#LoveGrainLove

Love Grain Hitting the Headlines! January 04 2017, 0 Comments

We're honored and thrilled to be a part of tiny teff making it big!  

Check out these recent articles from top media outlets, including Forbes, The Guardian, and The New York Times featuring Love Grain's very own Aleem Ahmed and his experience moving from the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency to creating a social enterprise that brings value to everyone it touches. 

Forbes, 11.01.2016: Four-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies As Nutritious As Your Breakfast Cereal

Is Teff the New Supergrain?” The New York Times asked in August. This ancient grain, a staple crop in Ethiopia, is so packed with vitamins and nutrients it might as well be prescribed by your doctor...One of the strong upstarts in the field, hard at work popularizing teff to a US audience, is Love Grain. The company was founded by American consultant Aleem Ahmed after he went to live in his ancestral homeland, Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, where he worked with the country's Agricultural Transformation Agency, which oversees Ethiopia's teff production. Read more...

The Guardian, 10.14.2016: Teff could be the next quinoa as Ethiopia boosts exports

There are two inescapable foods in Ethiopia, coffee and teff. While Ethiopian coffee is famous worldwide, the country’s staple grain is still a stranger to western palates. But food entrepreneurs hope teff will soon be as ubiquitous in British supermarkets as it is in Addis Ababa’s kitchens...Ethiopians have been planting teff – the base of their renowned injera bread - for more than 3,000 years. Yet for businessmen like Aleem Ahmed, this gluten-free grain, packed with amino acids, has the potential to become a lucrative superfood. Companies like Ahmed’s Love Grain in the US or Tobia Teff in the UK want to provide westerners with a healthier alternative to wheat while helping Ethiopian farmers thrive. Read more...

The New York Times, 08.16.2016: Is Teff the Next Super Grain?

When Laura Ingalls, an avid runner from Boston, found out after a routine blood test that she was iron-deficient, she turned to the kitchen instead of the medicine cabinet: She started eating teff...A small number of food start-ups like Love Grain, a company based in San Francisco, are trying to incorporate teff into everyday American foods. Last year the company introduced a line of gluten-free pancake mixes made from teff, which sold out quickly. Now the company is working on introducing a line of high-protein, teff-based tortilla chips next year. Read more...


Ring in the Holidays with Love Grain's Teff Pumpkin Cranberry Pancankes December 15 2014, 0 Comments

Have any lingering cans of pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving? What about cranberries?

Well then you've got everything you need for our latest LoveGrain Breakfast Mix creation, Pumpkin Cranberry Pancakes. Perfect for the morning after a big feast, or any time you want a quick yet nutritious breakfast, these pancakes are the fluffiest we've ever had! And the recipe is foolproof. The ones pictured here were made with local cranberries from a nearby farm, but they might be a bit tart for kiddies. Don't worry, dried crannies work just as well. 

Pumpkin Cranberry Pancakes

(makes 6-8 pancakes)

1 cup Love Grain

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup almond, soy, or rice milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup dried, frozen (defrosted) or fresh cranberries

cooking spray

Mix first four ingredients until combined. Heat a stovetop griddle to medium-low heat and spray with your preferred cooking spray. Scoop pancake batter onto griddle and sprinkle a few cranberries on top of each one. Flip when bubbles start to rise to the top. As the batter sits it might thicken a bit, in which case mix in a few more tablespoons of milk. 

Enjoy warm. Don't forget the maple syrup!

 


Mountain Muffins August 30 2014, 0 Comments



Good morning from beautiful Highlands, North Carolina!  We're heading out for a long hike in the Blue Valley, and we baked up some Love Grain muffins to get our day started off right.  Try this great recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cup of Love Grain Breakfast Mix
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Whole Lotta Fresh Blueberries

Bake on 375 for 25 minutes and let cool before serving.  LOVE! 

 

 

 


My FAVORITE food: Chocolate Chip Cookies August 28 2014, 0 Comments

Friends, it's a big day.  We've FINALLY mastered Love Grain gluten-free teff-based chocolate chip cookies, aka my FAVORITE food, and the recipe is absurdly simple!  Check it out: 

  • 1 1/2 cups of Love Grain Breakfast Mix
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or as many as you want!)

  • That's IT!  Can you believe it?  So delicious, you'd never know they were gluten free, much less high in fiber and protein.  Best. Cookie. Ever. 

     

     

     

     


    Love Grain-ing My Farm Share August 26 2014, 0 Comments

    This is my first summer in Boston in a looooong time, and let me just say that the three months of glorious weather here have nearly made me forget the other nine months of misery. One of the perks this summer has been my farm-share from Siena Farms. Every Saturday, my roommates and I pick up a box—roughly twice the size of a shoe box—filled to the brim with nature's bounty. Kale, rainbow carrots, bright white onions, and brilliant green scallions. Peppers, cabbage, kohlrabi, fairy tale eggplants, and arugula. Oh, and how could I forget the squash! Ohhh, the squash. And then there's our fruit farm-share—a whole separate box of corn and tomatoes and nectarines and peaches.

    I'm vegetarian and gluten-free, so boxes of fruit and veggies for me is pretty close to heaven. Give me a little olive oil, salt, and garlic, and I'll eat like a King (or Queen, rather). Of course, some weeks it's nearly impossible to consume all of the goodness. Especially when it comes to the squash. That's when I start getting creative.

    In the last two weeks, my roommates and I have turned our farmshare “leftovers” into a series of Love Grain experiments in the kitchen, using our Breakfast Mix and, of course, all natural good-for-you ingredients.

    Now, I'm no chef, so take this with a grain of salt, but for real y'all, these recipes turned out pretty dang delicious. Check'em out and then try'em out! (You can buy Love Grain here or here.)

    Nectarine Crumble

    For the filling:
    6 cups nectarines or peaches, sliced
    2 tbs olive oil

    For the topping:
    1 cup Love Grain Breakfast Mix
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    2 tbs organic local honey
    1 tbs olive oil

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375. Toss sliced nectarines (or peaches) in a drizzle of olive oil; pour into a baking dish. In a large bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix until large pieces or “crumbles” form. Scatter over the filling. Bake until center is bubbling, 40-50 minutes. Let cool before serving. Love!

    H/T to roommate Kathleen Stetson [link to Trill] for cooking this up, and to Martha Stewart for providing so many basic recipes from which we can adapt gluten-free, nutritious options!

    Peach Pancakes

    Whip up your favorite version of Love Grain pancakes. Add chopped peaches before pancakes begin to bubble on the skillet/griddle. Flip and serve. Love!

     

    Squash Birthday Cake

    The squash, ohhhh the squash in our farm share—what to do with it all? I'd heard of zucchini bread plenty, and even devoured Erica's delicious Love Grain Zucchini cupcakes...but squash in a cake? I wasn't sure, but what the heck...Also, did I mention it was for Love Grain co-founder Aleem's 30th birthday?!  Woohoo! 

    Ingredients:

    1 egg
    1 & 1/4 cup lightly packed shredded zucchini, skin left on
    1 & 1/4 cup coconut milk
    2 tbsp pure maple syrup
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups Love Grain Mix
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray cake tin with your nonstick ingredient of choice. Grate zucchini using a grater box (regular grate size). In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, folding in the chocolate chips last.Pour batter into the cake tin and bake for about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven once a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before spreading icing of your choice. Love!


    H/T to Oh She Glows blog, from whom we adapted this Love Grain recipe. http://ohsheglows.com/2012/08/06/oil-free-chocolate-zucchini-walnut-muffins/#ixzz3B33XmwUe

     


    Introducing Erica, Recipe-Experimenter-in-Chief August 22 2014, 0 Comments

    Hi, my name is Erica and I'm a MBA student balancing first-year coursework with cooking up new ideas—in and outside the test kitchen--for the team here at Love Grain.

    I live for playing with my food and in posts from me, you can look forward to new ways to use your Love Grain Breakfast mix and other ways to bring teff into your meals for a well-nourished life.

    I have celiac disease, and when it comes to gluten-free baking, I like to keep things as simple as possible. But here's the trouble: many of the gluten-free blends I can buy on the shelves of supermarkets aren't especially nutritious, but making my own gluten-free flour blend can be expensive and time-consuming. Some days, I'm ready to measure out my quinoa and buckwheat flours by grams, but other days I want none of the hassle!

    What I love about this recipe is you can just use the Love Grain mix as is—no need to add baking soda or extra flour. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry and fridge, so get a hold of your zucchini, grab those mixing bowls, and enjoy the sweet results. If you're feeling generous, share the muffins and the love (grain) with some friends :)

    Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    Adapted with love (grain) from one of my favorite food blogs, Oh She Glows

    Makes about one dozen muffins or one loaf. 

     

     


       

      Ingredients

       

      Wet

      • 1 egg or 1 vegan “egg” (1 tbsp ground flax or ground chia + 3 tbsp water, refrigerated until gelled)
      • 1 and 1/4 cup milk (non-dairy or dairy works—both are good)
      • 2 tsp white vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice (pick an acid, any acid)
      • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (the real stuff--no Mrs. Butterworth's!)
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract

      Dry

      • 1 package Love Grain Mix
      • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (so good)
      • 1/2 tsp salt (iodized or fine sea salt is great)
      • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I'm a fan of coconut sugar, but brown or white will work, too)

       

      Add-ins

      • 1 and 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (no need to peel!)
      • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (gotta love that 70% dark)
      • 1/2 cup of whatever else you'd like (I go for chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, or more chocolate!)

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin pan with cooking oil or spray or use paper cupcake liners. 
      2. Grate zucchini using a box grater (on the coarse grating end) or food processor (with the grater disc in). Set your shredded zucchini aside.
      3. Mix milk and your choice of vinegar or lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. It'll curdle—totally normal.
      4. In a one mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (egg, milk-acid mixture, maple syrup, and vanilla).
      5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. Fold in your Add-ins.
      6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for about 15-17 minutes at 350F, or until muffins slowly spring back when touched. A toothpick should come out mostly clean. Allow to cool.
      I enjoyed these straight out of the oven with some homemade roasted cashew butter—and I brought some for my friends at work (hence the to-go bowl and containers in the picture!)

      For more recipe inspiration and a little more about what I do outside of Love Grain, feel free to check out my nutrition consulting business, Zen Cookery (www.zencookery.com) or my personal site (www.erica-zendell.com).

      Happy eating!

      The Great Teff Planting Experiment August 08 2014, 0 Comments

      Aleem and a row planter

      Nearly 7,000 miles away, in the highlands of Ethiopia, August is the beginning of rainy season--and, therefore, of planting season. As they have for generations, millions of teff farmers set to tilling their land. This year, they can seize a new opportunity: for the first time, they have the ability to produce a surplus harvest. The secret to that surplus is in a new way of planting. 

      When I lived in Ethiopia, I watched how Ethiopian farmers plant by “broadcasting”—throwing handfuls of seed onto the soil. This method has been passed down for generations. Farmers broadcast more and more handfuls of seed, seeking to increase their yield. Unfortunately, the result has not turned out the way they expected: instead of increasing their harvest, seeds suffer as they compete for soil nutrients, water, and sunshine--ultimately depleting the potential of each plant. As such, the historical average yield of Ethiopian teff has plateaued at 2,600 lbs per hectare—far below the land's potential yield.

      This month, however, could be a game-changer. Under the direction of Dr. Tareke Berhe, Director of the Teff Value Chain team at the Ethiopia Agricultural Transformation Agency, three million teff farmers are preparing to plant teff seeds in a new way. Instead of broadcasting seed, they will plant teff in rows. More important, they will plant fewer seeds. While I was working with Dr. Berhe and his team, we found that planting fewer seeds in rows reduced competition among individual plants, leading to more bountiful harvests. Average farmer harvests doubled,and more experienced farmers even quadrupled their yields, producing over 10,000 lbs per hectare.

      Smart planting, such as the program underway this month in Ethiopia, holds enormous potential for Ethiopian farmers and their environment. Love Grain looks forward to working with Ethiopian organizations to see this potential realized—this planting season and every one to follow.  --Aleem, Love Grain Cofounder


      Mixing up our Pancake+Waffle Mix! June 04 2014, 0 Comments

      Update from Love Grain Test Kitchen! 

      We're having tons of fun experimenting with Love Grain's Pancake+Waffle Mix.  Turns out it makes a lot more than delicious pancakes and waffles!  I'm a particular fan of our "True Love" Muffins, which I've made with cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta cheese--basically whatever I can find in my fridge!   

      We've also whipped up cranberry scones and blueberry bread--neither of which you can tell are gluten-free!  

      We're including our recipes below, and we'd love to hear how you are using your Love Grain mix.  Post on our Facebook page or tweet us today! 

      Blueberry Bread

      2 cups Love Grain Breakfast Mix
      2 large egg
      1 cup apple sauce
      1 cup raw local honey or coconut sugar
      2 cups sour cream, plain yogurt, or ricotta cheese
      1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 
      1 cup of shredded coconut 

      Mix ingredients until smooth in texture.  Pour into 10x10 pan and bake on 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, slice as desired, and enjoy! 

      Currant Scones

      1 cup Love Grain Breakfast Mix
      1 cup of currants
      1/3 cup of Crème Fraiche
      2/3 cup of buttermilk
      1/2 stick of frozen unsalted butter, grated coarsely

      Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After mixing wet ingredients and dry ingredients, whip together until sticky. Coat working surface with dry mix. Turn dough out and knead until smooth. Portion scones onto a baking sheet covered with parchment. Next, chill the uncooked scones in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. Bake for 15 minutes or until ready. Cool and enjoy! (Special thanks to Love Grain advisor Don Steinbrecher for providing this delicious recipe!)

      True Love Muffins

      1 cup Love Grain Breakfast Mix
      1 large egg
      1/2 cup apple sauce
      1/2 cup raw local honey
      1 cup sour cream, plain yogurt, or ricotta cheese
      1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 

      Mix ingredients together, pour into muffin tin, bake on 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy after cooling, or freeze for the week to come! 


      Our first video! Oscar worthy? March 12 2014, 0 Comments

      Hi friends! 

      Love Grain is in the middle of a very exciting "business plan competition season," in which we're pitching our innovative business model to help Ethiopian teff farmers and bring delicious gluten-free foods to you.  We were at SXSW in Austin last week (picture above), and have just created a 90-second video for another upcoming competition in California.  It may not be Oscar-worthy, but we're hoping it'll do the trick.  Let us know what you think!

      Love (Grain),

      Caroline & Aleem 

       

      )


      In the beginning, there was teff January 23 2014, 0 Comments

      When most people think about innovation, their mind goes to Silicon Valley. For me, it's Ethiopia. From my first day on the job at Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency in 2012 I learned about farming innovations that would help farmers double, triple, or even quadruple their harvest.

      Throughout my work in Ethiopia's Rift Valley, I saw the potential bounty of a country so often depicted as bleak and hungry by the Western press. I stayed with local families and came to know their values and goals: to educate their children, provide food for their families year round, and cultivate the land from planting to harvest. Seemingly simple goals that resonate with all of us, but too often difficult to achieve. I started thinking about ways to connect these farmers to markets. One year later, Love Grain was born.

      Today's excellent Guardian article “Move over quinoa, Ethiopia's teff poised to be next big super grain” by Claire Provost and Elissa Jobson affirms much of what I learned in Ethiopia and why, with two friends from business school, we started Love Grain. Our goal is to bring teff to the United States through a line of delicious, nutritious gluten-free products. We believe our work will have two beneficiaries: first, the teff farmers in Ethiopia with whom we will partner throughout the planting and harvesting process; and second, families in the United States for whom teff is a new, nutrition-packed alternative to gluten-free grains.

      Today's Guardian article brings up an important point that merits highlighting: “As western consumers acquire a taste for teff, how to ensure that Ethiopia and its farmers benefit from new global markets is a critical question.” Love Grain is committed to putting farmers first. Once we demonstrate demand for teff in the U.S. market, we plan to purchase teff directly from farmers rather than from traders, which will immediately improve farmer income by 25% according to our research. We also plan to provide our farmers with improved seed and fertilizer on credit, which they often cannot afford which could triple their profits.

      Love Grain's first product, Pancake+Waffle Mix, is really our first step in creating a sustainable cycle of farm to family business, with a supply chain that supports all those who touch it. We are grateful for all of our friends who are joining us in this exciting journey. 

      Best, 
      Aleem

      Aleem with a teff planting tool made by a farmer in Waliso, Ethiopia. A simple innovation which could help farmers double their harvest.


      Hello world. November 11 2013, 0 Comments

      Dear friends, 

      We are so excited to introduce Love Grain to the world. This company started as an idea among friends who care about improving people's lives through sustainable business while providing real good food to gluten free families that everyone can enjoy. Collectively, our team has worked on economic development in Africa and Latin America, and we are grateful for many experiences that have connected us with farmers and entrepreneurs around the world.  It is their spirit and determination that drives Love Grain's products and our growth as a company. 

      Our first product, Love Grain Pancake+Waffle Mix, will be available in our online store and in select retail outlets in December.  If you would like to place a pre-order, please sign up on our mailing list and we'll send more info soon.  

      We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress as we develop a line of healthy and delicious gluten-free products that support small-holder farmers around the world.  Thank you for your support!

      With Love (Grain),

      Aleem, Caroline, and Kaia
      Team Love Grain