Products You May Like
In 2006 Ree Drummond’s husband announced that he was taking all four of their children, ranging in ages from one to six, to work with him. For the first time in a long time Drummond, who was homeschooling her children, discovered something that she often didn’t have: hours of uninterrupted time alone.
“I had the whole house to myself and thought, I’m going to start one of those blog things,” she says.
At that point she had read only one blog about a fellow homeschooling mom who was a single mother of triplets. Drummond had gone from being a black-pumps-wearing city slicker living in Los Angeles to being a wife and mom of four living a ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. “Having grown up on a golf course, I had no notion of what “working cattle” entailed. But heck, I was game. If my man was involved, I was game for anything,” she wrote in an early blog about joining him to live and work on his family ranch.
Drummond saw her blog as an opportunity to stay connected with her mother and chronicle her life. “I thought my mom, who lived in Tennessee, would enjoy it,” says Drummond. “I never thought of it as something that anyone would read except people who knew me.” Using free software, she created her own thepioneerwoman.com domain. “I wrote one post and then another,” she says of the site that was initially called Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.
Word of The Pioneer Woman began to spread as Drummond connected with her readers in a relatable, funny, self deprecating and sincere way. “Someone read it, told their mom and that mom told her friends,” says Drummond. “And it grew incredibly organically.”
And how it grew. In 2009, Time Magazine named Confessions of a Pioneer Woman one of the top 25 blogs in the world. The Pioneer Woman also had a food component. A year after starting the blog her first recipe was “How to Cook a Steak.” She wrote her first book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, which became an instant bestseller. By 2011, The Pioneer Woman had 23.3 million page views per month, she had a meaty profile in The New Yorker and The Pioneer Woman TV show debuted on The Food Network.
Drummond says that her secret sauce has been extreme joy for all she does. “I wrote about and cooked things for which I had a great passion,” she shares. “When you remain passionate about what you’re doing, it definitely shows in the finished product.” Most recently she collaborated with Kraft Heinz on a new frozen food line. The dishes include sides, appetizers, breakfast offerings and casseroles like goat cheese bites, cowgirl quiche, chorizo egg bites, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, sweet potato and kale casserole and more.
“Kraft Heinz and I had a very similar vision about wanting to really recreate my favorite family recipes. The side dishes are really close to my heart because they feel and taste like they are homemade,” says Drummond. “There aren’t a lot of frozen options that are side casseroles like that. You can get lasagna and and main dish casseroles. But to get beautiful sides in casserole form was a very exciting proposition.”
Plus Kraft Heinz let her keep tweaking the recipes until she felt they were just right. “They sent me as many versions as I needed to before I they had my seal of approval,” she says. “I could request the smallest thing and they were on it.”
When asked to offer guidance to those, especially bloggers, who are staring out, Drummond takes a pragmatic approach. “Just do it. Start writing, start cooking. Get a camera and take pictures,” or whatever it is you want to do,” she says. “I was a terrible photographer when I started my blog I know nothing about photography. But whole recent cookbook was shot by me. And that’s because I’ve taken a lot of really bad pictures through the years. But then I got better and better.”
Whenever possible she advises to keep self-doubt at bay. “Don’t get paralysis by analysis,” adds Drummond. “Just jump in and you’ll know soon enough if it is something you want to keep doing.”
Even with all she has accomplished on her own terms Drummond says that she has a hard time reflecting on her success because she is so focused on the next blog post or what is coming next. “There is no way I could have planned any of this. I just followed one step which led to the next. And I kept taking the steps,” she says about her journey. “I’m glad I did. It’s been a great adventure, one I could never imagine.”