8.16.2017

Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl + A Winner

One of my new favorite things to have for lunch or for an after school snack are Acai Smoothie bowls. We have a local place that opened up last year that only makes Acai smoothie bowls and earlier this year a Vitality Bowls opened up in our town. I am not sure if this is a California thing or if they are all across the country, but one thing is for sure...Acai Smoothie bowls are delicious and healthy! The only problem is that they are pricey...each one is between $8-$11 EACH!


They are so expensive to make because Acai berries are rare....it's kind of like a cross between a grape and a blueberry, the acai berry is a small, reddish-purple drupe consisting of a cluster of seeds, with only around 15 percent or so being edible, harvested from tall, slender palm trees found around the Amazon River basin of South America. 
These berries are also quite perishable, but have significant nutritional attributes when eaten fresh. 
You can only buy acai berries here in the US in frozen form or juice form.

Acai berries are low in sugar, but contain excellent amounts of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A.
The properties contained in acai berries may help prevent health problems such as arthritis, inflammation, obesity, neurological diseases, and allergies. Acai berries have positive effects on ailments associated with oxidative stress, heart disease, and cancer. 
Acai Berries are considered a super food!

I introduced my kids to them this summer & they all love them now.
This is good because Acai Berry Smoothie bowls are full of fruits and veggies, but this is bad because they are so expensive.
I knew that I could make them at home for a lot cheaper, so after some experimenting, I perfected the recipe!

Here is what you need:
Smoothie bowl:
Acai frozen smoothie pack (found in the freezer section at Trader Joe's) 
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (sometimes frozen strawberries are hard to blend, so fresh is fine to use)
3/4  cup frozen blueberries
1 handful of kale/spinach
1 banana
1/2 cup Apple Juice

Garnish:
Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Fresh Blueberries
1 banana, sliced
Handful of your favorite granola
Drizzle of Honey

Directions:
In your blender, put in your frozen pack of acai puree (make sure you thaw it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds & then  break it in a couple of places before you throw it into a blender).
Here is what the pack looks like from Trader Joe's:
 Also add the banana, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, apple juice & handful of kale. Blend until smooth.
 The mixture will be thick. You want it more of a frozen yogurt consistency rather than a smoothie consistency.

 Pour mixture into a bowl:
Then add a handful of your favorite granola. I love the KIND brand of granola. All of their flavors are delicious, but my favorite one is the Oats & Honey with Coconut clusters. They also have a really delicious Vanilla Blueberry with Flax granola.
 Slice up another banana and layer on top of the granola:
 Slice up 2-3 fresh strawberries next...
 Add a handful of fresh blueberries:
 Then drizzle on some honey & viola...you have a homemade acai berry smoothie bowl for a fraction of the price!
The recipe that I listed makes 1 large Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl. 
I can eat this size for lunch and be full until dinner time!
When I make this size recipe for my kids, I split it into 3 bowls for them and it is a great after school snack for them.
 This is going to be a go-to after school snack for my kids...especially this time of year because the girls have soccer practice 2 times a week in the evenings, so this is a perfect snack to give them enought energy after school so that they aren't starving during soccer practice (which ends at dinner time!)
 If you don't have a Trader Joe's or Costco near you that sells Acai Frozen packs, you can order them on Amazon HERE and they will ship them to you with dry ice! You get 24 packs of them & it breaks down to about $2.50 each which is a pretty good deal!
 I hope you love these homemade Acai Berry Smoothie bowls as much as we do! 
If you don't like bananas, blueberries & strawberries, you can substitute other fruits for these smoothie bowls, the possibilities are endless. 
Later this week I am going to make a peach pineapple version :) 

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Anne Marie S.
Congratulations!
Leave a comment or send me an email so I can send you the gift card!



8.14.2017

10 on 10 :: August 2017

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}
ten on ten button
 
Here is what my 10th of August looked like......
Luke turned 5 on August 9th & we had his party on his birthday & so the morning of the 10th I woke up and got all the decorations taken down. Can you guess the theme? I will be blogging it soon!
I watered my garden and noticed that my watermelons are totally growing!
Then I headed to school for a math department meeting learning about a new Math 180 program.
 After my meeting, I got my classroom organized & set up for the school year...can't believe school is starting!
 After I was at school for a few hours, I went home and had lunch...I made a homemade Acai smoothie bowl. I am LOVING making these! I will blog the recipe soon. So good!
Luke got his Paw Patrol Water Squirter Backpack for his birthday, so he wore it all afternoon & had fun spraying the grass & plants with water :)
 Then I had to get ready for another party at my house. I was hosting a Flipping into 3rd Grade Flip Flip Pool Party for Claire & some of her friends. This was an auction item at our school's auction that I donated. My friend Jackie helped me throw it. The girls swam, jumped on the trampoline & did some flip flop crafts. We had fun!
  Here are the cookie favors for the party, aren't they cute?
After the pool party, we headed to Claire's soccer practice. I am one of her coaches this year, it's been so fun coaching soccer again :)
 Then Kate had soccer practice. After her practice, we had dinner and the kids swam. The kids wanted to eat their dinner in the hot tub, so I let them. We had Instant Pot Pulled Pork. So good!
 After dinner I was so tired from a crazy busy day (and I got a sinus infection earlier this week, so I wasn't feeling well) so I headed up to bed and watched How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.
 This is one of my very favorite sitcoms, so I decided to start it from Season 1, episode 1 since it had been years since I watched them. I forgot how much I love this show, especially the first few seasons.

 So, there you have it...a sneak peek of my 10th of August! 
It was a fun & busy day...and now school starts today! 
Where did summer go?!?!?

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A just a reminder, if you haven't entered my $300 Target Gift Card Blogoversary Giveaway,  it ends tonight....enter it HERE if you haven't already!

8.08.2017

9 Year Blogoversary + $300 Target Giftcard Giveaway

Today is my blog's 9th Birthday.
9 years ago on 8-8-08, I was 8 months pregnant with Claire, watching the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I decided to start a blog.
I had been wanting to start a blog to document our family & I decided to finally start a blog that day because the date was cool 08-08-08 .
 I am a math teacher & numbers nerd, bear with me ;) 
Here I am 9 years later with a 10.5 year old Kate, almost 9 year old Claire & soon to be 5 year old Luke (tomorrow!!!!)
I had no idea how much blogging would enrich my life.
I have meet & become friends with people because of this blog.
I have had a lot of neat opportunities because of this blog.
I have loved having this blog as a creative outlet for sharing recipes, printables & parties & other randomness!
Like always, in honor of my blogoversary, I have a giveaway planned as a THANK YOU for reading my blog!

 Before we get to the giveaway, I thought I would recap some memorable moments over the past 9 years.
 The most viewed post on my blog is my "Easiest Dinner Ever"

 This recipe has been viewed almost 2 million times. WHAT?!?!?
And, it is my most controversial post....it is the post I have gotten the most negative comments on. You either love this recipe or you hate it. 
We love it...It's one of my go-to recipes. And, it's the easiest!
This year I converted the easiest dinner ever recipe to the Instant Pot. 
Click HERE for those instructions...it's even easier!

In the past 9 years, I have posted almost 200 recipes (!!!!)
You can see all my recipes in my Recipe Box tab or click HERE

The most "popular" party that I have thrown is Claire's Cowgirl Party.

    I must say, that is probably my favorite party I have thrown also.

It's been almost 6 years since I threw that party and I think there is still some hay in our backyard from all those hay bales....Sorry Kevin ;)

 You can see all my party posts HERE on the party tab!
 In the past 9 years, I have made over 30 free printables.
The most popular downloaded ones have been my Christmas Cookie in a Jar Printable  

A close 2nd to my most downloaded free printable is my Thankful for You Pumpkin Bread Printable:

Other memorable posts over the past 9 years:

When I wrote about Working Mom Guilt....HERE
I wrote about being The Best Mom Ever. Then having kids....HERE

My most embarrassing moment....read about it HERE
 My grossest moment as a Mom....read about it HERE
One of my favorite posts...when I won Blogher's Voice of the Year in 2013:
Yes, I am one of THOSE Moms....read it HERE
 I am curious....what things do you like me to blog about?
Recipes? Parties? Printables? Shopping? Fashion? Parenting? Randomness?
Anything you would like me to blog about more (or less?)
In honor of my 9 year blogoversary, I am giving away a $300 giftcard to one of my favorite places...TARGET!
 Is this perfect timing for Back to School or what?!?!
***Use the Rafflecopter below to Enter!***
This giveaway ends on Monday, August 14th

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, listen to my ramblings, try my recipes, use my printables, look at my pictures & comments.
It surprises me that people actually read my blog.
I am just a normal girl who loves Jesus, my husband, 2 girls & my sweet Luke.
I appreciate the time you take out of your day to read & comment.
Thank you for reading my randomness!
 
It has been such a fun experience blogging these past 9 years! 
Thank you for being a part of it!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

7.28.2017

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

One of my very favorite things to make for dinner during the summer is Pulled Pork. 
It is a great summer meal & you don't have to use your oven!
I usually make it in my Crock Pot, but I haven't used it since I got my Instant Pot last Fall!
I know several of you got an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share this recipe! It is super easy to make & delicious. Making it in the Instant Pot takes an hour, where if you made it in a Slow Cooker, it would take 6-8 hours!
Here is what you need:
 - 4 pounds of pork shoulder or pork butt (I use boneless)
- 3 T brown sugar
- 2 T smoked paprika
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 T salt
- 2 T ground pepper
BBQ Sauce

Directions:
Cut the pork into 4 or 5 pieces and trim the excess fat:
 Place the pork in a gallon ziplock:
 In a small bowl, add the brown sugar, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt & pepper:
 Mix together. This is your dry rub.
 Add the dry rub to the ziplock. Seal the ziplock and shake until the pork is coated.
 You can do this step the night before or the morning you make it if you want more flavor. Or, you can do this right before you cook it in the Instant Pot. Totally up to you & your schedule :)
Place the pork in your Instant Pot:
 Add 1 cup of BBQ sauce and put the lid on & turn the vent to sealing.
 Cook on Manual High Pressure for 60 minutes.
 Let it to do a natural release for 10-15 minutes. Then do a manual release if needed. Your pork will be ready to shred! I shred it right in the Instant Pot.
Or, you can take it out, shred it and then put it back int the Instant Pot.
You might have a lot of fat/grease in your sauce depending on how much you trimmed off, so you can always discard it and then add more BBQ sauce if needed.
 I serve my Pulled Pork on Kaiser Buns with Brocolli Slaw.

I like Brocolli Slaw better than regular coleslaw made with cabbage, to each their own :)
 For the brocolli slaw, I just buy the pre-packaged broccoli slaw from Trader Joe's or Safeway and then just add Coleslaw dressing & some ground pepper. I usually use the Marie's brand found in the refrigerate section of the store in the produce/salad area near all the refrigerated salad dressings.
 I usually serve this with sliced watermelon or a fruit salad.
This is a delicious recipe and full of flavor.
If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can still use this recipe, but just cook it in your Crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.
And, it serves a crowd! Pulled pork is on of my go-to recipes when we have pool parties or BBQ's in the summer. I think I've made Pulled Pork for every single one of Luke's birthday parties & I plan on having it on the menu for his party again this year :)

If want more of my Instant Pot recipes, here are 2 of my favorite ones that are perfect for the summer.

Instant Pot Spicy Shredded Pork Tacos:


Instant Pot Easiest Dinner Ever

Also, I plan on updating my Recipe Box and making separate section for my Instant Pot recipes since I have almost 10 of them now. Stay tuned!

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 Email me at melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com if you have any product questions or if you want to claim this Christmas in July Special!

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