Monday, March 25, 2013

The Best Guacamole. Ever.

I love avocados.  Love them.  What I love even more is guacamole.  I love the creaminess meddled with spice and the crunch of fresh veggies used for dipping.  Until tonight, I had never made 100% homemade guacamole.  Always I have used a spice packet that includes a million unheard of ingredients and even more sodium.
I started with three ripe organic avocados.
Added a tablespoon of lime juice and a teaspoon of sea salt.
And then I started mashing.  I just recently bought this potato smasher.  It makes me feel very Laura Ingalls.
I added a teaspoon of organic minced garlic, 1/2 of a yellow onion (chopped), a large tomato (seeded and chopped), and a heaping quarter cup of chopped fresh cilantro.
Then I stirred it all together.  Finally, I added 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper and stirred again.  Allow the flavors to marry and meddle for on hour in the refrigerator before serving.  The freshness and boldness of the flavors will make your taste buds beg for more.  I was honestly happy to eat it with a spoon.  No dipping required.

My husband, who swears avocados taste like ground up tree leaves and grass, rated this an 8.63 (he's an engineer and is very specific) and he asked for seconds.
Serve with fresh veggies (or chips if that's more your style) and enjoy In Good Company.

For your preparation ease, I have included this in recipe format below.

The Best Guacamole.  Ever.

3 ripe organic avocados
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon organic minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

1.  Remove avocado meat from peels and discard stones.  Place in medium-sized mixing bowl.  Add lime juice and sea salt, mash to desired consistency.
2.  Add tomato, onion, garlic, and cilantro.  Stir.
3.  Add in crushed red pepper.  Stir.
4.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
5.  Serve with fresh vegetables for dipping and enjoy In Good Company.

Slow Cooker Pork & Tomato Ragout

Slow Cooker Pork & Tomato Ragout

If could only have one cooking tool to use for the rest of my life, I would cry because I wouldn't be able to decide between my slow cooker and my Magic Bullet.  When we were first married, I was terrified to use the slow cooker we received as a wedding present because I was convinced it would burn the house down if I left it on while I went to work.  After I got over being an idiot, I fell in love with the ease and magic of it.
I am a huge fan of these Slow Cooker Liners by Reynolds.
They are a time (and water) saver when it comes time for clean-up.
Also for a wedding gift, we received a cookbook entitled Favorite Brand Name Slow Cooker Magic In Minutes.  I don't remember who gave it to us, but thank you -- whoever you are.
Per usual, I strayed from the original recipe, but in case you were interested....

I began by trimming the fat from a 1 1/2 ounce pork tenderloin and cutting it into 1-inch pieces.  The pieces were then dredged in whole wheat flour.
I added 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet and cooked the pork until it was brown on all sides.
Add 1 1/4 cups of white wine to the skillet and bring it to a boil; continually scraping the browned bits in the skillet.
Add contents of the skillet to your lined slow cooker, followed by 1 pound of red potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Then add a 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes (juice included), 1/2 of a yellow onion (finely chopped), 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves minced garlic), 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  The original recipe called for 1 cinnamon stick, but because I am budget-conscious, I chose not to spend $10 on a jar of cinnamon sticks and used the ground version from my cupboard instead.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until meat and potatoes are tender.  If you used a cinnamon stick as opposed to ground cinnamon, remove the stick cinnamon stick. 
Garnish with fresh chopped or dried parsley just before serving.
I chose to serve this dish with steamed asparagus and wheat rolls.  The meal was delicious, and made me feel like I was eating apple pie because of the strong cinnamon flavor.  The only thing that would have made this better (besides apple pie) would have been chopped celery as opposed to celery salt.  The recipe calls for it.  I wrote it on my list.  I forgot.  Oh well.  My husband gave this meal a 9.5 our of ten and asked me to please make it again soon and to not change the recipe again because it was perfect just the way it was.  He's more of an "if it's not broken, don't fix it" sort of guy, where I'm an "it can always be better" sort of girl.  Either way, it was super yummy and I will make it again -- although next time I think I will try it with sweet potatoes, chicken, and almond flour.

For your preparation ease, I have posted this in recipe-form below.

Slow Cooker Pork & Tomato Ragout
Serves 4


1 1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup white wine
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (or 1 tsp celery salt)
1 tsp organic minced garlic (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
Chopped fresh or dried ground parsley for garnish

1. Dredge meat in flour.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Add meat to skillet and cook until it is brown on all sides.  Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits.  Place in slow cooker.
2. Add all remaining ingredients except parsley.  Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours or until meat and potatoes are tender.
3. If using, remove and discard cinnamon stick.
4. Serve, garnished with parsley, and enjoy In Good Company.


Upon mentioning to a girlfriend that I was doing a media detox this Lenten season, she urged me to read 7: an experimental mutiny against excess.  She even brought me her copy.  "I read it in two days," she said.

The premise of the book is that one month at a time, the author tells how she rids her life of excess by taking what some of us would call some extreme measures.  Her seven months of experimental mutiny include the subjects of clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, stress, and media.  What struck me as ironic was my whole purpose of reducing my screen time was for my son, Little K (whose name means hat-maker).  The author of the book?  Jen Hatmaker.  I couldn't not read it after that -- there is purpose in everything, folks.  Small, subtle, meaningful -- purpose.

While I am enjoying 7 (I have yet to finish the last chapter); the chapter on media was a bit underwhelming for me.  Maybe because my detox isn't quite as intense as hers.  After all, I am still watching television, texting, checking email, reading blogs, looking at celebrity gossip, using Instagram, looking at Pinterest, and -- of course -- blogging.  Although these activities have mostly been limited to the times when the little guy is sleeping, I think maybe I need a do-over.

Instant addiction.
I didn't even join this century by getting a smart phone until this past October.
Electronic games were pretty easy to let go of.  I was spending a disgusting amount of time playing Tetriblox -- which was very easy for my OCD brain to become addicted to.  Once you make a perfect line it disappears.  It's crack for the anal-retentive.  But I quickly found my brain was much less fuzzy once I decided to partake in real adult conversation rather than only half-listening to the world around me.  I will be honest and tell you that my sister introduced me to the game 4 Pictures 1 Word this weekend and I have cheated by playing it the last two days.  There.  I said it.  I won't do it again.
This is your brain on computers.

I'm not sure I realized just how hard quitting Facebook was going to be.  There were hundreds of time that I tried to pick up my phone to post something adorable that Little K had done, how awesome my workout was, or how beautiful (or crappy) the weather was.  It was very uncomfortable at first to live my private life in, well, private.  I was shocked at how insignificant it made me feel to not be able to share my private thoughts with my six hundred "friends" who probably don't really care about my workout or the weather outside my window anyway (I'm going to assume they all care about how adorable my kid is).  Maybe it's an innate need for approval rooted deep inside of me.  A need for validation.

I have been sad that I have missed 41 days so far  -- but who's counting -- of wishing happiness on birthdays, of missing the birth of children, health updates, engagement announcements, looking at pictures, and, most of all, posting pictures.  I have longed for the connection to friends that are scattered across the country.

However, what I also found was that I have felt a huge sense of freedom.  My life has been rid of so much negative energy.  I have felt a huge release from the burden of anger and annoyance (because let's face it -- we all have those "friends" that are annoying, and ones that are just plain irritating).

It has been incredibly freeing to not know who is reading my blog posts.  At first I was checking my blog statistics incessantly to see how many hits each new post was getting -- did I mention my need for approval?  But I also tend to be a people-pleaser.  And not knowing who was reading has made it easier for me to not be so guarded about what I say, to not try to stick to one subject because it made someone else happy.  In the past few months I had all but stopped writing about health and fitness because I felt like no one gave a rat's ass about what I was doing unless I had lost pounds.  Now my creative juices have been flowing like crazy, and I have been writing more (and possibly better) than ever.

What is more incredible is the time that I have had to focus on my son and my husband.  Our relationships have strengthened, our house is cleaner, and my mind is clearer.  We have had game night, wrestling matches, giggle-fests, painting parties, and Monster Truck rallies.   While my dear husband did not give up Facebook (he rarely checks it anyway), he has cut down his screen time as well (apparently The Chive is to men as Pinterest is to women), and has been more intentional about playing with and reading to 
Little K .

I have also felt like my time with the people around me has been more meaningful.  I don't think I realized how the constant need to check what else is going on is not only annoying to the person you are talking to (not to mention rude), but it doesn't allow you to be present.  It is nearly impossible to ignore the small red number that tells me how many unread emails I have each time I turn on my iPhone -- even though I know 99 percent of them are advertisements and junk -- I still can't not check it.  Same with Facebook notifications and text messages.  Not allowing myself to be linked-in has unhooked me from the drug that is social media.

Clifford Nass, a communications professor at Stanford, said, "Throughout evolutionary history, a big surprise would get everyone's brains thinking. But we've got a large and growing group of people who think the slightest hint that something interesting might be going on is like catnip. They can't ignore it."
I won't be resuming my Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, or Tetriblox playing.  They have all been deleted from my electronic devices.  I will log back into Facebook when Lent is over -- although I'm still unclear whether Lent ends on Maundy Thursday or Easter Sunday.  I am honestly a bit hesitant (and a little excited) about it.  Because it is the main source of communication and event planning among my friends and family, I feel like I can't delete my account completely.  I do know that I will do my best to limit my Facebook time to when my son is sleeping and when my husband is gone and/or busy.  The relationships around me are way too important to ignore.

I will leave you with an excerpt from a New York Times article that was quoted in 7.
Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave.  They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.
These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats.  The stimulation provokes excitement -- a dopamine squirt -- that researchers say can be addictive.  In its absence, people feel bored.  The resulting distractions can have deadly consequences, as when cell phone-wielding drivers and train engineers cause wrecks.  And for millions of people these urges can inflict nicks and cuts on creativity and deep thought. interrupting work and family life.
Disconnect so you can begin to connect.  Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Plus Ten

I have super been avoiding writing about food lately.  Not food specifically, because I've been trying to supply you with a few good recipes as I find them (and remember to take pictures), but food intake.  As in fuel, people.

Like most people, I really struggled throughout the holidays with making good choices on a daily basis.  A friend of mine's husband recently expressed his disgust with women using the "holiday weight gain excuse".  Because it's only three days, and three meals won't make you fat.  Noted.  However, he is what we might call wrong.  The holidays aren't just three meals, they are a season full of in-your-face cookies, pies, cakes, comfort foods, homemade breads, candy, ham, brunches, parties, butter-on-everything-imaginable, fried anything, and delicious drinks.  Not to mention the theory that our bodies continually go back to the hunter-gatherer roots of our ancestors and tend to store extra calories in the winter time.  Dear body: get with the program, I have heat -- and unsightly furry jammies.  Cool it with the cave woman crap.

On top of all of the available food, throw in a few doses of holiday-induced financial stress, stress of family gatherings, stress of an active toddler with cabin fever, stress of constant travel, and the stress of trying to find the perfect gift for each person who already has everything they need anyway!  If you are an emotional eater (like moi), winter is hard on the waistline.

Prior to the holidays, I was honestly rocking the healthy lifestyle.  I was healthier and stronger than I have ever been.  Proper portion sizes?  Nailed it.  No white flour or potatoes?  No problem!  More greens?  You betcha!  Lean protein?  Don't mind if I do.  Water?  I won't rest until I've had my 100 ounces today.

August 2012 - 160 pounds
Enter stage left: the one meal that lasts from Halloween until Valentines Day.  I fell flat on my ass the day I brought in candy that was "for the trick-or-treaters".  I am not kidding when I tell you that I had a good old fashioned binge the day I set out that big orange candy bowl.  I ate until Hershey's Kisses, and Kit-Kats, and Reeces' Peanut Butter Pumpkins, and Blow Pops, and Starburst, and Skittles until I literally felt like throwing up.  Then, the next day, I did it again.  And again the day after that.  Every night I went to bed hating myself, but the sugar was back in my bloodstream.  I hated it, but couldn't get enough.  Next year I'm handing out toothbrushes.

I could go into specific buttery, chocolaty details of the entire season, but basically, I continued to suck at healthy eating until the end of January.  Portion sizes?  Let's get the big plate tonight.  White flour?  Maybe just this once.  Greens?  I'd prefer some Wheat Thins instead.  Water?  How about some Diet Pepsi?  What was even suckier than the way I was feeling about myself was how quickly I found myself relapsing into my addiction to sugar, white flour, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.  My skin began to look murky and my workouts began to suffer.  Big time.  My stamina was down the drain, and each day I woke up looking forward to an afternoon nap.  My stomach was getting poochier by the day.  I felt disgusting.

And, the truth is, I wasn't even close eating as poorly as "old me" had.  The scary part was that I wasn't even close to hitting rock bottom, I had a long way to go.  But I was heading there at nearly the speed of light.

It's funny how quickly you begin to make excuses for a few extra inches of pudge or a few extra pounds on the scale.  My hormones must be messed up.  That new scale at the gym just can't be calibrated properly.  I am eating fine, I am only having one cheat meal... a day.  I kind of needed someone to slap me.  And a ten pound weight gain did just that.  I know it's not all about the scale -- there was also an expanding midsection to wake me up.
February 2013 - 170 pounds
Okay this isn't very inspiring, I know.  So then why am I telling you this -- besides my annoying tendency to be a chronic over-sharer?  I am telling you this so that you don't get discouraged if you've been wallowing in the same rut I have been.  To let you know that even people with a success story (that even wound up in the local paper) have set-backs sometimes.  It's okay to fall off the wagon (shit happens) -- as long as you can acknowledge that you have made a few bad choices -- and you make the choice to get back on track.  It's about not allowing your crappy meal turn into a crappy day turn into a crappy week turn into a crappy month turn into a crappy season turn into a crappy year.

I'm honestly honored that people think my
story is interesting enough to print.
Read the original article here.
Because I am determined to keep my journey honest, I added my most current progress picture to the before and during section of my blog.  I want to stay accountable to you, and I want you to know that there are setbacks in every journey to success.  But I have made the choice to stay healthy (and have done so very publicly), so I don't really have the option to slide backwards.  I am trying my best to eat healthier once again (read: more greens, more lean proteins, appropriate doses of fruit, smaller portions, no white flour or potatoes, small portions of whole grains, more water, less alcohol), get stronger (read: work my tail off at CrossFit, stop saying I can't, and do that extra WOD on Saturdays already, darn it), and, most importantly, feel better.

I hope you know how much it means to me to have people following my journey.  I am inspired by every success story I hear, and I am deeply touched every time someone says that I have helped encourage them to live a healthier life.  It is because of you that I continue this journey, that I won't give up, and that setbacks will not win.  Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

Please enjoy a video capturing what I think is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

No-Bake Protein Balls

I'm obsessed with balls.  Energy balls, that is.  I'm hilarious, I know -- don't forget to tip your waitress.  Seriously though, I think the sense of humor at our house might have stopped developing at age 14 -- therefore producing a lot of ball-themed jokes in the kitchen this week.

After making my first batch of No-Bake Energy Balls (which my husband and I devoured in less than 24 hours), I was itching to try to make them again -- but with more protein this time.  I still used the same sort of base as the original recipe from Gimme Some Oven, but this time I modified the living crap out of it.  The result was so delicious that I might be on protein overload because I cannot stop eating these.  I love the protein substituted for the flax seed for various reasons (one being that flax seed can pack quite a punch to your digestive system -- not always a great thing).

I was so excited to make these that I forgot to take pictures of the process (which really isn't all that exciting anyway), so I will spare you from viewing too many of my sub-par photographs, and get right to the recipe.
No-Bake Protein Balls

No-Bake Protein Balls
Recipe makes 28-32 balls
3/4 cup 100% Whole Grain Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup Fiber One Original Cereal (I only did this because I ran out of oats, but it it added a delightful crunch)1 cup Chocolate-Flavored Whey Protein Powder
1 cup Raw Natural Almonds, halved
1 1/3 cup Coconut Flakes
3/4 cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Raw Natural Almond Butter
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Raw Natural Honey

1. Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir until ingredients are combined.
2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from refrigerator, and form mixture into 1" balls.
4. Enjoy In Good Company.
5. Store remaining balls in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Monday, March 11, 2013

No-Bake Energy Balls

I was going to write a real post today.  But I can't.  I just can't.  Not until you know about the most delicious non-sweet that I have ever had.  Ever.  Even my husband was in heaven.  They were so delicious that he asked me if they were legal to have during our Lenten sacrifice of sweets -- as if I'm Eve handing him the forbidden fruit.

I, of course, found the recipe on Pinterest.  I also, of course, I changed it (partially because I didn't have everything in my cupboard, partially because I'm only a selective rule follower).  The original recipe came from a great blog entitled Gimme Some Oven.
Heaven in a ball.
These are so ridiculously easy to make, that I feel weird even calling it a recipe.  There is no intense whipping or measuring or baking or slaving.  You literally dump, stir, refrigerate, and roll.

Begin by measuring out 1 cup dry oats (I use whole grain, old fashioned oats), 1 Tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 cup milled flax seed, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter (I prefer Smucker's), 2/3 cup coconut flakes (the original recipe says to use toasted flakes, I did not), 1/3 cup raw natural honey, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; pour them all into a large mixing bowl.
Stir until all ingredients are combined.
Sneak a few bites of deliciousness, and then place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove from the refrigerator and, using your hands, form 1-inch balls.  This should make approximately 18-20 balls -- unless you ate too much with a spoon earlier.
Enjoy!  That's really it!  So simple, quite healthy, and incredibly delicious.  I am likely going to make these every week for the rest of my life -- you may even see different varieties pop up on here.  I'm very anxious to try these with protein powder instead of the flax seed, maybe chopped almonds instead of raisens... the possibilities really are endless.  My husband rated these a 8.75, obviously a much bigger hit than the Baked Cinnamon Quinoa Bars.
For your preparation ease, I have posted this in recipe-form below. Again, if you would like to view the original recipe, click here.

No-Bake Energy Balls
Recipe makes 18-20 balls


1 cup 100% Whole Grain Old Fashioned Oats, dry
1 Tbsp Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 cup Milled Flax Seed
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
2/3 cup Coconut Flakes
1/3 cup Raw Natural Honey
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Stir until ingredients are combined.
2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from refrigerator, and form mixture into 1" balls.
4. Enjoy In Good Company.
5. Store remaining balls in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Quinoa Bars

It's Lent; my husband and I gave up sweets.  This means we are now discussing our intense cravings for sweets on a daily basis.  We don't typically eat sweets regularly, but since now we can't have them we dream about all of the wonderful chocolaty things we wish we were eating.

I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Cinnamon Quinoa Bake.  The recipe calls for no sugar, no flour, is paleo, and sounded yummy.  I was committed.  Although, big surprise, what you will find here is my modified version.
I will be honest, I had to make the recipe twice because the first time I totally screwed it up (it was edible, but did not look like the pictures).  Not because it is a hard recipe, but because I decided not to follow the directions.  Apparently they give those to you for a reason...  Lucky for you, my idiocy has resulted in some helpful tips.

Begin by making 2 1/2 cups Quinoa according to the directions on the package.  Know that Quinoa approximately triples in size when cooked.  Also know that the package is likely to explode if you try to open it without scissors, and uncooked Quinoa will find it's way into any crack and crevice in your floor, will travel all the way to your living room, and root itself into your carpet.  Use scissors (only cut a small corner to pour out of) and measure over the sink.  Trust me.
Set cooked Quinoa aside and let it cool completely.  This is not an option.
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 Eggs, 1/3 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, and 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon.  When it says whisk, this does not mean to blend in your Magic Bullet.  I totally thought I was outsmarting the recipe and used mine.  The result was a mixture that contained way too much air, thus affecting the texture and baking time negatively.
 Go away, Magic Bullet.  You don't belong here.

Add 1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup to mixture and whisk.  Do not use cheap maple-flavored corn syrup.  Use real maple syrup.  As in, from an actual maple tree.  It is pure and natural; has no fake, processed, or added sugar; and it is delicious.  This is what we serve our son on his Sunday pancakes, and he loves it.
Chop up a small handful of Raw Natural Almonds (or you can buy chopped raw natural almonds -- I didn't have any in my cupboard) and add them to the cooled Quinoa, along with a small handful of raisins.  Gently stir.
Add the egg mixture to the quinoa mixture and stir with a large spoon to combine.
Pour mixture into a parchment paper-lined 9"x9" baking dish (the parchment should be lightly greased).  Spread around to ensure even baking.  My suggestion is to use more parchment paper than less.  If you try to make it lovely and snip off all of the top edges, it is possible that the mixture will leak over the top and into your pan and adhere itself permanently to the bottom of your pan.  Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from oven and, using parchment, remove bake from pan immediately to avoid steaming.  Place it on a plate and allow it to cool completely (the taste really is much better after it has cooled).
After bake has cooled, cut into 12 bars and serve with a dollop of nut butter (insert perverted joke from my husband here).  I prefer Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter because literally the only ingredient listed on the jar is peanuts (and our son also loves it in a sandwich on whole grain bread with a dab of honey).
The original recipe says that the texture should be like a granola bar.  I found it to be more like a cross between a coffee cake and a very soft no-bake cookie.  We both rather enjoyed this recipe (more so the second time), but agreed it would be much better with a ton of brown sugar and maybe even some diced apples -- although the brown sugar would defeat the purpose of this healthy snack.  My husband gave it a rating of 6 (I think he might have been slightly disappointed that it wasn't full of chocolate or exactly like a delicious cinnamon coffee cake).
For your preparation ease, I have posted this in recipe-form below.  Again, if you would like to view the original recipe, click here.
Baked Cinnamon Quinoa Bars

2 1/2 cups Quinoa, cooked and cooled
4 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 small handful Raw Natural Almonds, chopped
1 small handful Raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Line a 9"x9" baking pan with lightly greased parchment, set aside.  Place cooled quinoa in large mixing bowl, set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.  Add maple syrup and whisk.
3. Fold almonds and raisins into quinoa.  Add egg mixture to quinoa mixture.  Stir with a large spoon to combine.  Pour into the parchment-lined baking dish and spread it around to ensure even baking.
4. Using Parchment, remove bake from pan immediately to prevent steaming.
5. Cool completely and cut into squares.  Serve with a dollop of nut butter (insert perverted joke from your husband here).

5.  Enjoy In Good Company.