April Favorites

April Outdoors

Hey guys!

Since we’re edging up to two years on this little blog of ours, we’ve decided to play around with posting monthly updates of what we’re currently crushing on, just to give you a taste of what we’ve been up to.

First of all, April’s been a crazy month for both of us. Wei is making a huge career change, and is starting a sparkly new job in marketing very, very soon (yay!). Leili has been getting ready to finally graduate after six long years of flitting in and out of school, and couldn’t be more ready. With all these changes going on, we’re so grateful we have you to keep us grounded. We love you guys.

Now let’s get into it.

Blogs We’re Loving

We spend most of our free time in the world of food blogging (and make-up vlogging, if we’re being honest). A few of our fellow food bloggers – Lady and Pups, Not Without Salt, Smitten Kitchen, Minimalist Baker and Local Milk – have been long-time favorites that you should definitely check out.

Recently, we’ve been loving The First Mess, Warm Vanilla Sugar, Two Red Bowls, The Whole Bite, and The Fauxmartha (and keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be a seeing a recipe inspired by Faux Martha very soon!). Be warned, if you do start clicking over to those blogs, you may get sucked into the food blogosphere for the better part of the day. 

New Food

One year ago, we shared a recipe for a coconut-based ice cream (below) and we were super stoked that Ben & Jerry’s was working on their very own vegan version of our ice cream favorites. Well, that ice cream finally became available in Boston a few weeks ago, and we’re here to tell you all about it (if you haven’t already tried it for yourself).

vegan ice cream bird's eye

The Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor was certainly chocolatey, but wasn’t the miracle we were hoping it would be. But even with its detectable almond milk flavor, this ice cream is still undoubtedly the best vegan ice cream currently on the market – it’s creamy, not icy, and its ingredients are all pronounceable and relatively natural. Our expectations were quite high considering Ben & Jerry’s reputation as the ice cream gods, and this vegan version almost lived up to them. When our stomachs can’t handle real dairy, we’ll be reaching for this. (But when we are willing to take some discomfort in exchange for the really good stuff, you know we’re still going to go for their full-dairy Half Baked – chocolate and vanilla ice creams with brownies and cookie dough. Oh yeah.)

Places

Gracenote Coffee is tucked away in a corner between Boston’s Chinatown and Financial District. Gracenote is a cute tiny coffee shop with limited seating, but the lattes and mochas are worth the trip alone. All the beverages are carefully crafted with love and skill. What’s more? Their pastries are from their neighbors Townsman and Forge Baking Company. This might be our new favorite coffee shop come warmer months.

Pressed Avo Toast

Pressed is our healthy go-to when we are craving something nourishing and delicious. Everything at Pressed is vegan and loaded with nutrition. We have been going here after our hot yoga sessions – both are conveniently located in Beacon Hill. They are known for their irresistible avocado toast and wide assortment of juices. And as we head into summer, they also sell popsicles. We are beyond excited.

(Shout out to Health Yoga Life for the awesome yoga classes – we’re total newbies so we got a great deal on  a Groupon for three classes. The classes we’ve had so far with Aida have been worth ten times what we paid, and we may just be hooked.)

Il Casale in Belmont, MA, sister restaurant to Dante in Cambridge and the Il Casale in Lexington, serves high-end Italian classics like tagliatelle alla bolognese and arancini. Now that spring is here, they’ve opened up their front patio, the perfect spot for a glass of white wine and a few appetizers. Right now we’re currently in love with their ricotta ravioli in a chestnut cream sauce with porcini mushrooms, pancetta, and sage. It is exactly as delicious as it sounds.

Shows

Cooked, the four episode Netflix docu-series based off of Michael Pollan’s book of the same name, spends one episode discussing each different way we cook – with fire, water, air, and earth. The air episode is all about bread baking, and already has Leili improving her sourdough game. If you’re a bakery nerd, you’ll want to check that one out.

rustic bread

The earth episode is also really very interesting because we had no idea just how many things were the result of fermentation – and we also got a peek at how cacao becomes chocolate. And you know how we feel about chocolate.

As the host, Michael Pollan is super likeable. He’s more of a writer than a chef, so you feel as though you’re learning alongside him instead of receiving a lecture. Not to mention that the food that’s made will have you drooling.

Now, can we talk about Game of Thrones?

(Spoilers ahead!)

Guess who’s back! At first we thought Melisandre needed to get her shit together, because if you have the power to look like a bombshell – which we women know is an enormous super power even when you’re not centuries old – then you should be able to bring back Jon Snow. I’m sorry I doubted you, Red Woman. You go girl.

Also, April has been a month of bingeing on the Shameless (the US version), and it’s been hard not to become obsessed. Emmy Rossum and Jeremy Allen White are a real treat to watch for 60+ hours. The new season starts next January, which only means the series will have to be re-watched in December. Life is so hard.

Lastly, let’s give the show Girls a much deserved shoutout for an amazing season. The show has taught us so much about love, work, family, and just growing up in this chaotic and beautiful world.

Recipes

chocolate walnut blackberry cupcake

We’ve always got a bunch of recipes we have our eyes on, both to make for ourselves and to tweak and share with you. Our favorite recipes we shared with you in April were Leili’s Chocolate Walnut Blackberry Cupcakes (seriously, so moist) and Wei’s Scallion Ginger Pesto Pasta. In other blogs, we’ve been eyeing Two Red BowlsLondon Fog Cupcakes and Sift and Whisk’s Earl Grey Cake with Chocolate Lavender Frosting. We like tea. A lot.

Scallion Pesto Pasta Cheese

Leili has spent April playing around with making an entire meal with veggies and quinoa in one pot, and can’t wait to settle on a final recipe to share with you guys. She’s also been inspired by Ben & Jerry to figure out how to make a vegan (or at least lactose-free) version of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked. The goal is something that is creamy, but doesn’t taste like almond milk. Cross your fingers.

Wei is currently on an avocado toast craze and on a mission to make a million varieties for consumption and to share with you guys.

But first, more coffee.

Toast Sampler

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