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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Like clockwork, when 3 o’clock rolls around, my stomach starts rumbling for a mid-afternoon snack. Somehow, just three hours after lunch, I am always famished, and I often raid the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. To keep the grumbling at bay, the first thing I make for myself (and for my kids when they are looking for an after-school snack) are huge açaí bowls, filled with fresh fruit.
I first encountered açaí bowls in Hawai'i, but have recently seen them popping up on the mainland, served in smoothie bars, which makes sense considering how addicting and practical they are. The bowls, made with nutrient-rich, blueberry-like berries from açaí palms, are perfect for breakfast, after a tough workout, and yes, to satisfy pre-dinner hunger.
More: It's better in a bowl -- learn how to make a grain bowl for dinner, without a recipe.
For many months, I tried to recreate the bowls I fell in love with while on vacation, because let’s face it, a trip to a smoothie shop (not to mention Hawai'i) can get expensive. Luckily, they’re not at all hard to make at home.
To make your own, all you need is a blender and some açaí packets, which can be found in the freezer section of your local grocery store. Then it’s up to you. I like blending the açaí with banana for creaminess and sweetness, a little apple juice (though coconut water and almond milk work just as well), and some frozen pineapple and blueberries, as in the recipe below. If you need a kale fix, throw it in, or feel free to mix in chia seeds, as you desire. The toppings are the fun part: Granola is a must, topped with coconut and fresh fruit, and drizzled with honey.
As you dig into your bowl, each bite will be refreshing and satisfying. You may not be digging your toes on a beach in Hawai'i, but it feels pretty darn close.
Makes 2 large bowls
For the açaí bowl:
1/2 cup apple juice
2 packets frozen açaí (I like Sambazon Original Blend Açaí Berry), thawed for 5 seconds under running water, then broken into chunks
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
For the toppings:
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup blueberries
1 banana, sliced
1/8 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup granola
Chia seeds, as desired
Honey, as desired
Add the apple juice, banana, açaí, blueberries, and pineapple, in that order, to a blender. Blend on low speed until the mixture is thick and creamy. Pause as needed to scrape the mixture off the sides to help it blend evenly. Transfer to a bowl and let it set in the freezer while you prepare your toppings.
To serve, top with the strawberries, blueberries, banana, coconut, and granola. Add chia seeds as desired and sweeten with honey to taste. Enjoy immediately.