Wacky Cake

More research is needed on the mechanisms through which single motherhood undermines the health of U.S. women and on the way these processes unfold over the life course and possibly, across generations.  Chronic financial strain likely plays an important role.

When I was pregnant with Maycee, I made a decision early on that I was not going to be a “Microwave Mom” or MM for short.  My mother-in-law and mom alike provided me a host of great little cookbooks to get me started.  I eased myself into this side of domesticity, however, beginning with meals that used already cooked items like pasta, frozen dough, and canned meats.  My absolute favorite cookbook entitles: The Five Ingredients or Less Cookbook written by a bunch of different cooking teachers from a local school district.  Eventually I moved to the eversofamous crock pot and learned to adore it.  As Maycee was growing I became braver still by attempting to bake from scratch.  I even attended a “Taste of Home” get together hosted by my daughter’s daycare provider, and what’s more, I BOUGHT the cookbook-a beautifully large hardback with pictures reminiscent of Julia Childs, creating visions of a perfectly browned Thanksgiving turkey and Marie Calendar quality pies.  I loved it, and I would make out a sticky note each week, place it on my countertop, listing each day’s dinner menu, as if someone of major prestige was going to join us for such an event.  I have to admit that as the evenings came and went, with my then-husband typically under the weather, many a meal only got halfway eaten-my half. 

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot do.

Fast forward seven years…wow, I just felt the time warp…visual of a younger me thrust into an older, let’s just call it, more “seasoned” me, pun intended.  Hold on, readers, you will get a recipe out of this one!   Yes, I’ve made a couple, actually,  two to be exact, beautifully browned turkeys.  And, pies… well Marie doesn’t need to worry, but I do make a mean fresh strawberry pie complete with homemade crust.  As for the Microwave Mommy syndrome, I fall short of the untouched.  These days I waver between quick, nuc’d meals for Maycee that balance a menacing amount of processed foods, blended with my justifiable rule of at least providing one vegetable with every dinner, preferably a fresh vegetable, thus lots of salads (although I don’t chop the head of lettuce myself anymore-geez).  Accompany that with a glass of milk and my inner-self is somewhat satisfied, as long as we eat before 7:30PM.  This makes for star-studded success!  Amidst this acquired SWM version of domestic bliss I’ve settled into the idea of putting together one truly homemade meal for Maycee and me at least once per week. Tonight, for us, was one of those nights.

Julia, no shaking in your boots, now.  And, Donna Reed, cover your eyes.  We enjoyed baked chicken thighs covered in Bullseye Barbecue Sauce, a large gushing bowl of freshly cooked and mashed garlic butter potatoes with the skins mixed in (so Maycee will eat them, sneeeeeeaky), and spinach salad.  Did you know that I made this meal for less than $3.00 for us BOTH?  And, we have leftovers?  You see, the first quote of this blog refers to the bain of my existence, as well as the other single moms I know: financial strain.  Continuous, venomous, and quick to steal your sense of confidence.  However, when I can put to use the very things I marveled over as a new young mom, eager to see what life was going to bring for my beautiful daughter, the excitement over what I could do differently in a family that now doesn’t exist…when I can put the marvelous to work in this present day drama and hear the words, “Oh, Mommy, is ‘yum’ a word?”  Well, “Ceeeeeeeleeeebrate good times, come on!  It’s a celebration!”  Sing it, Cool ‘n’ the Gang.

So, let’s top it all off with a final word from our sponsor.  If we don’t find positive coping mechanisms for the daunting parts of our lives (and we ALL have them), we will indeed undermine our health–single working mom or not single working mom– right? Right.  Not totally giving up on the initial premise of joy and continuing to find ways to behold the smaller gifts we receive is one of the few things that keep me going these days. Cooking a decent meal on a shoestring budget would not be complete without dessert, would it?  No.  WACKY CAKE.  A recipe given to me by my mom, in whose footsteps I am eerily following at this juncture in my life, and being amazed by it, loving her more for it.   A recipe that utilizes no dairy or eggs, so it’s incredibly CHEAP.  Do what others say you cannot do.  Keep trying.  Don’t give up.  One day at a time.  Cope with wacky cake.  Here you go…

1 1/2 c four

1 c sugar

1 tsp soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp cocoa

Mix it all together!  Then….

Add:

1 c water

6 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together, again!  Pour into a 9″ round, 8″ square, or 7″x11″ oblong ungreased pan.  (If you’re feeling extra frisky like I was, make a double batch so that you can properly toast an employee’s birthday at work tomorrow.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

Frost using 1 box of powdered sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp crisco, and milk to moisten.

Yes, I told Maycee that “YUM” is indeed a word.  “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”  Enjoy, and as always, give a chuckle.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/14/single-moms-have-worse-health-and-getting-married-doesnt-help/#ixzz1PJngiksq

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4 responses

  1. Loved this post, Kasey. As a working mom, cooking is one of my biggest challenges. I always say, “if I had more time, I’d be a good cook.” Well, maybe not… but I struggle with making meals I feel good about for my family (now getting Piper to eat them is another matter). That’s great that you set realistic goals and find enjoyment in the process! Last night I prepared a lasagna for tonight’s dinner and boy do I feel ahead of the game today.

    Now I’m inspired to make some wacky cake!

    • That’s great, Aim. It is nice when we can get ahead, if even just once in awhile. I made a crockpot meal of chicken, potatos, and veggies a couple of weeks ago, and it almost felt like I had a husband who had lovingly prepared dinner for us to enjoy when we arrived home at 6:00 that night, ha! I’d make a really nice loving husband I guess….(wink). Enjoy the Wacky Cake. I bet my mom made it for us when we were little, so it may even bring back a fond memory or two! Love ya!

  2. When Li’l D started transitioning to solids, I realized I didn’t want him to eat the same processed (albeit vegan) crud I was eating. I wanted him to be healthier. That meant I’d have to venture into the terrifying land called The Kitchen. (The nightmares I’d had about the place!)

    It hasn’t been nearly as scary as I’d imagined. In fact, if I’d known it wouldn’t be very hard and would occasionally prove soothing, I would’ve tried my hand at cooking much sooner.

    Also, I’m going to try my hand at this awesomely vegan cake in the next couple of weeks! Woo-hoo!

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