Sunday, January 10, 2010


About a year and a half ago or so I came across a blog site called the Pioneer Woman (www.the  This award living website belongs to Ree Drummond and she shares recipes, her photographs, home and garden ideas, homeschooling ideas and hilarious stories about her transition from being a city girl and growing up in a house that backed a golf course to being married to an Oklahoma rancher and living on an isolated cattle ranch with four children.  Her stories are funny, real and she loves to make fun of herself.  She wasn't looking to get involved with a rancher but a chance meeting changed her life.   Her blog started off because she wanted to share photos of her kids with her mom who lived in another state.

Within a week of starting her blog, Dee went from posting photos to sharing other things going on in her life.  About a few months after starting her blog, she posted photos in a step-by-step fashion on how to cook a steak.  That was her first foray into creating a whole section on her website devoted to cooking.   What her readers and I enjoy is that her recipes include photos of what the dish looks like before, during and the finished food product.  All the photography is done by her and it doesn't require a food stylist.   Dee started working on a cookbook awhile ago and this past Fall it was published.  It is entitled 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks'.  This cookbook was on my Christmas wish list and good friends bought it for me.  It is a wonderful cookbook and for me, it is more than just a cookbook, it is a book with wonderful photos of her ranch, her kids, cattle, horses and dogs.   This is a type of book that you keep on the coffee table or on a counter all the time.  It is not a cookbook to hide on a shelf.  The recipes with the step-by-step procedures are fantastic.   When Dee married her cowboy whom she calls the Marlboro Man she had to learn to cook food that cowboys would eat.  She had been at one point been a vegetarian and food snob living in Los Angeles so this lifestyle was a drastic change as these cowboys don't eat sushi.   For all these years on her website, she calls her husband the Marlboro Man and never uses his real name.  I finally found out his real name as she provided it on the back inside cover of her book.  His name is Ladd.  It is very fitting name for an Oklahoma cowboy.

Another Cookbook on my Christmas list was 'The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook'  by Jaden Hair.  The recipes are all asian and don't appear to be complicated.  I came upon this cookbook because I found her website '' awhile ago.  This cookbook is of course different than the Pioneer Woman Cooks.  Jaden Hair uses the chinese recipes that her mother cooked plus incorporates thai, korean, japanese and vietnamese recipes into the book.  Jaden teaches cooking classes in Tampa and Los Angeles, writes columns in newspapers, is a regular guest on some US television programs and regularly blogs.  All the photographs taken in the cookbook were shot by Jaden.   Because I really like Asian food, I was attracted to this cookbook.   Each recipe includes a photograph and in a number of cases, detailed tips or notes and options.   I have made one recipe called coconut shrimp which it was very simple to make and tasty.  There are many recipes from this cookbook that I plan to make.

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