Cook the Book: 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks'

20091026thepioneerwomancooks.jpgRee Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, will be the first to tell you that sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you'd expect it to. She was on her way to Chicago from Los Angeles when she met her knight in shining spurs and future husband, the "Marlboro Man." Before Drummond—once a self-proclaimed city girl—knew it, she was married to this unlikely man of her dreams and whisked off to a vast cattle ranch in Oklahoma.

While the story is pretty darn romantic, adjusting to ranch life wasn't exactly easy for the Pioneer Woman. The reality of life without take-out Thai food, fancy coffee, and weekly mani-pedis was a little hard at first. While whipping up a breakfast of sausage gravy, Drummond realized that the meat-and-maybe-a-potato diet that most cowboys embrace wasn't working for her. She went into the kitchen and decided that while she might not be able to win over the ranch hands with ginger-sesame noodles, she could turn out food that could please both city and country appetites.

Her cooking has done much more than feed hungry cowboys. A few years back she started a blog, mostly as a way to share photos of her kids with out-of-state relatives. Slowly she started incorporating recipes with beautiful step-by-step photos into the mix, starting with a pictorial of how to cook a steak. As the down-home recipes became more frequent, the hits started rolling in—The Pioneer Woman blog now gets an impressive 13 million hits a month.

Her new book The Pioneer Woman Cooks, which comes out this week, is more than a collection of tasty recipes. It reads like a scrapbook complete with incredible photos of her family—handsome husband, four beautiful children, adorable dogs, and more cows and horses than you can count. After leafing through this very personal and oftentimes touching book, you can't help but feel like you know Ree Drummond, at least a little.

As sweet as this cookbook is, it's also pretty high up there on the hunger-inducing scale. The book is filled with enticing photos of the simple hearty fare that Drummond makes for her family, and it looks like they eat very well.

Every day this week we are going to share some of the Pioneer Woman's most beloved dishes such as Migas, the Tex-Mex breakfast combo, Simple, Perfect Chili, paired with Fritos for a perfect cowboy lunch, and Creamy Rosemary Potatoes that are reserved for no boys allowed Cowgirls Nights.

Win 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks'

Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at William Morrow, we are giving away five (5) copies of The Pioneer Woman Cooks this week. All you have to do is tell us about your favorite food blog in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, November 2 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.