Meet Joanna Gaines of the Prairie- Jill Winger

Apr 01, 2019


What does Joanna Gaines have to do with the Wyoming Prairie?

Many of you probably know who Joanna and Chip Gaines are. But just in case you don't, Joanna Gaines and her husband Chip, are the stars of the HGTV series Fixer Upper, as well as the owners of Magnolia Journal, Silo's Baking and Magnolia Market at The Silos in Waco, Texas. They also have their own farm, in which Joanna pulls decorating inspiration from, making her the leader in the Farmhouse Style Decorating movement.

But what you don't know is that there is another version of Mrs. Gaine's steeping in the Wyoming prairie. 

The Wyoming prairie can be a harsh place. Wide open range with nothing for miles around but flat land and sage brush tumbling by in the wild Wyoming winds. Wyoming is one of the most unpopulated states in our country. That, in itself, is one of the reasons that many in

Wyoming love the rugged spaces, the rualness of life, and the slow pace. I've been hearing about it for 18 years now, as my Farmer grew up there, and has a special place in his heart for that space in the wilder part of the west. 

Living in such a climate can make it difficult to grow veggies (with such a short growing season) and finding ingredients at the grocery store can be hard. It takes some creativity and resourcefulness to make wholesome meals when living in the Wyoming plains. But, those difficulties create resourcefulness and know-how that not many other people have.


Struggles = Education


That is where Jill Winger, from The Prairie Homestead, comes in. The resourcefulness and creativeness that the struggles of Wyoming life bring, have been packaged in a way that all of us can learn from and enjoy. Bringing a bit of that rural Wyoming life to our kitchens and to our families.

Jill has been homesteading for 10 plus years. She wasn't taught by her mother or grandmother how to cook in the kitchen, how to render lard, bake a cake from scratch or milk a cow. But she has taught herself, through trial and error over the years, how to do all of that and much more.


Functional and Practical


So while Joanna Gaine's has Silos Baking in Waco, Tx with her Silobration and Shiplap cakes, Jill Winger, has Prairie Cream Puffs and Apple Molasses Pie with Cheddar Crust.

Joanna decorates with white shiplap and contrasting colors, while Jill's truly rustic western style kitchen, features rustic hickory cabinets,  a copper sink, and grey quartz counter tops. Joanna might decorate with rustic pieces, but Jill features functional, old fashioned cooking tools, such as cast iron, canning jars and wooden rolling pins, as her kitchen decor.

And while Joanna enjoys gardening with her children and just released her new book, We are the Gardeners, Jill teaches families how to grow their own food, to cook from scratch while teaching her children about farm chores and farm life. It's a way of life for her family rather than a hobby.

While Jill doesn't have her own network television show (yet, any way!), she does post weekly, real life videos, on Youtube inspiring others to traditional, old fashioned ways of growing and cooking their own food. Jill is truly old fashioned on purpose. And most definitely the Joanna Gaines of the Prairie.


Dreams Come True On The Prairie


 While Jill has been blogging and sharing all these things with the world for 10 years, her life long dream finally came true April of 2019, when she released her first cookbook.

This beautiful 300+ page book includes professional photography of not only tasty homemade recipes, but also photos of the Winger's family farm in Wyoming. There are also some shots of their daily life: milking cows, making butter and gardening as a family.

The Prairie Homestead Cookbook is the cookbook that I wished I had when I started my cooking journey 18 years ago. Not knowing how to cook anything from scratch, Jill makes learning how to simple and easy. She uses basic ingredients so that nothing fancy has to be hunted down. No need for a huge grocery list of items you are going to use once or twice. The directions are easy and simple to follow.

Not only are the recipes simple and yummy, but there is also a section in the back of the book sharing Jill's 10+ years of experience in growing and raising your own food. From how much to plant in the garden, to when and how. As well as how to milk your own family cow and raise your own meat. 

​I feel blessed and honored that Jill spared a bit of her very busy schedule to answer a few interview questions which we get to share with our readers. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce to you the Joanna Gaines of the Prairie, Jill Winger!


Interview with Jill Winger, The Prairie Homestead Blog

What was the inspiration for this cookbook?
Jill: Our homestead life was definitely the inspiration for this cookbook— it’s the product of 10 years of trial and error and trying to figuring out the best way to use all the food we were growing ourselves. It’s truly the book I wish I would have had back at the beginning! As much as I love food, I’m not a “fancy” cook, and recipes must be non-fussy and made with simple ingredients in order to earn a place in my kitchen. I know many other folks are similar, so I wanted to create a book for us. ;) 

How long was the process and what was involved?
Jill: It was nearly a 2 year process from start to finish! It started with a conversation with my literary agent who helped me narrow down my ideas, then we crafted a proposal, pitched different publishing houses until we settled with Flatiron. I had 6 months to actually write the manuscript, so that was a CRAZY time as I scrambled to finish recipe testing, write, AND have the photo shoot. After that, there were many rounds of edits and design before it finally went to the printers. All in all though, it was a wonderful experience and I’d totally do it again. 

Are these new recipes or ones that your family uses every day?
Jill: I created a few new recipes for the book, but the bulk of them are the ones we eat on a regular basis. They are our standbys. 

What was your favorite part of creating this book?
Jill: The writing process was so magical for me… and finally having so much of my kitchen/food philosophy in a tangible volume is pretty exhilarating. 

How about your least favorite?
Jill: The wait! It felt like pub day would never come! 



What is your favorite recipe in the cookbook and why?
Jill: Oh man, that’s a tough one! I think the Wyoming Burger is one of my top favs, though. The inspiration hit me one day out of the middle of nowhere, and is really unique for our state. Plus it tastes darn good.

Favorite food to grow? Least favorite?
Jill: Favorite food to grow is definitely our grass-fed meats— the harvests are always so rewarding and last us a long time! My least favorite would probably have to be tomatoes… Even though I grow a bunch of them, I always get a little overwhelmed during harvest time when I’m dealing with the bucket loads of fruit coming in the house. It’s still worth it, though. :)



We would live to hear about behind the scenes, could you share a story or two with us?
Jill: Some of my fav behind-the-scenes stories come from the photo shoot! I hired an amazing photographer and food stylist and we hammered out ALL the pictures in a matter of 2 weeks. It was intense, but I had the time of my life. We transformed my house and kitchen into a photo studio and worked from sun-up to sun-down. We taped printed photos on my kitchen walls, turned the office in to a prop closet, and cooked and shot 8-10 recipes per day. I thought we’d have a ton of leftover food, but we managed to eat everything almost as fast as we made it. When it was all said and done, we were almost sad it was done as it was such a fun project to work on together. ​​



Thanks Jill! That was such great insight to the creation of such a beautiful cookbook! The hard work and motivation shines throughout the whole cookbook and speaks so well to your mission. To teach future generations how to live off the land and create fabulous, healthy, home cooked meals for their families and loved ones.

If you all would like to get a sneak peek at the inside of the cookbook or grab a copy of your very own you can find The Prairie Homestead Cookbook on Amazon here. Don't forget to use your order number and grab $130+ of free bonus materials (including our Tea Time on the Prairie E-book). Directions for those are found in the back of the cookbook or online here.

​I'm giving 2 away!



Enter to Win Here

Continental US citizens only, 2 people will each win their own copy of the cookbook. This giveaway and post are not sponsored but done out of the love of this beautiful book!

If you win, what thing would you want to make from scratch first? Leave us a comment below!


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