antioxidant acai bowl

03 06 2016.

acaibowl-6020

Acai Bowls. Spend 15 minutes on almost any social media outlet and you’re likely to find a photo of a bowl filled with a mysterious purple substance topped delicately with fruits and nuts. They’re everywhere.

acaibowl-6015

acaibowl-6016

For many months now, I’ve become increasingly curious about these beautiful bowls and really wanted to try making my own. At first it seemed like the only solution was to buy a powdered acai and mix it with frozen berries. Then I found out that you can purchase some frozen acai packs. I finally managed to get my hands on some of the frozen packs (wasn’t hard – Whole Foods stocks this brand) and decided that I was going to dedicate this weekend to experimenting with the famous acai bowl.

acaibowl-6018

It turns out that the trick to the acai bowl is that the desired consistency is thicker than a smoothie. It’s a spoon-fed concoction – hence the bowl as the vessel. Because of the thicker consistency, you want to avoid a) letting the acai sit at room temperature for too long before OR after blending (pop it back in the freezer for 15 minutes), b) diluting the acai mixture with too many non-frozen ingredients and c) blending for too long in a high-speed blender – this will create friction and eventually start to heat up your acai!

acaibowl-6023

Now, you must be wondering – what on Earth does acai taste like? I was pleasantly surprised. I really expected a strong berry flavor. Given its wild purple color, it looks like a pureed mixture of berries. Acai actually tastes more like…chocolate. Yeah…right? It’s a little bitter with a dark chocolatey taste. Kind of strange, definitely unexpected, but a chocolate-flavored super berry was BORN to be in a smoothie bowl.

acaibowl-6025

antioxidant acai bowl


yields: 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen acai packet, unsweetened
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 banana + 1/2 banana, sliced + divided
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp slivered almonds
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1/2 Tbsp. goji berries
  • 1 tsp honey (or liquid sweetener of your choice: maple syrup, agave, coconut nectar, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Prepare all of your ingredients and toppings before removing the acai puree from the freezer: slice the banana and kiwi and pit the date.
  2. In a blender, combine the frozen acai puree, date, frozen berries, 1/2 of a banana, and almond milk. You may have to stir the ingredients a few times (or use the blender plunger) to get the entire mixture to soften.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large serving bowl or two small ones and top with your desired ingredients.
  4. Drizzle with honey. Eat with a spoon!

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dicehealthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

I’m a huge fan of brunch. It’s actually starting to become a regular Sunday thing among my friends. I love returning from my long run, taking a hot shower, and then emerging to a scene of friends, delicious food smells and the sheer joy of creating something special together.

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

We go all out during brunch. Everyone contributes something – whether it’s pancakes, home fries, sausage, a fruit salad, or mimosas. One of my favorite breakfasts of all time would have to be a homemade parfait. I often will set out the fixings – I brought them to share at work once as well – but they usually go untouched: no one quite knows what to make of an assortment of yogurt, fruit and granola sitting out on a table. Sure, separately, they’re great. But together, they’re wonderful.

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

For Easter this year, I’m going to be bringing mini pre-made parfaits to the table with homemade granola. You can’t really go wrong when you bring something healthy and delicious to Easter brunch.

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola | spice & dice

healthy brunch mini parfaits + maple coconut granola


yields: 10 mini parfaits

Ingredients:

Granola

  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Parfaits

  • 10 8-ounce mason jars
  • 1 quart of your favorite greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 24 oz. frozen mixed berries
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate

Directions:

Granola

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or blender, add 1/4 cup almonds and 1/4 cup pecans. Pulse until roughly ground. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the remaining almonds and pecans into smaller pieces. Combine them with the ground nuts.
  3. Microwave the honey and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, or until melted. Pour liquid into the bowl of nuts.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, removing once after 6 minutes to stir. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container and use within 3-4 weeks.

Parfaits

  1. Spoon a small layer of greek yogurt into the bottom of each of your jars.
  2. Next, add some frozen berries onto the layer of greek yogurt. Spoon another layer of greek yogurt into the jars, followed by a second layer of berries. End with a final layer of greek yogurt, making sure to leave room on top for granola.
  3. Chop the dark chocolate into tiny pieces. Top each parfait with a little bit of the dark chocolate. If eating right away, top with a few scoops of granola as well.

Granola recipe adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Pancakes - Spice and Dice

Living with two roommates, we almost always have a crowd over on the weekends. Breakfasts are problematic. If we’re not making eggs, we’re making pancakes – from a box.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Pancakes - Spice and Dice

I made it my weekend goal to create a from-scratch pancake recipe that would be filling, delicious and also guilt-free. So I ground up some nuts, threw in some oats (I had plenty left over from the nut bars) and gave it a whirl.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Pancakes - Spice and Dice

This recipe makes the most perfectly round pancakes and they’re really tasty! I recommend using a high-power blender or food processor for creating the flour – that way you truly are getting a fine powder. (These also take longer to cook than normal pancakes, but won’t burn as fast either.)

Gluten and Dairy-Free Pancakes - Spice and Dice

Gluten and Dairy-Free Pancakes - Spice and Dice

Gluten and Dairy Free Pancakes

yields: 7-8 medium pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • coconut oil or cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor grind the oats, hazelnuts and almonds until they form into a fine powder.
  2. Add banana, ground flaxseed, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Grind the mixture until it becomes a batter.
  3. Warm a pan on medium heat. Coat the pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.
  4. Measure about 1/4 of a cup into the warm pan. It takes about 5 minutes to cook each side.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

Let me start by saying that this is not my recipe. I made these last night and they were so delicious (and easy) that I had to share. This recipe belongs to the wonderful Shannon over at Rumbly in my Tummy.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins - Spice & Dice

If these muffins look delicious to you, hop on over there and grab the recipe! You won’t regret it. They’re perfectly sweet with some satisfying sour.

Take-To-Work Breakfast Smoothie - Spice & Dice

I always wait until I’m at work to eat breakfast. My mornings tend to be hectic and I prefer to eat in the relaxed environment of my workplace. I’ve packed everything from cereal and parfaits to oatmeal for work. This week I decided to try something different – travel-safe smoothies.

Take-To-Work Breakfast Smoothie - Spice & Dice

These are extremely easy to do and you can prepare them the night before! Just get all of your ingredients together, put them in a bowl, cover, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. You can blend the ingredients the night before and store them in a mason jar in the fridge – but I prefer the fresher taste you get from blending it in the morning. The yogurt and almond milk tend to separate if they sit together for hours, too.

Take-To-Work Breakfast Smoothie - Spice & Dice

Take-To-Work Breakfast Smoothie - Spice & Dice

Take-To-Work Breakfast Smoothie (Strawberry Banana)

yields: 1 smoothie (2 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp & 1 tsp chia seeds, divided
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ice, crushed (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, mix 2 tsp chia seeds with the banana, strawberries, almond milk, greek yogurt and spinach. Stir to combine any spinach that may have stuck to the side.
  2. Add the cinnamon and crushed ice. Blend again just until the ice and cinnamon are combined.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a mason jar, top with remaining 1 tsp chia seeds and bring to work! (Or you can just drink it right then!)

*You can try this smoothie with other fruity flavors too! Other great combinations:
Strawberry & Kiwi
Peanut Butter & Banana
Mango & Pineapple