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,



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!

Swedish Thumbprint Cookies – A Christmas Classic

TMF Readers, if you would like a recipe for a quick, easy-to-make and lovely gift-giving cookie, please try Noreen Lambert’s recipe below.  I made these last year for Christmas and my whole family fell in love with them and are requesting them again this year.

These cookies are fabulous for a cookie swap, cookie tray or little something for your neighbors or co-workers. Pair these with a cone full of Vanilla Cafe Vienna mix and you have a perfect gift for anyone on your list.

The recipe is simple and it makes lots of cookies.  Enjoy!

Swedish Thumbprint Cookies


2 sticks of butter – softened
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of all purpose flour
Jelly of your choice


Cream 2 sticks of softened butter with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and combine well. Add in 2 cups of all purpose flour until a dough forms. Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoon size) drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your thumb, press an indentation into each dough ball. Fill cookies with a scant 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Bake cookies in a 350 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes until cookies are just barely browned on the bottom edges. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container or plastic zip top bag.

Recipe yields 72 cookies.

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.