|Seed to Spoon with Quaker|
*THIS IS A SPONSORED POST BY THE QUAKER OATS COMPANY. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN!*
In a modern grocery store, one thing is undisputed:
There so many brands and products to choose from. In fact, the sheer experience of selecting from the array labels can cause sweaty palms. As a result, it seems easier to just close your eyes, do a little twirl and grab the box your eyes first land on. Or to choose just based on price.
But in the last few weeks, something important has crystalized for me.
What brand you choose DOES matter. And past that first cursory glance, brands can vary wildly in the quality of their product. They're not all the same, and whatever you choose helps support the values underlying your selection.
After my Seed to Spoon Tour with Quaker, you can bet that I will never view them as one among many. Quaker is setting itself and its products apart on so many levels, and I won't be satisfied with just any oats again!
I was honored when Quaker asked me to participate in the Seed to Spoon Journey, which landed myself and seven other wellness "influencers" in Cedar Rapids Iowa, the epicenter of oat milling for Quaker, where they have the largest such mill in the world. If you've been following my recipes for a while, you'll know that I am a serious fan of oats, oatmeal and using oat flour in many of my baked goods. Not only are oats scrumptious, they're a good source of fiber, which may help support digestive health, and with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, the soluble fiber may help reduce the risk of heart disease. I am always so satisfied when I eat an oat-based recipe!
So when Quaker reached out, offering an opportunity to connect with other oat lovers like myself, I was 100% IN. During our time in Cedar Rapids, we were given a behind the scenes peek at the people and the processes that define Quaker, a household American name that has been around for 140 years!
Two things stood out to me during this experience:
#1 The supreme focus on Nutrition and Quality:
- Quaker has been funding oat agricultural research since 1939 to continue to improve their oat varieties that benefit both the consumer and their farmers. Before seeds are even distributed to farmers, they undergo years of testing to ensure that they will produce the best possible grain.
- Once the whole grain oats are grown and sent to the oat mill, they are subject to another rigorous series of inspections through their proprietary grading process. Oats that don't meet Quaker's specifications are rejected and don't go on to be milled into products.
- Quaker has strict guidelines and precise and unparalleled technology to remote any gluten-containing grains for their Gluten-Free products.
- They also have a unique proprietary kilning process, which gives Quaker's oats a signature delicious toasted flavor.
# 2 The supreme focus on Company Culture:
- Quaker employees know and look up to one another. As members from different teams spoke or led the tour, they gave one another complete attention and focus. They referred and deferred to one another, encouraging someone else to answer questions they couldn't. It was clear that they think of one another as family.
- Quaker employees STAY. As they introduced themselves to us, they each took great pride in noting several decades of dedicated service to the company. They wore Quaker gear, and they claimed themselves as "lifers". Truly, it made me want to work there! Not only do they treat each other with respect, it is clear that the company has treated them with respect.
- Quaker has an incredible Direct Growers program, which consists of over 400 farmers, who are deeply committed to upholding Quaker's standards and growing the highest quality oats. I thought it was incredible that Quaker flew one of the farmers from their Direct Growers program down from Saskatchewan, Canada, to join us for our tour!
To celebrate my newfound appreciation for all things Quaker Oats, I decided to use them in a breakfast recipe for y'all!
Enter: GRAFFLES aka Green WAFFLES:
These oat-based waffles are our current breakfast obsession. They're incredibly easy to throw together, packed with nutrition and make-ahead friendly: just whip up a double batch and freeze leftovers in an airtight plastic bag for up to 2 months. They can be great for kids as well, who won't taste the spinach or spirulina (if you use it), and who will probably enjoy saying "Graffle" as much as I do! Note: these are not your typical crispy waffles, with a softer, slighter denser texture that I actually prefer!
I decided to use Quaker Quick 1-Minute Oats for this recipe, because I have been loving their texture, and I use them for hot oatmeal as well. There is some misconception that "quick" or "instant" oats have nutritionally inferior to rolled or steel-cut oats, but the head of the Quaker's Nutrition Science Team clarified that all of the oat varieties have the same wonderful nutritional profile!
By the time we said our goodbyes after the tour, I was an official devotee to Quaker Oats, and I will never look at generic labels as a sufficient substitute again! I am so grateful for my experience in Cedar Rapids, and I hope you will also take the time to notice the Quaker difference.