hanging the wash outside on the clothesline, watching Uncle Joe putter in the back yard, and breaking out the recipes for special springtime salads.

Macaroni-Tuna Salad

I found this on a package of “Creamettes” macaroni years ago.

The actual name is “Sea Island Salad” but I can never remember that. – Aunt Gerry

1 ½ cup dry macaroni

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup dairy sour cream

½ tsp. celery seed

½ tsp. onion salt

Two 5-oz. cans albacore tuna, drained

One 10 pkg. frozen peas, thawed

½ cup diced cheddar cheese

2 tbsp. minced green pepper

1 tbsp. diced pimiento

Cook macaroni according to general package directions.  Drain and chill.  Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream and seasonings.  Fold into chilled macaroni.  Gently stir in remaining ingredients.  Chill thoroughly.

Springtime Strawberry Salad

The recipe states a prep time of 10 minutes.

I think that’s for younger cooks.  What’s your hurry? – Aunt Gerry

1 pkg. (10 0z.) assorted salad greens or 8 cups torn lettuce

1 pkg. (6 oz.) grilled chicken breast strips

1 can (15 oz.) mandarin orange segments, drained

½ medium red onion, sliced

½ cup sliced almonds

2 cups sliced strawberries

½ cup creamy poppy seed dressing

Toss greens, chicken, oranges, strawberries and onions in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with almonds.  Serve with dressing.

Spinach Salad

I got this recipe from a co-worker in the Campus Life office at Eastern Michigan University.

I retired from EMU in 1992 but never retired this recipe! – Aunt Gerry


1 cup oil

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup vinegar

1/3 cup ketchup

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 medium onion, grated

Mix ingredients until sugar is dissolved.  Chill.


1 large pkg. fresh, salad spinach

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

10 sliced bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Toss together salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over salad or serve dressing on the side.

Geraldine Burns (Aunt Gerry) is an octogenarian & Ypsilantian who has resided with her husband Joseph in their Augusta Township home for 43 years.  After working 20 years at Eastern Michigan University, she retired in 1992.  In addition to knitting and baking, Aunt Gerry enjoys the company of her husband & family which includes three grown children, three grandchildren and Minnie; a large, rambunctious, black Labrador retriever.  At 80 years old, Aunt Gerry is happy that she’s “Still Cookin'”. You can email Aunt Gerry at

Opening Day of Farmer’s Market is a Sure Sign of Spring

Evidenced by the return of migrating birds, the fragrance of lilacs in bloom, and the season opening of the Farmer’s Market, it would seem that Spring has sprung in Ypsilanti.

The Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market will open Tuesday, May 4th but you won’t see the colorful canopies of the vendors in the Key Bank parking lot where they’ve made their seasonal, weekly, home since the DYFM’s start in 2006.  The market has a new location on Ferris Street between Hamilton and Adams streets.  “They outgrew the former space” says Ryan Stedman, who manages the market for the nonprofit organization Growing Hope.  “The new space will accommodate a larger variety of vendors, community groups and entertainment.”

Vendors at the DYFM are farmers, backyard gardeners, greenhouse growers, and community gardeners.  Previous years vendors have included:

  • Living Stones Community; a non-profit organization that offers formerly incarcerated Washtenaw County residents an internship that includes training in urban agriculture and entrepreneurship.
  • Thomason Family Farm; All produced within downtown Ypsilanti, a special variety of cheeses is the delicious offering from the Thomason Family Farm.  Aubrey Thomason, who doubles as a cheese maker for Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor, has done work with cheese in the states and abroad.
  • Ypsilanti Food Co-op; The Ypsilanti Food Co-op has been around for 36 years. They bake an assortment of artisan breads.  The co-op also provides support and services for the surrounding community.

The Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market provides the community access to buy fresh, local, products direct. This results in a healthier community, a cleaner environment, support for the local economy and development of Ypsilanti downtown.  Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber will be at the market from 5 to 6 p.m. to greet members of the community.  Local weather forecasts predict temperatures around 70 degrees;  Perfect for a visit to the Farmer’s Market which will operate from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., and accepts credit cards, bridge cards, and cash.

Materials Unlimited Building for sale for $845K

Ypsilanti institution Materials Unlimited building and business are for sale. The building at 2 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti is on the market for $845,000. Reynold Lowe, owner, said the business is for sale as well.

Materials Unlimited

The sale is brokered by Jackie Wright at Charles Reinhart Company.

Lowe said he has run the business for nearly 40 years and it is time to look for someone that can continue with the business.

Lowe said they have the complete package with up to date website with on-line sales, computer systems, and inventory. Lowe would not disclose the price of the business and referred inquiries to his broker.

“Before I started this business, I did painting and sculpture,” said Lowe. “I would like to get back to that.”

Materials Unlimited is a destination business in Ypsilanti. Lowe said he has worked with area business so that visitors know about local restaurants like Beezy’s, Sidetrack, and Haabs. Customers come from all over the country, Canada, and overseas and will often spend the entire day in Ypsilanti.

Virtual Tour of the Materials Unlimited building

Materials Unlimited

EMU debates concealed guns on campus

December 2, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

EMU Student government hosted a debate over propsed changes to Michigan’s Concealed Carry laws. Representatives from the NRA and the EMU Police department argued for and against the concealed carry of firearms on campus.

Advocating for concealed carry was Reid Smith, a member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, and Professor David Coy, an accounting professor at Adrian college and a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association. Coy arrived about 15 minutes late.

Arguing against guns on campus was Paul Leighton, a criminology professor at EMU, and Greg O’Dell, Chief of the EMU Department of Public Safety.

Just over 100 students, staff, visitors, and EMU police officers attended the nearly two hour debate.

Michigan law prohibits anyone under 21 to carry a concealed weapon. So a large number of EMU students would not be permitted to hold a concealed pistol license as they are too young.

Chief O’Dell said he was opposed to the possession of guns on campus as it would increase the rates of suicide. O’Dell said cops have an extraordinarily high rate of suicide because of easy access to guns.

According to NIH and the FBI, police officers are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general public. Leading one audience member to ask after the debate if perhaps EMU police officers should not be permitted to carry guns on campus.

Ann reported about one student who told the story, “My aunt was murdered by someone with a concealed weapons permit,” she said as her voice began to crack and she fought back tears. “Just because people go through these classes doesn’t mean they won’t kill someone.”

The student wouldn’t give her name and left before the debate ended. A student sitting next to her said the aunt was killed by a family member in their home. The murder apparently had nothing to do with the concealed carry of a firearm.

Under Michigan law and the Michigan State Constitution, concealed carry is currently allowed on the campuses of public universities except concealed carry in dormitories and classrooms. The EMU Board of Regents passed a rule against the possession of any firearms while on campus.

According to a recent ruling from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and the Michigan State Police, licensed concealed carry permit holders may openly carry a firearm into a pistol exclusion zones including dormitories and classrooms.

The carrying of a concealed weapon on campus can be confusing. During the debate, it was pointed out that off-duty police officers that are also EMU students have carried firearms into classrooms. This is apparently a violation of the Regents policy. According to the university no action has been taken against these students.

Moreover, an officer or CPL holder that drives to EMU and then safely stores their firearm in their vehicle is still in violation of EMU Regents policy while their actions are legal under state law. Michigan State University Regents addressed this confusion as they too had a complete ban on firearms.

In June 2009, MSU Regents changed rules to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in open spaces by licensed concealed permit holders while still barring firearms in buildings. According to MSU spokesman Kent Cassella, “The rules were changed to better align with county and state law.”

Lansing’s reported, “At the University of Michigan, guns still are completely banned, with the county prosecutor enforcing the ban, (MSU Trustee Colleen) McNamara said. She said the prosecutor who handles crime on MSU’s campus did not prosecute people who violated MSU’s ordinance, instead siding with state law and prompting the board’s vote to change policy.”

Vancil Shuts Out Sliders

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

Vancil Shuts Out Sliders

YPSILANTI, MI, August 26, 2009

Preston Vancil bottled up the Sliders hitting Wednesday night for the Florence Freedom as they beat the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti 4-0. Vancil was the story of the night as he only allowed two hits throwing a complete game shutout.

The two Slider hits came from Robbie Knapp in the second inning, and Bryan Bonner in the eighth. Bonners double in the eighth was the only Sliders scoring opportunity as Vancil only allowed one runner in scoring position and three base runners all night.

Jon Haldis did have a solid second start allowing four runs in six innings.

Florence will go for the sweep Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium. After this game the Sliders will only have one more home series when Washington Wild Things come into town for a three game set this weekend.

Sliders Drop Doubleheader

August 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

YPSILANTI, MI, August 25, 2009

The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti losing streak has reached a season high five games after they lost both games against the Florence Freedom Tuesday night at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium.

The first game Florence lit up the board with 18 hits and 13 runs to show for. Freedom won 13-3 and jumped on Sliders early to leave no doubt. They scored five runs in the top of the first inning helped by two homers in their first at bats from Justin Pickett and Jay Johnson.

As the night grew Florence lead did as well as they expanded it too 13-1 by the fifth inning. Jimmy Baker did have a mammoth homer in the top of the sixth that gave the Slider fans something to cheer about.

Game two wasn’t that much better, although Midwest didn’t allow as many runs they still fell 4-1. The Sliders had their chances but couldn’t capitalize on big opportunities.

Freedom jumped out to a led early scoring in the first, and in the fourth helped by a monstrous shot by John Welch giving them a 4-0 advantage.

Sliders scored their first run from a double by Jeremy Jones, and doubled in by Byran Bonner.

Midwest had a huge chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases and had only one out. Two groundouts later Florence squeaked out of a very tough jam still leading 4-1.

Wednesday Jon Haldis will take the mound to try to stop the Sliders skid. The first pitch will begin at 7:05 p.m. at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium. There are only five more Sliders home games left, as Sunday will be the clubs last home game this season.

Sliders Struggles Continue, Miners Earn Sweep

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

Sliders Struggles Continue, Miners Earn Sweep

MARION- The Southern Illinois Miners didn’t need their third walk-off of the series to earn the sweep against the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti. The Sliders fell 7-1 and tied the season high four game losing streak heading back home.

Tuesday’s doubleheader with Florence Freedom will start the last home stand of the season. It will be seven games long. Sunday will be the final Sliders home game in 2009 at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium.

Zack Pace drove in Midwest’s lone run in the eighth inning after the Miners had the game in hand. Nolan Shaffer got the loss and his record falls to 3-5 on the season.

Midwest will enjoy a rare day off Monday to regroup after a tough 1-5 road trip to get there things together for the final home stretch of games. Tuesday’s gates open at 4 p.m. with the first game of the doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. The Sliders will play two seven inning games Tuesday night.

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