Remember Saturday Morning cartoons and sugary cereal and milk? For me, that meant Doug and a bowl or five of Cocoa Puffs. Unfortunately, Cocoa Puffs isn't as filling nor delicious as my 8 year old self recalls and, to my knowledge, Doug is no longer airing, and oh yeah, I'm almost 30, so I've had to modernize and mature-ize my Saturday morning ritual. This ritual has transformed into episodes of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan (while fantasizing about what a great dog owner I'll be someday) and nutritious acai bowls. Yay, adult life!
Husband Kelvin and I have lived out this Saturday morning ritual for a couple of years now. My first encounter with acai bowls was digital, so I probably drooled on my laptop the first time I saw them. We were living in Minneapolis at the time, and I couldn't possibly imagine finding such exotic delights there (wrong), so when we planned a trip to Kelvin's home state of Hawaii, I saw it as my one chance to snag a bowl. Kelvin habitually stays inside while visiting Hawaii; that is, until he married someone who starts to panic when we spend more than 5 minutes inside a building in Hawaii, so he lovingly agreed to set aside his research for his dissertation to drive down to a nearby coffee shop, Island Vintage. We were both hooked at the first spoonful, even though we had to go outside to get them.
Since then, we've experimented with different acai bowl recipes, some turning out soupy and some being so thick that it made our blender smoke - please don't do that. Acai bowls are very versatile with endless options of ingredients for the acai base and toppings. This is my basic recipe with a balanced texture that's easy to blend but is still frozen enough that your toppings don't sink to the bottom of the bowl. This recipe has been adapted from Earthy Andy's.
p.s. I'd love to hear any variations you use or dream of using with your acai bowl!
Saturday Morning Acai Bowls
Makes 2 big bowls or 4 small bowls
Prepare your toppings
Wash the berries and lemon. Lightly toast the coconut and keep an eye on those suckers - they go from tan to burnt in seconds! Set the coconut aside once it's golden in color.
Add the acai base ingredients to your blender* in the order listed. I like to wait about about 3 minutes before blending to let the ingredients thaw. If your blender has a jabbing stick thingy, have that handy in case the ingredients get stuck. Begin blending on low, stopping as needed to stir or shake out any air bubbles. Keep blending on low to medium low until you have a smooth, creamy base.
Using a spoon, scoop out the acai base into 2 bowls or 4, depending on how many you are serving (use bowls that will have enough space for your toppings). Smooth out the tops of the acai base with the back of a spoon.
Arrange your toppings as fancy or messy as you'd like. I like to lay out the berries in rows and add the toasted coconut in the space that's left. Zest the lemon on top of the fruit. (In the photo, I'm foolishly zesting half a lemon 'cuz that's what we had at the time, but I definitely recommend zesting one half of a whole lemon.) Throw in your granola and drizzle honey on top.
Watch and Eat
Turn on TV if you wish, find Cesar Milan (or whatever Saturday morning show fits your jam), and enjoy!
1/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk or coconut water
1 heaping cup or 155 grams frozen mango
4 acai packets - run under warm water and break them into 2-3 pieces before cutting them open
2 handfuls blueberries
2 handfuls strawberries, sliced or chopped
2-3 Tbsp shredded coconut
1/2 cup granola - I generally opt for a more neutral flavor, or a berry or coconut flavored one
Half lemon for zesting
1 Tbsp honey for drizzling
*For the acai base, I highly recommend using a powerful blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec. If you have a smaller blender that can handle lots of frozen product with a little liquid, just blend in batches. If you're blender-less or don't have confidence in your blender, you could make it in a food processor, though it will probably turn out a little chunky.