Anything but Scattered: Scattered Mom on Food & Life
Karen Humphrey (aka @Scattered Mom) really does seem to be scattered - in a good way! She’s all over the world of food and parenting. Karen is the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club, the former Meal Planning Expert at Everything Mom, manages several blogs, including Notes from the Cookie Jar and Chasing Tomatoes and oh, no big deal, but she also does Food Revolution Fridays, with her compadre Jamie Oliver. A diverse passion for cooking, food and family life makes this lady an ideal source of inspiration for our community. Here’s everything we thought you’d like to know about Karen Humphrey!
BT: You’re so diverse! How do you manage to do everything you do and what drew you into the online world of food and lifestyle writing?
KH: How do I manage it all? Well, to start, I’m quite the Twitter addict, which you’ve probably noticed! I’m very organized, but more than anything I really enjoy this work and when you love something, it comes naturally. It makes it easier that I have an older child, so I’m not quite as busy with the young childcare thing anymore. Also, I go to a lot of conferences, meet a lot of people in person, and I really want to stay connected with all these people online, which my blogs and Twitter help me do!
BT: What drew you into the world of food in the first place and how did you end up in so many roles?
KH: Well, I’m a self-taught cook actually. I was married at 21 and my husband had a therapeutic group home with four teens when we got married, so at first, I learned to cook out of sheer necessity! Over the years, I’ve always had an interest in cooking but now, in part because of my blogs, I actually cook more from inspiration and for enjoyment. Seeing people enjoy my ideas and blog posts and recipes, has made me realize that not everyone knows how to cook. It really doesn’t come naturally to everyone and I want to share what I know.
BT: What is the difference between Chasing Tomatoes and Notes from the Cookie Jar?
KH: Notes from the Cookie Jar is where I blog about being a parent, my family life, as well as cooking and food ideas. Chasing Tomatoes actually started when my step-daughter asked me to write a cookbook to share all my recipes with her but I decided it would be a lot easier to document my recipes in a blog!
BT: You’ve also started Food Revolution Fridays, which was given the thumbs up by Jamie Oliver himself and featured in the Globe and Mail. What is Food Revolution Friday all about?
KH: Inspired by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Season 1, I decided to begin cooking his recipes and featuring one a week, encouraging other bloggers/foodies to do the same and link up together in a type of meme. Jamie Oliver even pops by every now and then to see what we're up to. For Season 2, I'm back at it—still writing about the latest news around the show, and this year helping Jamie's team host Twitter parties, along with cooking his recipes, which have become staples in my house. Sometimes I write about controversial topics or agriculture in the classroom, highlight things that I think are important that people would want to know about.
BT: How did you become the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club?
KH: Yummy Mummy was expanding their site to include more food and recipes, needed an editor, and asked me to join their team! Simple as that. It was a no brainer for me, as this is what I love to do, and it’s a great site with lots of practical information for busy moms.
BT: You’re also known as a meal-planning expert. Can you share your best meal-planning advice with us?
KH: I use a big calendar on my fridge to plan out weekly meals. My best tip for parents is to find exciting recipes, and cook in larger batches so you can freeze part of it for later in the month. Sometimes I freeze things in single-serve containers so my husband or son can grab a meal on the weekends (burritos, soup, etc.) or take a single meal for lunch.
BT: As a mother, how have you inspired good eating habits in your teen son over the years?
KH: My motto is, if you don’t want them to eat junk, then don’t buy it. One fun idea I’ve used is something I call the Veggie Safari. In the Grocery Store, I would tell my son Kevin to go on a Veggie Safari (on a day when I wasn’t rushed for time of course) and he would be allowed to look at all the produce and choose one item to take home for a snack. This was a great way for me to teach him about some of the produce he didn’t know about, what they were, and what they were used for. In general, my advice is to keep a low-pressure atmosphere, and just enjoy being together.
Great advice! Karen leaves us with this recipe for homemade pizza, which she says is her favorite food this week! Enjoy.