Acai Berry Bowl or Smoothie
The last two months have been a blurry adventure! On March 21st our daughter Mila, came into the world. Words cannot express the joy and awe we’ve felt in her presence these last 60 days. I felt the deepest love and infatuation imaginable and the most frustrated, anxious and overwhelmed in the same day. It’s still difficult to wrap my head around how our lives have changed in the last few months. We are just now beginning to feel like the fog has lifted. (If you’re only interested in the recipe feel free to skip ahead at this point)
During our hospital stay a dear friend came to visit and true to form, she brought the most lovely, thoughtful and appropriate gift, a cookbook titled: The First Forty Days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. In this book Heng Oh shares the Chinese postpartum tradition of zuo yeuzi; a ritualistic practice where for 30 days the new mother is served rich broths, soups and stews with warming spices and tonics with healing herbs. She and baby are cocooned inside the home, and all energy is solely devoted to feeding her newborn, sleep and recovery.
Along with gorgeous photos Heng shares the delicious, nourishing recipes passed down by generations of mothers before her. I highly recommend this book. Reading it after giving birth to Mila was immensely comforting and the encouraging, uplifting words helped me find a natural and easy postpartum ritual that suited me.
But before giving birth my attitude couldn’t have been farther from this philosophy. I had grand plans for my postpartum period. I was so excited to have more time to dive into creative projects, have lunch with friends, take long walks, go to yoga, etc. But after delivering Mila via c-section, and a week later spending a day in the ER with mastitis, I was forced into the kind of rest prescribed in this book. In the last two months I’ve devoted every last ounce of energy I’ve had to caring for Mila and recovering. And although being house-bound for weeks on end has been one of the most mentally challenging times, it’s also been the sweetest, most healing and restorative seasons of my life.
The inspiration for this recipe came from a smoothie recipe in The First 40 Days, and my new, desperate need for easy, healthy recipes. Whether you eat this as a bowl or a smoothie is up to you, serve it with fresh fruit and granola if you opt for bowl or enjoy fresh from the blender if you prefer a smoothie. The recipe serves two but keeps well in the fridge for a day or a month in the freezer. I’ve had the bowl for every meal of the day, but find it’s an extra delicious and energizing way to start the day.
In case you’re not familiar with the Acai berry, it’s a small blueberry like fruit indigenous to Central and South America, has numerous health benefits and is considered to be a superfood with more antioxidants than almost any other fruit. Antioxidants help your cells fight cancer-causing free radicals and can translate into healthy, glowing skin and hair. The Acai berry, and berries in general are also very low in sugar. You can find Acai puree in almost every grocery store now days.
- Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 frozen organic acai puree pouch (about 3.5 oz)
- 3 tbsp almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup sliced strawberries, separated
- 1 medium banana + 1 half sliced
- 1 cup granola of your choice
- Combine acai puree, nut butter, honey, vanilla, almond milk, blueberries, 1/2 of the strawberries and one banana in a blender and puree until creamy and smooth. (At this point you can drink this as a thick smoothie immediately, or for the bowl version I like to put the mixture in the freezer for about an hour so it’s nice and slushy).
- Layer a bowl with strawberries and granola then a layer of the acai puree and top with more strawberries, granola and the rest of the banana.