Thursday, September 20, 2012

Foods I love: Exciting new sprouted grains products!

I know it's not every day that you hear the words "exciting" and "sprouted grains" together.   But, I am really excited about some new products I recently got the opportunity to try.

The kind folks over at Essential Eating asked me if I'd be up to trying and reviewing some of their sprouted grain products.   A quick look at their website and I could see that they were a company whose products I would definitely desire to try.  So, I agreed and in a short period of time I received a box containing several of their pastas, their pretzels, and their breakfast cereal.   Just for the record, I was not paid for the review of their products, but I did receive everything to try courtesy of the company.  I was only asked to try the products and give an honest review on my blog.

If you aren't familiar with the idea of sprouted grains, you can check out this post of mine, and see my love of sprouted grain bread.   Sprouted grains are very nutritious.   When grains are unsprouted, a lot of their nutrients remain unlocked for consumption.   And, the phytates they contain (also known as "anti-nutrients") keep you from getting the vitamins and minerals from your food.  Sprouting is a process that deactivates the phytates and unlocks the nourishment!  You can think of sprouting a grain much like a plant that would grow.  Seeds (grains) lay dormant until they are planted and grown.  A tomato seed doesn't contain much nutrients if you eat it, but a tomato sure does.  In the sprouting process, seeds become plants and the nutrients are now digested the same as vegetables, not as seeds or starches. 

Essential Eating has pioneered an organic process that duplicates nature's balance of sunshine and rain to sprout whole grains into plants, and mill them into flour for their products.  These one-of-a-kind products are 100% whole grain fiber, high in protein, and are organic, kosher, and vegan!  I was surprised to read their pasta label and discover that for one serving (2 oz dry pasta) there is 7g of fiber, 9g of protein, and 10% of your RDA for iron.  Plus, they contain 57 grams of whole grains which is 100% of your RDA.  And how nice to read the ingredient list:  organic sprouted 100% whole wheat flour.  

The first product I tried was the Pretzel Puffs.  Emma had already opened the package upon arrival, and said that she liked them.  When Rich and I tried them, we thought that they were a great whole grain snack.  Nice fresh crunch and good flavor.  I would definitely buy these. The ingredients of the pretzels are:  organic sprouted whole wheat flour, water, organic extra virgin olive oil, salt, yeast, and soda.

The next product I tried was the Sprouted Wheat Cereal.  We have always loved Cream of Wheat, but in recent years have come to realize it's just a processed food (ever wonder why it has to be "enriched"?). I liked the idea of the sprouted grain version but wondered if it would be too "grainy" or bland.  Last year I tried a "cream of buckwheat" cereal that I found at Whole Foods but we were less than thrilled with it.  When I opened the package and saw the rugged texture, I honestly wasn't thinking I would like the finished product.


I went ahead and prepared the cereal with water as directed and topped it the same as I do the Cream of Wheat- with good Irish butter, brown sugar, and some almond milk on top.  Much to my surprise, I instantly fell in love with it's delicious flavor and comforting texture!  I served it to Emma and her friend, and they loved it as well.  I will definitely keep this cereal as a staple in my pantry for fall and winter.   We have almost gone through the whole box already!  The ingredient of the cereal is: certified organic sprouted whole grain spelt (wheat).

 If you like Cream of Wheat, I promise you you'll love this cereal!

Then I moved on to trying the pastas.  First, I tried the Sprouted Linguini.  I decided to do a roasted salmon, broccoli, and linguini dish.  While the pasta water came to a boil, I prepared to roast some salmon and broccoli in the oven.  I brushed 2 pieces of wild salmon and 1 bunch organic broccoli (flowerettes only) with a quick Asian marinade that I made out of 2 cloves garlic, a small grated piece of fresh ginger, 2 T. soy sauce, 2 T. rice vinegar, 2 T. olive oil, a squeeze of honey, and some S & P.   They took about 10-15 minutes to cook at 450 degrees.  When done, I tossed them together with the cooked linguini, squeezed a little lemon juice over, and topped with some grated Parmigiano cheese.  My whole family enjoyed it very much.  We are normally not "whole grain" pasta fans, but all agreed that we could totally eat this instead of "white" pasta.

linguine with roasted salmon & broccoli 


The next pasta I tried was the Sprouted Penne.  The kids were out and I wanted an easy Saturday dinner for two, so I just prepared the pasta as directed and tossed it with sauteed rainbow chard, fresh garlic, fresh basil, chopped fresh raw garden tomatoes, olive oil, S & P, and grated Parmigiano.  It was simple and delicious, and again we really enjoyed the taste and texture of the pasta.

penne with chard, tomatoes, & basil

I had some leftover pasta, so the next day I made a cold salad with organic frozen corn, black beans, chopped garden tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, feta cheese, and a basic vinaigrette made with lime juice as the acid, and spruced up with some of my Penzey's adobo seasoning, and a little S & P.    It was a hot day, and was the perfect lunch for Emma & I.  The ingredient of the pasta is: certified organic sprouted whole wheat flour.

Lastly, I tried the Sprouted Elbows.  I cooked them as directed, and tossed them with sauteed crimini mushrooms, garlic, onion, yellow bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, and a couple handfuls of baby kale.  I then stirred in a couple generous spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese and a couple ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water to form a light, creamy sauce. The dish was delicious, came together fast, and seemed like something you would get in a fine restaurant! The texture of the pasta was perfect, and this shape could possibly be my favorite of them all.  The ingredient of the pasta is (you guessed it):  certified organic sprouted whole wheat flour.

  elbows with sauteed mushrooms & kale in creamy sundried tomato/mascarpone cheese sauce

Essential Eating also sells sprouted whole grain flour that I am anxious to try.  What appeals to me about the flour is that it has a 6 month shelf life (unlike unsprouted whole wheat flours that lose their nutrition soon after milling).  The reason for the longer shelf life is because when grains are properly sprouted, the germ cell is consumed by the endosperm and is no longer in a state that can become rancid.  And what else that is amazing about their flour is that it digests like a vegetable and not a starch!  You can read all about it on their website. They sell their flour under the name of Shiloh farms and I believe some Whole Foods markets carry it.

In conclusion, these are great products!  And right now on the Essential Eating website they are offering an amazing deal!  They are selling a sampler box for only $33.00 which even includes shipping! You receive one of each of the seven sprouted products including: a one pound box each of penne, spaghetti, linguini, & elbows; a one poung box each of the sprouted wheat cereal and sprouted spelt cereal, PLUS an 8 oz. bag of sprouted Pretzel Puffs.  I've already ordered mine so I can be stocked up once again on these fine products.  They also sell a cookbook called Sprouted Baking which looks fab!  Happy sprouted eating everyone!

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