Last night I arrived at the airport and the Pioneer Woman was there to greet me. I screamed like a dork when I saw her because I was so excited. We hugged and then she threw my luggage in her SUV and we were off. It was more than an hour drive to get to the ranch, so we had plenty of time to talk. This was good since we were both actually strangers to each other. We had only communicated in email up until that point which made the whole trip much more of an adventure. On the hour plus trip we passed a lot of … nothing. To put things in perspective, from the airport to her house… not one single McDonald’s. Not one. I live in the suburbs and you can trip over one here if you’re not careful. But, it was a great ride. I so enjoyed going to a place that is the complete opposite of what I am used to.
We turned down this long empty road that finally delivered us to the Lodge. I couldn’t wait to see it. Every bit of it exceeded my expectations. Shortly after we arrived, Marlboro Man and all the punks all stopped in to welcome me. This was actually kinda weird for me… seeing all of them at once after seeing them in all of the Pioneer Woman’s pictures. And here they were … in one place … living, breathing, people and one sad looking dog. That’s right, Charlie came to welcome me too, but he couldn’t come inside. A few days before, he was sprayed by a skunk and he was stinky. Sorry, Charlie.
PW’s mom was also there visiting. She’s so nice. She and the female punks (I’ll call them punkettes from now on) stayed the night in the Lodge with me. I was happy to have the company because the Lodge is pretty big. I unpacked all my goodies and watched a little TV with the girls. Then I had to hit the sheets.
Good Morning Oklahoma! When I woke up the first morning and walked out onto the expansive deck, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was right smack in the middle of nowhere. Look way out there in the distance. What do you see? Nothin… definitely not any golden arches.
But if you look a little closer, there’s this. And it’s much better than any old fast food joint. Look at the sweet little horsey.
I got dressed and piddled around until PW came over. Here’s the kitchen. If you’ve seen the pictures on her website, let me just say that it’s even better in person. It’s huge and functional and huge and huge. It has two fridges, two freezers, twelve burners, three ovens and three dishwashers. In other words, it’s heaven. Pioneer Woman and Marlboro Man renovated the old lodge and turned it into a true showpiece. PW plans on using it for more fun blogging get togethers. So keep watching on her site.
Here’s the view from inside the house.
This view is from the baking side of the kitchen. See the light coming from the left. That’s the hallway that takes you to the four bedrooms, each with it’s own bathroom. PW was so sweet and arranged some flowers on my arrival. And, on the other side of the fireplace or rock climbing wall (your choice) is the TV area. When you are in the kitchen, you can duck and see what’s on TV right through the fireplace. And, the TV is about the same size as that opening. Again… heaven.
Now, if any of those le crueset pots go missing, it wasn’t me. Especially if it was the little blue one on the top shelf. It wasn’t me.
Now, the weather wasn’t the prettiest. It did rain a little, but that’s ok. We had plenty of baking to do.
Today’s agenda was cupcake baking and fondant decorating. Fun! Fun! Fun!
PW made the cupcakes from her chocolate sheet cake recipe and I took pics of her baking for me.
Here she is mixing some flour. Notice the angle. Did I mention that PW was really tall? Like super-hero tall. I’m a pipsqueak compared to her. So I had to stand on a table to get this shot. Not only is she tall, but so are all the cowboy-sized counters.
In addition to towering over me in height, she’s also gracious, glamorous and a really great cook. Maybe she is a super-hero.
This is one of my favorite photos from the trip. I love the hint of PW in the background. And, I love, love, love that camera. It kicks my camera’s butt.
Here is the chocolate getting heated on the stove with the french ring.
Can’t you just smell the chocolate cooking. I just about couldn’t stand it. It was the absolute best smell.
And here it is being poured into the flour mixture. I’m not going to go through all the steps because she’s already done that with her Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe.
But, I will show you this oven. It’s has a digital dashboard. (Oh, how I miss you already.)
Now, I took this pic because it made me think of something special. And if you’re reading PW, from a baker to a cook, the eggs were something we both have in common and I thought of you when I saw it.
Back to cupcakes. They’re baking up so beautifully.
Man, the inside of that oven is so shiny!
These are almost ready to be frosted with a thin layer of buttercream.
But first we had to bake a second batch of cupcakes.
I bet you’re wondering who these two are. Lillie-beth is on the left and Tanner is on the right. They were a lot of fun. Tanner is full of all kinds of energy. It was refreshing to see. They stopped by during our fondant adventure to do a little story on PW … a little of this and that.
While they were here, I twittered Tanner’s photo on my twitter feed and his profile went crazy. There were a lot of girls asking about him. Sorry, he has a girlfriend. At least he did a few days ago, anyway.
Yikes… there’s me. I never take good photos, but this one’s actually not that bad. I’ll just have to remember to walk around like this with my hand up and look at everyone at a 45 degree angle… That shouldn’t be too weird. Thanks Lillie-beth for sending it to me.
There’s Marlboro Man. I think he’s reading one of the posts PW put up that day. Did I mention that she’s incredible. In addition to baking and entertaining, she also managed to blog during it all.
PW always has her camera handy. It makes me feel good that there are others out there as crazy for taking pictures as I am.
These are some of the cupcakes we covered in fondant. PW is going to have a tutorial on it soon. What am I saying she probably already has it done.
While I was finishing up some of the cupcakes, PW started getting the salad ready for the next day’s lunch.
While she rinsed…
Here are some of the finished fondant cupcakes that she’ll show you how I made.
Monday was a long day. A lot longer than we both thought it would be. And, we still had cakes to bake for Tuesday, so I baked some and so did she.
Again, I love this oven.
Hey, there’s me again. See the cakes baking in the back. Hi cakes!
Here’s the other oven. And, it’s one big bad wolf. Make that wolves. There’s two of them. (I miss you, too.)
This is the last photo of the day. I couldn’t resist. Someone left this lone apple on the edge of the table and it begged for it’s picture to be taken. Good night!
Next up: Morning Cows