Throwback Thursday!

SnapseedI am in Strasbourg for the Plenary of the European Parliament. I have been travelling for a while now, and will be doing some more travelling soon. While I am beyond grateful to be here, to be a part of this and to be living the dream in a much better way than I ever pictured for myself, I am also missing two of the most important people in my life: my beautiful, beautiful sisters!

So here is a little #tbt to the second-to-last day before I got married, when my sisters and I took a nice walk in Val di Fiemme to go see the waterfalls just above the place where my husband was born and grew up. It was a precious moment that we shared, just the three of us.

IMG_4520

Advertisements

Rainbow stir-fry

SnapseedI couldn’t let a week go by without a new recipe, even though I barely had any time to cook. I missed not being at home – and next week I will be away even more! – but today I immediately grabbed the opportunity to eat as many veggies as possible.

This may well be the easiest recipe ever for a great completely home-made stir-fry. I adapted it from http://www.superhealthykids.com

We got a colourful, healthy and nutritious post-workout meal and even managed to save and freeze one portion for the hard times (read: those times when I’m working abroad and Francesco needs some comfort food straight out of the freezer).

RECIPE

Wash and chop all of your vegetables. I used 1 head of broccoli, 1 red bell pepper, 3 medium carrots, 1 onion. Throw them into a pan with olive oil on medium for 5 mins, then cover them and let steam for 5 more mins.

In the meantime prepare the sauce. Half a cup of soy sauce, 1 generous teaspoon of honey and 3 teaspoons of grated ginger root: combine them in a small pan over medium heat, and add 1/4 cup of water where you will have mixed 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir until you like the texture, then put to the side. Take your chicken breasts, chop them up into bits, quickly dust with flour, and cook over medium heat. Add in a tablespoon or so of sauce. Add to the first pan together with udon noodles, stir in the sauce and finish cooking (4-5 mins). Enjoy the easiest and healthiest stir-fry ever!

Snapseed.jpg

Work work work… and friendships, and love

SnapseedWhat a week! I worked non-stop from Monday to Saturday. Three different meetings in three days for the EU, and one more three-day meeting on the private market, this time in Montreux, Switzerland. I was not 100% sure I would be able to come out alive, but here I am to tell the tale! More than anything, this post is meant to celebrate friendship.

I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful friend who went to university in Geneva with me and with whom everything became easy, even working for a full day with an early start (7 AM!) after sleeping for no more than 3 hours. Giulia and I even managed to go for a run later that day and explore the beautiful lake-side at sunset. As always, we were two little chatterboxes! We had to catch up on so many things, even though we regularly talk to each other on Skype. We took our run easy enough to make sure we were able to talk non-stop all the way through our 9 kilometres… To be honest, I was happy we only ran around the lake, as it is the only flat part of Montreux (otherwise famous for a trail running festival… But as you might or might not know, uphill running is not my cup of tea).

When we went to university, all our teachers would tell us not many of us would end up working as interpreters. We know the Italian booth is particularly competitive and we were discouraged from the very beginning by everyone around us. And that only makes it so much more special, to get to work together and do our dream job. Getting to work together at a conference was our little victory over those doubters.

Snapseed

We were joined by four young interpreters for the French and German booths: it was a pleasure to meet three new colleagues and to catch up with another former student of Geneva University. I had forgotten how expensive Switzerland can be, and it was a bit of a shock, but all in all Montreux treated us very well and provided me with some much needed peace with its placid lake surrounded by beautiful mountains.

It is now time to go back to Brussels – but just for little more than 24 hours, as Francesco and I are headed to Strasbourg for the plenary session of the European Parliament on Monday. Will try and catch up on sleep on the train(s) and plane(s)!

#BeerReview: Pels

By Francesco

Pels is a Belgian blonde ale characterised by a strong hop smell (when you pop it open, it literally hits you). The beer is very light, in the sense that is does not have a strong body, but also the alcohol content is normal (5.2%). What let me down the most was the aftertaste, which was quite sour and not very pleasent. In general, it can be considered a bitter and dry beer, with a very light colour (looks like a mix of beer and lemonade in the glass). Not bad, not so good, I give it a 6.

Crazy Friday nights… running in Schaerbeek

This week we set our sight on racing in yet another neighbourhood. Francesco ran the Schaerbeek 10k yesterday night, and guess what? He won! I played the supportive wife – loud cheering included, of course. I was bursting with proud as every time he passed in front of me he was leading: I know he likes to run in front, and it was lovely for him to win after leading the race from the first metre.

Considering the pitch black and the crazy course – which went into a school and the city hall, up the stairs, down the stairs, etc etc – his time was excellent. We stayed for the prize-giving ceremony even though it was soooooo late for us – we are usually in bed by 10 pm ;-P Another crazy Friday night is in the books…

SnapseedAnd this is what happens when he is so fast all you can see is the reflective part of his shoes. From behind!

Race recap by Francesco

Here comes my race recap… It was a nice race in the end, interesting, even though I’m glad that Chiara did not take part in it because I would have been sooooo worried otherwise (see “running in the dark” or “run up and down the stairs”). The start was not as messy as I feared it would be, despite the fact that after 300 meters there was a sharp turn to the left, and I decided to take the lead right from the beginning. Thank god I did so: when we got into the park (a couple of km after the start), it was pitch dark, no light whatsoever, and I just followed the red light of the bike right in front of me, trying to understand where to go. The road was also bendy, with a couple of sharp and slippery turns, and it was also quite hilly: I did not know the place and facing it in the dark was not easy, but I got out of it with 10″ on the following group (Chiara was there to cheer me on and keep me updated on the gaps). Then, we entered the neighbourhood and it was nice to run in its wide streets, even though the audience was a little bit silent and there where cars almost everywhere. The police was escorting us, so by honking and flashing their lights, they were able to make them move, but it was not so relaxing for me, since I had to run in all that mess. After a while, we got into the first building, a school: I crossed a gym, a couple of halls, one classroom (I think) and then got out in the street again…after a hill, several turns, another couple of hills and some downhills, it was time to pay a visit to the mayor: we entered the city hall, climbed a couple of flights of stairs and passed through the office of the mayor, who was standing there to give us a “high five”. I was so focused on where to go and avoid losing too much seconds on the others that I totally ignored him…I hope he did not get angry at me for that! Nevertheless, with the stairs and the turns in the offices and corridors, I almost lost the entire gap I had built and therefore I had to push also on the last few km to secure my first place. 

At the finish line, I was happy; it has been the first time after a while that I had the possibility to run a race as I like it (always in front, setting the pace and just trying to keep the others away with a good, steady pace) and it is always nice to win. All in all, I can recommend the race if you are looking for something different and you are not afraid of running in the dark or up and down the stairs: the organisers are really committed to the success of the event and the competition is good, as much as the atmosphere is friendly and easy-going. Schaerbeek is not so runner-friendly as far as the traffic is concerned (with the exception of the parks), so maybe the race can be a good excuse to run in the streets and discover them (and the buildings) in a particular way. Once again, Chiara and I had a nice experience, discovering a new place thanks to the Run in Brussels Challenge and our passion for running.

Here comes the link to an article published by a local newspaper: you can find some pics if you are interested in the event! DHnet article

Smoothie time!

Work hard, play hard. Recover hard?!

I know it doesn’t sound catchy, but it is a universal truth. If you work hard, and on top of that you train hard, and you also want to race hard, you need to recover as well. Foam rolling, stretching, sleeping a lot, icing body parts is all part of a process. Eating healthy plays a huge part in recovery – and it is the best part, if you ask me.

I love to cook and I love how running allows us to have good, tasty food most of the time – and the extra treat when we feel like it. Food can also play a role in reducing inflammation, and as an old lady (I am in my late twenties already! AND a married woman!) I really need to take care of my aching joints. One of the best natural anti-inflammatory foods out there is ginger, so today it’s ginger day!

Apple banana ginger smoothie

Crush 4 ice cubes. Slice 1 apple, two bananas, grate some ginger root (we peeled it) and blend together with a glass of milk.

We ended up with a creamy, refreshing and anti inflammatory smoothie with bubbles! Our blender works magic.
I am also sharing with you a second recipe for a smoothie that we really liked – not least because of its colour 🙂 It looks like a unicorn fell into the blender jug! This one is a bit more rich in proteins, which is never a bad thing. You can also add your whey protein powder to any smoothie if you need to supplement your protein intake. We are not fans of protein powder so we try to make sure we get enough high-quality proteins through our diets. Plenty of lean red meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, Greek yoghurt, nuts and chickpeas (try our hummus!) are our favourites.

Special ABC smoothie (Apple Berries Celery)

Crush 4 ice cubes. Slice 1 apple and 2 celery sticks. Put into the blender jug together with one small cup of frozen berries and blend. Add 100 g of unsweetened Greek yoghurt and 125 g of fresh ricotta cheese. Blend some more.
Let us know how you like our smoothies and share your best recipes with us!