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Spring is in full-bloom in AZ, and I'm sorry to mention that as I know most the country saw snow yesterday. We are enjoying warmer weather and experiencing everything in bloom. In true AZ fashion, it's a little warm for our taste, which naturally leads us to want to eat colder foods. You can catch us most of the spring and summer eating salads and smoothies for meals.
About a year ago a friend introduced me to the acai bowl- a trend that is growing strong throughout the nation! If you haven't heard of them, let me explain. If a smoothie, sorbet, and a yogurt parfait had a baby, it would be an acai bowl. The main difference is they are dairy free, gluten free (depending on your toppings), and can be totally paleo. They are healthy, delicious, and you feel amazing after eating them.
We hit up a local place called Thrive many times the last year, and have seen them at Chop Shop, Juice It Up, and even Jamba started selling them recently. Our only complaint, they can get pricey! They are extra delicious for breakfast (but I get them at the Thrive near my office bi-weekly for lunch). Sometimes it's hard to justify shelling out $7.50 a person for a bowl just for breakfast.
No problem, we have discovered how to make your own!
And since we haven't seen a ton of each other this week, we thought a Sunday brunch between Jacob's church meetings would be an excellent mini-date.
Here's what you'll need for acai bowls for two:
2 Frozen Acai Packs (found in freezer section of health food stores- I got mine at Sprouts)
Frozen Cherries (optional, we just love them)
Granola/Cereal with Granola base
Step 1: Chop up your toppings. The rest goes fast, so you'll want these babies ready to go. As a side note, traditional bowls use bananas, strawberries, and blueberries, but you can definitely mix up your toppings! Try raspberries and nuts, dried coconut/mango/pineapple, cherries, etc. for different flavors. But if you're a newbie, I'd try these guys first.
Step 2: Grab the acai puree packs, and run them under warm water for a minute just so they are lose enough to come out. Cut off the tops so you can easily remove from packaging. And also note, you'll need one pack per bowl, so you can easily scale this recipe up or down.
Step 3: In your blender toss in 2 bananas, 2 acai packs, and if you opt for some frozen fruit, that too. Just go light on the frozen fruit, it can change the texture you're after. We did about 2/3rds cup of frozen cherries. Many of the stores you can buy these at also have options to add some nut butter or protein powder too. Feel free to do so if you want some protein in the mix! You could definitely just go with bananas and acai too.
Step 4: Blend it all up. You may need to mix around with a spoon, the mixture will be thick.
It should look like this when you're done. Thick enough to form a peak/eat with a spoon, thin enough to pour.
Step 5: Pour into bowls. Mixture will be thick.
Step 6: Add your sliced fruit to the top of the acai. Nothing special, just place it right on top.
Step 7: Add your granola/cereal to the top. We bought the Post Great Grains cereal for this one because it already had the nuts and granola we like, and because Post Cereal is on sale and will be on sale at Walgreens from March 30 through April 5 (while supplies last). Can't beat the $1.99, so snatched that up!
Step 8 (optional): Sprinkle cereal/granola on top of the fruit, and drizzle with a little honey for added sweetness.
Step 9: Stand back and admire your work of art. So fast, so healthy, so full of antioxidants.
Try it and let me know what you think, are you an acai bowl addict like we have become?