Time to eat, part 2!

Happy (American) Thanksgiving-Eve from Cheezquarters Central.

Whew! What a day. I’m pretty sure my kitchen has seen more activity in the last 24 hours than in the last 6 months.

Today I churned out:

  • Cheezy garlic rolls
  • Pumpkin cheezcake
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Cream cheez-pesto dip

This is gonna be a long post, so without further ado, let’s start with the food of our people:

Cheezy Garlic Rolls

I use the recipe that came in the book that came with my bread maker that I bought a million years ago at Target for like 50 bucks.

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Even tho it’s a little beat up, it’s been a good solider and still gets the job done. Yes, I could have made the dough in the KitchenAid, but I really didn’t have time to be messing around with that all day, and the bread maker does a bang up job and does all the resting and whatnot for you.

Just toss in all the ingredients, making sure to get the yeast on the top and not in the water as best you can.

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Set that baby to the “dough” cycle and let it do it’s thing for the next 1.5 hours. In reality, I used that 1.5 hours to do other things, but in the blog magic world, we’ll move right to the part where the dough is almost done.

This is where you get your cheez and garlic and butter mixture together.

Shred up some Parmesan first, then and mix together with garlic to form a delicious topping.

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Now you may be wondering why I went against the way of my people, and actually shredded the cheez myself. Well. Pre-shredded cheese kinda grosses me out, unless it’s the Kraft Parmesan in the green can, then I don’t care and please dump on a little extra for good measure. But the story about there being wood pulp or cellulose or whatever in shredded cheese just weirds me out, so I take a few damn minutes to shred. For this recipe, you can just do it by hand, it’s less work than getting out the KitchenAid shredder attachment.

Grease two baking sheets, divide your dough in half, and get to work making the rolls.

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Dip those beauties in melted butter and then top with your cheez/garlic topping.

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Now they have to rise. I already had my cheez cake in the oven, so I set them on top to take advantage of the heat. Cover them, cuz that’s what the directions say. I think they’re just shy and want a little privacy while they rise.

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Viola: They have risen!

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Cook for 35 minutes and, YUM:

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The recipe said the dough would spit out 24 rolls. I got 23 out of it, which is probably some sort of record. I usually come in way under what the recipe says. Cuz I like big portions.

Tomorrow I’m going to slather some Kerrygold butter on these and maybe a little salt on the butter when no one is looking. Cuz salted butter is how I roll. Get it? Sorry for the schtick. Not really.

Oh and you shouldn’t be wasting calories or arteries on inferior store brand butter for your eating purposes. Get the Kerrygold or other Irish butter. It’s life changing. For baking, just use the cheap stuff.

Next up.

Pumpkin Cheez Cake

You can get the recipe here.

Both this and the pie have a gingersnap crust, so the methods for both are similar.

Borrow the following:

  • a food processor from your friend and neighbor of Cheezquarters Central
  • a springform pan from your friend at work

(Thanks, ladies!)

Toss your gingersnaps into the food processor. I weighed mine on the food scale, cuz i’m neurotic like that, and had to split my bag of gingersnaps between this crust and the pie crust and didn’t want to run out.

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Pulverize those cookies into crumbs and add some butter to make it all stick.

Press that mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan. You don’t technically need a springform pan, but you’ll be a lot happier if you use one.

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To make the main event, first mix up the cream cheez (4 BARS!!!) and brown sugar. This is thick and will stick to your beater paddle and you’ll have to scrape it with a spatula.

Oy vey, what a thick gloppy mess.

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But it gets better once you put in the eggs.

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And all the other stuff.

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Add that mess to your pan.

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And cook forever. Like 1.5 hours or something like that. This is a good time to let your bread rise for it’s required hour.

Let the oven do it’s dark magic, and look at what comes out. Slightly malformed, but otherwise delicious looking cheez cake. I’ll make the topping tomorrow. effectively whipped cream. Like for real, heavy whipping cream!

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On deck:

Pumpkin Pie

To make pumpkin pie, I normally just follow the recipe on the back of the pumpkin can and cuz I don’t really like pie crust, I usually just buy a pre-made graham cracker crust. However, I saw his right before I put in my grocery order, and thought I’d try it. Alton Brown has a good rep and it looked pretty easy.

While your food processor is still a gingersnappy mess, you might as well make your pie crust. Same deal as the cheez cake, you pulverize your gingersnaps, add the butter and some spices, and press that baby into your pie pan.

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Gotta bake this one for 10 minutes and let it cool completely, so figure that out in your process. To pull the curtain back: I made both crusts at the same time and cooked this one while I made the cheez cake filling because this crust required a 350 oven and the cheez cake and bread both needed 325. I made the pie filling  later on.

First up, heat your pumpkin, cream, and spices on the stove.

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For the record, and lest you think I lost my ever-loving mind, I of course used canned pumpkin. There is no way on God’s green Earth that I would do all that nonsense with scooping and baking an actual pumpkin. That’s why there is canned. I might shred some cheez, but I still have my dignity.

Anyhoo, while your pumpkin mixture is cooling, you mix up your eggs and egg yolk with your brown sugar.

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Remember my grocery ordering fail from yesterday with forgetting to order the egg whites and having to actually separate my eggs? Well you best better believe I set aside one of the yolks for this recipe so as not to have to separate yet another egg. That’s why you read all your shit first, like you learned in 7th grade.

Then add your pumpkin concoction.

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Dump that onto your crust.

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And 50 minutes later, out comes your pie.

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Mine looks absolutely nothing like the picture on the website, but that’s how shit works out sometimes.

Last but not least:

Cream Cheez Pesto Dip

Another easy one with good amounts of cheez, butter, and deliciousness. It’s more of a spread than a dip. You spread it on baguettes or crackers or whatever you like. It’s supposed to have sun-dried tomato pesto too, but Amazon PrimeNow didn’t have that, so, we’ll live with out.

Mix up some melted butter and garlic, and then mix that slice of heaven with a block of cream cheez. That brings our cream cheez block count up to 5!

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For my minced garlic that I used for this and the rolls, I just have the big old jar of minced garlic from Costco in the fridge. Mincing garlic can kiss my ass. Too much effort for no reward. Plus there’s no wood pulp in pre-minced garlic that I know about. As an aside, as I was looking up the link for Costco minced garlic for you, I saw this article. It can also kiss my ass. I don’t want to hear about heavy metals or whatever the fuck in my damn garlic.

Once you get your cheez properly coated with the butter and garlic mix, form it into a ball and top with the pesto.

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If you were doing this right, you’d first do the sun-dried tomato pesto, and then the regular pesto. But things that can’t be delivered don’t exist in my world, and really, I kinda hate sun-dried tomatoes, so there.

Top with pine nuts.

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And you’re set to go. I like to make this the day before so the flavors can all settle. So you gotta store it in the fridge. The sweet potatoes were getting lonely in there anyway since the milk got kicked out for being bad. (haha. get it?)

I like to make a tent with the plastic wrap for stuff like this so you don’t end up with all your cheezy goodies on the wrap. Just strategically stick in some toothpicks to keep the wrap from touching the goods, then wrap.

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And I got to use one of my vintage plates, so bonus. Isn’t it cute.

Sorry some of the pictures suck. You might be thinking, jeez you must have a shitty old phone or something. Nope, new phone. Terrible light in my kitchen, and these pics really highlight that fact. So while it might be a little annoying to look at dark pictures, it’s more annoying to have shitty light in your kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving, and do me proud with your calorie intake!

This is tomorrow’s workout, to prepare for eating all of this!

 

Time to eat!

It’s been a rough week of depriving myself of my favorite food groups: bread and cheez! And it’s only Tuesday. But it’ll all be worth it on Thursday, when I eat my body weight in delicious snacks, side dishes, breads, and desserts.

Tonight I started getting a few things ready for Thanksgiving. Let’s start with sweet potatoes!

These are really easy to make and are high on the butter and delicious factor.

For the uninitiated, there are two ways to do things in life. The hard way or the lazy way. The lazy way of cooking sweet potatoes is to not do anything stupid like peel them. You just throw those babies in a pot, fill with water, and boil the shit out of them.

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They’ll get soft and when the skins seem like they are coming off,  you put them in a strainer and let them cool. For a really long time. Even if you do this, the ones at the bottom will still be super hot. But those skins will just slide right off when the time comes. No potato peeling blues!

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While those babies are cooling, you can make the topping, which includes a favorite ingredient of the dignitaries at Cheezquarters Central, BUTTER! Butter will be a theme over the next several days.

You dump some flour and brown sugar into a bowl with some butter and mash that shit up until it’s nice and crumbly. Then you throw some nuts in your nut chopper, and grind them to within an inch of their lives.

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Add the eviscerated nuts to your brown sugar and butter goodness and your topping is set.

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Now go have a beer or something, because your potatoes will still be cooling. For a while. This way you won’t care as much when you burn your fingers on your sweet potatoes. Even tho I warned you, you’ll do it anyway. Before you crack a cold one, or after, what do I care, you might want to move the potatoes around in your strainer to let the bottom ones cool off a bit. For the love of all things good and holy, do NOT touch them with your hands. Use some tongs or grabbers of some sort and shuffle those bad boys around.

So now that you’re a beer in and your potatoes are cool enough, just slide the skins off. They should be coming off on their own if you did it right. If not, just peel them a bit and they should come off. Then put them in your bowl (hopefully the bowl of your KitchenAid, because that’s the flagship kitchen tool of the lazy. Well, besides your takeout menu collection.) and add the rest of the ingredients, which are some egg whites, vanilla, sugar, and flour. Now if you’re smart, you just bought your egg whites in a carton, but I forgot to order them (you don’t think I go to the actual grocery store do you? <shudder>), so I had to separate the damn eggs myself. It’s not that hard, so if you are like me and forgot your egg whites, just go ahead and do it the old fashioned way. Viola:

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Next, mix those babies up. I used my whisk attachment, but the beater one will work too.

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Grease up a casserole dish, and in go the potatoes and then spread the topping on  top (duh). I’l be cooking these on Thursday, so they’ll just chill with their friends in the fridge until then.

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I’m too lazy to copy the recipe to this blog post, but if you want it, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.

On the docket tomorrow is bread, pie, and pumpkin cheezcake!

Oh, and since all this good food ain’t free, this workout is also on the docket for tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The 5 Day Cleanse

Hello Cheezheads

It’s a been a while. No excuses, I’ve been lazy. But we’re back, and I’m going to try to post more regularly. Let’s see how I do. Updates:

  • New job: GREAT!
  • Exercise: Still on track
  • Eating: Ugh….We all know I have the appetite of a 300 lb linebacker. And this is why I did….

The 5-day cleanse.

I’ll start of by saying, in general, I really don’t like the idea of a cleanse. Guess what, your body does this already. In fact, it’s really good at it. Plus, your body can only absorb so many nutrients at once; you end up disposing of all the extra. So if you drink a giant glass of pulverized kale, which I don’t recommend, you’ll only get a tiny amount of nutrients from it. You’re better off eating kale as you could never eat as much in raw form as pulverized, you’d absorb all the nutrients, and you’d feel full. And that is the first and last time I will ever say that you’re better off eating kale. Because you never are. Ever. You only live once, and you shouldn’t waste one second of that time on kale.  Yes, I know I posted about kale. And I was embarrassed at the time. Here’s an article on why you really shouldn’t do a cleanse.

All that being said, I’ve had some major fork-itis over the holidays. That is, if the holidays started in May. So I needed to do something dramatic to break the eating habit, because I wasn’t being successful with sheer willpower. Plus, the only thing more disgusting than what we eat all day on the holidays is the shameful cookie binge afterwards. While we stand for the all day feeding frenzy, by cookie time we’re all sitting and stuffing our faces. So I started a 5-day cleanse on Sunday. I went with cleanse one from Pressed Juicery. One of the extra fun things about the cleanse is you’re supposed to also eliminate caffeine. As Little Miss Sunshine said, “I bet you were a ray of sunshine.” And was I ever. No solids or caffeine. Oy vey.

I picked this cleanse because I’m new to torturing myself, I mean, cleansing, and it is their highest calorie cleanse. Turns out you get about 1500 calories a day, which is actually a little more than I normally (try) to eat, so I wasn’t in any danger of passing out from exhaustion on my walk to the train or anything like that. I’ll walk you through the whole thing.

Sunday

I wake up to my very first box of juices. You get 6 juices, plus 2 cleanse waters. They’re all nicely labeled for you so you know the order in which to drink them.

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The cooler of goodies
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The juice extravaganza

The editor-in-chief was up puking half the night (no more hot dogs!), so I was already in a fog. No food or caffeine (or booze) to boot, this does not bode well. But actually I did ok. I had a pretty big pre-cleanse feast (which they do not recommend, but whatever), so I wasn’t super hungry. I was already in a daze, so I didn’t notice the no caffeine thing too much.

Monday

Gotta go to work, and lug 4 of my juices and 1 water with me. I did not get enough sleep the night before, so everyone in my path was in a bit of danger. It was a little rough riding the train without my tea, but my awesome new noise-canceling headphones allowed me to sleep most of the way (as an aside, these headphones have improved my life 50%). Sleeping a lot is a key to cleanse success. If you’re not awake, you’re not hungry. After the train, I strapped my juices into the little basket section on the Bike Share bike, and was off to the races. It was not raining during my ride, but it was cold. I did not start my drinks until I got to work, putting my first juice around 9:30, give or take. I lasted pretty well, and was even able to save juice 4 for the train.  I was definitely hungry throughout the day, and every trip to the fully stocked kitchen to grab some water or a juice was torture. It’s pretty much a continuous food frenzy at work.

Tuesday (AKA, day 3)

Day 3 was by far the worst. While I wasn’t STARVING, I wasn’t necessarily not hungry at any point. Being around other “humans” on the train was absolute agony. No caffeine. No food. I staved off the caffeine headache with a few doses of ibuprofen just to get ahead of it. It did the trick. Things were a little better at work, and even sunnier with my first juice. Trips to the kitchen were torture. So many food smells. But I stayed strong and hid in our office as much as I possibly could. The best part about day 3 is knowing you’re past the 50 yard line. Just stay strong.

Wednesday

The world is not such a dark a place, as I see light at the end of the tunnel. Was not terribly hungry when I woke up and I was able to workout. My workout felt a little harder than normal, but I didn’t feel weak or like I couldn’t finish. My body was getting enough calories, just not very filling ones. Not having to leave the house was a huge bonus. No people, no food smells. There is very little temptation in the house, so I was set for a good day. I was really not all that hungry throughout the day (but ready for my juices when it was time). The editor-in-chief and I left the house for our walk because the sun was shining. 10 minutes later I was putting on her rain coat. But that did not bring us down. I only had one more day to go. I got through the day pretty well, felt functional, and was actually feeling full after my final juice.

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I hate my stupid raincoat

Thursday

Oh here we are!!! I can totally survive one more day, no problem. I was actually feeling good and was totally used to the lack of food. I was able to cope with being a little hungry. Still missing the caffeine, but doing OK without it. I had a good workout and did great all day; I was not even necessarily hungry at juice time. Then came the trip to the grocery store. I had to get just a few things, and let me tell you, I did not waste any time getting out of there. All that food and all those food smells, it was torture! Luckily I still had two juices left. I scurried out of there and went home and chugged a juice. I’m glad I was not at work for days 4 and 5.

Friday

Oh glorious Friday. Hello caffeine. Hello solids. How I’ve missed you! They suggest eating all these fruits and vegetables to ease out of your cleanse. OH HELL NO. HELL NO. I had a glorious time of eating solids, and it felt so good to feel full. Seriously, having a full belly is awesome!

I SURVIVED! (and so did everyone in my path!)

In summary

Am I glad I did it? Yes. Will I do it again any time soon? No. While I had a bit of a feast today, I definitely was feeling full faster than normal and was not hungry as quickly in between meals. I think I have a good start to cutting back on the food intake. Cuz you have to check that shit before it gets out of hand. Overall I liked this particular cleanse because it had a decent amount of calories, which made it bearable. I’m glad I went the 5 days, as day 3 was the worst and I think I might have relapsed had I had solids after that torture. They recommend drinking your juices every 2 hours. I went about 3 after my morning juice, as that one was pretty filling and I think that helped keep me on pace for the rest of the day. I did not like all the sugar in the juices. Well, I liked it, but I was hoping for less sugar. It’s all naturally occurring, so there’s that. But anything ending in -ose is all the same to your body.

Here’s a round up on the juices.

Juice 1- Vanilla almond

This one is awesome. It’s about 420 calories and probably my favorite of all the juices. Nice and thick and filling. Refreshing way to start your day. You’re good for at least 3 hours here. Stretch this one out as long as you can. The filling factor goes way down from here. I’d take about 20 minutes to drink this and wait as long as possible for my next juice.

Chlorophyll water

They say to sip this through the day, but honesty I just took it down after Juice 1. Some days it was taste free and harmless. Other days it tasted fishy. Those were bad days.

Juice 2-  Greens 2

Despite containing kale, it’s actually pretty good. Main ingredient is apple juice, so it’s pretty sweet. 140 calories. This one won’t tide you over for long. You’ll be ready for your next juice in 2 hours or less.

Juice 3- Roots 2

Taste like carrots. It’s good and seems to be a little heartier than juice 2. 160 calories.

Juice 4 – Citrus 2

This was my favorite non-thick juice. Tasted like (and is mostly) pineapple juice. This was a great juice to drink on the train home, before my nap. 240 calories.

Juice 5 – Greens 3

Just like Greens 2 but with a little ginger to spice things up. Yes, this is what you think of as excitement while on your cleanse. 140 calories

Juice 6 – Chocolate Almond

Like bookends to your day, you’re treated to another nice, thick shake. This is just as good as the morning one and is a nice filling end to your day. It’s a reward for a job well done. I savored this one as well. 420 calories.

Aloe vera water

This is your night cap, as it were. It’s tasteless and harmless. I was actually feeling pretty full of liquid after my last juice, but I powered it down every night.

So there it is. It’s not for the faint of heart. I think it was easier for me because I don’t necessarily consume a ton of calories on weekdays (well, in theory), and I’m already a vegetarian so I wasn’t missing meat or anything like that. If you eat meat, I imagine you’d be pretty much starving throughout.

Oh and they “let” (insist) you keep the ice packs and cooler bags. I have no need for this many ice packs, and a bunch of them exploded and leaked gel everywhere. Here’s the end of the week stack I had to throw away because they were making a huge mess.

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The ice pack pile

 

May your 2016 be filled with delicious bread and cheez. I’ll see you soon.

 

#PressedJuicery

New Job, New Me!

Big news at Cheezquarters central. In addition to being a canine short order cook, I also have a new job! The last 6 months were pretty rough, as I was still employed, but had the figurative ax hanging over my head. But one month ago today I started what I can only describe as my dream job. I work at Fitbit! What else could a carb-loving, fitness nut ask for?!?! As you know, I have been a Fitbit addict for several years, and now I have opportunity to take things to the next level! If you don’t have a Fitbit, what’s stopping you?

A major concern in the decision to take this new job was my ability to keep up with my workouts. I now have to wake up at an undogly hour, and am gone a minimum of 11 hours a day. And anyone with any sense knows not to awaken princess before noon, so you can imagine what 6 am looks like. Bottom line, no more working out before going to work. I have two hour commute EACH WAY (thankfully, I can take the train. no driving 90 miles round trip in Bay Area traffic for this girl), so after sweating to the oldies after work seems like an unlikely scenario at best. The good news is, I have struck a pretty good balance. From the train station, I ride one of the Bike Share bikes to the office. And in the afternoon. I walk the 1.25 miles back to the train. Upon returning home, the editor-in-chief is ready for her constitutional, so off we go. My step count averages about 13000 a day! On days I don’t have to go in to the office, I can squeeze in a workout at home, and usually take her majesty on a longer walk to round out the steps. I also started swimming again, more on that in a future post.

I had no choice but to find a new job, but after 17 years, it was not an easy transition. However, I don’t even know what I was so upset about. The new gig is great and I think they like me!

Of course through all the drama, I had to eat!

mac n cheese pretzels

The first picture is heaven on earth. The basic mac-n-cheese recipe from the Mac + Cheese Cookbook. Do not question it, just do it! I prefer the ooey goodness of the non-baked mac-n-cheese, however you could throw that baby in the oven with a little panko if you like the crusty stuff. The second is a slight cheat. I used a mix! But it was from King Arthur, so it’s almost not cheating. And I still had to hand roll those beauties. Oh were they good! Nice and buttery.

We’ve also had a few adventures. The editor-in-chief’s friend, Roo, moved to Tahoe. So we went to visit him and his mama. Here’s her highness taking a dip.

lake tahoe

 

I tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time while we were there. No photographic evidence, cuz you know, water. But I met my goal, not to go face first into the drink. It’s way harder than it looks, and is a hell of a core workout. Maybe I’ll figure out how to steer next time!

Then came the three best days of my life. A period I fondly refer to as my funemployment. I have never been unemployed, for which I am eternally grateful. HOWEVER. OH MY FREAKING DOG WAS IT AWESOME. I had NOTHING to do. No where to be. What a dream. I should have taken more time off, but I have other stuff planned in the upcoming months. Here are a few shots from the festivities.

lunch

 

Lunch! You can have beers at 2 pm, cuz who fucking cares?!!?! You have no where to be. Bottoms up!

who's there

Who’s that mutt in a hedge?

giants

Giants game! Not the same as a Bucco’s game. No party on the North Shore. But I did see my first ever grand slam!!!! And it wasn’t cold that night, so I didn’t need my winter coat. In July. Cuz, San Francisco.

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And we rounded it out with champagne on the beach. And chips. To keep it classy!

Here I am wearing all the Fitbits, just for fun!

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How do you find your fit? Let me know in the comments

Straight Thuggin’

We are back up and running at cheezequarters central! Had to take over a week off from workouts due to my back rebelling against me. Don’t know what happened to cause the rebellion, or why it stopped with the same suddenness, but we’re back to normal, or as normal as it gets around here. In the middle of all that, I had the worst migraine of my life. Took me out for most of an entire day!

During my downtime, I did get a chance to make another Thug Kitchen recipe. This time it was Sweet Potato, Squash, and Black Bean Enchiladas. If you’re paying attention, you guessed right that I had some left over purple sweet potatoes from the week before. I promise they’re all gone now! Overall, this is just another OK recipe. I guess I like a little more flavor than these recipes seem to offer and a lot more sauce. Also, next time I will definitely layer this whole mess rather than trying to roll up enchiladas. Fuck that.

We start out with the enchilada sauce. I resisted the urge to just go buy a can. This was super easy to make and I’m glad I did. No more Rosarita for me.

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Next up more purple sweet potatoes, which I had to hand mash. This seems like a lot of work, but it’s not so bad if you cook them long enough. Which I did not do this time, but I have successfully done in the past, so I know it is possible. Then some hand grated yellow squash. I thought what the hell, this is too much work, they want me to grate this damn thing on a cheese grater by hand. But actually it was super simple and easier than grating cheese. No elbow grease involved.

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Add some spices and beans, and sauté up this sucker.

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Then comes the enchilada creation portion of the program. This part was messy. I’m not a very good enchilada roller. I stuffed too much guts inside my tortillas, and of course, they all barely fit in the pan. Like I said, next time I’ll layer.

I like all the fancy weird foods at Whole Foods, so I went with the blue corn tortillas to match my purple sweet potatoes

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See my food scale in the background. I love that thing!

Here are the little buggers all wrapped up and ready to go

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I actually cooked this the next day, but I don’t think it had any affect on the overall recipe. Just wanted to save myself some time and effort because I don’t have the time to cook during the week. And I’m so damn hungry when I get home from work, I can’t imagine myself attempting such a feat as a full on recipe.

This picture is kind of terrible, but here is the messy end result with a little avocado on top.

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Spring is sprung around here, so I’ll be making some more warm weather things coming up. And hopefully getting outside for some bike rides! I hope it’s warming up where you are. What are your spring workout plans?




Haircuts and Purple Sweet Potatoes

Hi All

Quite a few changes going on a cheezquarters central. Both residents have brand new hair dos!

First up, the queen of the castle. Isn’t she beautiful?

 

Next up, the second in command. I donated that mess of hair to Locks of Love. If you have long hair and are ready for a change, lop off a 10 inch or more pony tail and treat yourself to a brand new look.

Before:

During:

After:

Overall, I really don’t miss the knotty, tangled, rats nest that long hair ultimately becomes, and I also enjoy the greatly reduced washing and “styling” time. Would have liked to have a kept a little more length, but I was just so done growing it. So done. I kinda like the straight look I have in the in between phase, but I’m not straightening my hair every day. Just not happening. My friend and the neighbor of cheezquarters central was kind enough to cut my hair for me, but our schedules did not line up ideally, so the chop had to occur two days before the “real” haircut. Just to confirm I have zero pride and zero fucks left to give, I went to work for two days with unevenly chopped hair. Hardly anyone even noticed the dramatic hair chop, let alone the unevenness, proving once again that most people really don’t care about anyone but themselves. This is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I am a cult member of the Deva cuts. For the uninitiated, it’s a special haircut for those of us “blessed” with curls. I normally go to the salon in LA or NYC (whatever, I don’t want to hear it), but I just couldn’t bear the thought of it, so I tried a place close to home where the stylist was trained in the cult technique. Eh. She was fine, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing. Maybe I’ll alternate and do every other cut with the real deal.

Unrelated to haircuts, we also tried a recipe from our new favorite, Thug Kitchen. Tonight’s main (ok, only) course was 5-spice fried rice with sweet potatoes. Since I only had purple sweet potatoes on hand, everything had a slightly purple touch. Overall, this dish was just OK. i think it needed a little more flavor. Maybe some more spice or vinegar/soy sauce combo. I’ll probably dump some more soy and a bunch of salt on the leftovers when I eat them. Also, sweet potatoes are a pain in the ass to peel, cut, and cook. I followed the recipe exactly this time, but next time, i’ll boil them in advance to get the damn skins off. If you haven’t tried Chinese 5 spice before, it’s good stuff. A little goes a long way, be forewarned. If you try this recipe, you need a little more oil and a lot more water than the recipe calls for. Or maybe my potatoes just weren’t very watery, but I added a ton of extra water. Due to the greens in here, I won’t be freezing the leftovers, so I’ll be choking down a lot of vegetables this week.

The purple main event (what a chopping pain!):

The super orange carrots:

Here’s the part I like the least, the green, leafy stuff. But i choked it down:

The purple goodness all cooked up:

The finishing touches:

And the reward:

Until next time, a few cute dog sleeping shots to send you on your way. The other dog is a friend of the editor-in-chief who sometimes stays with us.

I Bought Kale at Whole Foods

Yes cheezeheads you read that right! Your friendly neighborhood carbivore bought kale. At Whole Foods. I mean, could I be any more of a walking, breathing stereotype. I felt like a lost a chunk of my soul that day. I justified the whole thing because it was for a recipe in the cookbook that actually makes you want to cook, Thug Kitchen. I can’t recommend this book enough, even for just sheer entertainment value. I got one for Little Miss Sunshine for Christmas and after she read us a few pages, I decided I had to have a copy for myself as well.

I normally don’t go in for health sauce like kale. I eat enough things I don’t love in the name of “health”, but kale. Just gross. But this recipe looked pretty good and had other redeeming qualities, like peanut sauce, so I decided to just go in for the kale, because they specifically instruct you not to substitute ingredients. Plus, the editor-in-chief likes kale, so I figured if nothing else, she can eat it. (Yes, my dog likes kale, back to the stereotype).

Another reason I went for the recipe is it also called for tempeh. For the uninitiated, tempeh is another item you can purchase at Whole Foods, if you swing that way. It’s a soy-based meat substitute that’s more interesting than tofu. But I think tempeh is funny because at this hippie restaurant in Tahoe, my dad, not knowing what it was, ordered a tempeh burger. My dad is so not a tempeh person. Seriously. Not. A. Tempeh. Person. By the time anyone realized what happened, it was too late. So we just didn’t say anything and hoped for the best. He was pretty hungry, so he ate it, but yeah, he’ll never live that one down.

Anyhoo…back to my kale. Here was tonight’s kitchen adventure. Tempeh Peanut Noodles with Blanched Kale.

The kale:

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The tempeh:

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The peanut sauce:

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In the pan:

(look mom, my fancy cookware in use!)

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The finished product:

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Like my 70s plates I got in a thrift store in college for $5? I like them because the whole set is made for reasonable portion sizes.

All in all, it turned out OK. I grabbed the wrong jar from the fridge and used extra garlic instead of ginger so I’m sure that has something to do with it. Next time I’ll make more peanut sauce, it seemed a little dry. If you want the recipe, let me know. Or buy the book.

Beer and Pizza and Water and Workouts

Well, I’ve been up to my ears in bread and cheese this weekend! I made bagels and pizza yesterday.  The bagels I talked about in an earlier post, but I’ve been perfecting the recipe. Less garlic this time! I have a standard pizza I’ve been making for years, but i nabbed a King Arthur pizza box in an after Christmas sale and I tried that. Wow! Their dough is fantastic! I also added some pizza dough flavoring, which is basically a little extra cheesy and garlicky  powder right in the dough. Yum. I ate way more than I should have, but it was wroth it! So needless to say, I’ve been struggling a little with putting the fork down. Next week will be a better week.

I have been good about the water thing though! i drank at least two full bottles a day every day last week. And I get in a lot of extra steps with all those extra trips to the bathroom, so bonus there. This morning I completed day 11 of the 15 day workout challenge. If you haven’t tried out Grokker yet, now is a good time, it’s free! One of the instructors is doing a 7 day HIIT challenge. Al the videos are about 20 minutes long and each one has been challenging so far. This series was perfect timing of the January challenge. On the linked page, do the videos in reverse, beginning with HIIT Arms.

How is your challenge coming along? If you fell off already, just get right back on!

Tomorrow my editor-in-chief/head food taster is getting a haircut. I’ll post before and after pictures.

Seriously, I Need to Stop Eating!

I hope all of you have not binged as much as I have this week. I suspect I am not alone in the holiday binge as  I witnessed several of my required readers taking down at least a dozen cookies per day. You know who you are. Put the cookie down.

Here is just one small glimpse into the terrifying world of what we eat on the holidays around here. This is half the table. There’s more that you can’t see. And that’s just the snack portion.

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My sister got me the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution DVD set for Christmas, and I’m excited to try it out when I get home. Not only is it something new, but hopefully it will help erase some of my sins. Oh and there have been many, many sins. For example, I usually log at least 12,000 steps a day on my FitBit. This week it’s been more like 2000. Speaking of FitBits, did anyone get a new fitness tracker for the Holidays. Which one? How do you like it so far? If you have a FitBit, let me know and we can be FitBit friends.

January will be here soon enough and the fork will be put down. In the meantime, here’s another holiday favorite cookie. Lemon cookies. They were my grandmother’s favorite. Note to self, don’t skip the lemon rind.

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Merry Christmas

Well for the past several days at least two of my feedings a day have consisted exclusively of bread and cheese, so it’s been a good week. I hope your holiday celebrations, whatever they may be, are treating you well. In my family cookies are serious business. I ate at least 6 tonight, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

Before the eating season closes out, I want to share a super easy candy recipe I made this year, to rave reviews. If you aren’t familiar with the Brown Eyed Baker food blog, I highly recommend this site! She has a lot of great recipes, including this one for Slow Cooker Chocolate-Covered Peanut Clusters. This recipe is super easy to make and the chocolates are delicious. Sorry for the terrible picture.

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Hope Santa brings everyone what they want this year!