Ree Drummond at home in her kitchen
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The Pioneer Woman: Ree Drummond at home

Ree Drummond is the Pioneer Woman. Her blog is one of the most popular blogs on the Internet -- ranked in the Top 100 by Technorati -- and gets about 13 million hits a month. The heart of the blog is the Pioneer Woman Cooks, and its popularity led to a new cookbook, due out next month. What follows is a rare look at Drummond at home in her kitchen, and some of her recipes. (Rare because Drummond is almost always the one behind the camera, taking the pictures.)

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The new cookbook, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl” is due out Oct. 27. The cookbook showcases Drummond’s trademark step-by-step photography.

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation (Shane Bevel / For The Times)
This recipe for homemade ranch with iceberg wedge comes from Drummond’s new cookbook. Click here for the recipe.

Writes Drummond in the intro to the recipe: “Which came first? Do cowboys and country kids love ranch dressing because it’s called ‘ranch dressing’? Or did the name arise from the fact that cowboys and country kids love it? This is a question I shall ponder till the end of my days.”

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Today, Drummond says she can’t imagine being anyplace other than her ranch in Oklahoma, surrounded by her four children and the Marlboro Man. But that wasn’t always the case. She grew up in Oklahoma, and when it came time for college she headed for Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Shane Bevel / For The Times)
After USC, Drummond headed back home for what was supposed to be a pit stop. She had her sights set on Chicago, and applying to law school. Then she locked eyes across a crowded room with an honest-to-goodness cowboy. The rest is blogging history.

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Shane Bevel / For The Times)
Nothing says country quite like the Pioneer Woman’s chicken-fried steak. Click here for the recipe. Fans of the Pioneer Woman Cooks eat up Drummond’s easy-going approach to cooking. It’s accessible to newbies who aren’t quite comfortable in the kitchen -- but still offers something to the more-experienced home cooks. And then there is that jaw-dropping step-by-step photography.

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Contest giveaways are a popular highlight of Drummond’s site, and fans might be interested to know that many of those fancy kitchen gadgets are purchased by Drummond herself.

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Shane Bevel / For The Times)
“I give a big chunk of my revenue back in prizes. . . . I wouldn’t have an audience if they weren’t reading my site, and this is my way of showing them how much I appreciate them.”

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O Pioneer: A chronicle of ranch life and cooking is an Internet and publishing sensation
 (Shane Bevel / For The Times)
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