Pies-Giving – Vanilla Almond Cherry Lattice Pie

Noreen Lambert has done it again!  She has a series out on her YouTube cooking channel and her website called Pies-Giving.  Once a week, she is uploading a new pie for all of us to enjoy during the holidays.  Let me just say that I have already made 2 of them and they are wonderful.  Noreen was so kind to dedicate this scrumptious Vanilla Almond Cherry Lattice Pie recipe to me.  A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned that my all-time favorite pie was a good, old-fashioned Cherry Pie and boy did she kick this up 10 notches!!  Simply delicious!  Noreen, this Thanksgiving season, Today’s Modern Family is extra thankful for you and all you do for us cooks out here who are trying to live well and cook good, realistic and affordable food for our families.  I am extra thankful for your friendship.  Without further ado, Noreen’s recipe is below.  Be sure to check out our TMF TV and watch Noreen put this pie together.  Yum-O!



1 recipe of Cream Cheese Pie Crust (Go to www.noreenskitchen.com for the recipe)

2 – 14 ounce cans Tart red cherries Drained
2 – 14 ounce cans tart red cherries with liquid
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
1/4 cup Torani almond syrup or 1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Step by Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Divide dough into two discs.  Roll out one disk and fit it into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.

Roll out the other disk and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  This will be your top crust.  Cut this crust using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter into 1/2 inch strips.

Place both the pie plate and the top crust into the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.

Mix sugar and corn starch together very well in a medium saucepan.

Add cherries and the liquid, stir well to combine.  Mixture will look a bit milky.  This will resolve once the mixture has been cooked.

Place cherry mixture over medium high heat and stir frequently until it comes to a low boil.

Once the mixture begins to boil stir constantly and allow to boil for one minute.  Remove from heat.  Allow pie filling to cool for at least 20 to 30 minutes.  You don’t want to pour boiling pie filling into your pie crust or it will be a mess.

Pour pie filling into prepared pie shell, spread evenly.

Arrange reserved pie shell strips, beginning in the middle with the longest segment and work out to each edge of the pie.  Turn the pie and weave the lattice by peeling back every other strip and placing the strips down in the opposite direction then laying down the strips that you pulled back and pulling up the strips that were not and adding more long strips.  Continue to do this until the top of the pie is covered in a cross hatch woven lattice.

Trim excess lattice strips and if necessary, use a bit of water to adhere them to the crust of the pie shell.

Place pie on a baking sheet to catch drips.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and place either a pie shield or aluminum foil over the outer crust of the pie to keep it from over browning.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Return pie to oven and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes.  Pie is done when filling is thick and slightly bubbly and crust is golden brown on top and on bottom.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least two hours before slicing.

NOTE:  This pie is best served completely cooled and cooling overnight is best.  This filling will set up nicely.  If you cut it sooner it will still be delicious, but it will be runny.


NoreenNoreen Lambert is a YouTube personality and host of Noreen’s Kitchen. She cooks wholesome, stick-to-your ribs comfort food. She also takes the mystery out of cooking recipes that may otherwise look difficult and confusing. She is always in the kitchen sharing quick tips and easy ways to do things. She is always joined by her husband, Rick and often by her two daughters Molly and Micah. She has authored three self-published cookbooks the latest, called Dinner in a Dash a collection of recipes to help you get dinner on the table no matter how busy you are and two focusing on the Holiday season. Her first released in 2011 entitled “Noreen’s Kitchen Holiday Helper” focuses on holiday menus and preparation of the holiday meal without pulling your hair out. Her follow-up cookbook entitled “Noreen’s Kitchen Cocoas Cookies and more Galore” is filled with easy recipes for homemade cocoa mixes, cookies and other decadent holiday treats suitable for gift giving and sharing. She is in the final process of releasing a new cookbook entitled Noreen’s Kitchen “Dinner in a Dash” featuring a collection of recipes to help you get dinner on the table, no matter how busy you are! Noreen wants to preserve her family heritage through cooking and recipes for her children, grandchildren and beyond and making this video library of recipes is one way of seeing too it that future generations will be able to do what she did.


Quick & Easy Chicken Sausage Fettuccine

chickenbroccalfredoNeed help in a hurry?  Noreen’s Kitchen has exactly what you are looking for.  Spring has sprung (well at least for the western half of the United States) and all of us are looking for quick and easy recipes to make on busy Spring evenings.  Noreen Lambert has created this wonderful Chicken Sausage Fettuccine Alfredo recipe and it is amazing.

I have put Noreen’s fabulous step-by-step recipe up on TMF TV located on our home page.  Head on over to Noreen’s Kitchen (link above) and I promise you, you will end up hooked on her YouTube channel.  See Noreen’s recipe below and enjoy!

Quick & Easy Chicken Sausage Fettuccine


1 pound fettuccine pasta, cooked
1 pound bag frozen broccoli florets
8 sausage links (pre-cooked garlic chicken sausage is used in this recipe)
2, 14-ounce jars of prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup half and half, cream or milk
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil


Boil water for pasta and set up so that pasta is ready when your sauce is done.  Begin to cook the poasta when you begin to cook the sauce.  Slice sausages into discs.  Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and sausage slices to the pan and saute until browned on both sides.  Add Alfredo sauce and stir well.  If desired, add cream, half and half or milk until the sauce reaches your preferred consistency.  You do not want the sauce too thin.

Add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir well.  Reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer gently while pasta cooks.  5 minutes beofre pasta is done, add broccoli to the boiling pasta water.  Drain pasta and broccoli and add to the pan with the sauce.  Using tongs, gently toss the pasta and sauce until everythign is coated and evenly distributed.  Turn off the heat and allow the pasta mixture to sit for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce.

Serve with salad and garlic bread.  Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Noreen’s Maple Glazed Quick Roast Turkey Breast

turkeyThanksgiving is a time for big feasts and family and friends.  However, for some of us living the modern stepfamily life, on opposite years, our children switch homes.  That means a scaled down Thanksgiving dinner may be in order.  With that being said, our friend and food contributor Noreen Lambert from Noreen’s Kitchen (www.noreenskitchen.com) has just the recipes you need.  Her Maple Glazed Quick Roast Turkey Breast may be just the scaled down star of the show you need.  You can find Noreen’s video on our very own TMF TV video on the home page.  You can follow along with Noreen and let me just say, I do it all the time.  Her recipes are easy and fantastic.  So, without further adu:

Noreen’s Kitchen – Maple Glazed Quick Roast Turkey Breast


1 – 5 to 6 pound bonelss turkey breast
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (if you live abroad Noreen has a video for making poultry seasoning on her site)
1 teaspoon fresh sage chopped or 1 tablespoon of dried sage (optional)
6 to 8 fresh washed sage leaves (optional)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1 cup of water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and dry turkey breast well all around.

If your turkey breast has come with a plastic pop-up timer, remove it at this time.  These are uselss and usually result in an over-cooked piece of meat.  Place on paper towel to drain while preparing other ingredients.

To create the compound butter, mix the softened butter with the maple syrup, poultry seasoning and chopped sage.  Stir well to combine.

Loosen the skin from the breast and place a tablespoon of the butter mixture under the skin on each lobe of the breast.  If desired, place the whole sage leaves under the skin and press gently.  These will cook into the skin and perfume the meat.

Place the turkey breast into your desired baking pan.  Coat the top of the meat with the remaining comound butter evenly.  Sprinkle a mixture of more poultry seasoning and salt and pepper over the butter mixture.

Place the turkey into the oven, uncovered and roast for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads between 160 and 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil.  Allow meat to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.


Pumpkin Sheet Cake

pumpkinsheetcakeAh… the flavors of Fall!  My favorite time of the year is Fall.  I love the ambiance of changing leaves, the beautifully-colored trees, the warm and delightful flavors and meal options and just the overall anticipation of the holidays which are soon to come.

Fall brings me back to my time growing up in Alexandria, VA right outside of Washington, DC.  The George Washington Parkway down by the Potomac River is where my siblings and I would wander roughing it through all the fallen leaves and enjoying the beauty that Fall brings.  My friend Noreen over at Noreen’s Kitchen made this fabulous Pumpkin Sheet Cake and you all need to try it!  I will be getting my hands in on it this weekend for sure.  You can also watch Noreen create this fabulous dessert on our homepage by clicking on TMF TV.  Have fun and enjoy!

Noreen’s Kitchen — Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 sticks of butter
1 cup of water
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cuo of brown sugar
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree (15-ounce can)
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs beaten

Ingredients for the Icing:

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
4-1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions for cooking:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; combine water and butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add in sugar and stir to combine, add in flour mkaing sure to combine completely; add in pumpkin puree and buttermilk and stir; add baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir well.  Remove from heat.  Add in eggs and vanilla and stir well.  Pour into a 1/2 sheet pan (18×13) that has been both sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. Prepare icing by combining heavy cream and butter in a saucepan and bringing to a simmer. Add in confectioners sugar and stir well to combine making sure no dry pockets of sugar remain. Add in vanilla and stir well. Pour warm icing over warm cake.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Peace & Blessings,



Spicy Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

thailettucewrapsAre you a busy mom or stepmom that needs a really quick, different “go-to” meal for your family.  If you are like me, I am always looking for something quick, different and easy.  Our Today’s Modern Kitchen Contributor, Noreen Lambert, has come up with this fabulous Spicy Thai Beef Wrap recipe and I am loving it!

A helpful hint here is that if you might have a little extra time on the weekends to plan your meals, you can buy most of the ingredients you need and chop and prep on the weekends and seal in ziplock bags everything you need so that when it’s time to put this all together, you are only browning the meat, sauteeing the veges with it and making the sauce.

TMF Readers, there is nothing better than to come home from a long days’ work and create something so simple, yet so delicious.  Check out the recipe below and the video up on our own TMF TV on our homepage.  Enjoy!

Spicy Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps


2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large carrots, shredded or chopped fine
1 can bamboo shoots, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger root, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon grass, minced
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp. tasted sesame oil


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup plain rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar


Brown and drain ground beef in a large skillet until no pink remains.  Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and lemon grass and saute until you can smell their aroma.  Add in carrots, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and stir to combine.  Allow to saute for a few minutes while you prepare the sauce.  Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together well.  Pour sauce over meat mixture and stir well. Get ready for the amazing smell!  Turn off heat and add green onion, cilantro and chopped jalapeno.  Stir to combine.  Drizzle over toasted sesame oil and stir in.  Serve with rice and fresh, washed lettuce leaves and cucumber spears.



Noreen Lambert is a wife, mom, stepmom and homemaker who loves to cook. You can find Noreen’s channel on YouTube with the tag name of atticus9799 and at Noreen’s Kitchen.

Easy Dinner Hash

Everyone knows I love to cook.  It is my favorite past times.  I am known to go into the kitchen, get into my zone and de-stress.  Lots of the food I cook comes from my great grandmother and grandmother’s recipes but I am also a YouTube video junkie and I am hooked on channels such as TMF’s contributing writer, Noreen Lambert’s channel (Noreen’s Kitchen – Atticus9799), Pioneer Woman, The Frugal Chef, The Baking Chin, etc. etc.  The list goes on and on for me.  However, in addition, when I am hustling and bustling through the day, I also use Allrecipes.com to find something quick and easy, which is where I got the following recipe.  This hash is quick, easy and fabulous and I have incorporated it into my monthly rotation.  The kids love it, my husband loves it and so will you.  It will warm you right up on a cold winter day and you can use up what’s in your pantry and I bet you that you have almost every ingredient right in your fridge.  Enjoy!

Easy Dinner Hash


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces bulk Italian sausage
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese


1.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the sausage, and cook until crumbly and just slightly pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the diced potato and onion.  Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender and have lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

2.  Once the potatoes are tender, stir in the mixed vegetables until hot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese before serving.

Serves 2 people.  I always triple this batch for my family because my family is large but this recipe is really very easy to manipulate and make your own.  Try throwing in some roasted red peppers and other spices for a southwestern taste.

Happy Eating!

Thanksgiving for Two – Cranberry Apple Relish

TMF Readers, as we all know, living in a stepfamily sometimes leaves us parents either alone at the holidays or with just our spouses.  With that, I have teamed up with my good friend and YouTube sensation, Noreen Lambert to provide you with our series entitled, “Thanksgiving for 2.”  Noreen has been kind enough to join forces with me to lend all of us her expertise, recipes and tips for holiday cooking. If you would like to watch Noreen make this fabulous recipe, you can do so on our homepage on TMF TV.  Enjoy!

Noreen’s Cranberry Apple Relish


1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries (16 ounce)
1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon Orange Extract or 1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest


 Step by Step Instructions

Over medium heat combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Add in cranberries and apples and bring to a simmer.  Tend closely. When the cranberries begin to pop, turn down heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You can serve this warm, room temperature or cold.

Any leftovers can be saved in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Noreen Lambert is a wife, mom, stepmom and homemaker who loves to cook. You can find Noreen’s channel on YouTube with the tag name of atticus9799 and at www.noreenskitchen.com.

Noreen Lambert’s Blended Family Kitchen

As the holidays were upon me last year, I began perusing the internet for some good edible gift ideas and came across my new favorite YouTube channel, Noreen’s Kitchen!  Noreen had me at “hello” when I was able to recreate her fabulous coconut and brownie macaroons and I got rave reviews from my coworkers.  Over time, I found out that Noreen also lives in a blended family.  She, her husband Rick and her two daughters make it work!  I was intrigued by how all members of the family join Noreen in the kitchen, which I also feel is so important in bond building with families.  The kitchen being the center of the family, Noreen has it down pat!  With that, I had to interview Noreen.  TMF Readers, I hope you enjoy my interview with Noreen Lambert as much as I enjoyed chatting with her.  Not only do I now have a new cooking mentor, I’ve made a new friend in the process.

Diane:  Noreen, let me begin by saying that I am so excited to have this conversation with you.  I have been a big fan of your YouTube channel, Noreen’s Kitchen, for some time now and thank you for allowing me the opportunity.

 Noreen:  Oh thank you Diane, I am extremely flattered that you would have me here.

 Diane:  Your YouTube channel is a fabulous outlet for women like me who aren’t experts in the kitchen but love to cook.  What inspired you to cook for an audience?

 Noreen:  I don’t have a great answer to that question, except that I wanted to do it.  I’ve been into making videos for the past 3 years now but before that I was just a viewer.  One night, I thought I would make a dinner.  At first, I wasn’t great at editing, I had to learn the learning curve, actually learned an awful lot.  I wanted people to come into my kitchen and feel like they are sitting at my kitchen table.

 Diane:   Growing up in a blended family and having a blended family currently, what is your perception of how a blended family should operate? 

 Noreen:  I think that I have two different ideas.  My father died when I was 10.  My mom remarried soon thereafter. My stepdad was my father’s very good friend.  However, I was daddy’s little girl, so the loss was very devastating for me.  I will admit, I was not easy to live with and I probably didn’t really accept him as my stepfather.  I didn’t disrespect him but I had a hatred for him until my early 20’s.  My family works because it works for us.  Everyone is different.  When I was growing up we didn’t have “blended family” we were told and were expected to be “just family.” 

Diane:   What do you think caused you to feel hatred?

Noreen:  Because he was replacing my father.  We, my brother and I had always known him as “Uncle Paul” and as soon as my mom and Paul came home from their honeymoon, I was told that  he was no longer to be called “Uncle Paul,” but either “Paul or Daddy.”  A giant paradigm shifted in my life.  If I call him Paul, I will upset my mom and if I call him dad, I am being disloyal to my  deceased father.  That was a lot of pressure.  Of course, every family has issues that have to be dealt with in one way or another, but sometimes its easier to brush them under the rug and hide them which only causes more pain.  I have a brother 5 years younger and he didn’t know we had a blended family because the “step” part of it was all he knew.  I, of course, had a different experience as I knew my father well, I was ten.  I was his little girl.  My brother had horrible guilt that he never knew our father.  As parents we all make mistakes and we can’t fix them but grow through them.  I never got permanent closure from losing my dad.  We just had to grow thru it. 

Diane:  How do you think these experiences have affected your parenting?

NoreenAs a mother now, I am painfully honest with my children.  When I separated from their father, they were 2 and 4.  18 months later, Rick and I met and we finally married 3 years ago.  Rick has a daughter in Vegas and she dislikes me.  I know what she is going through as I went through the same situation.  She doesn’t accept me in that respect.  She is 14.  I never would have guessed that my stepdad would be a fabulous dad now but I got really lucky.  Every family has their dysfunction.  My kids accept Rick as their dad.    

 Diane:  Do you find that your belief system is a lot different than that of your parents when you were being raised in a stepfamily?  Is there anything you purposely do different?

 Noreen:   Very much so.  I do a lot of things different from my mom.  My mom is very “everything has to be planned.”  That doesn’t work for me.  Growing up, we had a living room that no one sat in, a dining room that no one ate in.  I am totally different.  We have to live for today and I want my kids to grab life by the “balls” and that they should try everything and realize that there is nothing in life that they can’t do whether they live in a blended family or not.   You have to pick your battles.

Diane:  What lessons did you take from your personal childhood experience that you may or may not want to bring into your current experience?

Noreen:  We are a team.   Our family growing up wasn’t a team.  Parents were parents and kids were kids.  In my house we play on the same team. 

Diane:  A lot of times, stepmoms feel the need to overcompensate or to be the “fixer of all things” for their husbands, stepchildren, children, etc.  What advice would you give people who are suffering from what I call “super stepmom syndrome?”

Noreen:  Its funny you should ask this.  I always feel guilty if I don’t make something better.  Being a woman in general we feel obligated that we have to make everyone happy all the time.  Society in general makes us feel this way.  When I am cooking on the videos, I always say “it doesn’t have to be perfect.”  I am by far not perfect but I think that the most important advice I can give is to “forgive yourself.”  Be easy on yourself.  We can only fix what we can fix.  I spent a lot of my life worrying about what I couldn’t fix.  The sun still comes tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another day.

Diane:  Those statements are extremely powerful and so true.  You speak my language Noreen.   As a stepmom, what do you think is the most important lesson you have learned through this journey?

Noreen:  That you just have to let things be.  She doesn’t have to like me.  It has to be organic.  You cannot put a seed in the ground and do nothing to it and expect it to produce a fruit.  You just can’t.  You have to let it happen naturally.  The bottom line is the seed gives me a guarantee that if I water it and take care of it, it is going to give me something back.  But you have to nurture it and feed it and work at it.  You don’t just have a relationship; you have to work at it.   People automatically think that just because their children, they don’t have to work at it.  They are still people.  Everyone has to work at relationships.  People discount children because they are children.  They have feelings. 

Diane:  You and Rick make a great team on camera as I am sure you do in your married life.  What impact has Rick had on your girls? 

Noreen:   He is very patient and very accepting.  Having been in the military for so long he knows how to delegate.  He never expected anything from them which goes back to that organic relationship.  It has grown from there.  Their relationship was never forced, it always happened on the kids terms and they were able to build trust in him.  How I was raised is “we are going to be a family whether you like it or not.”  That doesn’t work. 

Diane:  One thing I notice about you and Rick is that he is very involved in helping you with your YouTube channel (i.e., filming, commenting and even cooking from time to time).  I think it is wonderful that the two of you exhibit your “love and support” of one another the way you do. You laugh together and you make us laugh.  It’s very important in remarriage and in any relationship to nurture it.  Do you agree?

Noreen:   If I can be humorous,I think the greatest way to learn about how to have a good marriage is to screw one up!  My first marriage didn’t break up just because of my husband, we both played a role.  Nurturing your marriage is the most important lesson I can give people.  The first time around, it was very important for me to be right and for him to be right and now it doesn’t matter who’s right.  Your reward for hard work in your marriage is the reward of your good relationship. 

Diane:  To keep in line with tradition, I ask all of my interviewee’s this question.  What do you do for fun?

Noreen:   Go to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Virginia.  I also craft.  I love crafting.  Another past time, is that I love to play on the Wii.  I am also a movie and trivia junkie. 

Diane:  Noreen, it has been a real pleasure interviewing you and thank you for allowing Today’s Modern Family into your world.  We are doing our best to serve blended families and we love to acknowledge great, successful blended families when we get the chance!  Thank you for stopping by and letting me pick your brain not just on the issue of stepfamilies, but with regard to my favorite pastime – cooking and baking.

Noreen:  You’re so very welcome Diane.  I very much enjoyed our time together and thank you for having me.


Noreen Lambert is a wife, mom, stepmom and homemaker who loves to cook.  You can find Noreen’s channel on YouTube with the tag name of atticus9799 and at www.noreenskitchen.com. 

Diane’s Shepherd’s Pie

TMF Readers, today, for some reason, I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  Reflecting on my childhood and my grandparents and for some odd reason, one thing I could not stop thinking about was the food that I remember being prepared in my mom’s kitchen.  My mom was a single mother from the time I was 10 until the time I was out of high school.  She worked long, hard hours and didn’t make much  money.  We lived on a strict budget but us kids never missed a meal.  She cooked the best she knew how and today, I want to share my “kicked up” version of her Shepherd’s Pie.   I changed it around a bit in order to spruce it up a bit and I actually prepared it tonight for my  mom.   By the way, she loved it and so did my children and husband.  I hope you enjoy!


12 potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
3 large cloves of garlic
1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. Ketchup
3/4 cup of beef broth
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Boil potatoes and garlic in boiling water until tender.  Brown ground beef, stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Add mixed vegetables, broth and ketchup.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Heat oven to 350 degrees; drain potatoes, return to pan.  Add sour cream; mash until potatoes are smooth and mixture is well blended. 

Put meat mixture into a 10×13 inch glass pan; cover with potatoes.  Bake for 15 minute sand then top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted. 


Top Quotes of 2009 from BFSO writers and friends

godsgiftquoteWe here at Blended Family Soap Opera are excited about the upcoming year! We look forward to providing more information, products and services to many modern families. From stepfamilies to single parent homes and from households with same sex parents to grandparents raising grandchildren, we aim to reach a wider range of modern families in the months to come.

That being said, we have immensely enjoyed the past year and a half and are so blessed to have received the support we have received thus far. From readers to guest bloggers, we want you to know that we have learned from each and everyone of you, too! As a matter of fact, we have included some memorable quotes from not only our BFSO writers, but from readers and guest bloggers as well. Check them out below and know that we look forward to continuing our connection with you in 2010.

Top Quotes of 2009

  1. “What you call yourselves and how people refer to you as a family greatly impacts your children, who are constantly trying to figure out where and how they fit into your modern family.” ~Kela Price
  2. “Divorce can leave children feeling like defectors.” ~Diane Greene
  3. “Divorce is war and unfortunately, some parents live in constant entanglements with their ex-spouses and they shift aside the issues that post-divorce can leave on the shoulders of their children.”  ~Diane Greene
  4. “Divorce is a journey that the children involved do not ask to take. They are forced along for a ride where the results are dictated by the road their parents decide to travel.” ~Diane Greene
  5. “Although stepfamilies rarely make as smooth transition as the Bradys, it is possible to successfully blend a family. It depends on how and when you start and what you put in the blender.” ~Kela Price
  6. “Think of it as an important business project; you don’t always love the person that you’re working with, but you work together to get the project done. Co-parents need to adopt this same business model when co-parenting their children.” ~Kela Price
  7. “There is this double standard by which we suspect stepmothers of being wicked and selfish, yet expect them to be utterly selfless and loving to kids who are not their own, kids who are often hostile and rejecting for many years in spite of a stepmother’s best efforts and intentions.” ~Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster
  8. “I prefer the term “wife” to “current wife” or “new wife.” It’s more accurate and less loaded, I think. There’s a wife and an ex-wife (or partner and ex-partner). Period.” ~Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster
  9. “Stepmothers need to put their own adjustment and self-care first, rather than siphoning energy away from that to “fix” something that you didn’t break yourself.” ~Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster
  10. “Put your own happiness, your own mental health and your marriage or partnership first and without guilt.” ~Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster
  11. “In my view, no one in this country should be able to practice family therapy without undertaking training and certification by a body such as the National Stepfamily Resource Center.” ~Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster
  12. “We have created a blended family culture centered around only one perspective and clearly, it’s not working.” ~Kela Price
  13. “It’s important for wives and ex-wives to realize that you don’t have to be the arch rival or the best friend with the each other. There is a middle ground and often times, that’s the safest position to be in.” ~Kela Price
  14. “It sickens me to believe that long ago, the women before us were able to collaboratively strive for success in the arenas of political activism and social justice. When they told us we couldn’t vote, we banned together. We also banned together to demand our respect amongst our male counterparts in corporate America. Yet, when it comes to what should be most important to us, our families, we just can’t seem to work together, or just refrain from trying to tear each other completely apart.” ~Kela Price
  15. “Dealing with a failed relationship is like grieving a life you once knew, but will never have again, and that’s hard to deal with.” ~Kela Price
  16. “The control efforts are part of the battle that some divorced parents need to avoid, including the subtle ones. Subtle suggestions that we are upset, dissatisfied with, or angry at the other parent… such as huffing at the mention of their name, going silent in a conversation that includes mention of them, snide gestures or facial expressions, subtle sarcasm then quick insincere apology, or allowing kids to “over hear” conversations between adults about the other parent with whom we are at odds are not overt badmouthing. They are far sneakier than that, but equally damaging.” ~Chaz,  Reader and Blogger,
  17. “The role of best friend is truly an evolving relationship where two people choose to remain close because of the foundation of trust they have created. The current spouse/ex spouse relationship is not a choice, but it has been forced upon both parties with conflicting views and strong feelings of the person in the middle (ex husband/current husband).”  ~Jenny, reader
  18. “Making sure the kids suffer the least amount of damage possible and that includes their stability in both households (chores and creating and/or maintaining relationships with all parents) truly takes ALL parents. It also decreases the children’s chances of using any “divide and conquer” strategies against their parents. When parents present a unified front, that child has boundaries and more importantly, he or she realizes that EVERYONE is working together for their best interest.” ~Kela Price
  19. “As I’ve learned firsthand, a divorce decree (or any court order) is only as good as the people who have to abide by it. Unfortunately, threatening to take someone “back to court” isn’t much of a threat at all, and often ends up costing you more money (legal fees) and the judge simply telling the person to do what they are refusing to do in the first place with no other repercussions, but by then you’re months removed from the breach in the first place.” ~ Unheeded Prophetess, reader, attorney and blogger
  20. “Divorce is hard. It’s difficult to close a chapter in a book that you thought you’d be writing forever, but it can be just as exciting and rewarding to write a whole new book.” ~Kela Price
  21. “Check your emotional baggage before you board the plane [blended family]. This is not Southwest Airlines so you can check more than one bag. Now just because you can’t bring it on the plane doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t deal with it. You just have to deal with it in a way that doesn’t affect everyone else on the plane.” ~Kela Price
  22. “After expectations comes acceptance.” ~Kela Price
  23. “Life is too short not to live in peace.” ~Diane Greene
  24. “The root cause of people pleasing is fear of rejection, and this fear can create a very damaging pattern of behavior in our lives. Setting healthy boundaries is learning when to say NO. Self-care, even for the stepmother, is not a wicked thing.” ~Kela Price
  25. “It’s so important to offer good advice to stepmothers if we are ever to truly help stepfamilies flourish.” ~Kela Price
  26. “Stepmothers, I urge you to take your power back. Your husband’s divorce was not your fault and it isn’t your responsibility to fix. You can be understanding and supportive without being everyone’s punching bag.” ~Kela Price
  27. “Part of knowing ourselves is also being able to accept who we are and to value ourselves regardless of our flaws. Accepting who we are allows us to value our worth without conditions or reservations.” ~Diane Greene
  28. “I do not like the title of counselor. I’d much rather be viewed as a friend who is willing to be an open book regarding her journey so that you can learn while on yours.” ~Kela Price
  29. “The most important thing a remarried couple can do is intently listen and try to understand their spouse’s perception of reality.” ~Kela Price
  30. “Don’t Stew! Good rarely comes of dwelling on problems.” ~Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness
  31. “Fathers must be supported and encouraged in the family instead of being in continuous opposition with the mother and/or the legal system.” ~Kela Price
  32. “Having a controlling, angry ex-spouse can make co-parenting seem like an extreme sport.” ~Kela Price
  33. “Don’t blame yourself. Ending a marriage because your spouse comes out of the closet is one instance where you cannot be held at fault. Take whatever comfort you can in that.” ~Carol Schwanda, reader and blogger
  34. “Blended families don’t fail, remarriages do.” ~Kela Price
  35. “One of the most beneficial results of self-care is an increased ability to love others which allows us to care for ourselves more gently and completely.” ~Sue Patton Thoele, author of The Courage to be a Stepmom
  36. “Children live what they learn.” ~Diane Greene
  37. “Don’t marry someone who you can’t see yourself being divorced from.” ~Kela Price
  38. “Mediation is no place to deal with hurt feelings. The purpose of the legal system, including the mediation process, is to provide resolution to true legal disputes, not to avenge wrongdoing, seek validation, or keep the other party in a person’s life (as dysfunctional as that involvement is).” ~Unheeded Prophetess, blogger, reader and attorney
  39. “Is it more important and beneficial to show your kids what a healthy marriage or divorce looks like?” ~Kela Price
  40. “In a society where 50% of first marriages and 67% of second marriages end in divorce, more time needs to be spent on nurturing our marriages as opposed to nurturing our divorces.” ~Kela Price
  41. “To me, the difference between a good marriage and a great marriage is conviction.” ~Diane Greene
  42. “The key to effective co-parenting is establishing realistic expectations and healthy boundaries, and to go slow and allow the relationships to organically evolve instead of forcing the issue of everyone being one big happy family.” ~Kela Price
  43. “Creating traditions in the blended family promote unity and a sense of belonging.” ~Diane Greene
  44. “Often times the adults want to use the children as excuses for pushing their way in, due to their own hidden agendas. Please be realistic and honest about your own agendas that have absolutely nothing to do with the child. You know that the child never benefits from having his whole family together, if they are constantly at each others’ throats.” ~Kela Price
  45. “There is simply nothing like a fellow journeyer who has or is traveling the same road. All the kings horses and all the kings men could not help the compulsive behavior of alcoholics, yet when 2 drunks got together and began helping one another back in 1935, AA was born and spread throughout the world.” ~Chaz, reader and blogger