Saturday, May 5, 2012

REVIEW: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond

This is the second cookbook from Ree Drummond, also popularly known as "The Pioneer Woman." If you're not familiar with Ree and her gorgeous Pioneer Woman website,
I'll give you the quick rundown. Ree was a city girl living the fast paced life when on her way from L.A. to Chicago, made a pit stop in her hometown in Oklahoma where she met a cowboy, fell in love with him, moved to his ranch, had his babies and now lives happily ever after on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma! No really! That's what happened. You can read all about her story in her memoir titled The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--a Love Story or just visit her website and read all about it there. Anyway, while living on an fairly isolated ranch in the middle of Oklahoma, busy raising four children, tending their home, cooking for the ranch hands, etc.. Ree started a blog in 2006 where she posts photographs of and anecdotes about ranch life, her family,  homeschooling, gardening, photography and of course, cooking. Her popularity grew exponentially and she's now practically a household name. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but A LOT of people all over the country know who she is. And that's the dish on Ree Drummond, "The Pioneer Woman."

I own Ree Drummond's first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, which I enjoy reading even though haven't actually made any of the recipes in it. Most of the recipes are too decadent for me--a lot of rich dairy products, meat and some fried foods, too. When I saw Ree's latest cookbook at my library recently, I checked it out and spent an hour or so reading through the recipes and admiring her wonderful photography.

Ree has a wonderfully friendly way about her that shines through on both her website and in her cookbooks. It's a comfortable friendliness that makes you feel as though you're sharing recipes and daily anecdotes about your families with a close friend. She has a fun sense of humor and an appreciation for hard work, good food and the love of family and friends. And it shows in her cookbooks and on her website.

As for the recipes, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From My Frontier focuses a lot more on the food--including step by step photos for each recipe, and a bit less on Ree's family and life on the ranch compared to her first cookbook. If you already read her website and or have read her first cookbook, you probably already feel as though you know Ree and you'll enjoy getting right into the kitchen and cooking up some of her mouthwatering recipes. It IS a cookbook, after all. If you're not familiar with Ree, that don't worry. You're still going to love Ree's recipes and end up wishing YOU lived on a cattle ranch. Or maybe not that last part..

Initially I bookmarked only one recipe to make from this cookbook, but after flipping through it again, I found a few more. Like Ree's first cookbook, there are a lot of recipes in this one that I won't likely prepare because the foods are fried or contain a lot of cheese and cream. Unless you're burning tons of calories wrestling cattle every day, these recipes are too high in calories for every day meals. Perhaps I'd make an exception for some of the desserts such as Billie's Italian Cream Cake, the Coffee Cream Cake or even the Knock You Naked Brownies. Mmmm.. The one recipe that I definitely want to try is the Peach-Basil Ice Cream Topping. A bit unusual, I know, but it sounds ultra refreshing, summery and delicious. Other recipes that I've bookmarked are Restaurant-Style Salsa, Steakhouse Pizza, Thai Chicken Pizza, Fig-Prosciutto Pizza and Carnitas Pizza. Can you tell I like pizza?

Vegetarians beware. Ree lives on a cattle ranch, so the recipes call for a lot of meat, eggs and dairy products and may not appeal to vegetarians, vegans or others with allergies and or a gluten-intolerance.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier is a must for fans of The Pioneer Woman and anyone else who loves tempting, home-cooked, comfort foods.

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. This sounds like a cool cookbook! I flipped through it at a bookstore, and I loved the layout- so many pretty photos!

  2. I had the same experience with her first book -- I don't really cook that way. But I'll likely give this one a try -- that peach basil topping sounds really good.

  3. Knock You Naked Brownies, huh? I just put a batch of regular ol' brownies in the oven, wish I'd sen this sooner. ;)

  4. I make a lot of recipes off her website but haven't picked up her cookbook yet. Perhaps I'll give it a glance.

  5. I talked to one of the women at our Farmers Market and she says she can pretty much eat anything she wants these days -- that's how hard she works! They have pigs so she uses lard in pretty much everything.

    I think I'll go for the easier life and more selective food choices!

  6. I've read her first cookbook, her memoir and am eagerly awaiting reading her second cookbook. (I am WAY down the library hold list for that one.) Some of her recipes can be adapted for lower-fat versions, but the recipes can be special occasion recipes. Most of all I love the tidbits and photos in her books.

  7. I wonder if my library has this...specifically the memoir, but even the cookbooks - I love pictures :)

  8. Thanks for the lovely review! I do enjoy Ree's website and have made a few things from her first cookbook, like the mac and cheese. I agree that most of her recipes are highly caloric, but I enjoy her writing and photography, so I'm anxious to see this new cookbook.

  9. You can make that Thai chicken pizza and then bring it to my place, sounds good. :)

  10. Melanie :: Hi! Ree definitely does not skimp on photos! That's definitely a big plus. Especially helpful for people who like step-by-step visuals.

    Beth F :: I can't wait to try the peach basil topping! Probably August by the time local peaches are available, though.. gah! The WAIT!

    (Diane) bookchickdi :: Yes, Knock You Naked Brownies. haha! You could always rename your regular ol'brownies. Who would know?

    The Knock You Naked Brownies have a caramel and pecan filling, are topped with chocolate chips and generously dusted with powdered sugar. They "knock you naked" because they're so fattening, your clothes pop off your body like the Hulk. LOL!

    Linda :: I read a few reviews for this one on goodreads and apparently, you can find just about all of these recipes on The Pioneer Woman website. :/

    Joy Weese Moll :: I believe that about the woman you spoke to at your local Farmers Market. Working a farm from dawn to dusk is HARD WORK! Lots of calories burned. Keeps the metabolism high.

    Brandy :: I hope you like the cookbook when your turn comes around at the library. I'm sure many of the recipes can be adapted to lower fat versions and yes.. special occasions would be fitting, too. There aren't as many tidbits in this one as her previous cookbook, but it's still fun to read.

    orannia :: Oh I'd be curious to know if your library would have this book. It's very American. Let me know!

    jama :: I hope you get the opportunity to check out Ree's new cookbook and maybe find some new favorite recipes! The pictures of her ranch life are lovely.

    Tracy :: Oh I would if I could!!!! :D


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