Ree Drummond: An excerpt, a recipe & giveaways!

Today's guest: Ree Drummond Why we love her: There's nothing better than a woman who can write and cook!

Exciting news: Today she's sharing an excerpt from her memoir and a recipe from her cookbook!

Her memoir: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels  (out in paperback now)

Her cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my Frontier

The scoop on the memoir: That’s when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room. I’ll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne Western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I’d been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. It’s the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps. And the girl who fell in love with them.

Our thoughts on the memoir: A real-life cowboy (ahem, the Marlboro Man) and  a love story? We're sold.

The scoop on the cookbook: I'm Pioneer Woman. And I love to cook. Once upon a time, I fell in love with a cowboy. A strapping, rugged, chaps-wearing cowboy. Then I married him, moved to his ranch, had his babies . . . and wound up loving it. Except the manure. Living in the country for more than fifteen years has taught me a handful of eternal truths: every new day is a blessing, every drop of rain is a gift . . . and nothing tastes more delicious than food you cook yourself.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier is a mouthwatering collection of the simple-but-scrumptious recipes that rotate through my kitchen on a regular basis, including Perfect Pancakes, Cowgirl Quiche, Sloppy Joes, Italian Meatball Soup, White Chicken Enchiladas, and a spicy Carnitas Pizza that'll win you over for life. There are also some elegant offerings for more special occasions at your house: Osso Buco, Honey-Plum-Soy Chicken, and Rib-Eye Steak with an irresistible Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce. And the decadent assortment of desserts, including Blackberry Chip Ice Cream, Apple Dumplings, and Coffee Cream Cake, will make your heart go pitter-pat in the most wonderful way.

Our thoughts on the cookbook: Delish!

Fun fact: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels started as a serial online memoir on Ree's blog.

Giveaway: 5 copies of the memoir and 2 copies of the cookbook! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, April 1 after 6PM PST.

Excerpt from The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels:

INTRODUCTION One day a few years ago, I began jotting down the story of how I met and married my husband. I got as far as the middle of the first chapter, then abruptly stopped writing, stuck it in a drawer, and went on to other things. Sometime later, after waking up with an uncharacteristic case of writer’s block, I pulled the roughly written story out of the drawer. A regular blogger, I was brain-dead that day, and while I was certain few people would find my love story interesting, I wanted to give the readers of my site something new. I said a couple of Hail Marys, hoped they wouldn’t hate it, and posted it on my website.

To my surprise, readers responded . . . and asked for another chapter. I wrote it that same night. A second chapter led to a third, and then a fourth. Encouraged by readers of, I began posting regular, weekly installments of my real-life online serial love story, complete with romantic tension and cliffhangers at the end of each episode. It became an integral part of my writing routine for over eighteen months, and my friends and readers were there with me every step of the way. I loved the entire experience. I loved going back . . . and remembering.

By the end of that time frame, I’d written over forty installments and had only gotten as far as our wedding day. I decided to end the online version at that point, then immediately began writing the next part of the story, which continues through our first year of marriage.

This book is the complete, combined story—both the rip-roaring romance novel–style saga that I posted on my website (with some new material), which begins the night I met my husband and ends when we leave for our honeymoon, and a new section, which documents the early days of our life as a married couple.

I hope you love the story.

I hope it makes you smile.

I hope it reminds you of the reasons you fell in love in the first place.

And if you haven’t yet found love, I hope it shows you that love often can come to find you instead . . . probably when you least expect it.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my Frontier:

Strawberry Shortcake Cake Makes one 10-inch cake

I made this cake a few years ago on a whim . . . and what a delightful whim it turned out to be. It’s a spin on strawberry shortcake, but the cake is, well, cake—not the biscuit-like disc in the classic strawberry shortcake recipe. I added cream cheese frosting instead of whipped cream, just for kicks, and it turned out to be just what the whole mess of deliciousness needed.

This is one of my father-in-law’s three favorite desserts. He likes to eat it for breakfast.

I do too, now that I think about it!

CAKE ½ cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened 1½ cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 3 large eggs ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ cups all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons cornstarch ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda

STRAWBERRIES 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1½ pounds powdered sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep (or you can split the batter between 2 pans if they’re not deep enough).

2. To make the cake batter, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add the sour cream and vanilla, then mix until just combined.

4. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda and add it to the bowl.

5. Mix it together until just combined.

6. Spread it in the pan or pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is no longer jiggly like my bottom.

7. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely. 8. Next, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or a fork (reserve a few for garnish if you like).

9. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Toss them around and allow them to sit for a little while.

10. They’ll give off this beautiful liquid after several minutes. Try not to drink it with a straw.

11. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl.

12. Mix until very light and fluffy. Warning: You’ll feel like eating this bowl of icing before you even get it on the cake.

13. To assemble the cake, use a sharp knife to cut it in half through the middle. It’s easier if you go all around the perimeter of the cake, slicing only halfway through the circle the whole way.

14. Lay the two halves cut side up.

15. And cover both halves with an equal amount of strawberries. Then—this is an important step!—place the cake halves in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. This’ll firm up the surface of the strawberries just a bit so that it’s easier to spread on the icing.

16. Remove the cakes from the freezer and place one layer on a cake stand or platter. Cover with a little less than a third of the icing.

17. Place the second layer on top, then spread the top with icing.

18. Carefully ice the outside of the cake with the remaining icing.

19. Lovely! You can certainly decorate the top of the cake with strawberry slices, too. But I’m hungry and want to eat, so I’ll skip that part.

Store leftovers in the fridge. The cake can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

To find out more about the lovely Ree Drummond, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, Ree!


Liz & Lisa