Warm & delicious pear sunflower seed granola

What a shocker to my body this morning!!!

Over the last 10 years, Karel and I have found ourselves bundling-up to train outside on those occasional cold "winter" days in Florida. 

This morning it was 27 degrees when we woke up in Greenvills, SC. After we walked Campy, I headed to the Y for a treadmill run and Karel ran outside. When I saw that the leftover water in my water bottle was frozen, it quickly hit me that this was our new normal.

Campy, it's time to break out your sweaters! 

We are looking forward to swapping out our summer training gear for our winter gear and enjoying all of the season foods that are best enjoyed when it is cold outside.

As an athlete, one of the interesting parts of training throughout the seasons is understanding what foods feel the best around workouts. I often find that athletes enjoy more rich-flavor gels, bars and drinks in the cooler months whereas fruity options are more enjoyable in the hotter months.
I feel the same is true for post-workout drinks as most athletes aren't rushing home to guzzle a cold post-workout smoothie. When it's chilly outside, it's natural to crave something warm but you still don't want to skip that critical part of your workout when you can repair and rejuvenate. 

Although the amino acids in protein powders stay intact when heated but instead change shape, it's recommended to not denature your protein powder by heating. Instead, add the powder to something warm (ex. oatmeal) after it's been cooked.  The same is true for most proteins, like eggs. You don't want to overcook your proteins but instead, cook to the recommended temperatures or low heat. 

 I hope you enjoy my warm and delicious pear sunflower seed granola with a glass of "chocolate milk" (milk and chocolate protein powder - we typically have Solgar on hand as it mixes great with water and/or milk). It is a delicious creation to warm-up your belly post workout!

Pear sunflower seed granola

2 cups oats
1 soft pear (I used red)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup honey (spray your measuring cup with non stick spray before measuring honey. This will help it come out easily)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. On a non stick cookie sheet (sprayed with a little non stick spray), spoon out granola and spread out so it isn't too clumpy. 
3. Bake for 15-23 minutes (around 15 minutes, be sure to check the granola as you do not want to overcook it. It will not be 100% firm when it is ready but you don't want to burn it). When it begins to get golden brown, remove from the oven.