I love watching funny romantic comedies, don’t you? My favorite down time activity is a date night with myself. I like to grab a pint of Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, one spoon, a comfy fleece blanket, and a large Diet Coke on ice before plopping down on the couch for the evening to watch a romantic comedy chick flick. For two hours I get to laugh and scream into my pillow as cheesy love scenes play out right before my eyes. It’s how I prefer to unwind and enjoy a nice reprieve from my own life. I only wish I watched movies more often than twice a year which seems to be all I have time for.
I also love reading books. There is something about the feel of the printed word in my hands. Flipping pages, sometimes highlighting passages I hope recall later, and folding dog ears to bookmark where I finish reading for the night and where I hope to pick up the next day. The anticipation of reading a page here or a chapter there when I find tiny pockets of free time gives me something to look forward to especially if I’m vested in the book I’m reading.
Many years ago my sister introduced me to chick-lit books after the birth of my second daughter, Mimi. She assured me it would make the long stretches of nursing a newborn baby go so much faster. She was so right. Reading the Ashley Tinsdale series by Kristin Billerbeck had me in stitches, laughing out loud, and almost peeing my pants.
After ordering six books in the last six months and having them neatly organized (cough.. thrown on top of one another) on my nightstand, I came to the sad realization I would not be able to enjoy any of these books anytime soon. With my dad’s passing, mom moving in, kids crazy schedules, blogging, and writing for PBS, the concept of “free time” is not something to be had in this season of my life. One of these books I purchased was The Pioneer Woman – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels love story by Ree Drummond.
Seeing her book sitting on my nightstand made a little part of me sad by the fact I couldn’t just open it up and read it. I’m very familiar with Ree and Marlboro Man’s relationship from her Black Heels blog posts series. But like most good stories, I wanted to re-read it from cover to cover. Her story has always resonated with me on so many levels. No.. I didn’t marry a cowboy who lives on a ranch nor did I grow up on a golf course. But I did fall in love with my husband, panicked over trivial things, experienced the most horrid morning sickness, and understand the primal motherly feelings a new mom experiences for the first time after giving birth to their first born child. Experiences many people are familiar with despite different upbringings and social circles.
With no spare time to read, I did the next best thing. Which for me turned out to be the very best thing. I listened to The Pioneer Woman’s book on audio narrated in her own voice.
Playing the audio version of the book in my car while driving alone, I would sit in my driveway an extra few minutes to listen through the end of a chapter before having to go inside my house. I hated not being able to listen longer but knowing the book was waiting for me the next time I got behind the wheel gave me something to look forward to.
Listening to Ree in her own voice tell her story is like listening to her sit across from you over coffee and tell you every juicy detail of her life and relationship with her husband in the early years of their relationship. I can’t tell you the countless number of times I laughed out loud knowing the funniest parts of the book were fueled by real life moments. You just can’t make this stuff up!
As many of you know I am a contributor for Ree’s Tasty Kitchen site. So listening to her story through the filter of our friendship and having spent a little time getting to know Marlboro Man made me love her and their story all the more. It’s so easy to look at her life through the lens of her blog and come to the conclusion her life is perfect. After all, she’s a celebrity blogger, New York Times Best-Selling Author, and is married to a very handsome cowboy. She beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown and will be appearing with Paula Dean in an upcoming episode. But when you read her love story, you realize just how human (brokenness and all) she is. Listening to her book was a good reminder she too experiences hardships, uncertainty, and indecisiveness like we all do.
As someone who follows her life through The Pioneer Woman blog, to witness Ree and Marlboro Man and the growth of their relationship from their courtship to present day reminds me that love does conquer all.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, get yourself a copy! Her story will have you laughing all the way through it. I highly recommend listening to it on audio. It’s an audio ‘chick flick’ which doesn’t disappoint!
This recipe is a slightly adapted version from the Black Heels to Tractor Wheels book where she prepares Marlboro Man a flank steak dinner in their dating days. I love the headnote, “Finished product should not look like leather.” – Amen to that, sister! In this version I decided to use flat iron steak because it’s a little bit more juicier and tender than its flank steak cousin. Enjoy!
- ½ cup Soy Sauce
- ½ cup Sherry
- ¼ cup Honey
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
- 2 Tablespoons (heaping) Minced Ginger
- 2 Tablespoons (3-5 cloves) Minced Garlic
- teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Flat Iron Steaks
- Garnish: 2 Tablespoons Roasted Sesame Seeds and 2 Green Onions, slivered.
- Gather all ingredients together – soy sauce, sherry, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and flat iron steak.
- Whisk the ingredients in a bowl. Place the steaks and marinade in a ziplock bag and chill in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.Grill steaks on high heat for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare steaks. Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds and green onion slivers on top to garnish.