About Me

Hello everyone and welcome!

My name is April, I’m 37 years old and I live in San Diego, Ca with my hubby, two kids (ages 2 and 4), our Great Dane – Dixie, two kitties – Dora & Diego AND our three pet turkeys.

Before our oldest was born, I was a RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) at a local animal shelter. I always loved to cook but never considered writing about it until after our son was born. The truth is, I was bored! Busy with two small kids but so used to working and needed something for me. This blog started as a way for me to track my favorite recipes (including the tweaks I made to them) and even a few new ones of my own! Things have progressed into what I have now and I’m very happy with this new site! I look forward to offering many new things to you in the future!

Cooking is my favorite hobby, next to Crossfit! It gives me a much-needed break from the (let’s face it) stress of being Mommy/Superwoman of the household. I am constantly on a quest for healthy whole food, plant-based, oil-free recipes my picky toddlers and firefighter husband can enjoy, all while trying to save myself a little time in the kitchen.

I also LOVE learning anything and everything I can about plant-based diets!ย I am certified in Plant Based Nutrition throughย eCornellย and The Colin Campbell Foundation and plan on finishing my Registered Dietician’s license once my kids are old enough to be in school full time.

The story behind the “Kid Tested Firefighter Approved” title:

My husband is a firefighter/engineer/paramedic for the city we live in. He’s a big guy (6′ 4″), not your stereotypical veg-food eater. I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who will eat anything I cook, that allows me to push the plant-based meals as far as I want to. I’ve made some pretty “strange” things from what he’s used to eating at the fire station but I think he’s been pleasantly surprised enough times that he is now up for anything. He still eats meat sometimes, at the station or when we have friends over to our house, but he leans more towards vegan food options everyday. He will probably never give up his occasional rib-eye steak but I think he has a newfound appreciation for a hearty non-dairy, meatless meal. And yes… there is such a thing!

Our kids grew up plant-based but are still SUPER picky sometimes so sticking to a whole foods, no junk diet can be tough! I don’t mind though, it’s more important that they get used to eating “real food” instead of just eating “kid food”. Most people are shocked at what they’re willing to eat but they don’t know anything different!

Bottom line… if my hubby and two picky kids will eat this food, then yours might too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย PLEASE forgive me if my photos aren’t always the best! It’s tough to be artistic and creative when you have about 30 seconds to prep a plate of food and take a good picture before someone throws their sippy cup or another screams because they’re hungry. If you’re a mom, you totally understand what I’m talking about!! This blog is based on real life! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment telling me about yourself below, I’d love to ‘meet’ you!!

All the best to you and your family!

– April

Our Family!

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  1. Skeeter Reply

    Loved it. You are a very smart lady and so ambitious. I’m excited for your career to unfold. Love Mom#2

    • Diana Starr Daniels Reply

      Don’t know how I came across this site but it is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. Diana in Southeastern MA

  2. Tom Reply

    Your the best!………such a fantastic cook!

  3. Emily Reply

    Loving everything I’ve made so far…..Veggie muffins cauliflower curry, and the banana orange quinoa!!!!

  4. Shaunna Reply

    April~ This is GREAT I’m so excited about this!! Can’t wait to try some of these delicious meals… xoxo Love & Hugs ;~)

    • Thanks so much!! You can subscribe if you want the recipes as I post them. Hope you like them, we do! XOXO

  5. Awesome blog April, I LOVE IT!!! I loved reading about you eating pomegranates in your play clothes. I always loved them so my mom would strip me down naked and put me the bath tub, maybe that’s why I am still a naked girl lol !!! Good luck in all you – follow your dreams and never give up!!

    • LOL!!! That could be it!!! Thank you so much Annika, your support means a lot to me!!! XOXO

  6. Molly Reply

    Oh goodness! I’m so glad that I discovered your site, April! I too am learning (we’ll you’ve LEARNED and I’m LEARNING :-)) how to follow the E2 diet and am so very excited! As a happenstance, I live on the border of La Mesa/San Diego! Small world! Thank you so much for being such a wonderful resource and I very much look forward to learning more from you! (((HUGS)))) ~ Molly

    • Hi Molly!
      So happy you’re enjoying the site, thanks so much for your support! Small world indeed!! Do you have little kids too? We love La Mesa, my hubby works for La Mesa Fire Department – Station 12 on Dallas St. Hugs to you too!!!
      April ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Molly Reply

    Yes, I’m planning on making your oil free marinara tomorrow night! Can’t wait to dive in and see all of your wonderful ideas. Oh I have my little girl – but she’s 16 and the joy of my life! She and my husband are still meat eaters but since I make all of the meals in the house, they’ve been following my veggie ways! They’re both wonderful – just like your husband – whatever I make, they eat and really enjoy it too! My daughter Sarah’s favorite foods?? Kale and Brussels Sprouts! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good kid she is!

    I live behind the Joan Kroc Salvation Army Center and work at the University of San Diego. I grew up in San Diego and spent many a day at the Dallas Y and Dallas Park! They had the best set up for roller skating (okay, I’ll admit it – I’m 45! Teehee!) Well, I’m sorry for the book but I just want to thank you for all you do and also please let your husband know that our family prays always for our first responders and military! Thank him on our behalf for his service and dedication! ~ Molly

    • How did you like the marinara sauce? That’s my favorite sauce recipe! That’s great that your daughter and hubby enjoy your veggie meals! That would’ve been my biggest struggle had I not started this so early on, I commend you for that!!! Kale and Brussels Sprouts… Sarah is a smart girl!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I never thought about roller skating at Dallas Park but that’s a great idea! Hey, you’re never too old!! Thank you for your support, my hubby greatly appreciates your kind words and so do I. I’m so glad you’re learning right along with me, thanks again for your support!!!
      April ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I’m really enjoying your blog posts too! I need to check out that link, thank you again!!!

  8. Josie Kummerer Reply

    Good luck with your endeavors, great recipes! Thank you!

  9. Pam Reply

    Have you heard of engine 2 diet? Just came across it earlier today, interesting how you both mention plant-based foods. Check it out.

  10. hillary Reply

    I have been reading your blog for so long and always like “it sounds like she shops at the same places I do.” I just now figured out we are in the same city! LOL. Love your recipes, my son and my firefighter approve also! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Melissa Reply

    Vegetarian daughter/sister/cousin of Firefighters here!
    I came across your blog and thought you would be a great resource for families for a new show I am working on.
    I am casting for a new Television Documentary Series about Parenting. We are looking for Siblings who are Parents and now have different philosophies than each other when it comes to raising kids- one may be homeschooling, one may be religious, one may be vegan, one may believe in attachment parenting, one may be very militaristic, etc.

    As a vegetarian myself, I am always getting into arguments with my siblings about my lifestyle, and it even prompted me to do a short documentary about vegan parenting a few years ago. I am excited to see the dynamics between Siblings and their different parenting philosophies and think this will be a great show!

    Below is a blurb about the show. If you happen to have any good ideas of people we should reach out to, or wanted to share this info with your readers I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks for your help!


    Do you and your sibling disagree about how to raise your kids?


    Major cable network is casting a new documentary series about PARENTING.

    This is a PAID opportunity.
    Families must be located in the NY/NJ/PA/CT area.
    For more info:
    EMAIL: mykidscasting@gmail.com
    CALL: (646) 430-9358
    Deadline: August 6th

  12. Natalie Reply

    I’m so glad you’ll be bringing true health to the dietician field- someone I know just met with a dietitian who recommended Atkins to get his Hgb A1C down!! Talk about primitive education! I am convinced this is the optimal way to eat for long lasting health. Thanks for your help!

    • That’s CRAZY! I have a really great plant-based RD I work with if you are interested. I HIGHLY recommend her!!!

  13. Ed Mitchell Reply

    Your recipes are fantastic! I love this site. Going plant strong has been the best thing I’ve ever done and this site has really helped!

    • Thank you for your kind words Ed! I’m glad to be of help to you on your journey!

  14. Mary Jo Wenckus Reply

    I love your blog and your recipes and I try a lot of them. I also completed my certificate in plant-based nutrition from the eCornell program — wasn’t it wonderful?
    Just a question for you, since I do not know a lot about how web sites work. I sent a friend your link and he was concerned to see a Wendy’s ad or banner on your home page. Are they a sponsor, or how does this work? I’d like to be able to explain it. Frankly, I can ignore it, but my friend brought it up!

    • Hi!
      Wendy’s ad? LOL! I write my blog through WordPress and once you get a certain amount of traffic they add ads to your site. I have to pay to remove them and I haven’t had much time to look into it too much. When I sign into it on this end all I see is the space for the ad to go so you guys must see something different. They’re supposed to sell ads to companies that have things in common with my blog – for example Vega products, VitaMix, etc. Wendy’s… not sure how they got that one! I can assure you they are not a sponsor. I’ll look into it again, thanks for pointing it out. It’s kinda funny… a fast food restaurant ad on a plant-based, whole foods blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for your support!!

      • Mary Jo Wenckus Reply

        Aha! So that’s how it works! Interesting. I wish you good luck trying to control this one. Love your site and thank you for all the work you for for the plant-based way of eating.

  15. Jennifer Reply

    We just started eating totally plant based this week, I love looking at all your recipes, but it also seems overwhelming. Could you help me out by posting your 10 family favorite recipes?

    • Our favorites are on the left side of the main page of my blog. I need to update them though, I will do that asap!!! Thanks for your support!!!

  16. Kirsten Reply

    I love your recipes…and could use your help with a family favorite recipe. It’s a leek potato soup that is made by slowly sauteing bacon. I have found some recipes that I can tweak to mimic the texture, but what should I do for the “smokey” bacon flavor? I’d love to hear your ideas!

    • Hi Kirsten!
      I would try Colgin brand Hickory Smoke flavored liquid smoke??? That would work, I bet! Have you tried the Coconut Bacon recipe on the blog? That might be a nice addition too, add it as a garnish? Let me know how it turns out!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I’ve just started eating a plant based diet 2 weeks ago. My husband is away for military training so I thought this would be a good time to experiment. I love that you have a “foods my toddler loves” category… I have a lot of fear about transitioning my 1 year old only plant based products (and a lot of guilt about not doing so) and it’s nice to see some options that are tried and true.

    • Hi Maggie! Welcome to the plant-based world! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your toddler is at the perfect age to make the transition!!! She will never know the difference, I promise. Good for you Mom!

      • Advice for 5-year-olds who didn’t like “healthy” food to begin with? My strategy right now is to feed them rice (which right now one of them won’t eat even if it’s processed rice!) and work toward whole grain. I’m ready to go full guns now but they’re really picky eaters.

        • Try bean burgers mixed with brown rice or another grain? That’s what I do or I add brown rice or quinoa to soups. I find that persistence is the key with younger children since they won’t starve themselves and will eventually eat what’s put in front of them. How’s it going lately for you??

  18. donna Reply

    Morning! and thank you so much for your site, I have really enjoyed reading it and getting the recipes. I have a question abt temphe please. I had gone to an eatery some time ago and had an asian temphe sandwich that was delish! I then went to the store so I could make it at home, and it was flat out aweful!!!! The temphe tasted horrible to the point I never tried again:( You have several yummy looking recipes on your site, but I am afraid to waste money or that I wont know what I am doing. Could you email me abt preparing temphe and where I could have gone wrong?? Or a tutorial on your site on taking the bitterness out of temphe? I believe the sandwich I tried to duplicate was a teriaki flavor and in spite of all the sauce, it still tasted horrid!! Thanks so much

    • jstew52 Reply

      Hi Donna – April, sorry if I am stepping on your toes here – you can eliminate tempeh’s bitterness by steaming it for 15 minutes prior to using it in other recipes. I use a metal steamer insert in a pot and throw the block of tempeh in whole. Works great! I love tempeh’s texture!

      • Not at all, thank you! I mentioned steaming or boiling the tempeh first in another post but forgot to continue it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I prefer the boil method myself, mainly because it’s less dishes.

  19. Nicole Reply

    I’m relieved to have found your site. I have a 15 month old and I’m always looking for healthy meals. I haven’t gone plant based but i want to. I appreciate your recipes!

  20. jstew52 Reply

    Hi April,

    I am new to your site and loving it. I am in the middle of a kitchen renovation – can’t wait to get back in and cook! I love your background and it makes me feel confident about getting all the nutrition I need from vegan eating. Thanks so much!

    • Hi! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my site! So what are you doing to your kitchen exactly? I would LOVE a new kitchen! Good luck to you and let me know if you need any help!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Jen Reply

    Wow, I just stumbled upon your site and hate to cook. But you’re recipes look easy enough for me – many of them are similiar to what I’ve tried on my own. I’m mostly vegetarian and I find myself making the same things for my 6 yr. old daughter. I can see we use the most of the same ingredients, now I can make them into the same mouth-watering dishes. Exited and Hopeful, Jenny

    • Hi Jen! So glad you found me! Have you tried anything yet? What’s your favorite!! Nice to ‘meet’ you!

  22. Diane Reply

    I would like to convert a Carrot Cake Recipe. Any suggestions for the oil, sugar, flour and eggs? I was thinking applesauce for oil, agave for sugar, ground oats for flour. What about the eggs? Do you use flour? Love your site! Glad I found it. Everything looks delicious!

  23. First of all, I am very PROUD of you! 2nd, I had no idea that I would be this interested in trying any of these recipes……BUT I AM!!!! Jean-Marc will come home and I will say “Look at what April is making today” We would look at eachother , one eyebrow raised, head tilted. But everyday I keep looking and reading and now look where I am……on this site! So….what is your suggestion on making my first meal?

    • Thank you Stacye! Hmm… what to make first? That’s a tough one! What are some of your favorite foods? Do you like spicy? Let me know and I’ll steer you in the right direction! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you!

  24. April,

    I’m so glad to have discovered your site. You’ve done a great job with the recipes and the pictures are very appealing. Like you, I am very enthused about the health benefits of a plant based diet. I have read the China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, the Engine 2 Diet, and several books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and like you, I love the subject.
    I’m trying to get my kids (and 3 grandkids ) enthused about this lifestyle without being pushy. I think that sending them a link to your website will help a lot.
    Here’s a question that you probably can help me with. My wife complains about the odor in the kitchen when I am water sauteeing onions. (It doesn’t bother me at all, but she says it makes her feel nauseous.) I must admit that my method doesn’t smell as good as traditional oil sauteeing does.
    I use very little water, just enough to prevent sticking and a moderate to high heat. I have read somewhere to use high heat. Maybe that’s my problem. I’m very grateful for any tips you can send our way.

    • Hi Kenny!!
      Wordpress was hiding your comment, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner! Welcome, so glad to have you! Thanks for your kind words! I love the subject too, in case you couldn’t tell. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Sure, send them on over! You could also cook them a few subtle things to peak their interest?
      My husband says the same thing about onions, doesn’t bother me a bit. No, it doesn’t smell the same. Darnit. Have you tried veggie broth? What type of pan are you using? I usually use medium high heat and just keep adding liquid. I also use bean cooking liquid – the liquid leftover after I pressure cook by chickpeas. You could use canned liquid too, just make sure it’s no salt added if you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake. I’d say try that and keep adding liquid. Let me know if that works for you! Are you on Facebook? Come join our group for more cooking tips and a ton of other fun plant-based topics!!


      Enjoy your evening!
      April ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Great site, I’m so happy I stumbled on to it! I’m looking forward to checking out more of your recipes. I too have a fireman to feed who lovingly puts up with eating the same things over and over while I work on the recipes… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • They’re the best aren’t they!! SO glad you found me!! Welcome!

  26. littlekam@gmail.com Reply

    My son, 7 years old decided to be a vegan. I was very angry, upset and frustrated when he told me about his decision.
    I know that I have to respect his own choices so I have found your website.
    Please give me support.

    • I’m here for you! Are you on Facebook? Join my group, you’ll find a ton more help from other moms too!

  27. Hi April! I just came across your site and had to comment. I’m a food blogger as well, and my husband is a fireman in Tucson, and we have two kids! Haha, I just thought our similarities were ironic. I’m loving your blog so far! We aren’t entirely vegan over here, but we’re definitely very healthy. I’m excited to read more from you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • aprilcmast Reply

      Hi Lauren! I love your blog too! Thank you and it’s very nice to ‘meet’ you! How old are your kids? ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. My husband and I just started changing our diet to be more healthy (no dairy or meat) and it has been hard but really rewarding! We have four little boys and they are taking the change…okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I was looking around for recipes and found your site. SO glad you share what you know!! I am a fan.

  29. Alexandra Reply

    Just wanted to say hi! I found your site while searching for vegan pregnancy – your site was listed as a recommendation for great recipes. My husband is a firefighter too, so I know how big that stamp of approval is =) I am very excited to try your recipes! You all are a beautiful family!

  30. Amanda Reply

    Hi April!
    Just stumbled upon your blog today and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Spent way too much time browsing your recipes! All fabulous! So glad to see there are people out there like me that are as excited about “plant strong” health and wellness! I am going to give the Real Deal Nacho Cheeze a try as soon as we get back from vacation next week! Thanks for all your hard work on this blog!!! ~Amanda in AZ

  31. Hey there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how tto make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when viewing from
    my iphone. I’m trying to find a theke or plugin that might
    be able to resolve this problem. If you have any
    recommendations, please share. Cheers!

  32. Chrystina Reply

    Hi there! I discovered your blog thanks to Michael Gregor’s new book “How Not To Die”–he mentions one of your roasted chickpea recipes. I just wanted to say “good for you!!” –it’s not easy to feed your kids right in this day & age. Hope all is going well for you & your family.

  33. Linda H. Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I, too, received a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition through eCornell, motivated by watching my mother suffer a stroke in her mid-70’s. My biggest struggle is finding food that is simple and tasty, so I love some of your ideas.

  34. Carissa Reply

    Was so happy to find your blog but see you haven’t been active lately. Just thought I would say ‘hi’ and would love to see you post. I found you several years ago then I stopped eating plant based during pregnancy and continued to downslide to two more years. I am now turning it back around and came to your site to see if you have anything my picky 6 yr old will eat. The two years old isn’t in the pickapoo stage Yet so she is much easier! Hope you are wel!!