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!

Cherrypieslice

Ingredients:

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.

 

Hollywood Exes

Hollywood-Exes-Cast-VH1I caught the tail end of the first season of Hollywood Exes, a reality show featuring ex-wives of some of the greatest men in the entertainment industry, but I do plan to watch the second season premiering July 8 at 10/9 C.  The premise of the show is that this group of ex-wives are trying to emerge from their ex-husbands’ shadows. They no longer want to be known as Will Smith’s ex (Sheree Fletcher who is actually on the show), but now wish to leave their own star on the Hollywood walk of fame. That being said, these women have some pretty impressive shoes to follow. The cast consists of Nicole Murphy, (ex-wife of Eddie Murphy), Sheree Fletcher (ex-wife of Will Smith), Andrea Kelly (ex-wife of R. Kelly), Jessica Conseco (ex-wife of Jose Conseco), Mayte Garcia (ex-wife of Prince) and the newly added cast member Shamicka Lawrence (ex-wife of Martin Lawrence).

What I appreciated about last season is that it was one of the only reality shows that didn’t end every episode with a ghetto yelling match, someone throwing a bottle at someone’s head or an all out brawl. Though the cast mates did have disagreements, such disagreements were handled like women – grown women. The women were classy and elegant and on some level relatable. I just love how they encourage moving forward without tearing down their ex-husbands, the significant others of their exes or anyone else for that matter.  And guess what? It is still an awesomely cool show to watch. Tune in on Monday, July 8 at 10/9 C, on VH1!

Dads Matter Too

Eli in the blue skyLOften times, the role of dad in the family, be it modern or traditional, can get overshadowed by the role of mom. Don’t get me wrong I know moms do so much for their families and sometimes at the expense of herself. Historically, that has been what is expected of us by not only our families, but society as well. However, if you live or have lived in a home with a good man and a great father, like I do then you realize that dads matter, too!

Growing up I was definitely a daddy’s girl. He was my protector, a nurturer and at 6’4, he was known as the giant guy, with a giant voice and a giant heart. I still remember sitting in his lap until I was 13 years old and rubbing his ear lobe. He treated me like I was a prized possession thereby teaching me how I wanted the man in my life to treat me. I’m not sure if he even realized what he was doing, but the expectations I developed for any man who entered my life came from how my father treated me. Dads matter, too!

Now, I am fortunate enough to share my life with a great man and a great father to my children.  I’ve watched this man dedicate his life to his children. Whether it was playing Yu-Gi Oh with my son (whom he’s raised since he was almost 4) and stepson, coaching every sport they ever played, having once a month outings that they have named “Bachelor Night” or teaching them how to wash the car, cut the grass and treat a woman.  A few months ago, I over heard my/our 16 year old telling his father that he was grateful to have him in his life and that he has learned so much just by watching him. It brought tears to my eyes because again, I realized that dads matter, too!

Three years ago the hubs and I gave birth to our 3rd child and I am blessed to witness their relationship. All over again, I get to see him coach a bunch of 3 year olds in soccer, play silly games, get excited about how many foreign languages he can teach him, make cleaning out the car the best experience in the world and perform “magic” when he falls down and gets a “battle scar.” But the most heartwarming times are when I over hear our 3 year old saying “Daddy, I love you sooooo much. You’re my best friend.” Dads matter, too!

Again, I know we get consumed with how important mom is to the family but I hope my examples are proof that dads and I mean good dads matter, too! They are not only the ones that will move heaven and earth to protect their family, coach little league soccer in 80 degree weather, make washing the car fun or stand in line for 6 hours on Christmas Eve at 3 in the morning to get their child’s must have toy…but they also set the foundation for teaching our boys how to become men and our girls how to be treated by one. Say it with me readers…Dads. Matter. Too!

Happy Father’s Day to the best husbands and fathers in the world,

Kela

Transform Your Space, Transform Your Life

DaddySonRenovationsmI’ve learned so much over the past 5 years about sowing the seeds that you want to harvest in your life. Modern families can be a bit complicated at times (it comes with the territory), but we have to be careful not to devote all of our energy to whatever drama is brewing at that time.  Whatever you feed in your life is nourished and grows; be it positivity or negativity; healthy relationships or unhealthy relationships; a dead end job or your dream; spirituality or emptiness. Whatever you pay the most attention to is ultimately what will show up and show out in your life! As such, I’ve been really mindful of not feeding into the actions of others that I simply cannot change. I no longer devote all of my energy to trying to figure it out. I know that my home, my kids, my family are happier because I let go of “fixing.”

Now I devote my engergy to things I can change, but have neglected over the past 5 years, like my home. My hubby and I downsized from a two story to a ranch a couple of years ago. I’ve always dreamed of living in a cute ranch that I beautify with my own blood, sweat and tears but we never made it a priority…until now. Now instead of focusing on “fixing” things or people that I can’t change, I have redirected my energy to fixing things that I can change.

Over the next few months, I hope you’ll join me for my transform your space, transform your life series as my hubby and I renovate our adorable ranch and create an inviting and serene space that screams positive energy, love and peace. First up is our master bedroom and it’s probably our most favorite room in the house. Our hope is to create our own little beach like sanctuary. My hubby and youngest son are in the pic. It was their Daddy and Son Renovation Day. At 3 years old, little Eli loves to help and including him in our renovation process makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun! Don’t miss out on my happy home series as I give you tips for not only transforming your space, but transforming your outlook on life. I’ll also tell you about some of my most fanstastic best kept secrets as well.   Until then, what can you let go of “fixing” and what can you focus on fixing in your life that will sow seeds of positivity instead of constant drama?

 

80’s Child Actors Malcolm Jamal Warner and Regina King

Exclusive - Regina King Takes a Stroll with her Son and BoyfriendHow many of you remember the 80’s sitcoms, 227 and The Cosby Show? Now, how many of you remember Regina King who played Brenda on 227 and Malcolm-Jamal Warner who played Theo on the very popular, long-lived series, The Cosby Show? I was pleasantly surprised to hear that these 2 have formed their own cute little modern family.

Athough they have been trying to keep their relationship under wraps for quite a while, the two have been spotted in Hollywood, California wining and dining. It has also been rumored that Regina and her son have moved in with Warner. King and Warner have been friends for many years, but they only recently began dating. King, however, says that timing is everyting.

“I believe the universe has a plan, and we probably wouldn’t have been ready years ago,” the actress explained. “we both had to do whatever we had to do to be ready for each other now.”

Recently, there were rumors that the pair split but Regina confirmed via Twitter that there is absolutely no truth to those rumors.

King went through a nasty split in 2006, when she and ex-husband Ian Alexander, Sr. decided to divorce after nine years of marriage.

Hopefully, this will be a beautiful, fresh start for both Regina and Malcolm and Today’s Modern Family wishes them the best of luck!

Greening Your Spring

eco-friendly-bedroomLet’s face it. Spring cleaning can either be a huge chore no one in the family really has the desire to tackle, or it can be an exhilarating time of year to clean out your space, create some mental and physical clarity and refresh your perspective on all of the great things you have going on in life. This year instead of just sprucing up your home, why not turn your home into a healthy living oasis where allergens, pollutants and not-so-planet friendly practices are manned?

Eco-friendly designer Robin Wilson, president of RobinWilson Home in New York City, one of the pioneers of eco-friendly design and an ambassador for The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, offers these nine tips for taking spring cleaning to another level this season:

1. In the bathroom, get rid of your vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and off gases. Use a nylon curtain instead. It’s also less expensive. Use non-toxic cleansers, always lower the toilet seat when flushing and fix a leaky faucet (which will also save you money!)

2. For bedding, use synthetic pillows over feathered ones if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Wash your pillowcase once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and replace pillows every three years. Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash it every two months. Make sure that it is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.

3. Use non-VOC paints in your home, which won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor or stir up asthma or allergies. You can’t even tell the difference in how it looks on the wall.

4.  Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each Spring, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floor.

5. Check for mold in dishwashers and under the fridge in the water pan. Regularly change the water dispenser and icemaker filters.

6. One of the biggest trends today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains.  Consider frameless cabinets, which won’t collect as much dust.

7.  Wash or freeze your child’s stuffed animals to kill dust mites.

8. Consider using slipcovers, which can be washed regularly on your upholstered sofas. Make sure you limit the use of drapes as they are “dust catchers.”

9.  Always take off your shoes when you enter your home to prevent the outside world from coming in.

Sherrell Dorsey is an eco-glamour expert, trained aesthetician and creator of the blog OrganicBeautyVixen.com. Find her beauty, style and green living tips on Twitter and Instagram: @organicvixen.

 

10 Things Stepmoms Refuse to Feel Guilty About

womenlaughI ran across this article about a month ago on Babble about things women refuse to feel guilty about as moms. As a mom of a 16 year old and almost 3 year old, I can relate to some of them. For example, when my oldest was in elementary I was not the crafty mom who made his Halloween costumes or baked  heart shaped cookies for his entire class during Valentine’s Day and will likely not do it for my youngest when he gets to school either. And yes, sometimes when I just need a break because I work from home and manage my 3 year old simultaneously, I use Backyardigans to entertain him while I catch my breath. And no, I don’t feel the least bit guilty for any of it. I wasn’t surprised to hear that I wasn’t alone either after reading this article on Babble.

Another thing that doesn’t surprise me is the lack of the same type of empathy that people have when it comes to stepmoms. It is common, accepted and supported for women to rave about what they refuse to feel guilty about as a mom. But it is seen as evil if it comes from a stepmom. Well, the only way to change those stereotypes is to discuss them so here it goes. Just like there are things I refuse to feel guilty about as a mom, there are things I refuse to feel guilty about as a stepmom. For example, I refuse to feel guilty for not being friends with my husband’s ex-wife. There is way too much combative, negative history between her and my husband. I will always be cordial but I have no desire to be best friends and that’s perfectly ok. I also refuse to feel guilty about making my marriage a priority instead of trying to help my husband fix a broken relationship (between him and his ex-wife) that I didn’t break to begin with.

I was happy to hear that other stepmoms weren’t afraid to speak up about what they refuse to feel guilty about, too.We asked some of our stepmom friends what they refuse to feel guilty about and compiled the top 10 list below.

womanlaygrass

  1. I use to feel so guilty if the step kids werent with us and we did fun things with my kids. I finally realized that their mom does fun things with the step kids and my children aren’t involved in that so why should I feel guilty for doing for my own?
  2. Asking for “me” time. Sometimes I just want to enjoy my days off instead of babysitting.
  3. Loving my stepdaugther as my own daughter.
  4. Putting my son with disabilities first,  no matter what.
  5. Not being peacemaker between my husband and his ex-wife. I’d prefer to support my husband but otherwise, stay out of it.
  6. Stepping back.
  7. For making mistakes along the way.
  8. For being a caregiver and role model to my step children, but leaving the responsibility of how they turn out and their personality flaws to their mom and dad.
  9. Not paying for things for my step children when I don’t want to. They have two parents for that.
  10. For supporting my husband 100% when it comes to disciplining my step children.

Moms or Stepmoms, what are some of the things that you refuse to feel guilty about?

Celebrity Modern Dad Hot List

TMF decided to scour the net for some of today’s hottest celebrity modern dads. Michael Strahan, because of his captivating personality and his gorgeous body doesn’t hurt either, is at the top of our list. Will Smith’s funny personality and commitment to his children and wife makes him sexy to TMF and Brad Pitt is also an adoring father to 3 adopted children and 3 biological children.  Check out the others below.

Who’s on your celebrity modern dad hot list? Let us know in the comment section.

Michael Strahan is a former NFL player, co-host of Live with Kelly and Michael and engaged to Nicole Murhphy (ex-wife of actor Eddie Murphy) and together they have 9 children!

Michael Strahan is a former NFL player, co-host of Live with Kelly and Michael and engaged to Nicole Murhphy (ex-wife of actor Eddie Murphy) and together they have 9 children!

 

Brad Pitt is a modern family dad of 3 biological children and 3 adopted children with his wife, actress, Angelina Jolie-Pitt.

Brad Pitt is a modern family dad of 3 biological children and 3 adopted children with his wife, actress, Angelina Jolie-Pitt.

 

Tom Brad is a quarterback for the New England Patriots with 2 children by his wife and supermodel, Gisele and one with his ex, Bridget Moynahan.

Tom Brady is a quarterback for the New England Patriots with 2 children by his wife and supermodel, Gisele and one with his ex, Bridget Moynahan.

 

The ulitmate funny man is sexy because he keeps us laughing and is not afraid to shout how much he adores his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. He has 2 children with her and one with ex-wife, Sheree Fletcher.

The ulitmate funny man is sexy because he keeps us laughing and is not afraid to shout how much he adores his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. He has 2 children with her and one with ex-wife, Sheree Fletcher.

 

Oliver Martinez is a french actor with a sexy accent, who is engaged to oscar winning actress, Halle Berry and has already stolen the heart of her daughter, Nahla.

Oliver Martinez is a french actor with a sexy accent, who is engaged to oscar winning actress, Halle Berry and has already stolen the heart of her daughter, Nahla.

 

Donald Faison is an actor with four children from previous relationships and one of the way with his wife, CaCee Cobb (BFF of songstress, Jessica Simpson).

Donald Faison is an actor with four children from previous relationships and one of the way with his wife, CaCee Cobb (BFF of songstress, Jessica Simpson).

 

Peace Be Still – A Message From The Christian Stepmom

PrayingWomanQLet’s face it stepmoms have a hard job. We get the mom role without the glory, we share the wife role with another woman’s shadow hanging around, and many times the people around us just expect us to know how to navigate the stormy seas of blended family life. Our friends can’t understand why we don’t just get along with our husband’s ex or his children. Our parents, as supportive as they try to be, don’t always understand why our spouse makes the parenting decisions he does. Top it off with the pressure of keeping up with baseball practices, band rehearsals, school lunches, awards programs – a stepmom can end up feeling exhausted, depressed, and out of control. We long for the days when everything will be “normal” but the harsh reality is that this life is our normal.

Personally I struggle the most with the expectation to just “be okay” all the time. I grew up in a very stable home and my parents have been married since they were 18 and 19 years old. My father was a part of many tumultuous blended families growing up, but my mom’s parents were together over 50 years until my grandmother died in 2004. For me to marry a man with children and an ex-wife really rocked the boat. It brought up scars from my father’s childhood and as much as my mom wanted to be there for me, she didn’t have the answers, as she’s never walked this path before. I didn’t have anyone to walk me through this path.  I didn’t have anyone to tell me what feelings and insecurities were normal. I started looking for resources, but what I found was a lot of negativity.  As I searched for answers, I kept coming up short and I simply felt like a bird trying to fly through a storm that could not find a place to land. I loved my husband and my stepsons but I simply could not find peace. All I was focused on was what I didn’t have. I didn’t have a husband who could focus on being newlyweds 100% of the time. I didn’t have sons who were happy or respected their father. I certainly didn’t have quiet and financially secure household. But one day I realized I was so focused on myself and what I didn’t have that I wasn’t able to say thank you for the blessings that I had right in front of me. I also faced the reality that I wasn’t giving them my best.

I have always grown up in a Christian household, but I must admit my walk with the Lord wasn’t at its strongest when I was diving head first into my role as a stepmom. I kept thinking I had to do everything. I had to fix my husband’s relationship with this kids. I had to fix the kids attitudes. I had to bring peace between my husband and his ex-wife. I had to perfect my family before God would bless it. I’m not really sure how I came to believe all these lies, but when you are in a depressed state its easy to believe the unthinkable. Over time, however, I began seeking the Lord diligently and praying for my stepchildren. I remember vividly the first day I felt called to pray for the kids’ mom. I truly thought it was a futile attempt as I firmly believed she would never change. I was so sure the Lord couldn’t do anything about the problem that I had stopped talking to Him. It was in this moment that I realized why I could not find peace. It wasn’t because of my husband’s ex-wife or the kids – it was because of me. I had lost what centered me, and in doing so, I was on a path of selfishness and self-righteousness thinking life owed me more than this precious family.

I know many of you reading this have harder circumstances than I can even imagine. But I urge you to pray for your family and seek your own relationship with the Lord. By centering yourself on something other than your husband or kids, you are removing yourself from the situation (without leaving) and giving your heart and brain a chance to recharge and gain some perspective. In turn you will find peace. Peace doesn’t mean that life will all of sudden get easier or that the storms will settle – in fact the opposite may occur. Instead what it means is you will be able to rest amidst the storm.

The pastor at our local church often uses the example of a painting that was submitted for an art award to illustrate this point. The theme of the competition was in fact peace. The painting that won shows a stormy sea with high waves crashing against jagged rocks, but in the corner of the painting sits a small bird nestled in the cleft of the rock simply sleeping through the storm. When we allow ourselves to hide in God and lay our troubles at His feet – He doesn’t always calm the storm, but He will always protect us and give us peace. He will be the comfort that our heart is searching for and will be our soft place to land when the trials of this life are far too great for us to face on our own.  Instead of trying to calm the storm in our soul on our own, we can rest in the one who made it all and say peace, be still.

Mark 4:39

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the Wind ceased and there was a great calm. (NKJV)

This article was written by Misty, Founder of www.ChristianStepmom.com.

 

 

 

A Response to Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Letter to a Friend

I have always adored Jada Pinkett-Smith and the entire Smith Clan. They exude love, creativity and a profound sense of self-love and acceptance. Their approach to life and family is inspiring. That being said, I don’t agree with Jada’s response to a stepmom friend of hers and it is something that we must critically avoid doing. Below is her letter to a friend and after that is my response.

Jada: “A letter to a friend: Blended families are NEVER easy, but here’s why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation because… we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package…Period! If I didn’t want that…I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey…I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him…his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other… but we have learned to LOVE each other.

I can’t support any actions that keep a man from his children of a previous marriage. These are the situations that separate the women from the girls. Your behavior is that of an insecure child who needs to recognize her own weaknesses that MUST be strengthened to take on the task at hand. We can’t say we love our man and then come in between him and his children. THAT’S selfishness…NOT love. WOMAN UP… I’ve been there…I know. My blended family made me a giant… Taught me so much about love, commitment and it has been the biggest ego death to date. It’s time you let your blended family make you the giant you truly are. J” Source: Uptown Magazine

TMF: I love these kind of stories but I must caution people that this isn’t everybody’s truth! While I admire Jada’s response, she’s leaving a lot out. For example, it not only took her to release those insecurities and ego trips for it to work but it took Sheree to do the same. It will not work the way they are describing unless both women put aside their differences and put in the effort. Too often stepmoms and second wives are seen as temporary or disposable and you can’t build a long-term relationship like they have if you continually assume that the stepmother is only going to be there short-term.

Their family is one reality but it certainly isn’t everyone’s and we (stepfamilies) need to stop criticizing other stepfamilies and stepmoms based on our reality. It’s the reason many of my stepmoms are reaching for antidepressants!! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the sharing of experiences that leads to this; it’s sharing your experience and then preaching that if you have not achieved “best friend with the ex-wife” or” love the ex-wife” status in your stepfamily, then you have somehow failed altogether. This is not true. We [Today’s Modern Family] offer advice and support based on your reality because we must stop assuming that there is a one size fits all approach to making a stepfamily work. There just isn’t!