Piggy in the middle

hershey-bar-cakeLast week I made a Hershey Bar cake for my husband’s birthday. The ridiculously gorgeous Stephanie had posted it on her instagram many moons ago, and then the recipe on her blog. I pinned it for later, and when it was time to bustle about in the kitchen trying to look useful in the department of making birthday cakes, this is what I chose.

I posted a picture on Instagram and tagged Stephanie, who lives in the US, telling her I made it. And in amongst the chatter about it, eyebrows were raised that it was not made “from scratch with hershey bars and love”, like someone assumed, but from packet chocolate cake mix and various other bits and pieces. Just as the famous recipe requires.

Now here’s where I get a bit confused – while I don’t bake from packet mixes often, it does happen and I certainly wouldn’t lie about it! I don’t know why people assume I’m holier than I am and then express surprise when I fall short of their expectations. On the whole, I’m pretty average with a violent lean toward crunchy,  I eat those shitty green olives in the jar (and occasionally the black ones), I bake with sugar, I use baby wipes to clean my window sills, I don’t use cloth nappies, and regular Play-Doh sits alongside hand-crafted building blocks made of Tasmanian wood finished with beeswax. I want to stab the next person who talks about “going Paleo”, sometimes I put plastic in the microwave, I have a microwave, my kids eat organic yogurt. I’m smack in the middle of the road, sometimes shopping at Woollies, sometimes foraging about farmer’s markets, buying just the right pesticide-free sweet potato for a salad with farro in it or something.

To some I’m disappointing because I’m not vegetarian enough, I’m not vegan, I don’t post enough gluten-free recipes, my smoothies aren’t green. There are so many other websites out there who are and have all these things, and they’re doing them a great deal better than I am! I never appear online as anything other than what I am (ok that’s a lie, I swear WAY MORE in real life), and I’d hate to think I’ve promoted a standard of lofty home-baked aspirations when that’s not who I am. Perhaps it’s my blog name that lends itself to hippie ideals? I just eat veggies, is all! Alongside Kraft peanut butter. And other toxic chemical nasties that social media bleats will probably kill us all one day.

This isn’t about not being able to cop flak – I fully expect you to tell me if I’m being a dickhead, and I like to think I can cop that on the chin. I do know I’m not to everyone’s taste!

What you see is what you get though, and I’m always gonna be straight up with you all. Sometimes I co-sleep, sometimes I don’t. I use homemade laundry soap right alongside regular laundry detergent (I do try to buy environmentally-friendly stuff though!). My kids are mostly breastfed with the occasional bottle of formula. I drink instant coffee AND the organic, fair-trade, Peruvian stuff. I’ve talked about all this and more before, so in theory it shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m far from recycling my own toilet paper. I don’t think I’ll ever be anything other than completely average suburban with a side of wearing hemp pants.

If you’re upset I eat cheese and not my placenta, I’m sorry. I’m just a girl, standing in front of an internet, asking you to accept me and my box-mix ways.

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

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  • Jay – Moodie Foodie

    Well said! When I first started my website I tried to be everything I thought was expected of me. I think that lasted about 2 days! I LOVE that you use a mixture of everything cause that’s life isn’t it – we do stuff when we can and we do other stuff when we can’t? Oh, and I made packet cupcakes the other day for my daughter cause she wanted them – no guilt, just a really happy daughter:) xox

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh that makes me feel better! I love that you used packet cupcakes. Phew! I like choice. Choice is choice ;-)

  • thelifeofclare

    Thank you for a giggle on a Tuesday morning! I love that you are exactly who you say you are! You go about life your way with no excuses. I’m so sick of hearing about Paleo and would be right there next to you stabbing them.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Quick, where can we hide the bodies?

  • Danica Burrows

    Ironically… Stabbing someone would be pretty ‘paleo’.

    • Cath @mybeardedpigeon

      Can I “like” this!!

      • Mel Thorne


    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      haha only if I eat them too!

  • Erin

    Dude, I am sure we are supposed to be best frans.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I know this to be true!

  • missandmisters

    Yes yes and yes. Except for the instant coffee, that stuff is gross. Also, Betty Crockers Super Moist Vanilla Cake makes the fluffiest, lightest cupcakes. Sometimes other people (enormous corporations) do it better. No point fighting it. Also, instant cake = more time for story-reading, cuddles and time with kids. Fair trade off. So to speak.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Haha it’s like people who grew up in the war taking a liking to powdered eggs – I have a fondness for instant coffee with sugar and cream. I’m weird. Also: love everything you’ve said.

  • http://www.littlewolff.com/ Lila Wolff

    I love(d) packet mix cakes especially for birthdays when I want to spend more time decorating than mixing. I don’t use them now because of Eve’s Bovine allergies.
    The only time I think packet mix should be no go is in baking competitions because that’s just silly. And Better Crockers’ icing saved my wedding cake when I was trying to ice it on the day and the meringue kept failing!

    I think you’re all the more awesome for being middle of the road, it’s achievable and honest.

    • http://www.littlewolff.com/ Lila Wolff

      PS did you ever try putting the soy in with the instant before the hot water to stop it splitting?

      • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

        yes, you’re a frigging genius!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Agree about box mixes staying out of CWA competitions!

  • Reannon Hope

    And this is why I love you- you’re totally normal! I think you are VERY honest about who you are so I say screw people & their perceptions of what we are supposed to be. Where do they get off?
    And for the record, I too get a bit ” stabby” when I hear people talk about being paleo or when they direct me to a certain blogger who has a sugar free book when I talk about needing more energy. As mush as I love me a raw, dairy, wheat, gluten free dessert if I’m lacking in energy I’m likely to reach for a can of coke & a piece of cake to help me out :)

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      yeah that’s where I draw the line – the all or nothing approach. let’s eat cake of ALL varieties! And be honest about it!

  • Elizabeth@thebackyardlemontree

    There is a lot of people living pretty perfect lives on the blogosphere. Fortunately I’ve never met them in real life or else I think I would stab them. Smugness is the real crime on the internet and there is quite a bit of that about.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      haha I think I like you! Fortunately I see only a few Smug McSmugersons, the rest I like to read are just average Joes with a sense of humour :)_

  • http://www.ispyplumpie.com/ Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie

    Love it Stacey. I think the fact you’re real and honest is why people love coming to your blog! The internet could do with a lot less smugness and preaching!
    I’m very similar to you – I get my veggies delivered from the local organic farmer, but I also buy other things at the supermarket. I try and make healthy meals as much as possible, so you bet I use real sugar when I bake. And don’t get me started on people going paleo…

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh I’ve tried to be open-minded about it, but at the end of the day… *strangled cry*. I think normal with a side of trying our best to do things right for the environment and people is an achievable goal x

  • Sandra Peters

    Well said Stacey …. I love your honesty …. you go girl!!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It’s all I know how to be :)

  • Traci


    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      mwah x

  • Lydia Sutakowsky

    Hi Stacey, have you ever watched Portlandia? Extreme idealism can get funny, especially as many of these idealists apear to lack a sense of humour. We love you, disposable nappies and all

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      The ’90s are alive and well in Portland! And so is my sense of humour! xx

  • Katie Rainbird

    Rock out with your Frock out Homie! I’ve had it up to my corneas with the holier than thou nut crusted steak crew & all their fruit free friends.
    How’d your man rate the cake? Reckon you got a full on tongue pash for that one, ooh-er! X

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      He loved it! I’ll be invoicing for a tongue-pash post-haste x

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    bahahahaha … “if you’re upset I eat cheese and not my placenta” … oh girl you crack me up. You are YOU. Keep on keeping on!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      There is no-one alive who is You-er than You!

  • Sharon Alger

    Isn’t that funny?? I never got that holier than thou or whatever vibe from you, and I love you’ve put this out there.

    I’m a bit similar in different ways. (Ok, that didn’t make a lot of sense)

    I don’t do drugs, don’t drink alcohol, am using more organic home products, I guzzle coke zero, and I smoke. I’m trying to get an organic vege/fruit garden going, but nothing yet..

    I like making my own bread, yoghurt and pasta, but often don’t have time to do it regularly. I do buy sweat-shop type products if that’s all the budget allows, but I feel guilty about it.

    I could see though, how once you utter that you’ve used/done something organic or sustainable or whatever, that some expect perfection, and the reality is it’s not as simple as that.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I just don’t wanna give the wrong impression! I think we know what is the right thing to do, and we all try to do it to varying degrees. But I really don’t know if it’s attainable 100% of the time until the minute of your death. And why are we asking that of fallible humans? A bit much, methinks.

      • Sharon Alger


  • stinkb0mb

    You’re you, surely that’s why people come here to read you? Meh, we can’t be all to everyone, be true to you and let people take you as they find you, they’ll either love you like so many do or find you’re not their cup of tea, which is also fine and move on x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      You’ve got me nailed, girly! I don’t want to be everything to everyone anyway, I’d rather be badass x

  • bigwords

    Classic. It’s hilarious to me that you even have to tell people these things. Everyone does things their own way. It’s time people just accept others for all of their crunchy, synthetic, packet, hippie ways xxx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Like Kraft Mac and Cheese!

  • Yellow_Dandy

    Yay for being real and telling it how it is!! Although I totally had you pegged for the placenta eating type ;)
    I like that your suburban with a side of hemp! Perfect description!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh god, really? I’m all for people making wacked-out decisions if that’s what they believe is right, but it AIN’T for me!

  • Bek @ Just For Daisy

    You rock! Love your approach to this. Whoever wrote it obviously hasn’t followed you long enough to already know pretty much everything that you wrote above…
    Seriously though – next placenta… do it! bahahaha!! That’ll make you super crunchy! ;)

    • Bek @ Just For Daisy

      PS. WTF is Paleo anyway? I’m off to ask google!

      • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

        Don’t. Sigh.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      ew, no thank you! Besides, I’ve retired the uterus. No more babies!

  • http://Carlyfindlay.blogspot.com/ Carly Findlay

    You go girl!! That seemed like the most appropriate phrase to use here!
    The judgement and the way readers seem like they have us all figured out from our online lives is a reason I don’t enjoy blogging.
    Live life the way you want to – with balance and mindfulness – bit above all, with enjoyment and happiness.
    Personally I love the food ideas and recipes you share because they’re about enjoyment not deprivation. And you’re not preachy and holier than thou.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I’m too lazy to be preachy! I thought I was coming across authentically, but perhaps not. Anyway, I’m here to burst the bubble! I do try to live mindfully, and sometimes the balance tips towards cheese :)

  • Aeisha

    Brilliant! Hate the green smoothies in my FB newsfeed! Sick of the raw food preachers. Love your recipes and your attitude.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I had to unfollow, like, 50 people on Instagram. It was becoming a bit much :(

  • ella

    ‘If you’re upset I eat cheese and not my placenta, I’m sorry.’ i LOVE you, and your blog. Seriously you are great.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Haha thank you. I go all right ;-)

  • http://slapdashmama.blogspot.com.au/ SlapdashMama


    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I know, it’s actually really sad!

  • Jane @ Hesitant Housewife

    LOVE! :) xx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Thankee :)

  • 26 Years & Counting

    I’m disturbed that people may reuse toilet paper now… :)

    • Mel Thorne


    • missandmisters

      The family toilet cloth… Ew, no. That’s where I draw my crunchy line…

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama


  • L U C I N D A


    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama


  • http://www.mrsnotable.com.au/ Louisa | Mrs Notable

    wow, who knew, a normal mama, just trying to do her best. Snap, snap. You’re awesome.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Sometimes my best is box mix :)

  • Jenn

    I love that you aren’t ‘perfect’!! One of the reasons I still read your blog but have grown bored with others.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I go through phases with people too. But I find the ones I relate to are the ones that have stood the test of time :)

  • Cath @mybeardedpigeon

    The thing is you are awesome and I love ya and people need to not be so judgey- judge.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      People do like to have a subtle dig from time to time, but that’s their jazz x

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie Connelly

    You are excellent x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      oh hello you! Squeezed a baby out yet?!?!?!?!

      • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie Connelly

        Yes! Master Maxwell arrived on 7th August :)

        • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

          Oh mah gah! Contratulations! Oh kiss that tiny head for me :)

  • Teresa

    All the best people eat cheese!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Have I told you lately … that I looooove you

  • Mel Thorne

    Stacey, unless you’re a serial killer, don’t ever apologise for who you are. I don’t know why people get so unnecessarily nasty. What does it achieve. You give us something beautiful in it’s honesty and achieve-ability. I’m relieved that you use the occasional short cut, and I’m sure your husband didn’t turn his nose up! To be a little lame; those that matter don’t mind and those who mind DON’T MATTER!!!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh there’s always room for a Dr Seuss quote! Totally not a serial killer, I’m too goody-goody for that stuff.

  • Sophie Appleby

    LOVE!! So much love!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      This is rad :)

  • Michelle Pope

    Everything in moderation, is what my mum used to say..who wants to be fanatical about evrything. just enjoy life xx bet your hubby loved his cake, that’s the main thing…

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh he SO did! Such a winner :)

  • MotherDownUnder

    I think it is asking a lot of normal, everyday people to uphold fair trade, eco, mother warrior standards.
    As my dad always says, all you can do is your best.
    And PS if you ever wanted to make me a Hershey cake I would not complain!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Have you had one? I had no Cool Whip, but we survived. Is Cool Whip glorious?
      You’re right, doing a bit is better than doing nothing x

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    God Stacey who expects you to be any other way than the way you are ,you are no dickhead lovely and everyone uses a mixture of stuff don’t they ,and sometimes I wonder if the holier than thou people who think their shit don’t stink,are really as good as they say they are!! Be you and be happy to be you Big Hugs to you xx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Haha I am a dickhead occasionally, but I get your point! You are the best x

  • Leah

    I love this post! This is exactly how I feel, and im sick to death of trying to explain myself to people.
    And can the paleo people just like fudge off? I am sick of hearing about it! Dont get me wrong they can do whatever they like with their diets, but just don’t carry on higher than thou, when it comes to food.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh you still eat wheat? GMO’S, MONSANTO, WHEAT BELLY, GLUTEN, CANCER! Is all I seem to see. Over ittttt.

  • thesuzchef

    LOVE this!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Heheh kiss that squishy baby for me!

  • http://claireyhewitt.blogspot.com/ ClaireyHewitt

    It seems that some of your readers put you in a box – the wrong kind.

    Keep on keeping real.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I think its mostly on Instagram? Weird. But I’ll totes keep it real, yo ;-)

  • CarolynnB

    “If you are upset I eat cheese and not my placenta, I’m sorry!” Hilarious!! Almost peed my pants :-)

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama


  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    You can’t please everyone and you can’t improve on perfection. X

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Ooh you flatter me!

  • meetoprahwheatfree

    You is you and you da best . Bloody love kraft PB.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I have tried to like the organic, straight-up peanut stuff. My kids eat it but I just can’t do it!

  • Emily

    Love this – I only eat free range eggs and NEVER touch veal but I’m into all other meats, eg lamb! I also co-sleep sometimes but then no – I think being a little bit of everything is awesome! I am now going to get your posts delivered to my inbox so I enjoy more of your honesty, sometimes I ADORE in bloggers and do myself, often to a fault! Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Haha we’re a bunch of oversharers aren’t we? I don’t have time to pretend :)

  • Mandy McLoghlin Dos Santos

    Hilarious. The placenta was the best part! I am walking contradictions. I am the nutritionist who eats fruit tingles and stops at Maccas. Love it Stacey.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      And that is why I will always turn to you for proper, no bullshit advice. You and Katie180 make me so HAPPEEEEE

  • Cat_BeLoverly

    Oh I just love you so much you know Stacey! I know every word you’ve written so very well. You are real and wonderful. Love your guts. X

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Not as much as I love yours!

  • michelle lisle

    Absolutely fantastic response I say…here, here….I love your recipes, the way you present thingsand honestly talk about all manner of subjects. If more people were like this there’d be less bullshit in the world….oh and I’m so wanting that recipe, while I prefer to bake from scratch I’m definitely not opposed the good old packet mix now and then…..xo

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      the link is in the post where I talk about the recipe :) You will love it, it is a hodgepodge of crazy stuff that tastes amazing. No bull!

  • Raquel Bebbington

    ‘Like’ – the same as most of us! Anyway must fly – off to the kitchen to make school lunches – with bought bbq chook, then out to collect eggs from our own free rangers :-) Life is full of contrasts!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Haha yes! We are complicated folk. But I like choice.

  • coalvalleyview

    Love this Post! Shame we have to justify our existence sometimes to make others more comfortable isn’t it. You’re gorgeous Stacey! Just as you are :-) Mel xxx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh you are sweet! I like to clear the air sometimes though, I’d hate for people to think I pretend I’m something I’m not :)

  • http://www.eatmoveexplore.com.au/ Tatum Woodroffe

    This is awesome Stacey, I love your words here for so many reasons that I don’t even know where to begin. But this is the truth of being a normal, intelligent person in a world of dietary bullshit where so much of what is real and important has become completely overcomplicated and extreme.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh the dietary bullshit is killing me. It’s all over my facebook, all over instagram… all built on poor research and lies. Over it!

  • BabyMacBlogBeth

    Sing it sista x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      No way, I’m going to use a backing track and lip synch like Milli Vanilli.

  • Kim | Melbourne Mum

    How weird that someone would critique you for being a normal person. Kx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Yes, I’m not sure what they were expecting?!

  • Zena

    Hi Veggie Mama, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are the “Bee’s Knees!” and I never use packet cake and I don’t care that you did for that one recipe. People give veggie mama a break, please! I eat meat but love that you don’t. I’m in awe of your crocheting skills but I knit. Rob Brezsny’s astrology says it best, “If I refused to learn from people unless I agreed with everything they had ever said and done, I would never learn from anyone.”

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Ohhh that is such a good quote! I’d like to learn how to knit better, I definitely would love being able to do something other than knit straight lines! It’s cool being different, I like it :)

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  • deb xo

    Got directed over here from Baby Mac… love it – adding you to my feedly. I’m in the middle of the road too – great to meet you.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Well it’s a pleasure having you here, welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay :)

  • Michelle

    I think you are fab packet cake mixes and all!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      haha thank you. I promise not to do it too often :)

  • http://www.woogsworld.com/ Mrs Woog

    I love you, just the way you are xxx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Is it wrong that I’m singing now? :)

  • Maxabella

    You’re perfect is what you are. x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I know you are, i said you are, but what am I? ;-)

  • Daneyl Green

    Being criticised because you used a packet mix?? Because every working Mum with two small kids has the time to bake everything from scratch, right?

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      haha ALL THE TIME! that cake had so many different steps to it i wasn’t about to bake a cake from scratch on top of it! It’s an American recipe, and I wanted to make it authentic. Besides, packet mixes are delicious ;-) x

  • Mermaid

    Go You! :-D

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Hehe thank you :)

  • Kylie Gardner

    Love love love this!! All of it.
    But… baby wipes to clean windowsills?? MIND. BLOWN! Why have I never thought of this?
    Also, I too swear way more in person.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I can’t even remember how it started, i think I was washing a kid’s face and all of a sudden went “oh I know what I can do with the clean half of this wipe!” and bam, all my windowsills were dust and cobweb-free :)

  • Rosie – Grandmother

    These are the very reasons why I love your blog. Also Thug Kitchen, on your recommendation, has become a favourite of mine.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Thug kitchen is the bomb! I love that guy so hard.

  • http://www.babyspace.net.au/ bron@babyspace

    go you! and that cake looks delish. x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh gosh, it really rather was. Perhaps it was all the chemically preservatives :)

  • http://www.themonsterandme.net/ Laura @ The Monster & Me

    Best post I have read in a long, long time! x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      YOU are very kind :)

  • Niki

    You go girl… be yourself and be real…. just like the rest of us! Oh yeah that’s right you are….! Bloody fantastic.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      hah just what I like to hear! x

  • Alli @ ducks on the dam

    Mmmmmm that recipe is awesome…… go you. We all have our vices. We all do things that suit our lifestyle and our family. Only thing is that some of us are honest above about it and some of us arent. BTW – powdered sugar? Is that icing sugar? And Cool whip? Sounds scary ;)

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Cool whip would be gnarly, I don’t think I could actually eat it! And powdered sugar is icing sugar, yeah. My vices are usually salt and vinegar chips, and blue cheese (although not together), but if a recipe calls for a packet mix, who am I to argue!

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