The Pioneer Woman Show – Vera Recaps Lighten Up

I am running out of adjectives Vera!  Thank you, thank you for another very excellent summary.  WTF was lite about this food?

This week’s episode is called Lighten Up, in which Ree “exercises” and “eats healthy”, or at least thinks she does. What we actually see is a complete and total explanation of why Ree is developing a weight problem and why she is the last person on Earth who should be giving diet and exercise advice, or really any advice on anything related to health in even the most tangential way. Because, seriously, she wouldn’t know “healthy” if it walked up to her and introduced itself.

The Pioneer Woman

This “glorious” profile inspired my Food Network “Lighten Up” show

We open with Ree stomping around the ranch wearing a down parka and Uggs and a goofy looking hat. She says the family is away and she and the dogs are home alone, so she has decided to eat healthy and get some exercise. She says she fueled up for her “hike” by eating a low-carb burger, which we see her prepare in a flashback. She opens in the kitchen of The Lodge, explaining that sometimes she feels the need to get healthy, so she eats low-carb for a while, and then she can button her jeans. She puts several pounds of ground beef into a bowl, then seasons it with salt and pepper. She says something that doesn’t make sense about the seasoning making it low carb – I think she actually meant that, since it was low-carb, it was important to season it well for flavor, but who knows. What she said was garbled and made no sense. She pulls out a huge hunk of raw meat – looks like at least a third to a half of a pound – which she fries in a dry cast iron skillet. She mentions that she usually fries burgers in butter, but this one seems to be exuding plenty of grease, so I think butter would be pure overkill. We get to hear the ever-popular whacky carnival music as she tops the fried hamburger with sliced red onion, sliced tomato, avocado and chopped pickle (which she calls glorious). She wraps the whole thing in a couple of leaves of iceberg lettuce, then flashes back to a sauce that she made from greek yogurt, mustard, adobo sauce and Worcestershire sauce. She dribbles the sauce on top of the burger, then proclaims the sauce glorious (apparently this is the word of the day).

The Pioneer Woman, Fake Pioneer Woman

Oh glorious! I’m tricking myself into thinking 80/20 ground chuck between iceberg leaves, drowning in yogurt sauce is lightening it up.

We cut back to Ree walking around with the dogs and she narrates some flashbacks to luscious burgers she has known in the past. We see that ridiculous supreme pizza burger that she made for Cowboy Josh and a greasy bacon cheeseburger, and for some reason, a huge serving of greasy French fries. Yes, the production company is economizing by recycling all this footage, but what kind of attitude is she showing? Is the low-carb burger subpar, compared to these other, superior burgers? Is it really even low-carb? That is a diet concept that I have never followed, but I have an inkling that tomatoes, yogurt, avocadoes and some of these other ingredients aren’t really as low-carb as Ree wants to believe. Whatever, she talks to the dogs a little, she teases a carb-buster breakfast, and we are out to commercial.

The Pioneer Woman, Fake Pioneer Woman

I’m not sure where this fits into a Lighten Up episode, but I needed a “glorious” filler for my lame show.


The Pioneer Woman, Fake Pioneer Woman

Don’t all low-carb diets call for French Fries? Glorious!

We cut back to Ree driving that filthy red truck, getting out and unloading split firewood. What? Somehow, I think they have people who do that for them. Ree has probably never touched a piece of firewood before this filming session. We get a flashback to a fried breakfast that she says is low in carbs, but not low in calories. She cuts zucchini and yellow squash and onions into chunks, then fries them in oil. They get seasoned with salt and pepper, then removed from the pan to make way for tomatoes. While they are frying, Ree poaches a couple of eggs. She explains that the water should be simmering, although we can plainly see that hers is at a rolling boil, then she cracks two eggs directly into the water. Good thing there is absolutely no chance of a piece of shell getting in there! She piles the greasy fried vegetables onto a plate, lays two huge chunks of cold swiss cheese alongside, then pulls the eggs out of the water and puts them directly on top of the vegetables without draining them first. She proclaims the uncooked egg yolks glorious, then we cut back to her outside, stacking the wood. There is a flashback to a recipe for hollandaise, because the only thing better than a greasy plate of fried vegetables, cheese and watery eggs is all that with hollandaise on top. We see a tease for a vegetable stir-fry and an orange milkshake, then we cut back to the dogs, then out to commercial.

The Pioneer Woman, Fake Pioneer Woman

Eggs Benedict swimming in Hollandaise, another “glorious” carb busting menu item…according to nutritionist Ree Drummond.

When we return, we see Ree clomping up and down some wooden outdoor steps with the dogs. She has worn several different combinations of down jackets and parkas, Uggs and little painter-cap hats. This time, it’s a longer down coat that has its North Face logo blurred out, brown boots and an olive green cap. Back in the kitchen, Ree is cutting up butternut squash (which is known to be high in carbohydrates) to fry with salt, pepper and chili powder. She takes the squash out of the pan and puts in some kale. While that is frying, we see a flashback to other recipes that use this combination, including quesadillas made of the stirfry wrapped in tortillas and fried, and risotto that includes cream and parmesan cheese. Back in the kitchen, Ree takes a bowl of the fried kale and squash and proceeds to eat it with chopsticks. What? She says this is a fun diet tip. I think it’s stupid but whatever. We see a bit more of the dogs, then she teases an orange smoothie and we cut to the commercial break.

The Pioneer Woman, Fake Pioneer Woman

Ree-quired exercise gear: A $350 “glorious” down parka from The North Face. Note how our editors cleverly blurred the logo so reeple wouldn’t be offended by my extravagance.

More dogs outside, complete with lame thought bubbles to give them dialogue, then Ree talking about root beer floats and ice cream sundaes. What? Oh, she’s just being clever to lead up to her Resolution Smoothie, which apparently she drinks on New Year’s Day to counteract all her bad habits the rest of the year. Back inside, she’s putting yogurt, frozen mangoes, peaches and pineapple, a banana and baby carrots into the blender. Then she dumps in honey and orange juice and mixes it up. OK, people who are more knowledgeable about this than I am, is any of this stuff low-carb? Isn’t the whole point of low carb eating to really avoid carbs, and not bounce back and forth between “it’s high calorie but it’s low-carb, so it’s OK” and “I think I’ll make myself a smoothie that’s loaded with sugar, since I’ve been eating low-carb all day”? Isn’t eating greasy burgers, fried vegetables, playing games like eating with chopsticks, then caving and having a milkshake, pretty much the definition of unhealthy eating? Isn’t sitting around on your backside all day, every day, then going crazy and exercising for a day and a half, until you get tired and sore and give up entirely and decide it’ll never work, the definition of an unhealthy approach to exercise? What is wrong with this woman?????

OK, healthy or not, Ree is lounging on the couch, sipping her bright orange (carrot flavored?) milkshake, patting herself on the back for being so “healthy”, talking to the dogs, one of whom yawns in her face, and the credits roll. Hopefully, anyone with an urge to follow Ree’s advice will quickly notice that it isn’t working and move along to something that is actually healthy. And, in the meantime, Ree will be laughing all the way to the bank, driving in that filthy pickup truck and sipping a smoothie along the way.


Bookmark the permalink.

170 Responses to The Pioneer Woman Show – Vera Recaps Lighten Up

  1. Melissa says:

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but it has made me giggle a couple of times. The hampster picture of Ree stuffing her botoxed face? It has an ad next to the face featuring the 10 worst cooks in America (which by the way is hilarious)