Business Savvy Rachel Graper Brings Ideal to the Table

By: Jaclyn Sternick, Rolling Contributor

A refreshing chill descends on Appalachia to remind us it’s harvest season, and our favorite fall treat is ripening on the vine… pumpkin!

Coconut Flour Pumpkin Pancakes with Ideal Grain Free Granola

Coconut Flour Pumpkin Pancakes with Ideal Grain Free Granola

To satisfy our seasonal cravings, let’s get started in the kitchen, where, as we like to say at Rolling Pepperoni, “It’ll all bake out.” Today’s hearty breakfast/lunch/dinner is Coconut Flour Pumpkin Pancakes with Ideal Grain Free Granola. This meal has the perfect blend of pumpkin and spice, it’s packed with nutrients, and--thanks to Ideal Spiced Pumpkin Grain Free Granola by Pittsburgh native Rachel Graper--it’s not only fluffy but also delectably crunchy!

How can we get more of that crunch in our lives? Well, in addition to Spiced Pumpkin, Ideal Grain Free Granola comes in Toasted Coconut and Crunchy Cocoa. There’s plenty of room to experiment with these three delicious flavors. Munch on the granola alone, add it to your favorite foods--and here’s another hint: all flavors pair beautifully with plain organic yogurt.

Ideal nut and seed granola is available for purchase online and can also be found at Giant Eagle Market District stores and numerous markets in Pennsylvania and New York. Ideal is now taking its granola to the next level with the introduction of Ideal Grain Free Nut & Seed Bars. The brand new bars are individually packaged and come in the same three delightful flavors. They hit store shelves this fall.

Rachel Graper, founder and CEO of Ideal, launched the brand in late 2014 with a successful crowdfunding initiative. At first, she saw Ideal as a part-time endeavor. The following year, however, Graper attended Natural Products Expo East, where she was inspired by other entrepreneurs to pursue Ideal full-time.

A firm believer in eating whole, natural foods, Graper makes every Ideal product with wellness in mind. All products contain a healthy dose of plant-based protein. Being grain free, Ideal is friendly to those with gluten sensitivities. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Ideal boasts a low sugar content, which makes it stand out from traditional granola products. The natural sweetener in Ideal is organic honey sourced from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Graper echoes the spirit of Pittsburgh when she says that through Ideal, she strives to contribute to the community in the way that H. J. Heinz did. Graper holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, and she worked in product development, branding, and marketing for several years before deciding to devote her full-time career to Ideal. While she acknowledges that being an entrepreneur has its high highs and low lows, she knows it’s all about keeping a positive attitude. Ideal products are healthy and fueling the community--that’s positive.

Coconut Flour Pumpkin Pancakes with Ideal Grain Free Granola:

Yield: 8 pancakes

Despite their size, these pancakes are hearty!

Serving suggestion: 2-3 per person

Wet Ingredients:

¼ cup mashed pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree

3 eggs OR combine 1 tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp water per egg substitute

3 tbsp unsweetened coconut or almond milk

1 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tbsp melted ghee (clarified butter)

½ tbsp melted coconut oil, plus coating for pan

Dry Ingredients:

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch ginger powder

Pinch nutmeg

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp baking soda

1 oz Ideal Spiced Pumpkin Grain Free Granola

In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl, stir together all dry ingredients except the Spiced Pumpkin Grain Free Granola--save the best for last! Combine the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well blended. Bring the pan to medium-medium/low heat and coat generously with coconut oil.

Use a large spoon or small ladle to place batter for each pancake into the pan, making each one about 3” in diameter. Cook them on each side for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. If needed, flip additionally until they’re fully cooked.

Layer the pancakes onto a plate and top them with Ideal Spiced Pumpkin Grain Free Granola. They're best if served warm, so grab your fork and dig in!