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! 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 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.



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!


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

Piriformis and Psoas–Let’s Stretch! (AKA More Injuries)

Been a while cheez heads. Sorry for yet another hiatus! Guess not a whole lot has been going on that is blog-worthy.

Here’s an obligatory photo of the editor-in-chief giving me the side eye for being so tardy in this post.


And here’s a double rainbow we saw when it rained a few weeks ago (brief and certainly did nothing to help with the drought–but rain is rain!)


I’m down again with another injury. I can’t believe it. I guess my body is just telling me to rest. Not totally sure what’s going on this time, but I think I strained a calf muscle (somehow) and I’m having trouble with both my piriformis and psoas muscles. In so many words, I have a pain in the ass. I’m sure this is karmic retribution, for I also am a pain in the ass, or so I am told.

So let’s talk about stretching. It’s super important for so many reasons, as you all know, most importantly making long, lean muscles. However, if you’re among the legions of those who sit all day, even if you do work out, over time your body is going to begin to rebel. Tight psoas muscles are a common culprit in back pain of the chronic sitter.

So let’s get those psoas muscles loosened up. Yoga is great for stretching those muscles that you forgot you had, but maybe you don’t have time for a full yoga class every day. Here are some simple psoas stretches you can do.




If you have tight psoas muscles, believe me these, are going to hurt. You can raise your arm and lean to the side a little with the first psoas stretch, for a little extra fun. You can also do that same stretch standing up.

Now on to the piriformis. I actually think these stretches feel good, for the most part, but right now my muscle is so irritated it’s a little tough to get the muscle to stretch. In addition to these, you can you use a tennis or racquetball, or even a foam roller to really get into that piriformis muscle. You basically sit on the ball or roller and let it dig into the muscle to release it, while sort of rolling the ball on the floor. This hurts. A lot. All the tennis balls in my house squeak, so I’m going to get a racquetball this weekend. Oh who am I kidding, I’ll likely just order one online. Anyhoo, this video does a better job of explaining the pirformis roll than I will, so check it out, then try the stretches.






There are lots of resources online for stretching these muscles, so I won’t go into to much more detail here, but you can Google around to find more videos and techniques, altho I basically outlined the main stretches. While I’m resting and stretching this week, I hope to do a little extra yoga and maybe just focus on some upper body only work later in the week. But I’m really just going to be icing and stretching for the most part. It’s better to rest than to push yourself too far and be out of commission for a longer period of time.

Since I have a little extra time with my break from working out, I picked up an old Steven King book, Four Past Midnight. The copy I have is the original, so the cover is different than the one in the link. Hopefully I don’t need to sleep with the light on tonight. His books totally give me nightmares. And yes, I’m fully aware that I should be embarrassed about reading such nonsense, but it’s fun.

Any other stretches you recommend? How did you get through your last bout with injury?



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.




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:


The tempeh:


The peanut sauce:


In the pan:

(look mom, my fancy cookware in use!)


The finished product:


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.

The Ninth Path

Today we will start with a letter from the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. The letter itself is worth a read, especially if, say, you’re having an existential crisis. But if you’re too lazy to read it,  I’ll except the sound bites for you.

I first encountered the good doctor as the unofficial sponsor of a rogue student council run by this crazy dude in high school. He ran an off-ballot campaign just to mess with the system; he obviously had no interest in student council. It was really funny at the time, but I think you kinda had to be there. I wonder whatever happened to Alexei?

OK, back to the letter, following the guidance of Hunter, let’s talk about goals.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Ah the elusive ninth path. You likely have some fitness goals (even if they’re to just get off the couch once in a while). But what if you just can’t get it together? Well, then maybe it’s time to try something new. Find the one thing that will get you off the couch. The one thing you haven’t tried before. Maybe it’s just walking the mutt an extra block. Or maybe you’d like riding a bike or tennis or something. You’ll never know until you try. Don’t just assume the same old options are all that’s available to you. If your elliptical or treadmill is now a clothes rack, just sell the damn thing and try something new. You’ll have more space in your house and a few bucks to try swimming at the local pool. “We must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal.”  In other words, you need to do what works for you and improves your own situation, and if you aren’t having success, maybe you just haven’t found your thing yet. But if you try to do something you hate, you’ll maybe have short term progress, but you won’t get out of bed at 6 am (OK, 6:45) to do it on that cold rainy morning when all you really want to do is lay in bed all day.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life.

The most commonly repeated diet mantra is basically this: that it’s not a diet, but a way of life.  So maybe you really shouldn’t have a goal at all, but an aim to change your lifestyle. I think this approach is easier when it comes to changing eating habits, but maybe not as much on fitness goals. The approach would be, I want to be stronger, rather than, I want to lift 10 lbs heavier by the end of the year. I think that works too. It’s more important to simply improve rather than hit a rather arbitrary number; what’s the difference between 9 lbs and 10 lbs, really? Something to think about.

Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know— is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

So what’s your ninth path? Try something new, especially if you’re in a rut. The editor-in-chief really encourages you to take her, er, your dog, on a longer walk.

Back to our regularly scheduled drivel about cheez and food next time, I promise!

Fun in the Sun

While most of you are freezing to death, we had summer this weekend in California! We headed to the beach, along with everyone else. Once we were there, there was much fun to be had. Poet had a grand time chasing her toy in the sand, and we had a nice long walk on the bike trail that goes on the coast. We found a pizza place at the end of the trail, thank goodness, because we were starving (Poet loves pizza).

Who’s tuning in to the SNL anniversary show? The internets tells me it’s really good. I’ll probably watch it in like 3 weeks, because it takes me forever to do anything. Let me know what you thought of it.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays, Presidents Day. As an aside, because I love grammar, i looked up the correct spelling. Google results were mixed. i went with the most likely, and the one i believe is correct, candidate. I’ll stop before this turns into a grammar blog! Anyhoo…why do I love Presidents Day? Because it’s a day off work (duh) and not everyone has it off. So you can go out into the world and see this strange place with empty roads and stores and no lines. It’s this wonderful world where I don’t want to commit homicide within 3 seconds of leaving my house. Too bad you have to be retired to enjoy such a universe. Except for Presidents Day. It’s like spending an afternoon in a unicorn garden.

I hope you have tomorrow off and get to sleep in. Just stay out of my way on the roads!


And we’re back….

Hello cheezheads!

Sorry for the long hiatus. There has been a lot of cheeze eating going on around here! Seriously, life has just been busy! But after a nice long sleep last night (thank you, beer walk ) I’m up for a little blogging. I believe we left off with the editor-in-chief scheduled to get her hair did. Here’s a before and after of that.




haircut-after haircut-after

Isn’t she beautiful!

That was immediately followed by a visit from my old DMB buddies to see some Dave and Tim shows in Oaktown. A good time was had by all. We were up until 4 am playing Cards Against Humanity. 4 am! Don’t nobody got time for that! Here’s a little clip from the show, if you’re so inclined–Dancing Nancies.

d&t show d&t showcards against humanity

In other news, the editor-in-chief and I went to Tahoe to visit our friend who just moved up there. We binged on Serial on the drive. If you have not listened to this podcast, what are you waiting for? It’s so good! I won’t reveal too much in case you haven’t listened. There’s just one thing that I can’t quite reconcile. Let me know in the comments what you think.

Since there is basically no snow in Tahoe and my oldism in my back was settled in,  we went on a few hikes instead of skiing. As we were wandering around we stumbled upon a nude beach. With people on it. In January. In the buff. Go figure.

And no trip to Tahoe is complete without a trip to the dog water park–Poet’s favorite. She showed all those other dogs who was boss! After all that fun, here was what she felt like at the end of the day.



And here is one of our gracious hosts



And my last update is, I got a new couch for my new reading nook! Now i just need some other furniture. Thanks mom!


So with all this, where do my workouts stand? I am proud to say that I completed my January challenge (with a bonus week thrown in because, well, beer, bread, and cheez) and am so glad to be back to normal workouts.

I am not doing as well with water drinking. It’s been super busy at work and it’s hard to commit to the water when I’m not at my desk. But I’m going to recommit starting tomorrow! Someone did notice my DMB water bottle one day at least.

Hope you all had a fun a weekend.

Here’s to a healthy week.

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.

Happy New Year! And January Challenges

Happy new year!

I hope 2015 finds everyone happy and healthy, and ready to put down the fork! As much as I love to eat, I think I’m ready to return to normal food consumption levels. I did a small trial run earlier this week to see how it was, and all in all, it wasn’t so bad. Monday is when the fun really starts.

January is alway the month of resolutions, including the famous, I’m going to lose weight. I hate that resolution because it’s too open ended and it doesn’t focus on your overall health, but if that’s your resolution, the breadandcheez team is here to encourage you and provide you reviews for the best DVDs for your time and money.

So whether you’re on a weight loss journey, are just looking to improve your overall health, or maybe you just need to recover from the holidays, I issue a few January challenges.

Like the December challenge, I’m going to to do 15 days of 15 extra minutes of workout time. I hope you’ll join me. If you’re just starting back into the workout scene after a break, just aim for 15 minutes–we all start somewhere. I already started the 15 day challenge at the end of December, but maybe I’ll do a few extra days in January to make up for some of these dozens of cookies. In 2015 I’m going to focus on strength training more, so I’m incorporating more strength training into my extra 15 minutes.

The second challenge is something I really need to work on. Drinking more water! I drink a ton of liquids, but I still feel dehydrated all the time (could have something to do with the alcohol in many of those liquids). So for the entire month of January, I’m going to fill the water bottle that sits all lonely and neglected on my desk twice a day and be sure to drink it all. Ideally, this will be little sips over the day, and not two giant chug sessions, but I’ll see what i can accomplish.

Let me know your resolutions, 2015 fitness goals, and your progress not the challenges.

Happy New Year from the breadandcheez team. The editor-in-chief seems a little reluctant to have her photo taken. Must have been the excitement of Ryan Seacrest and the ball drop.  (yeah the glass says 2007, sue me)


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.


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.