Fun Times at The Merc by The Pioneer Woman

In the early food blogging days, I developed friendships with a group of men and women who were crazy enough to do the same thing I was doing: Cooking food and not letting anyone in the household take a bite until the proper photos were taken. Ha. One of my good food blogging friends through […]

In the early food blogging days, I developed friendships with a group of men and women who were crazy enough to do the same thing I was doing: Cooking food and not letting anyone in the household take a bite until the proper photos were taken. Ha. One of my good food blogging friends through the years has been Maria Lichty from Two Peas and Their Pod, who traveled to Pawhuska over the weekend to have a cookbook signing at The Merc!

 
 
We had a great turnout, and I started out by asking Maria some random questions in front of the crowd—only a couple of which were food related.

(I think Brad Pitt showed up in one of the questions?)

 
 
The chefs at The Mercantile had prepared some of Maria’s dishes from her cookbook.

 
 
They were all delicious!

 
 
Josh, Maria’s husband, came along. And look–he was holding one of the attendees’ babies. So darn sweet.

 
 
Eventually his own baby showed up. (Their two sons had come on the trip as well.)

 
 
After our conversation, Maria started her recipe demo.

 
 
She made this recipe from her book. Absolutely divine!

 
 
I was being the paparazzi on the sidelines.

 
 
Plus, I wanted to be close to the food. Ha.

 
 
After her demonstration, it was time for Maria to meet everyone and sign books!

 
 
We had the best visitors!

 
 
Moms, babies, daughters…

 
 
Husbands, wives…

 
 
Families!

 
 
These gals are wonderful. I’ve met them at The Merc a few times and they enjoyed meeting Maria.

 
 
I got to catch up with some old friends (Hi, Tiff!)…

 
 
And it was so great to see Maria! I’m a fan. ­čÖé

 
 
Thank you, sweet Maria, for coming to our small town.

Here is where you can find her wonderful cookbook!

Two Peas and Their Pod Cookbook

My Friend Hazel by The Pioneer Woman

I have a new friend named Hazel who came to the ranch recently. When she arrived at the Lodge, I got to show her the kitchen. Since she watches The Pioneer Woman on TV, she was familiar with the layout.     Then I took her on a top secret tour of the Lodge! Just […]

I have a new friend named Hazel who came to the ranch recently. When she arrived at the Lodge, I got to show her the kitchen. Since she watches The Pioneer Woman on TV, she was familiar with the layout.

 
 
Then I took her on a top secret tour of the Lodge! Just kidding, it isn’t top secret. But we pretended like it was!

 
 
Hazel’s mom and dad were there, too. They live in Oklahoma, so it was fun for them to look out the windows and see the familiar scenery.

 
 
I took her all the way to the back of The Lodge, where we have a prep kitchen. Ladd and I built this on a few years ago when we realized that food trucks and food trailers were not exactly going to work over the long term here in the country. They’d get stuck in the mud, struck by lightning, and get flat tires. It was kind of a funny era in the history of my cooking show!

 
 
Hazel enjoyed going into each one of the bedrooms. We kinda just wanted to call it a day and have a slumber party…but we had some cooking to do!

 
 
Lunch was already set to go, but I needed Hazel’s help to bake a cake, which as we all know is the most important part of lunch.

 
 
I had the ingredients ready to go, but I just let her run with it. She was amazing!

 
 
Um…and cute!?! Goodness gracious, what a great girl.

 
 
We had a blast, and we also made mac and cheese together to go with our chicken tacos. A winning (albeit a little wacky) combination if you ask me!

I’m talking about the chicken tacos and mac and cheese…not me and Hazel. ­čÖé

 
 
Hazel with her finished cake! It was a cinch, but unfortunately now her dad is going to want Hazel’s chocolate cakes from now on.

 
 
After lunch Hazel wanted to find the rubber snake she knew had to be in one of the kitchen drawers (as she has seen on the show). We found it, alright! I actually scared myself with it (I always do), but it didn’t faze Hazel at all.

 
 
I had so much fun with Hazel! She’s a remarkable child who’s been through a lot, and she has a sweet heart and an inquisitive mind.

 
 
After her visit to the ranch, she took one last look…

 
 
Then headed to Pawhuska with her mom and dad. Great parents, really great people.

 
 
It’s always good to start at Charlie’s.

 
 
Starting with dessert is my favorite thing to do!

 
 
Then she visited the bakery at The Merc…

 
 
And got to play with some croissant dough with our baker, Yvonne.

 
 
I think we have a baker on our hands.

 
 
Then she made pizza at P-Town!

 
 
And when I say she made pizza…she really made pizza.

 
 
Look at that!

 
 
This is by far my favorite photo of the day. I can relate, Hazel! Haha.

Thank you to The Mack Impact (small but wonderful organization right here in Oklahoma) for connecting me with Hazel, and to Erin Coats for the photos that captured our fun time together. Thank you also to the staff at The Merc, Charlie’s, and P-Town for showing Hazel a great time!

And thank you, friends, for letting me share. If you happen to leave a comment, please direct it to Hazel herself–high five, thumbs up, prayer hands…the works! ­čÖé She’s a seriously awesome young lady.

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