I can see my breath in the cold, fall air. The field is dark except for a small area in the east where the sun just begins to warm the dew covered grass. I walk slowly over to the light and turn my face to the sun, bright spots dance underneath my eye lids. The sun feels warm, but the wind is brisk and unrelenting. My running shoes are wet, my toes numb. The numbness creeps up to my thighs and settles in. When I open my eyes I see the others undressing, shoving warm layers into clear plastic bags. They nervously eat Power Bars, set their watches and stretch. I stare blankly at the grass, not fully present.
“Time to head over.” Who said that? I remove my jacket, shove it into my bag and re-tie my running shoes. I follow the crowd to the starting line. I’m not ready.
“Oh c’mon, Kel.” I hear you Papa. Three long years later and I still hear you on my runs.
The blow horn sounds, ready or not, my legs are moving. I feel ok. The numbness is subsiding. Suddenly I feel great, I am cruising…then I hit mile 5 and I feel a stabbing pain in my knee; my thoughts snowball, my mind takes over. I can’t do this. This is too painful. What am I trying to prove? Stop!
One foot in front of the other. Finish what you started. “C’mon you old donkey.” Papa…again.
Almost there. 3 miles is nothing compared to the 10 I just ran. One foot in front of the other…Bubba and the kids stand near the finish line. I smile, relieved to see their sweet, familiar faces cheering me on. The gnawing pain in my knee remains, but my mind is stronger. I keep going.
I hear Papa laugh, a proud laugh and then he is gone…again.
The race is over and I have a medal to show for it, a medal and some dam strong determination. I hobble past the Gatorade and food stations. Bagels, bananas and Power bars are everywhere. I don’t want any of it. Anxious to head home, I stop and look for my favorites.
“Mama! Good job Mama!” Bubba gives me a kiss. I hug the kids. We head home. The race is over, one foot in front of the other, and I finished.
I took a few days off from running and attempted to make caramel apples. I failed. My first attempt the caramel tasted like sugar soup. Gross! My second attempt I overcooked the caramel, but coated the apples anyway. I thought for sure caramel would pull out C’s slightly loose tooth. “Mama this tastes good, but I can’t eat it. It is too hard!” Failed again.
My thoughts snowball: Why am I keeping this blog? Who cares? There are too many food blogs out there! What do I have to say that is fresh? Nothing!
I move on and attempt to make a whole grain cookie. I fail. The cookie is flavorful, but way to moist; it’s texture like a dense, squat muffin.
Try something else. Don’t give up!
I find a recipe for a breakfast granola crisp and feel inspired. I see perfectly ripe pears and apples sitting in our fruit bowl. I make the crisp, adapting it slightly: maple syrup instead of honey, brown sugar in place of white sugar and white whole wheat flour and oats for the topping. I pull the crisp from the oven, the juices still bubbling. The granola topping is golden brown and crisp. The ambrosial smell of baked apples, pears and cinnamon fill the kitchen.
After the crisp has cooled a bit, I take a bite. Success! The granola topping is crisp and subtly sweet with hints of maple. The fruit is warm and syrupy. I add some Greek yogurt for protein, but could have just as easily eaten straight from the pan. I feel satisfied with the recipe and ready to share it. I’m so glad didn’t give up! One foot in front of the other…
Pear + Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp
A slightly sweet fall fruit crisp with a crunchy granola topping makes breakfast feel like a treat.
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 pounds of apples, (apples you like to bake with) peeled, cored and cut into medium size chunks
1 1/2 pounds of Bartlett pears cored and cut into medium size chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of kosher salt
1 stick/8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups oats ( I used Bob’s 7 grain hot cereal mix.)
optional: ( I did not use the ingredients listed below because we have a nut-allergy in our family, but I bet they are a delicious addition.)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened
Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
Using a large bowl mix together apple and pear chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt until evenly coated. Scoop the fruit into an 8×8 metal baking pan and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the flour and oats (almonds and coconut too, if using). Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup.
Stir the dry ingredients into the melted butter and maple syrup, add a pinch of salt and continue to stir until clumps form. Sprinkle granola evenly over the apple and pear mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and soft.***Check the granola topping at 40 minutes. If the granola browns too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the dish. Remove the foil the last few minutes of baking to allow the granola to crisp.***
Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt and a bit of honey or agave nectar. Enjoy!
The crisp will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
5 Feel Good Fall Breakfast Links
Looking for a healthy, slightly sweet pumpkin bread? Head to Sprouted Kitchen for Sarah’s recipe: pumpkin bread with toasted walnuts and cinnamon swirl. I can’t wait to make this!
I love pears and I have a container of steel cut oats sitting in my pantry. Minimalist Baker’s recipe for caramelized pear steel cut oats is on my must make list this week!
If eggs is more your thing at breakfast, try an apple omelet with cheddar and thyme. Be sure to check out What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? other recipes too!
Want to eat waffles, but need an easy gluten-free option? Cookie + Kate has the recipe for you!
Check out my pumpkin streusel millet muffins! They are sure to be a crowd pleaser!