Brittany – January 2013

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It was January, 2nd and my girl A. and I were complaining about our lives, as usual. Though we have come through a lot lately, we always deem them boring, a bit too weird or painful sometimes . Just like everybody else’s, I guess. So, all of a sudden we decided to leave for a 2/3 day trip. After 24 hours we were on a plane heading to Brittany. We had a lot of fun and came back with a wide smile on our face. Here my pictures of beautiful Nantes and Mont-Saint-Michel.

A foggy Nantes
 A #foggy #Nantes #Brittany #France

A close view of Mont-Saint-Michel
#Mont-Saint-Michel #Brittany #France

A view from the Bridge: Mont-Saint-Michel
#Mont-Saint-Michel #Brittany #France


Another start!

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I know, Christmas is like 4 months away from now.
But, do we need Christmas to feel good?
Maybe because lately I’m feeling quite happy and smiley in the inside, I really want to do something for other people (strangers or not). Be it a smile, a gentle word or my time, I really wanna make the difference.
So, this morning I started looking for Random Act of Kindness on Pinterest (wherelse?).

I found these 25

~Buy the coffee of the person behind you in line at the drive through or just in line.

~ Give candy canes to people you meet throughout the day with a “Happy Holidays” and a smile.

~ Buy food to donate to your local Food Bank or the food donation boxes at the grocery store.

~ Take your neighbors trash can in and leave a treat at the backdoor for them. Cookies, candy, a card, etc.

~ Help your teacher clean up and bring them a gift.

~ Make Christmas cards and bring them to the hospital to be handed out to the patients.

~ Adopt a Soldier and send a care package.

~ Let each child pick out a toy and buy it and donate it to Toys for Tots.

~ Make a card and leave it and a treat for the mail lady on a cold day.

~ Donate change to the Salvation Army and give the bell ringers a warm drink.

~ Hold the doors open everywhere you go for people who’s hands are full or who look like they’re having a bad day.
(thanks to The Perfect Kind of Chaos)

Some of them are non feasible where I live (for example, we can’t adopt a soldier and honestly, I wouldn’t. I know these people work hard and are in constant danger but no, I don’t think any war is the answer; mail lady? I don’t think we have any), but I think it’s a good start. I’ll write my personal list and update it I hope every month.
We’ll see 🙂

Uncovering the good me

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I’ve always thought I was a good person: gentle, sweet and most of all, caring. Not only for the people I love, but for everybody. I then found out it’s not so easy to be all that, especially with people you have do deal with in the office, when having a bad day or when in a difficult moment.
Sometimes it’s easier not to see people having a hard time or simply think “I can’t / I have no time now” and so forth. What I’ve recently realized, it’s that it also takes a big amount of bravery, to stand up for strangers.

We all want to think we are heroes: we would drag people out of a smashed car, help a suffering animal or a bullied teen, when the case. But are we, for real?
A couple of days ago I was driving home with a couple of friends of mine after a night out. We were stopped by and old lady, shocked and emotional, who said had been assaulted by her own husband. We wanted to help so called the police and waited with her. We then found out the poor old lady suffered from Alzheimer and was just confused. Obviously it would have been heartless and totally wrong if we had left, but I can relate, it was not easy to listen to this lady talking nonsense, telling she had been beaten and how scared she was. I was and still am totally convinced we did the right thing and I’m happy we stopped the car and listened to her. Probably she only needed someone who cared enough to stop and take her home.
All I can say is that it takes a bit of courage and self-confidence to do the right thing, even when we are mentally prepared to do so. I hope, from now on, to be 100% ready to help people or animals in need. I’m sure this process will help me as much as all the people (I hope) I am going to help. 🙂
This morning I’ve read that when you’re happy and positive in the inside, no matter what, your outside is going to be affected too. Lately my friends have told me I’m shining, still the same yet different and I can confirm, I’m definitely feeling better. Let’s go on, then!

Is baking a way to help people I love? Aid them from bad days and lend a hand? You bet! I firmly believe in confort food and though I try to stay as healthier as possible, I can’t give up desserts (chocolate ones in particular)!.
Last week I tried a couple of recipes I found on Pinterest… this chocolate cake and this banana bread. The first one was good but actually not as much as expected, the second one really hit the spot on a cold, rainy August Monday.
Here the Pictures

#Banana and #Cinnamon cupcakes

#Banana and #Cinnamon cupcakes

#Banana and #Cinnamon cupcakes

A decadent, indulgent night to you all

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So the other day I was under a bad Pinterest addiction. I usually spend far too much time on Pinterest, I love it. It’s definitely my favourite spot on the internet, where I can feel creative, satisfy my sweet tooth, get good ideas about how to decorate my place and wrap Christmas present, find motivation for my fitness time and so on. I feel cuddled, part of something and now I realize how sick I am. Oh my goodness. I should find a cure and recover. Soon.
So I was scrolling the main page and found a Tiramisù Brownies recipe. I took a look at the details and decided it was a good one.
As a 100% Italian gal, I usually feel ashamed when I must admit I don’t like Tiramisù. It’s way too soggy and I don’t really like the taste of Mascarpone and wet ladyfingers altogether. But these brownies look definitely better than the plain Tiramisù idea.
So I repinned it on my Dessert board and thought, as usual, “yeah, sooner or later I’m gonna try it”.
I moved on to something else, more recipes, humorous cards and Harry Potter facts (you mind, I am a old fan of the whole book series).
A few days after repinning that recipe, I still had it on my mind; I kept on thinking how wonderful these brownies look on those pictures, how muddy and tasty and.. whoa, really. Could I wait any longer? I had to actually, those days were totally frenzy, but as soon as I managed to get a couple of hours crammed together between the gym and a night out, I decided to give it a try.

This the original recipe.
I just used less eggs than suggested, 3 instead of four at every round.
The result was amazingly good and not because I’m a witch (I soooo wish).

These my pictures, sorry for the poor quality.

Amazing #Tiramisù #Brownies

Amazing #Tiramisù #Brownies

Amazing #Tiramisù #Brownies

Amazing #Tiramisù #Brownies

Summer wants ice-cream

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Finally summer has come! North of Italy has experienced quite a rainy, cold Spring and that surely didn’t help getting in a better mood.
Now we’re literally melting in the hot, damp June sun but I won’t complain. Sure that.

A couple of days ago I spent the day with a few wonderful friends of mine, relaxing and sunbathing on a boat riding around the Venetian lagoon. One of the best days of 2013 so far. Feeling the skin getting hot under the sunrays and swimming, laughing and having a cold beer with the guys definitely boosted our mood. Those days really make me feel the beauty in this world and how lucky I am to have friends like them. Plus, the water was cool and Venice is still amazingly beautiful, it takes my breath away every time.

Since we almost can’t breath during the day for high percentage of humidity, what I really crave for everyday is icecream. Hills of icecream.

A few months ago I’ve found a vegan recipe for icecream. I don’t always trust Pinterest, I don’t know why but there are so many fake posts…

I decided to give this recipe a try and it came out it really works! Whoa!

All you have to do is freeze some fruit. I’ve tried with mangos and bananas so far and it worked with both. Just peel it, cut it and freeze it for at least 1 hour. Then blend it and voilà, a tasty, sweet and refreshing icecream is done in a few seconds.

This way I can cool down and reduce the daily income of sugar (your wallet will love it too!).

Love love love Summer!


Pancakes and a relaxing Sunday

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I usually dread facing Sundays all alone, without any plan ahead. During the week I start to think I should fill those long hours in any possible way like cooking, cleaning, hanging out with friends (the last is always the best option). I’ve found out I’m scared of the idea of spending time with myself, totally alone. I’ve recently wondered why and I guess the idea of too much thinking is involved.
For real? I mean, what could happen in my head worse than what I had to face since this new year started?
I guess I don’t want bad memories to come up again, even worse ideas pop up into my head and a concrete sense of loneliness and desperation rise above critical level.
Then Sunday comes and I find myself sleeping until eleven o’clock. Good. After a quick breakfast I clean the all place, according to my mum’s standard, still scaredly vivid in my head. Better.
Then lunch time comes, tv time, nap time (who doesn’t love to dose off on the sofa?). I pamper myself a bit, relax, clean again sporadically, call a friend.. and 6 o’clock comes without me dying from boredom, crying histerically or thinking about how my life is a mess (maybe a bit).
Sometimes I even manage to try a new recipe and when I cook I really can’t be sad.
Last Sunday I felt really like eating some pancakes. I had a recipe I had already tried and I was really looking forward to taste some fluffy and delicate pancakes again.
Then I started. All together took me 40 minutes, more or less.
Here the fabulous recipe, thanks to Coleen.

I added chocolate chips to the batter, used apples sugar instead of regular sugar and rice milk. Yummy!
These the pictures I took before devouring all that stuff!

Fluffiest #pancakes ever

Fluffiest #pancakes ever

Fluffiest #pancakes ever


The Monday run and a simple Smoothie

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I love to run on Mondays.

Even though I’m usually exhausted, I force myself to enter the gym, change and mount on the treadmill. And then, the magic happens. I can’t explain why, I go from dead tired to full of energy in a sec.

Yesterday I couldn’t keep my eyes open at work: I was literally falling asleep on my desk, so I thought I was allowed to go home straight after. I was begging the stern me, can I go home, please, pleeease?

For many reasons (high gym costs, my body disappointing me every day, stress to shake off..) I stuck to the original plan and headed to the gym.

After changing and thinking “I can’t do it, I really can’t” as usual, I started running at 8.5 km/h on a 1% slope. After 10 minutes I increased the speed to 9 and run for additional 5 minutes, incresing the speed every minute. After that I walked for three minutes (my ankle was hurting a bit at that point, but I was not going to stop). I repeated and thus run for 15 minutes again.

Once off the treadmill I couldn’t even walk properly (but just for a couple of minutes). Took a shower, went home and…. cooked and baked until 10 pm. I couldn’t believe I had all that energy and felt definitely better inside: the healing power of running my heart (and lungs) out still amazes me. When people says that sports help you go through bad times, I have to say, they are soooo right! Sure it takes efforts and will of power, I won’t deny that. But the effects are so long lasting and there are no controindications.

After dinner I had to prepare a cake for tonight, not a healthy one, but my friends like the old-fashioned, calories packed ones and sometimes I do too, must confess.

Then I cooked my super healthy oat cupcakes (recipe’s still in progress, I’ll let you know about it) and finally it was time for my beloved smoothie! I love shakes and smoothies. I love fruit.

This is so easy, quick and tasty, refreshing and satisfying..

1 banana

1 cup strawberries, properly washed (a few drops of vinegar help cleaning away eventual pesticides)

1/3 cup apple juice (I use a natural bio one, no sugar and no preservatives)

Mix the banana and the strawberries together, add the apple juice.

If you want it sweeter just add a spoonful of Agave syrup (a natural way to sweeten without all the calories of white sugar).

I’ve started drinking this smoothie at work, it’s a way to pamper myself and relax for a couple of mintes during busy days and now that spring has finally arrived, a way to refresh and get ready for summer!

Once again, I love fruit: it makes me feel better and its colours cheer me up all the time. I love Nature, I wish I could spend more time enjoying the sun, grass, flowers and a simple living… let’s this be the start, then.