As Jill McOwen will be the first to admit: she’s no super-mom. “I am most definitely a work in progress when it comes to my organizational skills and juggling my daily mom duties,” she says. “But my number one hobby has always been cooking and baking.”
That’s why, at the age of 40, she decided to take the leap and make a career out of it. She started her blog, Foodtastic Mom.
“The name Foodtastic Mom didn’t initially have any meaning behind it,” she explains. “But as my blog has grown, it began to sound like a superhero title to me.”
When she paid to have her blog redesigned by a professional, she found a Kitchen Aid stand mixer – her favorite appliance in her home kitchen – decorated to look like Wonder Woman for her designer to use in the blog title. While she doesn’t buy into the “supermom” ideal because she finds it unrealistic, she thinks everyone has their own way of being super.
“My life is a juggling act and balls get dropped, usually by me, all the time,” she adds. “But on my worst days, the kitchen really is where I find my happiness again.”
McOwen’s favorite thing about Foodtastic Mom is that the creativity allows her to express herself and also challenges her. She gets to read and see what other bloggers are creating in their own kitchens, which inspires her to constantly be better on her own.
Of course, there are a lot of food blogs on the Internet, so McOwen had to find a way to help herself stand out and be unique. She’s always trying her best with what she has and shows what her family is actually eating. “I’m honest when I have a failure in the kitchen, and I am forthcoming about what I am not good at,” she says. “This includes making cake pops or other assorted cake and frosting creations that are incredibly intricate.”
While some people see cooking as a chore, McOwen’s goal is to have a light-hearted attitude when writing about her food in hopes it translates into others having fun in their own kitchens. “Feeding yourself and your family occupies such a large part of each and every day, it’s better to find enjoyment in it somewhere,” she says.
McOwen does what she can to make spending time in the kitchen and cooking fun. She even has a “Kitchen Music” tab in her music library where she can update mixes that she listens to while cooking. She has yet to find another blogger who does that.
When designing her blog, McOwen hired Smitten Blog Designs and took a natural lighting food photography class from Gina Weathersby at Kiwi Street Studios. Other than that, however, the blog is solely run by McOwen.
McOwen not only runs her blog but she does catering on a word-of-mouth basis as well. She was rather busy with this service during the winter holiday as she provided meals for teachers and staff at Bethel-Tate and Madeira schools, volunteers at MEAC in Madisonville and employees at Nurse Staffing in Montgomery.
McOwen says her biggest contract so far is happening now with the National Pork Board and Kroger with their #ChopGriller promotion. Her first blog post of the series can be found here.
“In it, I share recipes for bourbon-brined and grilled porterhouse pork chops topped with candied bacon compound butter, bacon fat oven fries (loosely based on the incredible bacon fat fries at Senate Pub) and spinach apple salad,” McOwen explains.
She hopes to work more with Kroger in the future since they are a Cincinnati-based company and she does the bulk of her food shopping at her local Anderson Township Kroger. Most of the products she purchases from the grocery store end up on her blog.