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.


  1. Jay - Moodie Foodie says

    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

  2. thelifeofclare says

    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.

  3. missandmisters says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  4. says

    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.

  5. Reannon Hope says

    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 :)

  6. Elizabeth@thebackyardlemontree says

    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.

  7. says

    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…

    • says

      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

  8. Lydia Sutakowsky says

    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

  9. Katie Rainbird says

    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

  10. Sharon Alger says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  11. stinkb0mb says

    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

  12. bigwords says

    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

  13. Yellow_Dandy says

    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!

  14. Bek @ Just For Daisy says

    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! ;)

  15. says

    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.

    • says

      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 :)

  16. Aeisha says

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

  17. ella says

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

  18. Jenn says

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

  19. Mel Thorne says

    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!!!

  20. Michelle Pope says

    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…

  21. MotherDownUnder says

    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!

  22. Lisa Mckenzie says

    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

  23. Leah says

    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.

  24. Emily says

    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

  25. Mandy McLoghlin Dos Santos says

    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.

  26. Cat_BeLoverly says

    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

  27. michelle lisle says

    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

  28. Raquel Bebbington says

    ‘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!

  29. coalvalleyview says

    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

  30. says

    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.

  31. Zena says

    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.”

    • says

      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 :)

  32. deb xo says

    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.

  33. Daneyl Green says

    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?

    • says

      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

  34. Kylie Gardner says

    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.

    • says

      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 :)

  35. Rosie - Grandmother says

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

  36. Niki says

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

  37. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    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 ;)

    • says

      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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