The Day I Met Ladd Drummond – aka Marlboro Man

Those of you who watch The Food Network on Saturday mornings will know of Ree Drummond, also know as The Pioneer Woman. She is a down-home kind of gal who cooks for cowboys and ranchers and kids. Comfort food that we all love.

In her biography she talks of once being a vegetarian while sporting black high heels and her love for city life.

All changed when she met Ladd, the cowboy that won her heart.

I’m talking about them because when I moved to The Middle – being a Jersey Girl from the beach – I was a bit lost. A friend told me about The Pioneer Woman and how I reminded her of Ree and referred to me as The Other Pioneer Woman.

Well, I certainly felt like a pioneer. The cultural difference of New York City/Beach influence and Kansas City, Missouri was vast. The locals did not understand me. Sarcasm was lost here. Sigh.

But through the help of my son – who spent time in mainland China and Canada – he guided me through the culture shock. I found new normals and have since moved to a smaller country town that feels very much like home. You will be pleased to know I have toned down the sarcasm……well, I try. I gotta be me. ūüėČ

So back to the Drummond Clan. My husband and I needed a weekend getaway. We planned a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma – where the wind goes sweeping down the plain. This was my first time to the state of Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie songs played through my head the entire weekend.

Ree Drummond had just opened a Mercantile in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma on the 31st of October and I wanted to go. ¬†I use less butter and less sugar in her recipes but her line of kitchenware is right up my alley! Oh the colors! I’ve been slowly replacing my kitchen with her things over the past several months.

So, there we were in Tulsa. We met with a fellow blogger – Little Monk – and a friend who attends medical school there. But on Saturday we headed out of town on a very country road to Pawhuska.

I made myself have little expectations on this journey. That was difficult but I tried. But let me tell you, the drive through the Osage Nation Reservation was breathtaking. Such beautiful scenery.

Then we came into Pawhuska. A very small town. You see, the Drummonds had bought the old Merchantile building and refurbished it. Offices for the ranch and for Ree and all she does. Then, the Mercantile, Deli, Bakery, Coffee Bar and Shop.

The line for the Deli was too long so we went into the shop first. Oh. My. It was beautiful. I walked around and took it all in. Then I was going to walk around again and start throwing things in my basket……when what to my wondering eyes appeared???? The Marlboro Man himself. ¬†Ladd Drummond. The Mister Pioneer Woman!

I told myself prior to getting there and also at that moment to calm down! Don’t make a scene, which I am prone to do. So as he moseyed by me I leaned in and said, “Hello Mr Drummond”.

He stopped and said hello and asked how I was. Sigh. And I answered and walked away. There. I did it. No scene and an experience to remember.

Well, after I collected a few things in my basket, my husband and I went upstairs to the coffee bar and bakery. And there he was again. Ladies were having him sign things and have their pics taken with him.

I’m not one for autographs but I looked at my husband and said, “Get your camera ready!” A lady in front of me had me take her pic with him and then it was my turn!

ME and Ladd Drummond - aka - Marlboro Man
.  ME and Ladd Drummond Рaka РMarlboro Man

He was so kind and I thanked him and went over to the coffee line. And there, behind the counter was their daughter, Paige, doing her new barista job. I asked her which she liked better, rustling cattle or this new job. Her face lit up when she told us this new job was better! And she makes great lattes.

I have to say that there was not a rude person to be found. I do believe that is mostly due to the fact that The Drummond Family are kind and positive people. You tend to attract people who are like you or who are attracted to your values.

On the street of this tiny town my husband and I sat down and reflected all that was before us. Here is a typical mid-west town with a lot of history. Buildings gone neglected like most of these little towns. But one person gets the vision to open a shop and change her community. And change it did and will. We noticed other neglected buildings were starting to be loved again.

A woman latched onto me as we walked out of a western store where we began admiring the saddles set out on the sidewalk. She began telling me of their artistic qualities and all the workmanship that went into them Рas she gently stroked the leather and pointed out the details.

This lady was truly a Lady. She wore a long skirted western outfit and just purchased a pare of western boots that she insisted I look at. They were beautiful. As she talked and walked with me cultural walls melted. Her grace was amazing and it came out that she and her husband were ranchers from Texas and were there to sing songs in the street. This Jersey Girl was a bit awestruck. She truly was a Lady and chose to talk and walk with me.

Overall, we had a great weekend. Meeting up with old friends and getting to experience The Merchantile that I’ve read about in a blog for months will be unforgettable. And I will never forget the cowboy who graciously let me have my picture taken with him. ¬†Thank you Ladd Drummond.

And thank you Ree Drummond for following your dream.

Here are pics and some captions of our trip. ¬†I’m so sorry for the quality. iPhone 6.


Cate B


What Kind Of Cake Do You Make For A 1 Year Old?

It’s Lucy’s FIRST birthday! ¬†Lucy is our lovely grand-daughter that I have had the privilege of caring for the past year while her parents are becoming college graduates. ¬†Like any caring parent they have carefully chosen healthy foods for her to eat. And like any strong-minded, confident person, Lucy has decided what she likes and doesn’t like. ¬†Just started liking baby cereal a couple of months ago, been enjoying mashed black beans and avocados like they were chocolate with a bit of baby veggies or fruit thrown in. ¬†She loves grilled cheese or quesadillas. ¬†Scrambled eggs has been a favorite for quite a while now – with cheese is better. ¬†Oh, and speaking of cheese – well, chunks of cheese are great. ¬†You would think the child was born with an entire set of teeth – but to this day she only has two front top teeth and one front bottom. ¬†But she can gum down a grilled cheese sandwich like there was no tomorrow.

I confess I have given her a couple of Vienna Fingers here and there (I have grandparent rights). ¬†But the topic of birthday cake comes to mind …….

I really don’t recommend setting a LARGE completely chocolate covered cake in front of a 1-year-old ……. as seen in the YouTube video of a sweet girl named Lucy (no relation) – I have to admit it is very funny – but disturbing – watch it ūüėČ

So, I searched and searched. ¬†You don’t want the first cake experience to be totally healthy ( ***please – anyone with dietary or strong convictions on what you feed your child I really do respect that and am in no means mocking or telling you to do otherwise – as I’m sure you won’t tell me I’m wrong either***). ¬†And you really may not want to totally give your babe an overdose of sugar.

I chose The Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Shortcake Cake. ¬†Lucy loves strawberries. ¬†That’s my reason. Oh! ¬†And I adore Ree Drummond – she truly is my current hero. ¬†You can find the recipe on her website

As I type, the cake is in the oven, the strawberries are cut and “soaking” in sugar to extract the juices, the cream cheese for the frosting is softening in the delightful warm spring air (more like summer) and I’m thinking about eating PIE! ¬†Peach raspberry to be specific.

But here is the cake – the finished product!

And the following is the process: The Recipe

The Ingredients

The “Resting” Orchid that is “resting” way too Long!

The Strawberries

I decided to use my hand blender on the strawberries since a toothless child was to be eating this.  Soaked really well into the cake!

The Frosting – the vanilla is a mexican blend – yummy

It weighed a ton!

Did Lucy like her cake – well, she was a “Lady” when she ate it. ¬†But the adults – all six of us – LOVED it! ¬†I highly recommend this recipe. ¬†And for the next 2 days it got even better!



Speaking of Pie …….

Kirk's Inspiration
Gotta have a piece of the pie.

My youngest son, Kirk, suggested this pie to me. I love to come up with new recipes inspired by family and friends. ¬†I’ll post the recipe further down.

Speaking of inspiration ……. I live in a mid west city that is just that. ¬†The culinary aroma of Kansas City, MO is wonderful. ¬†I’ve never seen so many different styles and types of food in one small area – maybe New York. ¬†And because of the diversity here I believe it inspires even more diversity. ¬†You can think I’m weird, I’m OK with that. ¬†What I’m saying is that this area seems to send off a “vibe” of creativity that can boggle the mind. ¬†I, myself, have come up with flavor combinations that I never would have tried in my last town.

Some of my inspiration here in KC has come from the likes of Christopher Elbow and his phenomenal flavor combinations in his chocolates. ¬†Yes, i said chocolates! Best I ever had! ¬†Blanc Burgers and Bottles inspire me with their combinations in their burgers! And then there is ¬†Soda¬†Vie – unbelievable flavors of homemade soda – particularly the Fennel flavor I had at a wedding. ¬† It’s endless here I think. I have had my senses awakened the last three years and there is no turning back.

So about the pie my son inspired. ¬†I call it Kirk’s KiBerry Pie.

The crust I got from The Pioneer Woman – Ree Drummond who apparently got it from Sylvia.

Sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust

Added by Ree on June 19, 2009 in Desserts, Pies

Prep Time 45 Minutes
Cook Time
Servings 1 Difficulty Easy


  • 1-¬Ĺ cup¬†Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
  • 3 cups¬†All-purpose Flour
  • 1 whole¬†Egg
  • 5 Tablespoons¬†Cold Water
  • 1 Tablespoon¬†White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon¬†Salt

Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ¬Ĺ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it‚Äôs still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it‚Äôs a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it‚Äôs about ¬Ĺ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

Now, you want to bake this in the pan before adding the filling.

While crust is cooling combine:

1 package of softened cream cheese (8oz)

vanilla (about 1 tsp)

Granulated sugar (I did it to taste – sorry)

Heavy cream (Sorry again – I gradually added the cream til good consistency)

Combine til smooth and thick.

Put 1 layer of sliced kiwis and strawberries on bottom of cooled crust.

Pour filling over and top with more fruit.

Refrigerate and enjoy when completely cold.

Ta Da!

I am sorry for not having detailed measurements but i literally “threw it together” as my son spoke of this delectable combo. ¬†I hope it works for you or better yet that you can improve it and win a contest and go to Jamaica or somewhere pie related.

I am a very creative person – meaning my mind is always creating – whether my hands carry it out or not is another story. ¬†But boy, is my mind busy. ¬†I love to bake and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts I love the whole concept of PIE. ¬†It just puts a smile on most people’s face when you say the word PIE or the sentence, “I’ll bring a pie”.


The “Wild” (mid) West

My husband and I moved to the mid west just 3 years ago this past February. ¬†Sigh. ¬†It’s not really the “wild” west. It’s more the gateway to the “wild” west. ¬†Actually, we are farther west than St. Louis, the true gateway to the west, but not quite out in the wild. ¬†Somewhere almost to Oz.

It’s nice here. ¬†The climate is very similar to where I grew up in NJ except the sniff of salty sea air is lacking. ¬†The air, though, always smells great. ¬†Even the hot dry air from the west that blows in – maybe left over Oklahoma air that goes sweeping down the plain.

Since coming here I have learned to ride a horse (of course), I’ve developed a fear of freeways, I can find myself in and out of two different states in a matter of minutes, I’m tempted to speak in a Southern accent AND I LOVE smokers – not the human kind, the cooking kind!

Thanks to a good friend I was “introduced” to The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond). ¬†She may very well be my favorite thing about the mid-west (next to my grand daughter). ¬†Not only do I love the way she cooks, but I love her simplicity and happiness with her family and cooking, her humor, her ranch, and did I mention her cooking?

I’ve learned a lot from The Pioneer Woman. ¬†I appreciate her love of food and her unashamed honesty about that love. ¬†Food is good. ¬†She has also taught me to relax and go ahead and fix that food with joy. ¬†I think I’ve become a better cook since I’ve moved here.

However, and I apologize now, this love for that red BBQ sauce……. ¬†Sorry, I’m not feeling it. ¬†I like it on chicken – lightly. ¬†I like that flavor in baked beans, very much. ¬†But when you move from Italian/American central where meatballs and most everything else is smothered in a red sauce, Italian flavored, and find yourself facing a crock pot full of meatballs smothered in what you thought was the same red sauce you knew and loved, and then you toss a meatball in your mouth and POW – it’s covered in BBQ sauce! ¬†Well, shock is a light way to describe how I felt. ¬†I do admit it tasted good – a few of them – but I’m not buying it totally. ¬†Not yet. ¬†It took me just short of 3 years to call this home. ¬†We’ll see how long it takes to slurp down the BBQ. ¬†You folks ever try the sauce from the Carolinas? ¬†Vinegar with a big kick? ¬†I tried yours – now you should try that. ūüôā

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