Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls

All hail the hidden veggies!!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!

Seriously, who doesn’t want a HUGE serving of vegetables hidden into one of the most delicious acai bowls of all time? If you’re a fruit/breakfast fanatic like me and like to start your day off on the right foot, these Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls are for you.


And, speaking of hidden veggies, if you have picky eaters in your household (ahem, kids) you’re going to LOVE the fact that there is tons of broccoli and spinach packed into each and every one of these bowls.

Back in the day, when I first moved to Santa Barbara, I was living with my brother and sister-in-law and their three young kids until I found a place I could settle into on my own. As part of my “rent,” I’d try to cook for them as much as possible. As most families with young kids do, my bro and SIL were always struggling to get their kids to eat anything besides carbs and fruit. So, I took it upon myself to help them sneak some goodness into their diets in any way we could.

Some of the biggest hits I created for the kids were Hidden Veggie Popsicles. I’d basically whip up a smoothie with kale, carrots and sometimes even avocado the night before, poured the smoothie into a popsicle mold, and first thing in the morning there would be delicious, healthy POPSICLES waiting for the kids for breakfast. I mean, who doesn’t want popsicles for breakfast? They were a huge hit.

A healthy serving of Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. Your answer to a quick, easy and healthy breakfast!

Fast forward to almost four years later, now I’m trying to sneak as many vegetables into my diet as possible with my ever-changing preggo mama appetite. Throughout my first whole trimester, veggies were not my friend. I’m normally a huge salad eater, but a big bowl of raw greens was the LAST thing I even wanted to think about eating.

Luckily, my healthy appetite for fruit has maintained throughout the duration of my pregnancy (and will hopefully continue to!) I’ve been able to drink our Power Protein Smoothies we make almost every day, which do also have some kale mixed in, and if I’m looking for a healthy snack in the afternoon, a piece of fruit (most likely paired with cheese) is the first thing I’ll grab out of the refrigerator.

On the weekends, the hubs usually spoils me with eggs, bacon, the works, but occasionally we’ll have some place we need to be in the morning and thus need a quick, healthy breakfast to get our day started on the right foot. On these days, you can most likely find us at Backyard Bowls, Santa Barbara’s acai bowl/smoothie mecca that is basically amazing beyond words.

I’ll usually order either their PB&J Quinoa Bowl if I’m in the mood for a warm, belly-filling meal, or their Green Bowl if I’m looking for something more refreshing. The Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls I’m sharing today are my own personal take on the Green Bowl, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy them just as much as I did!

These Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls from CaliGirl Cooking are the perfect healthy breakfast for picky eaters.

Here’s what you’re going to need: some banana for creaminess, and one more for your toppings (because aren’t the toppings some of the best things about basically eating a smoothie in a bowl?), frozen acai (find it at your local Whole Foods or TJ’s), frozen broccoli and fresh spinach (there’s your veggies!), frozen cherries, pineapple juice, lime juice and some fresh ginger (if you’re feeling adventurous.) I love the ginger for the zinginess it brings to the bowl, but you can easily leave it out if you or your kids aren’t really into such a distinct flavor.

Throw everything into a blender, top with the banana, some sliced strawberries, granola, honey and, my favorite, PEANUT BUTTER, and you’ll have such a delicious, crowd-pleasing breakfast that Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls will soon become the most requested breakfast at your kitchen table. Promise!

An overhead shot of delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. They'll be a huge hit with kids!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!
Print
Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This healthy breakfast is packed with filling fruits and vegetables that will keep even the pickiest of eaters happy and full until lunch. 

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen acai pack
  • 1 banana, plus 1 additional for topping
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • Sliced strawberries, your favorite granola, honey and peanut butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except toppings in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  2. Pour blender contents into one larger cereal bowl (or two smaller ones) and garnish with desired toppings.

  3. Enjoy immediately!

Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Banana Split

It’s time to have some fun with our food!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s start with this festive, tasty, KID-FRIENDLY Breakfast Banana Split. It’s got all of the fun of a classic banana split, yet it’s healthy enough to be acceptable for breakfast. That’s my kind of meal!


The idea for this recipe (if you can call it that) came to me while I was working out at the gym, as many of my great ideas do. I’m not sure what spurred it, sometimes things just pop into my head as I’m zoning out on the elliptical. But once I thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I needed to make a Breakfast Banana Split ASAP!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me tell you a little story to set the scene for this idea.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara almost four years ago, I hunkered down in my brother and sister-in-law’s casita for a few months until my job went from temporary to permanent. I had a pretty sweet little set-up there, a futon bed, a full bathroom to myself, and a little nook with a mini-refrigerator. I did not have a kitchen, but luckily my fam didn’t mind me popping into the house and whipping something up, especially if it involved me making something that there three young kids, my niece and nephews, would eat.

While I lived there, I took a little bit of a challenge upon myself. Like most kids, my niece and nephews were not huge fans of foods that held any sort of nutritional value, so my challenge was to find ways to make food that they would love to eat while secretly sneaking in some healthy fruits and veggies. My greatest success with them was when I made “breakfast popsicles,” which were basically a big batch of smoothie loaded with greens (and sometimes other veggies,) poured into popsicle molds and frozen overnight. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to eat popsicles for breakfast?

As soon as the idea came to me for these Breakfast Banana Splits, I knew they’d be one of these dishes that kids will just jump at the chance to eat in the morning. I don’t have any children of my own (yet) but I look forward to exercising my nutrient-hiding creativity once again, and I know a Breakfast Banana Split will be making a frequent appearance on our household menu.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s how it goes down: Banana sliced lengthwise, just like the classic setup. Heaps of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the ice cream, because we’re making this acceptable for breakfast. Loads and loads of toppings (mostly healthy, some a little more indulgent.) Finally, we can’t forget the cherries on top!

The great thing about this Breakfast Banana Split is that it’s incredibly versatile. I decided to use toppings like flaked coconut, chopped pineapple, date caramel, strawberry jam, toasted nuts and cacao nibs, but you can really use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your pantry!) Some other ideas you could include are freeze-dried fruit, melted almond or peanut butter or hemp seeds. The possibilities really are endless.

Whether this is a true “recipe” or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty genius breakfast option, especially when you have finicky little ones.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

What are some ways you sneak nutrient-rich foods into your picky eaters’ diets?

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Breakfast Banana Split
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic soda fountain treat is given a healthy spin and turned into a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast. Who doesn't want dessert for breakfast?

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, melted
  • 1 tablespoon date caramel (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Place banana halves on either side of a sundae dish or larger, shallow bowl. Scoop Greek yogurt in between banana halves and add toppings. Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Recipe Notes

To make the Date Caramel (will make extra): Soak 20 pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Pulse until a smooth puree forms into a thick caramel consistency. Store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Chai Chia Oatmeal

It’s time to hop back in the saddle of life.

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com

And I’m going to do it with this Chai Chia Oatmeal by my side.


We got back from Lake Tahoe late Thursday night, just one day after we had initially anticipated and one day before the next storm was supposed to come in. We had such a great time relaxing, playing games and spending time with family…We never wanted to leave but, alas, we had to get back to reality and do this thing called life.

After two weeks away from home (and mostly eating other peoples’ food) I was so excited to get back in the kitchen on Friday and make my own delicious, wholesome food. First up on the list was this Chai Chia Oatmeal, which IMHO is the perfect January breakfast. Healthy, filling and easy to prepare, while still making us feel that we don’t have to say goodbye to all of the festive holiday cheer that has filled us up over the past couple of months.

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com

Speaking of cheer and happiness, has everyone set their intentions and goals for the New Year? I prefer to do this instead of setting resolutions, as having an end goal always motivates me to push forward and achieve everything I want to do. I took some time in between Christmas and New Year’s to reevaluate the direction I want to take the blog (and related business,) and I’m so excited to start setting things into motion to achieve these goals.

The New Year is a perfect time for this, but I think it’s important for us to remember to stop, reflect and reassess more often than once every 365 days. One of my goals for 2017 is to check in with myself AT LEAST every month, and see if I need to approach things a little differently or start focusing more of my time on something else. I think this is so necessary for entrepreneurs like myself, but also for anyone who is trying to achieve something in the New Year. Tell me, what are your goals and intentions for the year ahead?

We all know that one of the biggest intentions people set at New Year’s is to clean up their eating habits. Although you all know I don’t believe in restrictive diets, I think it is inevitable that eating healthier, more whole foods is top of mind at this time of year. I’m all for the healthy eating (and this Chai Chia Oatmeal is healthier than I’ll get out) but let’s not forget to sneak in little indulgences here and there. If it were up to me, I’d ask each and every one of you to have the goal of more BALANCE in your life as opposed to setting restrictions for yourself.

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com

So time for me to get off my pedestal and tell you all about this Chai Chia Oatmeal that is likely to be on repeat weekly in your household once you try it. It comes together in under 30 minutes, and even reheats well if you want to prep it in advance. There is also a huge amount of flavor for very few ingredients. All wins in my book!

Perhaps my favorite part of this recipe is the way we get the “chai spice” flavor into the oatmeal. Rather than having to worry about throwing in all of the different spices that go into chai, we simply steep two chai tea bags in the oatmeal’s liquid as it cooks. I used half water and half unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but you could easily go all one or the other based on your taste preferences.

Aside from the above mentioned base ingredients, all that goes into this wholesome breakfast is honey, a little vanilla extract and, of course, the chia seeds! And if you really want to jazz up your Chai Chia Oatmeal, may I suggest topping it all with toasted walnuts, homemade whipped cream and ground cinnamon? Or what about pecans, maple syrup and Greek yogurt? The healthy possibilities are endless, my friends, so let’s get about whipping this up in the kitchen, shall we?

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Chai Chia Oatmeal
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This warming oatmeal is full of comforting chai spices and filling chia seeds. It's the perfect, healthy cold weather breakfast that will keep you right on track with your healthy eating goals.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the oatmeal:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Suggested toppings:
  • Toasted walnut or pecan pieces
  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, almond milk, oats, salt and tea bags. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all of the liquid has absorbed into the oats. 

  2. Stir in the honey, chia seeds and vanilla extract. 

  3. Spoon into bowls and top with desired toppings. Serve immediately.

Chai Chia Oatmeal | CaliGirlCooking.com