Month: May 2014

Hard Money Cake, 1877

Hard Money Cake

Yellow cake:
4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp corn starch
1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
1 tsp lemon
1 tsp vanilla
8 egg yolks
1 c. sour milk

White cake:
4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp corn starch
2 c. sugar.
1 c. butter
8 egg whites
1 c. sour milk
1 tsp almond extract or peach juice

Preheat oven to 350F
Grease & flour (4) 8” round pans & (1) 9×13” pan, parchment paper optional.
In 2 medium bowls, mix flour, baking soda & corn starch for both cakes. Set aside.
In 2 large bowls, cream sugar & butter. Add vanilla & lemon juice to yellow cake. Add almond extract OR peach juice to white cake.
In 3 smaller bowls, separate yolks from whites using the 3rd bowl to hold the shells. Beat each till mixed.
Beat eggs into respective creamed sugar.
Alternate flour mixture & milk, stir until combined.
Spoon into pans alternately, no more than ½ full.
Bake at 350 until done, 45min – 1+hrs.


Gold Part.–Yolks of eight eggs, scant cup butter, two of sugar, four of flour, one of sour milk, tea-spoon soda, table-spoon corn starch; flavor with lemon and vanilla.

Silver Part.–Two cups sugar, one of butter, four (scant) of flour, one of sour milk, tea-spoon soda, table-spoon corn starch, whites of eight eggs; flavor with almond or peach. Put in pan, alternately, one spoonful of gold and one of silver.–Miss Emma Fisher.

Buckeye Cookery, 1877


***  This makes a lot of cake.  I highly recommend cutting the recipe in 1/2.  You’ll still need a lot of bowls, but half should be good for a nice size cake vs. Godzilla Cake.  Also, it won’t take a dozen eggs.

My mother says it tastes like her grandmother’s cake.
Here is the frosting I made for it.  Be careful not to cook the sugar even 3 seconds longer than you should.

Boiled frosting:
3 lg. Eggwhites
1 c. granulated sugar
4 tbsp hot water
½ lb blanched almond paste (optional)
Beat egg yolks to a stiff froth*.
Moisten sugar with hot water then boil briskly for five minutes or until it “ropes” from the end of the spoon.
Turn sugar onto beaten eggs & stir until cold.
(Optional) Add ½ lb blanched almond paste
Will frost tops of 2 lg. Cakes.

*Then beat them more.

Whites of three eggs beaten to a stiff froth, one large cup granulated sugar moistened with four table-spoons hot water; boil sugar briskly for five minutes or until it “ropes” from the end of the spoon, turn while hot upon the beaten eggs, and stir until cold.
If preferred, add half pound sweet almonds blanched and pounded to a paste, and it will be perfectly delicious. This amount will frost the top of two large cakes.–Mrs. A. S. C.
Buckeye cookery 1877


WIC and 7 month food list

We visited the WIC office today yesterday.  I love the county health department, awesome folks!  I also like WIC for the services they provide – weight & measurements, answering basic questions that your doctor never takes the time to address, etc.  Not a huge fan of the coupons, mostly because there isn’t much we can use & I tend to buy non-WIC stuff… like almond butter* v. peanut butter (though sunflower butter* is far better & hella cheaper) and absolutely no hydrogenated anything.  I also forget to take the packet with me & just end up handing the coupons back.  I’m lucky if I remember to bring my cloth bags when I shop, heck, I’m lucky if I remember to put my wallet in the diaper bag.  I do like the produce coupon, $10 can go a long way for fresh fruits & veggies if you buy smart.
*You can basically make nutbutter from any kind of nut/seed if you just chop it & grind it enough to make the oils come out and emulsify.  You don’t have to add anything.  It’s a lot of work, which is why we don’t really do it much today, but Once Again Nutbutter is local – and NOM!  How to make it  You do need a good food processor, which I don’t have, which is why I buy the jars.

Anyway, he’s at 8% for weight & 10% for height, and on the breastfeeding charts he’s 50% height-for-weight, which is awesome.
His now former doctor had me absolutely freaking out about his weight, even though I knew he was on his curve & perfectly fine.  Hopefully NewDoc will be better.
WIC dietitian was thrilled with our food intake.  She says she wishes all her clients would eat the way we do.  She also reassured me that the baby weight will eventually come off, and no, I don’t need cholesterol medication, just go for a walk with the kid every day and eat sensibly; no I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow.  Apparently FormerDoc is horrible for ALL of her breastfeeding mommies and apparently we’ve all been frustrated/infuriated rats jumping off that sinking ship.  So, stay on course with the breastfeeding and homemade foods & maroon the doc on a rock.  My husband has a bit of a joke that goes “What does Dr. — say?  Quack! Quack!”
The kiddo is also talking, a few words here & there – so WIC lady says – because we don’t employ the mouth plug.  His binky is a toy, like all other toys, not a pacifier.  We do use the binky on long car rides, but he’s actually happier with the Links attached to his straps because he can’t lose them.  He also likes having a cup where he can reach it to drink.
The MommyWalkMe thing is good exercise.  He’s really REALLY crawling as of this morning.  Not just 2 scoots & done, but distances of 2-4′ then a sit-down, then 2′ more.  Easier on the knees with pants, so I’ll have to make sure we stuff him in them, not just a onesie or diaper cover.

WIC – totally awesome program.  Have I mentioned how awesome WIC is?   WIC is awesome.


At 7 months, here is his food list:  (we’re at 8 months now, but this is what I had typed out).

JR’s Food List
Prunes (1 tbsp ONLY)

Oat Cereal
Cream of Wheat
Soft Bread
Naan bread
French toast bits
Bread pudding

Sweet Potatoes
White potatoes
Cooked celery
Cooked onions
Summer squash
Green beans (mixed w/ other)
Beets (mix w/ applesauce)

Salmon (oat cereal & carrots)
Turkey (mix with veggie)
Beef broth
Chicken (mix with veggie)
Egg yolk (whole eggs are fine, mix w/ banana)


apple juice w/water

butter is OK




Avocado (2 yrs- allergic)
Berries (1 yr – safety)
Grape juice (Puke)

Rice (9 months – tummy upset)

Peanuts (2 yrs – safety)

Yogurt (allergic – 1 yr)

Honey (2 yrs – safety)



Fat Crunchy Mama


Baby Steps

I had a dream last night that we went to a restaurant that served you food based on your BMI.  My healthiest option was a 10 gallon plastic tote of salad steeped in fatty dressing.  I tried to wash it off with the water form my glass, but it just made it worse, and then I didn’t even have the water to drink.

I’m fat.
If I were comfortable with this level of fatness I’d be totally cool with that.  But I’m just plain not.  I’m unaccustomed to my body overlying my body.  This weird post-baby belly thing (love that I got a kid out of it) is just not of the cool.  The boobs are awesome, but there aren’t bras big enough – HOW do women find nursing bras that are big enough?  Companies advertise that they sell “38F” but then you get there & it’s one stupid sports bra that really only goes up to G.  I can sew corsets like a champ, but bras are mind-boggling.  Not like I have time either.

Anyway, walking is keeping me sane.  The little bit of yoga I can squeeze into the day is great.  I really want to bring my AbDobics! machine upstairs – cheesy, yes.  Works like wow.  I’m wondering where I can squeeze it into this already overfull room.

This isn’t just me bitching about my postpartum physique. I promise there is a point.

Here’s the point: My body has been effectively pregnant for the last 4 years.  I got one fantastic, awesome, incredible, beautiful boy out of that and I could not possibly be happier.  My hormones were trashed, I had multiple miscarriages, a stroke, cancer and more bed-rest than I care to talk about cracks in the ceiling – I don’t look up in the mornings – at all.  It took me 4 years to lose the weight the first time, it’ll probably be longer this time.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  For all that grief, pain, fear, frustration, anger – all of it was worth it for this little boy.

When I hear the voices in my head that say “you’ll lose all of that weight breastfeeding” and not a pound has dropped…
When I hear “only slackers don’t lose baby weight in the first 8 weeks” and nothing has come off in months…
When I hear “!Ver cómo grandes caderas!” in the store…
When the voice in my head says “My God you are fat!”

I need to stop & consider where I’ve been and what I’ve been through in the last few years.  I need to give myself some grace, and some time to get myself back together.  The primary goal is BOY.  All else is secondary.  Health falls in there, pretty high up the list actually, but not at the top.  Food choices first, then exercise, then we’ll see.  I have to remember that I’m still me.  I’m still worthwhile, I’m still the lovely, funny (am so!), irreverent, hungry for information, nuts over costumes, weird chick my husband married all those years ago… there’s just a little more of me now and I need to boost my HDL.


On a side-note, my kid said “good” today several times.  Apparently peas are good!


Edit:  I realize that this will come off as a fat-hating post.  Yesterday was a fat-hating kind of day.  None of my reenacting clothes fit so I was more than a bit pissy.  OK, the Civil War maternity dress fits beautifully and I still rock that thing.
Anyway, let me just restate that this is, in fact, all about me.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with you, your body, your perception of yourself or anyone else for that matter.  Got it?  Good.
Also, there are days when I absolutely love how I look.  Even naked.  Which doesn’t happen much because there’s always a kid in the room with me.   But still!  I even love the stretch marks that now match the old “I grew way too fast” marks.
If I were actually fat & fit, I would be fine.  I used to be fat & fit.  Now I’m just fat & unhealthy.  Not cool.  In any case, due to my medical issues I am working on it.  Health is important, and actually being here for my son and hopefully his children is really important to me.  To do that, I have to be above ground & at least semi-mobile.
So, don’t internalize this.  Remember, it’s all about me.

Dandelions Are Edible

Dandelions are edible

Hello Tasty Flower

So it’s spring here in West Podunk NY (lovely- really it’s pretty enough to make a calendar photographer cry tears of pocket change) and our yard is basically composed of wildflowers… if we lived in the burbs they’d be called weeds but we never have to water our lawn; let’s hear it for tried & true vegetation… but no mater what you want to call that greenery – purplry? Whitery? yellowblossomsofnummygoodness?, my kid is going to eat it.

Dandelions are tasty

Nom nom tasty flower! Daddy ate one too.

Honest to God I have uprooted and Googled more flora in the last month than I did when I was studying herbalism 300 yrs ago.

Yes, dandelions are edible.  No, you may not eat 5 at once.
Clover is fine.
While purslane should be OK, kid you only weigh 17 lbs, so no.
Violets are cool.
Pansies are nummy
The roses aren’t blooming yet, but he can chomp on the petals when they do.
Lilacs smell and taste delicious – go for it.
No tulips. (they are yes/no sorta edible, but I’d rather he skip them)
Grass?  Really?
Thankfully by the time he can reach our (edible) day lilies they will be done blooming… One flower might survive the grazing habits of my pint size son.

Now, the downside to this floral binge that it has put the whole 4-day-wait food schedule in disarray.  I have things like “dandelion” in the slot where “white potato” should be.  Grapes got put on hold in favor of lilacs.

So, all that scheduling angst aside, it’s horribly cute when he goes tripping outside towing the Mommy Walker behind him, then does a dead stop&drop to nosh on one of those delightful yellow weeds that my father-in-law tries so hard to irradiate in his own yard… in these parts we just enjoy the sunny view & blow the seed heads in the wind for wishes! (or my kid tries to eat those too)…


Oh, I forgot to mention, all that chewing on chewy dandelion heads has helped break a tooth through.  Thank You!  We’ve been waiting for that sucker since he was 3 1/2 months old!  Now if the other 3 would come in we might get a break from the Mr. Droolbuckets for a bit.

Mother’s Day

O-M-F-G!  I get a Mother’s Day!  Holy Sh*t!
Excuse me while I squee like a little girl & weep for joy while my heart breaks into 10,000 pieces of rainbow glitter* love.

OK, I’m fine now.

This was not always so.  For the past four years Mother’s Day has been a pretty dark holiday for us.  Father’s Day too, though that is easier to avoid.  After 2010 I’d just go camping.  Or do a media black-out, or whatever I could to just avoid everyone & everything on Mother’s Day.  Heck, I’d tear up just thinking about it.  I think it was 2012 when I was just able to move around after yet another miscarriage that my parents wanted to go out to dinner and I ended up having a screaming, crying fit at the thought of having to hold it together while watching all those happy parents with their happy kids.

Today, one of my friends mentioned how MD is bittersweet for her because of the early miscarriage of her son.  She still counts the years and thinks “he would be 3/4/5 now.”  I stopped doing that after a while.  The math escaped me somewhere around the 4th or 5th loss.  By the 7th I just wanted one of them to take me with them.  When the 8th tried… but God how I loved them all.  I still love them.  It’s all I could give those little buds of life that never bloomed.  And Mother’s Day was the thorn that gets you after the dead bushes have been pulled out of the garden & you are left with this bare patch where something used to be, and everyone else is loving their roses, and here you are with blood poisoning thanks to that stupid thorn.

But you never give up hope.  A lot of people talk about faith here, but by the time I got pregnant with my son I’d stopped speaking to God.  As in, “I’m so mad at you I’m not talking to you” kind of not speaking.  I fully admit to being about the most nondenominational person out there, but I missed my own spirituality.  By then, I was afraid to love that baby.  I’d just pray that he’d move (without talking to God, because we were definitely Not Speaking), and each and every time he’d move.  By the time we got to 22 weeks and they said “healthy” I almost dared to hope.  Then 25 weeks and “chance of survival” and then 35 weeks and I was overjoyed (huge, couldn’t move, ended up with the hives), and the cake was topped with the easiest labor this side of the Mississippi and tomorrow that little boy will wake up hissing – yes, he hisses – and then his eyes will meet mine and he’ll break into the brightest smile I’ve ever seen, and we’ll both giggle quietly enough to wake Daddy up but he’ll still pretend to be asleep, and the day will be like any other Sunday.  Except now I can be happy, even if I’m sometimes a little sad for the might-have-beens.

Glass Dragonfly

One thing is sure, tomorrow will always happen.


*Crap.  Where did all this stupid glitter come from?


1 month old & right on the tummy.

1 month old & right on the tummy.

So I read this article on yahoo news a few days back & it’s had me chuckling ever since.  Essentially it was about how a good chunk of American parents don’t put their kids to sleep on their backs.

Now, as the mother of a Tummy Sleeper, I can’t tell you how nerve-wracking it was for the first few months to know that my little peanut could, and did, roll himself right over at less than 2 weeks & smoosh his little nose right into the mattress all flippin’ night.  I’d literally stand over his crib making sure he was breathing… for hours.  I got NO sleep.  After going nuts for about 2 or 3 months (I can’t remember anymore), we brought him into bed with us.  I have this hazy recollection of my kid getting a horrible cold & he couldn’t breathe laying down,* so I put him on my chest & we both slept well for the first time EVER.  And there he’s been since.  I’m sure we get the Worst Parent Award for co-sleeping, which BTW, I never, ever planned to do, E-V-E-R.  But here we are.  I still live in hope that someday the All Night Mommy Diner will reduce her hours & the one loyal customer will sleep in his own bed again, but no rush.  It’s awesome birth control.  I do miss my heavy blankets & nice pillows, but at least I can open my eyes, see he’s still breathing (he takes up 4/5 of the bed – HOW does such a little person manage to confiscate so much real estate???), and go back to sleep if I’m not da Fountain o’Boobajuice or getting baby ninja kicked in the belly or thwacked in the boob.  As a bonus, cosleeping has helped regulate his nighttime temperature; poor kid used to freeze or sweat into fits (have YOU tried the “no blanket” thing?).  Now, instead of waking up screaming & unhappy he just sticks his little icicle toes on my stomach and smiles in his sweet dreams.  Let’s not even discuss the insane idea of sleep sacks & swaddling… it was a great plan until the Baby Campaign for Piggy Freedom started. After a tireless struggle the beleaguered PiggyTrapperMommy gave up and the protester won and the piggies are now free!
*So there’s this thing called a crib bolster, which you are supposed to put under their mattress when they have the snuzz to help elevate their heads but not add “stuff” to the crib.  Har-de-har-har.  Ever take a basic physics class?  Yeah, gravity works.  Those little bundles of joy just roll head-down straight to the bottom of the crib, adding to everyone’s misery.

So, back to this article – according to which I am no doubt Satan herself.  Has this (totally unhelpful) author never met a living child?  Babies aren’t plastic dolls, they sure don’t stay where you put them!   In all seriousness, there is no way you can keep your kids on their backs all night.  It’s not going to happen.  Realistically speaking, they move.  It’s when they don’t move that you need to worry.

Yes, keep big pillows & heavy blankets & insanely huge teddy bears out of their crib/bed.  Ban the cat who likes to cuddle too close to the kid (he’s still pissed at me).  Turn a fan on for air circulation.  Lay them down on their backs to start.  Do what you can to keep your child safe, and the rest is up to them and fate.

This & That

I don’t really have much exciting to babble about.

At 7 months & change he’s sitting up for quite a while, can correct his balance, but hasn’t sat up on his own yet.  He pulled up to standing from sitting via his activity center.  Boy was I surprised!
He’s a champ in the walker, but losing interest; he wants me to walk him all over the world unless shoes are involved, in which case sucking on them is the preferred activity.  My back is killing me – thank heaven for my massage therapist, she’s a miracle worker.

The crawling thing… not exactly happening regularly yet.  He’s still rolling, squirming, swimming & rocking to get places.  He’ll make it a few inches & then it’s SPLAT again.  Soon enough.  He crawls in his sleep just fine.

We are up to 3 meals a day, and he’s fussing about nursing in the daytime – my boobs are killing me & I’m pumping because the kid wants to eat ALL NIGHT.  Last night I had 3 dreams, and remember all of them if that tells you anything.  Zzzzzzzzzzz.  The food list is growing rapidly, but then so is his allergy list.  I fear this poor kid will have my food issues.  Yogurt is off the menu, it gave him a rash, the runs & major tummy issues. Not surprising considering I had to cut dairy when he was a newborn, but still disappointing.  We’ll reintroduce it later & see if it’s any better.  He actually tolerated green beans mixed with tofu & oat cereal.  Someday I will win on the green beans thing… or he’ll hate them as much as I do; whichever.  Beets are a win when mixed with applesauce.  Egg yolks are fab when mixed with bananas (so is tofu & bananas, kinda like tapioca, which I miss desperately & can’t eat anymore, so baby-food combo win for the mamma too!).  Peaches & pears & oat cereal are awesome.  peas & oat cereal are great, we’re doing whole peas in the blender now vs. hulled peas in the foley food mill, what a relief that he can handle a bit of texture now!  He plays with his food more, which is good.  That high chair tray is finally coming in handy.  Still only a little in the mouth via fingers, but he piles the goop up & sucks it off the tray.  Whatever works kid.

Object permanence is mastered.  He hides his own toys in blankets & then finds them.

He says “up” “hi” “mama” “ga-ma” “boowa (boob)” also “boob-boob” and “ungy.”  Yesterday was “yeah” which I realize I say way too much.  He said “cake” once but hasn’t said it again, but I haven’t mentioned it either and we haven’t had any.  He does NOT like chocolate cake (YAY! more for me!).

Naps are still MommyLapNap, so nap time is not “get stuff done time.”  At some point this kid will be too big for my lap & we’ll have to adjust.  For now I’ll take it.  He gets a nap, I get internet or book time and he wakes up happy.  I won’t deny being a fan of the cuddles either.

Time.  It has flown and there isn’t enough of it, and some days are empty and some drag and some never end or end too soon.  I’ve been trying to get his reenacting outfits together in stolen moments, but what once would have taken me a couple days at the most has been a week & counting and nowhere near done.  Tick Tock & I still have to make Husband something decent (read “not polyester”) to wear.