Açaí Power Parfait

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Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seedsI spent the past weekend in San Francisco, and it was glorious. I crushed a couple very slow walks hikes, basked in the perfect California weather, mainlined frozen mimosas, and got in some serious QT with my favorite people. I was the happiest.

Then I took the red-eye home, and now all I feel is pain.

I’m the worst at red-eyes. Some people get on the plane, promptly pass out, wake up upon landing, and then go about their days. They may be a little more tired/spacey than usual, but they’re otherwise unharmed. Not this kid.

My red-eye experience generally goes like this: Get on plane and fidget in seat until take-off. Creepily watch other people fall asleep. Try to sleep. Panic about not sleeping. Try harder to sleep. Panic harder. Pass out in 20-40 minutes bursts, regularly waking myself up when my head slides off the headrest into the aisle/seat in front of me. Arrive at destination as a zombie with sausage feet and proceed to be a waste of space for 24-72 hours.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-2While I know that I do not respond well to red-eyes, I continue to take them because I like to milk my weekend trips as much as humanly possible. (Duh.) During college/the Parisian years, the post flight misery was manageable because I could easily get away with being a blob for a few days. Now that I am extremely busy and important, I don’t always have the luxury of taking my sweet time in recovery. (The world will most likely end if I don’t blog, no?)

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-3So yesterday, I allowed myself a brief dirt nap before hauling myself out of bed to make the fabulous kabocha squash and pancetta quinoa bake dictated by my blog calendar. I’d hobbled halfway to the market on my sausage feet when I realized that I couldn’t do it. I paused on 13th Street, shivering in my coat (I had been too lazy to put a shirt or pants on, and hence was dressed as a flasher), suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of grappling with squashes all day. It was too much. I turned around and stumbled home, telling myself that I’d work on some other writing projects and push today’s post to Wednesday (sacrilege!). But first, I would make an açaí bowl to help me function.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the wonders of the Amazonian “superfood,” but on the off-chance you’re not, açaí is an antioxidant-rich berry that’s widely celebrated for its immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fabulousness. I’ve been really into açaí bowls/smoothies recently, and like most of my other superfood obsessions (chia seeds, avocado, pomegranate, etc.), I’m convinced that they’re making me smarter and prettier. Thank God.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-4I threw one of my frozen açaí packs into the blender along with a tablespoon of chia seeds, half a banana, some frozen berries, a couple teaspoons of coconut oil (its fatty acids kill bacteria and viruses, and I probably picked up some of those on the plane), coconut milk, and a squeeze of lime. I blended the whole shebang and went to get my usual smoothie bowl, which is when I realized I hadn’t run the dishwasher. I resourcefully spooned the smoothie into a glass, layering it with some granola, pomegranate seeds (superfood!), raspberries, banana and hemp seeds (more superfood!), and went to eat it in my bed.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-9It was on my way to my cave the bedroom that I realized how pretty the thing was. Like really, really ridiculously good looking. And after a few bites, I was all, “You’re so good at making smoothie creations, Serena!” This compliment perked me up significantly, and I immediately decided to whip up a few more to share with the world. (After all, downing three superfood smoothies in a row certainly couldn’t hurt.)

Please allow me to present: The Açaí Power Parfait.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-6I know smoothies are super easy, and many of you don’t need a recipe. (Good for you!) That said, this thick smoothie is downright delightful, and you really should try this specific ingredient combo. It strikes the ideal tart-sweet balance, and while you can always modify the toppings to suit your taste, I urge you to keep pomegranate in the mix. The texture and tang is perfection.

Yes, you can serve this as a straight up smoothie bowl if you must, but I’m really digging the parfait right now. In addition to being very fancy looking, layering the toppings means that you’ll get all the awesome add-ins in every bite. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the last few naked spoonfuls of a smoothie bowl rather depressing…

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-7FYI, it’s been 27 hours since my redeye, and I feel surprisingly okay. Thanks to excessive parfait consumption and regular self-affirmations (“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”), I think I’m gonna make it. Happy Tuesday, friends.

Açaí Power Parfait: (Makes 1 large parfait)

1 3.5-ounce frozen unsweetened açaí smoothie pack (I used Sambazon, which you can find in the frozen section at Whole Foods and almost every health food store.)
½ ripe banana
½ cup frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil (optional)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used coconut hemp milk because I love it, but you can obviously use any non-dairy milk of your choice.)
½-1 teaspoon raw honey (or agave for ze vegans)
Squeeze of lime juice (optional)
¼ cup of your favorite granola (This is mine.)
2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
1/3 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
Sliced banana

Preparing your Açaí Power Parfait:

-Place all of the ingredients for the smoothie into a blender.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-step-1-Blend until smooth.

Vegan-Acai-Parfaits-with-fruit-granola-and-hemp-seeds-step-2-Spoon half of the smoothie into a medium-sized glass. Add half of the toppings, then top with the remaining smoothie and toppings. BOOM, done.


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