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Chef & Blogger: Pioneer Woman

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I’ve tried to describe a typical day on our ranch, and I haven’t been able to come up with one yet!” says Ree Drummond, 44, who’s better known in the blogosphere, on the bestseller list and now on the Food Network as the down-home chef the Pioneer Woman. Drummond went from being a high-heeled city girl in Los Angeles to living in rural Pawhuska, Okla., with her cowboy husband, Ladd, 44, and their four kids: daughters Alex, 15, and Paige, 13, and sons Bryce, 10, and Todd, 8. Although the family’s routine varies-“Sometimes the kids wake up and saddle up their horses, but this time of year there’s a lot of feeding cattle,” she says-one thing remains constant: A whole lot of cooking goes on. “I feel like I live in the kitchen,” says Drummond. “Even on a day that doesn’t include cooking for the website or the TV show [shot at her home] or the cookbooks, I’ve still got a rancher husband and four kids to feed, so in the morning I’ll usually make granola bars or ‘eggs in a hole,’ which are my kids’ favorite. And as soon as I put the stuff away after breakfast, I’m already thinking about lunch and dinner.” Drummond also has to make time to switch into teacher mode, since she’s homeschooling her brood. And then there’s the daunting prospect of grocery shopping. “A couple of times a year I do big-bulk shopping at a Sam’s Club in Tulsa, which is an hour and a half away,” says Drummond, who uses a smaller local store for staples like milk (“my kids could drink a gallon a day”). Due to the paucity of some fare in her remote locale, Drummond has become resigned to going without certain favorites (“Fresh mozzarella-that’s one of the things I always say, ‘Ugh, I want a big slice right now'”), and she’s given up other foods for the sake of her family. “I love exotic stuff—food so spicy it gives you cardiac symptoms,” she says. “But my husband and kids are kind of picky, so what I have on-hand is stuff everybody’s going to go for.” Unless they’ve got a hankering for bananas. “I have a lifelong loathing,” confesses Drummond. “They’re the only things I have banned from my house.”