Category Archives: Recipes

Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 5


This week I have been honoring my parents, Nelson Stearns and Shirley Pease Stearns, with the remembrance of the Model T Cookie Jar and recipes it cherish and kept for us over the years.


I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen with six of us still living. We always had turns in choosing what cookies where being made. When old enough we would bake them with Mom or it was our turn to do the baking. I loved the many happy memories created during those special baking days. Some days the baking was with my Aunt Eleanor [Stearns Duncan], my dad’s sister and my great Aunt Carrie [Lulu Carrie Stearns Perkins], his dad’s sister.

I first learned to cook and bake on a wood stove, graduated to gas and in later years electric. Each type of stove required recipe adjustments for baking at the correct temperature. Many attempts resulted in burned or uncooked cookies. The burnt cookies were feed to the livestock. The under cooked was either re-baked, if possible or layered with pudding. Nothing was wasted in our household.

Today I close the series with the No Bake Cookies, my brother, Nelson Neal Stearns liked.

Here is an overview of this weeks recipes. The Hermits/Soft Molasses Cookies were the favorite of my Dads, Nelson; my sisters Marjorie [Stearns Stevenson] and Eleanor [Stearns Carne] and one of my choices. [I liked variety. If it was my turn to cook and bake I would choose a new recipe to make. Some were kept for later use and others recipes were discarded. Those were not a big hit with anyone.] My sisters Vickie [Stearns Levesque Junkins], Susan [Stearns Aeschliman] and Eleanor (second choice) liked the Toll House cookies.

I honored my mother’s death anniversary with the cookies she found comfort in those last days of her life, Applesauce/Pumpkin Cookies.

I honored my father’s birthday month with his favorite recipe, that was not a cookie, the Model T Cookie Jar held, Biscuits.

Pleasure from the Good Earth cover

I can not find her handwritten recipes for the two no bake cookies mom made. I did find the type written ones in the cookbook that was created as a fundraiser for a charitable fund. The fund was absorbed into the Lou and Lutza Smith Fund when changes were made in how the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation manged their funds.

no bake cookies

Here is the first recipe: No Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut

Mix sugar, milk, butter and cocoa together in a saucepan; cook 1 minute after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and coconut. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

no bake oatmeal cookies

Second recipe: No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

In a saucepan combine sugar, brown sugar, milk and butter for 3 minutes after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and raisins. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

I hope that my sharing these happy memories bring back memories of your own. I look forward to reading about your journey into cooking with Mom, Dad or any loved one you share memories with.





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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 4


Model T Cookie gave much support in the end of my mother’s life. It is with a combination of sadness and happiness I write this post. Today is the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death. She made her final Heaven Found journey after many years of fighting cancer. Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns taught us how to accept that final journey with Grace, acceptance, her strong faith and love.

Today, I honor her memory, with the cookie she constantly wanted to eat during her final days. Days where she didn’t eat much at all. If I had these little tidbits ready for her, she would pop them in her mouth with relish and happiness.


The recipe is one of hers that I adapted. I couldn’t find her original handwritten recipe. The recipe was included in a cookbook created during the summer I had six teenagers living with me, ranging from 16-19 years of age. Three boys and three girls. Three of my family and three exchange students. Many happy memories were made during that summer, including the adaption of Mom’s recipe. My adaptations will be in brackets.

Goodness Pure and Simple cover

The Expression of Appreciation included in the book:

“A special thanks to all who suffered through my success and my failure; while trying new recipes and revisiting old ones for this cookbook. A special thanks go to my family-long suffers of my cooking attempts at new recipes: Michael, Tyna, Michael J. [Butka]; Jennifer [Levesque Williams]; my summer daughter from London, England, Andria and my Spanish summer sons, Nacho [nickname, I wish I could remember his christian name] and Ignacio. An extra special thanks to Jennifer and Andria, who both helped with the typing of this cookbook. It was created out of love of cooking and encouragement from family and friends to write one.”

Applesauce [Pumpkin] Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice [pumpkin pie spice]

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar *see note below

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup applesauce [pumpkin puree]

1 cup raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and pie spice. Set aside. Cream together butter, brown and white sugars. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to just moistened. Add raisins. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

* Note: I added whey/protein powder and switched the brown sugar to black strap molasses to provide Mom with added protein and aid in maintaining some electrolyte balance. I didn’t put the raisins in at the end because of a texture swallowing issue Mom had. Her oncologist, Dr. Douglas Weckstein, said let her eat whatever she wants.

My mother , Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, taught all her children how to bake and cook. Some of us did better than others.

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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 3


Model T Cookie Jar loves to cherish the memories of the cookies it stored for us. Today is all about my sisters, Vickie Stearns Levesque Junkins and Sue Stearns Aeschliman’s favorite cookie.


Mom’s Toll House Cookie [The link send you to the original recipe]

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift flour together: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. Beat creamy 1/2 cup butter; 6 tablespoons each brown sugar and granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat 1 egg. Add flour mixture. Mix well. Stir on 16 ounce package or 1 cup chocolate bits, 1/2 cup ground nuts; drop on well greased cookie sheet. Bake 375 degree for 10-12 minutes.


Tomorrow will be about Mom’s favorite cookie.

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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 2


Today is all about my father’s favorite recipe. The one he always made. It was not cookies. It was Biscuits.

Moms Biscuits

The recipe is my mother’s [written in her handwriting.] Dad [Nelson William Stearns] and Mom [Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns] both used it to make biscuits. Dads always came out fluffier. When the Model T cookie jar was empty, Dad said, “Come here girl, I will teach you how to make those biscuits.”

I spent a day cooking with my father. I still smile when i think about learning how to make the biscuit with Dad. Sadly mine came out like my mother’s, edible but a little dense. Dad stated, “Don’t worry, girl, you learn to have a light hand.” Dad ate those biscuits with happy enjoyment spread with homemade raspberry jam made by his sister, Eleanor May Stearns Duncan.


That little Model T Cookie Jar had many types of cookies and biscuit over the years. I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen. Six of us still living. What type of cookies was made depended on which sibling turn to choose. The cookies were made by my mother and each of us as we learned to cook. I was only in the home for four more years after giving Dad the cookie jar. I went away to Nursing School. I did come home, from time to time, to take care of my parents and siblings when Mom had her first cancer episode and Dad had his Heart attack. [This is a story for another day.]


Make all measurements level [Mom’s way, Dad always just grabbed and mixed.]

2 cups sifted flour

4 tablespoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of Tarter

Add 2/3 cup milk all at once stir till the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly flour board. Knead lightly 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough to one inch thickness. Cut and place biscuits in greased pans. Brush top with melted butter. Bake in hot oven 475 to 500 degrees 10 minutes or until done.


Tomorrow’s recipe will begin my sibling’s favorite choices. I will post, in the order of the response, they returned to me when I asked what favorite cookie they enjoyed of Moms.



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Week of Remembering, Mom and Dad! Day 1


This week is the is the 15th anniversary of my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, death. She succumbed to her battle against cancer 28 April 2001.

Earlier this month, 8 April 2016, was the anniversary of my father, Nelson William Stearns, 86th birthday.

This form of remembrance was triggered recently by Amy Johnson Crow’s Periscope presentation of #31DaysofBetterGenealogy, about recording the artifacts we have in our possession. You don’t want future generations discarding your memories without sharing the importance they meant to you.


I mentioned I still had the Model T Cookie Jar that I purchased, with one of my first real paychecks, for my father. Amy quickly informed me I needed to blog about it, including a recipe of the cookies it contained.

Why do I say my first real paycheck? I worked with my father and cousin throughout the year at my Dad’s service station in Pembroke New Hampshire. In the summer’s I would work along beside my Dad and cousin, Ernest Perkins, Ernest’s junk yard in Sutton, New Hampshire, getting parts for cars. Dad always paid me something , even in bartering or cash for my work.

My first official job was for Leon’s Ice Cream Stand, in Pembroke, New Hampshire [Now Chantilly’s.] I started at the end of May 1968.  [Also working there was, David Paul Levesque, who became my sister, Vickie’s [Vickie Mae Stearns] first husband and father of my niece, Jennifer and nephew David.

So when my first or maybe my second paycheck came in, it was just before Father’s Day. My Mother and I went shopping to pick out something special for my father. When I saw the Model T Ford cookie jar, I know that is what I wanted to get him.

The first type of cookie to go into this jar was my father’s favorite cookie, Molasses. What people call, Hermits. Dad always called them Molasses Cookies because, “they are not Hermits without the raisins.”  I filled the jar with my mothers recipe, made by me. My father was very please with the results, except he said, “There is only one problem with these cookies.” [my face, first time he made this comment, dropped about ten feet.  Wait for the rest of the statement…] Dad always added a long pause before finishing his statement, “It taste like more.”

I had been cooking a long time so I knew what was coming. It still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes, just remembering his words.


My mother’s Hermit recipe in her own handwriting. It is a much loved and used recipe.


4 1/2 cups Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon [I use Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice]

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1 cup Shortening [usually Crisco]

2 cups Brown Sugar or Black Strap Molasses 

1 cup Milk

2 Eggs


1 cup Chopped Nuts

1 Cup Raisins

Bake 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

[Cream together the shortening, sugar/molasses; add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add, alternating, between Milk and dry ingredients, until well blended. Don’t be to heavy handed or you will have tough cookies.]

Mom usually just dropped them onto the buttered cookie sheet to bake. If she made the Hermits, with the raisins, she would roll the dough out and and cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy my mothers Molasses cookies.

Tomorrow’s recipe may surprise you. It was my father’s favorite recipe to make.


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Peanut Butter Soup: No Way!

Peanut Butter Soup

Peanut Butter Soup


My mother would make the best tasting Peanut Butter Soup. We children always considered it a special treat. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized this was my mother’s way of stretching the food dollars, while providing us with protein. I will give you my version first, then my mothers. You chose the one you like best.


June’s Peanut Butter Soup


4 TBSP.  Seltzer water

4 TBSP. Almond flour

1 cup Almond milk

½ cup Peanut Butter


Gather all premeasured ingredients before beginning to cook. Place the Almond milk in a medium Saucepan; set aside. Whisk together the seltzer water and almond flour until smooth. Add it to the almond milk stirring constantly over medium high heat, until starts to thicken.  DO NOT Boil. If it starts to boil, remove from high stirring to it becomes smooth and slightly thickened. Return to heat, add peanut butter. Stirring constantly until peanut butter is well blended into the mixture and slightly thick. If it is too thick, thin it with the milk. Remove from heat. Measure into ½ cup Ramekins. Serve Warm with a sprinkle of Crushed peanuts if you desire. I like a dash of Cinnamon.



Moms Peanut Butter Soup


4 TBSP.  Butter

4 TBSP. Cornstarch

1 can Evaporated Milk

½ cup Peanut Butter


Gather all premeasured ingredients before beginning to cook. Place the can of milk with equal parts of water in a medium Saucepan. Add the butter and cornstarch to the milk mixture stirring constantly over medium high heat, until it starts to thicken.  DO NOT Boil. If it starts to boil, remove from high stirring to it becomes smooth and slightly thickened. Return to heat, add peanut butter. Stirring constantly until peanut butter is well blended into the mixture and slightly thick.  If it is too thick, thin it with the milk Remove from heat. Measure into ½ cup Ramekins. Serve Warm.



June Stearns Butka, and many others, Family Recipe Collection (Private address, June Stearns Butka, 2014), Private Address, Merrimack, New Hampshire, 03054, Peanut Butter Soup, loose 3 x 5 card. Family recipe hand down from mother. Original source unknown.


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Stale Bread, Fading Sweet Peppers, and Chopped Onions makes what?

Stuffed Peppers and Squash

My local grocery store is only quarter mile down the road. I like to shop the clearance racks before planning my meals for the day or the week depending on what I find. I last blogged about the Vegetable Stew, Stuffed Mushrooms and Chili. Yesterday I found Sweet Green and Red Peppers for .99 cents. I purchased two packages providing me with four peppers. I sliced one package of the sweet peppers yesterday for dipping into my Tahini. I still have some slices left for the week.
Todays purchased included a whole chicken for $ 2.50, two pounds of Riblets for $2.00 (both in the freezer for another day,) two bags of Goose Valley Rice and Bean Fusion for 1.00 each and two pound “Fresh” Strawberries $1.99/package. My total purchase for these items was $7.49; include the sweet peppers from yesterday a grand total of $9.49.

Now the major decision; what will I make with these items. I washed and slice the strawberries in half. Packaged them into one cup serving containers for my husband lunches. I looked into the refrigerator to see what I had for leftovers. I found, one cooked chicken sausage, one third cup chopped onions and a half loaf of stale bread.
My first thought was stuffed peppers using the two remaining peppers, one package of the rice and bean fusion and the leftover onions for my half. I added the chopped chicken sausage to the other half.
Add three cups of water the rice and bean mixture, three ginger Chai tea bags and a dash of ginger honey vinegar (or spices to taste) to a saucepot, bring to boil. Remove tea bags. Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chai Tea, Rice and Beans

Cut the tops off the peppers, set aside, remove pulp, and discard. Cut large peppers in half place each half in a ramekin. Cut the good part of the pepper from the tops and dice.

Sweet Bell Peppers

Add the diced sweet peppers and diced onions to 1 teaspoon of butter and one swirl around the fry pan with olive oil.

Saute Peppers and Onions

Sauté until al dente. Remove from heat. Dice cooked chicken sausage set aside.

Chopped Chicken Sausage

Drain rice and bean mixture; let set for 5 minute. Fluff mixture.

Rice and Bean Mixture

Add vegetables to rice and bean mixture. Fill two halves of the peppers with mixture.

Rice, Beans and Vegetables

Add chopped chicken sausage to the other half of the rice and beans. Fill the remaining two peppers. Set any leftovers aside, for now.

Rice, Beans, Vegetables and Chicken Sausage

Place the pepper filled ramekins into the pan you used to sauté the vegetables. I added a half cup of frozen squash I had on hand to roast with the stuffed peppers. Cover. Place in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes. If serving immediately cook until fork tender. If going to be re-heated cook until the fork meets resistance. This will prevent over cooked stuffed peppers. Squash should be fork tender, as well.

Ready to Bake

Now to use the stale bread and remaining rice and bean mixture.

I had six slices of stale bread; two of which were the end pieces. Remove crust of four slices of bread, as shown in photograph. Set crust aside. Flatten each slice of bread. Place once teaspoonful of rice mixture in center of bread. Fold bread in half. Place them in the non-stick portion controlled brownie pan. If you don’t have a portioned control brownie pan use a cookie sheet.


Take the two end pieces and reserved crust; cube them into quarter to half inches pieces depending on what type of container you are cooking them in.

Bread cubed

In a separate mixing bowl combine two cups milk, (I use almond milk,) and four slightly beaten eggs. Add one teaspoon vanilla, fourth cup good old grade a maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice (your spice of choice here). I like the pumpkin pie spice because it has mace, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the mix. Mix the ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

Bread pudding base

Add the cubed pieces of bread to the portioned control brownie pan. It can over fill a bit because with the milk mixture is added the bread absorbs it and shrinks down.  Carefully pour the milk mixture into each section, until the bread stops absorbing it. I sprinkle Craisins on top (you can use raisins.) If you have leftover milk mixture pour it into vegetable sprayed ramekins.  Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice on the top pf the bread pudding and custard mixture. Place the brownie pan and ramekins onto a cookie sheet that has a little water covering the bottom.

Ready to bake bread pudding

Today’s meals for $1.99, leftovers and pantry staples provides four servings of stuffed peppers; four servings stuffed sandwiches, eight servings bread puddings and three serving of custards. Squash for another meal or as side dish with Stuffed peppers.

Rice and bean stuffed sandwiches with Tahini and sliced Sweet Green Peppers


Stuffed sandwich



Bread pudding with Craisins yogurt purée and sliced strawberries.

Bread Pudding with Craisin puree



Stuffed Sweet pepper with side of roasted squash.

Stuffed Peppers with squash

The original recipes were my mother’s Shirley Beatrice Stearns, tweaked by me, June Stearns Butka. My tweaks are in parenthesis. I also use the portioned controlled pan for cooking. I reduce the time by about ten minutes and add more cooking time if needed.

I hope a future descendant or two of mine find these recipes. Make them and adjust them to their taste with my best wishes and love.


Butka, June Lee Stearns, Reeds Ferry Historic District, Merrimack, New Hampshire. 11 Mar 2014

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