Tuesday, July 29, 2014

California Breakfast: Acai Bowl with Granola

     Last June, I went out to Southern California to help Jenn move.  I love it out there and I was thrilled to have an excuse to go! The move went smoothly and we were able to do a couple fun things as well as load and haul boxes.  One morning we got up early and took a walk along the beach before Jenn had to go to work. It is only three blocks from her place and even at that time, there were people surfing, jogging, and just out enjoying the beauty of a new day.  


     We ended up having breakfast at this cute little cafe just
catty corner from her apartment. Inside we were entertained by a couple of Pomeranian dogs an elderly man had brought with him to share his breakfast. (In California people are allowed to bring their dogs into a restaurant!)  Jenn suggested I try an Acai Bowl which is acai berries blended with yogurt and topped with fruit and granola. We sat at a table outside and enjoyed the cold refreshing acai puree with yummy stuff piled on top of it. It had to be eaten with a spoon, because it has a thicker consistency than a smoothie - almost like sorbet.


                                                       After I got back home and was dealing with the sticky

humid heat of the midwest, I found myself dreaming of an acai bowl for breakfast.  I searched around and found frozen acai berries meant for smoothies at Whole Foods. They come in 3.5 ounce packets in a package of four.  The trick was to get the acai to the right consistency so it could stand up to the additional stuff.  I messed around a bit and found that to be successful, I had to use either a frozen banana or some kind of frozen berries such blueberries, raspberries, or a mixture.  I also experimented with making granola; I wanted to come up with something half way healthy. I posted what I've been using here -a mixture of oats, dried fruit, and nuts with no oil and blue agave syrup or honey to sweeten it.  I confess that I've had this for breakfast 12 times in the last month!

Steps to Make an Acai Bowl and Granola

Make the Granola First

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Either in a large bowl or directly on the baking sheet, mix the following ingredients.

4 cups regular "old fashioned" oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 cup of some kind of nuts or seeds: pumpkin, almonds, pecans, walnuts - chopped/sliced
1/4 cup each of any kind of dried fruit: dried apricots, raisins, golden raisins, dried cherries
3 tablespoons blue agave syrup or honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice at 5 minutes and 10 minutes. The granola should be starting to turn golden brown.

  While the granola cools down make the acai blend. 

Put the following ingredients in a blender and process until it has the consistency of sorbet.

1 (3.5 oz.) packet of frozen acai puree, slightly thawed
1/2 cup plain yogurt, Greek or regular
1 cup fozen fruit: blueberries, raspberries, mixed berries, frozen banana

The blender may have to be stopped and the mixture might have to be stirred a few times to get it all blended.  The idea is to have it thick, but mixed through out.

Top with the granola, fresh berries and/or banana slices. A drizzle of honey is nice as well. Yum!

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