‘Respect those friends who find time for you in their busy schedule. But really love those friends who never see their schedule when you need them..’ Rishika Jain Friendships always hold a special place in my heart. Whether they are a friendship of the past, the present or a friendship oceans apart, what’s important is to cherish and treasure those moments and experiences shared. Today, I would like to pay special tribute to a friend, fellow runner and guardian angel in so many ways… Because, when the going gets tough, she will guide me to the light, and on days when my body does not respond well to running, she will take a detour in the park to show me the flowers in bloom… And when none of this works, she will simply send her three little gems to give me a bear hug! Below is what I wrote about this friend, to accompany her appetizing pesto chicken recipe in ‘A Squirrel in your kitchen’. http://www.amazon.com/A-squirrel-your-kitchen-ebook/dp/B00AYXN500 I have saved her recipe for the finale of this post. After all, sharing recipes and meals always adds an extra touch of spice to friendship! If there’s one word to describe this dear friend, that would be endurance! Maria completed the classic Athens Marathon with husband, Achilleas and numerous half marathons around the world, not to mention mountain biking in the trails of Akamas. Maria and Achilleas tend to take their most important decisions over food, and, a nice bottle of wine. I had witnessed a very serious conversation over an exotic meal one night, where they unanimously agreed that it was time for a second baby, as it was only fair that Alexandra had a sibling! On April 21, 2008 (my birthday), Aris and Orpheus were born! And while they certainly do keep Alexandra ‘company’, they keep mommy and daddy…. hmm.. busy. Maria’s survival tool lies in running, and as my running mate in the last 10 years, I couldn’t agree with her more! And, when the going gets tough, Maria finds her solace in the luxurious world of champagne and great wine! PESTO CHICKEN WITH FETA CHEESE Ingredients: 4 boneless chicken thighs, pesto sauce, 4 slices feta cheese Preparation Unfold the chicken thighs and apply pesto sauce on both sides. Place a slice of feta cheese in each thigh and fold back to original shape. You may use a toothpick to hold the chicken piece folded. Place on a cooking tray and cook at 175ºC for 45 minutes to an hour.