Tony and I recently went to Oahu, Hawaii. Well, actually, Tony was there on business (my father-in-law owns a commercial property in Honolulu and for the past year or so, Tony has been helping out with the property management) and I was finally able to “tag along” and flew over to meet him for a few days.
We had a really great time exploring the island. We drove to the North Shore one day and just happened upon the Volcom Pipe Pro surf contest at Banzai Pipeline. THAT was very cool.
We did a couple of really beautiful hikes…on the Kanealole Trail in the rainforest and all the way to the top of Diamond Head crater. We even spent a little time just relaxing on Waikiki Beach and watching spectacular sunsets from our lanai.
And, I guess it goes without saying, we ate some really good food too – fabulous dinners at Town (by far my favorite…the Salted Chocolate Pretzel Tart was to die for!) and Nico’s at Pier 38; mai tai’s and a gorgeous sunset at Duke’s and a yummy and healthy lunch at the very hip Fresh. I even had my first ever Acai bowl from the Tropical Tribe food truck…which brings me to the point of this post.
Acai. Pronounced ah-sah-yee. The latest “superfood” that’s been popping up in health food stores and breakfast cafes and smoothie shops. The berries are supposedly good for everything…anti-aging, weight loss, and overall health. They come from acai palm trees found in Central and South America. I admit I’m usually pretty skeptical anytime anything is called a superfood (I tried the goji berry and blech!) and it wasn’t really on my list of top five things to do in Hawaii, but the young Brazilian guy who owns Tropical Tribe is considering leasing space from my father-in-law, so Tony suggested we go by and give it a try. So we did. We had just finished our Diamond Head hike and were pretty hungry. They do acai shakes and bowls…we opted for the bowl, served with granola, a little fruit and drizzled with honey. It was a delicious, healthy and satisfying mid-morning snack.
So, upon returning to San Diego, I was inspired to make my own acai bowl, but frankly, didn’t know much about acai or where to even buy it. I Googled and must have found a hundred different recipes. And, as it turns out, our local health food store carries acai in the frozen individual puree packets. (Apparently, you can also buy it in juice form and even sorbet.) So I bought some and played around and experimented with a couple of different recipes.
You’re basically just making a really thick smoothie. The instructions on the brand I bought said to just break up the frozen packet and put it in a blender with some frozen fruit, a little liquid (if needed) and a little sweetener (if desired). Well, I don’t know if it’s because our blender is about a thousand years old, but those frozen chunks of acai weren’t going anywhere at first! I had to let them defrost a bit. Then I blended the acai, frozen fruit and juice together until smooth; added half a banana and some agave syrup. I topped it with some Everyday Granola (new tropically inspired version!), sliced banana and strawberry. Is it a superfood? Am I aging less? Lol. that has yet to be seen, but it is yumminess and aloha in a bowl!
Acai Bowl with Tropically Inspired Everyday Granola…and a little Aloha
(makes one large serving or two smallish servings)
1 3.5-ounce pouch frozen acai puree
1 cup frozen fruit (any combination of your faves. I used a berry medley and pineapple)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 whole banana, peeled and cut in half (divided use)
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey (or more or less, adjust to your taste)
1/2 cup Everyday Granola (Tropically Inspired version…see below)
1/2 cup your favorite fresh fruit
Defrost acai packet slightly (if you have a really powerful blender, you probably can skip this step) and put in blender. Add about a cup of your favorite frozen fruits. Pour in orange juice (you might need more or less of this too, depending on the thickness you want). Blend until smooth. Cut half of the banana into big chunks; add to blender. Add agave or honey. Blend again until everything is incorporated and smooth.
Spoon into a bowl (or two) and top with Everyday Granola (tropically inspired version, see below, or regular); the other half a banana, sliced, and whatever other fresh fruit you like (berries are really good).
PS…Tropically Inspired Everyday Granola
While we were in Hawaii, I bought some plain Greek yogurt and a bag of really expensive tropical granola to have for breakfast, while sitting on our lanai watching the sun rise over Waikiki & Diamond Head.
The granola wasn’t as good as Everyday Granola, of course, but it did have big pieces of macadamia nuts in it. I love macadamias! Our friends Chip & Dale have a macadamia tree in their backyard and if you’ve ever wondered why macadamia nuts are so expensive, ask Chip & Dale about the whole process of picking them and shelling them and dehydrating them and husking them. Oy. I mean, I’m talking over 7300 nuts this year!!! We were the lucky recipients of a bag of macadamias, which I had been dying to use. Ah ha moment…tropical granola. So I made a batch of Everyday Granola, substituting the macs for pecans and a tropical dried fruit mix (kiwi, pineapple, mango, papaya) instead of my usual dried cranberries and golden raisins.