Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Idiot-Proof Paleo Shopping breakdown

So, here we are again dear readers with a grocery list!
This is significantly shorter than last week's, because this is my regular list, not my stock up/get started list. This is what my cart looks like most weeks. This feeds two people for just over two weeks, though I'm normally busting out the frozen veg by the very end of the fortnight.

As promised, look for a breakdown of the list and where the food actually goes below. Again, feel free to share, print an use this list for yourself!
We keep all our meet in the freezer and just defrost as needed, so every two or three shopping trips I'll need to replete my stock, but for the most part, I just replace whichever animal product is lowest. This week it was chicken breast. We only had about three left, so I bought two more packages. But I've still got tons of pork chops, ground pork, beef for stew and steak cuts that I picked up on sale, so none of those need replacing. I've only had to totally replenish the freezer maybe twice, but it's really easy to stay on top of it if you just take stock of what's stocked up before you go shopping. And I try and use things according to how old they are. We date all the food that goes in the freezer, so the newest chicken breasts will get saved for last and I'll use pork and beef mostly for the week. This means I only really ever have to restock one (maaaybe two) kinds of meat on a particular shopping trip, which saves a TON of money. 

Okay, let's get to the break down. 
Easy-peasy dinners.
Generally, I love cooking. I love experimenting with new recipes and new foods. Sometimes though, I miss the ease of chicken nuggets and frozen dinners. There are some days I can barely be bothered to eat anything, let alone cook something complicated. On those days, it's very helpful to have a few staples on standby so I can throw some stuff together in less than an hour and not have to stress. 
  • Cauliflower can be used as a substitute for my pre-paleo fall backs, rice and mashed potatoes. The only real difference between cauliflower 'rice' and cauliflower 'potatoes' is the degree to which you mush them in the food processor. That seems pretty self explanatory. I also admit to putting a couple pats of butter in my mash and a sprinkling of chives. Makes it feel more authentic. Mash or rice, one other veggie (asparagus, carrots, squash, zucchini, whatever you've got around) and a meat and you have your meal. I love this because it's really hard to screw it up and I don't have to think about it. So, keep cauliflower handy. You can also use the cauliflower rice to make garbage stir fry which can be a lifesaver. Throw your 'rice in with some soy sauce, some sliced meat (pork and chicken work well) as well as some frozen vegetables and serve. 
  • Carrots are my best friend if I want to stretch a meal out a little, any meal. Want to make your brekkie scramble last an extra day? Dice up four or five carrots and it'll eke things about. Carrots are great for snacking, I mash them up with sweet potatoes and parsnips to make a mash, I fry them with onions and pork chops, I julienne them into salads. They add color to your meal and they last forever. I usually buy a five pound bag once a month. 
  • Sweet potatoes do the same work as carrots, they help stretch everything out, and they are really filling. I love them because I can make fries or sweet potato crisps with them, which is a better cure for my constant snacking than popcorn or potato chips. I adore them with my breakfast, sliced up with some sausage and egg and peppers. So good. 
  • Leafy stuff is also a savior of mine. Whether it's lettuce, cabbage, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, whatever your fancy it's essential to keep this stuff handy. If I don't feel like cooking, I can roughly chop some lettuce and spinach, boil and shred some chicken, slice some carrots and throw a basic dressing together. You can find my personal favorite salad here, from Nom Nom Paleo. That particular salad takes me literally 20 minutes from prep to table. 
Everything else on that list--eggplant, asparagus, mushrooms--get used in addition to the four essentials above. I am partial to cauliflower mash, asparagus and pork chops. Or sauteed mushrooms, steak and sweet potato fries. On the nights when I look forward to getting in the kitchen, having a good selection of veggies to choose from makes coming up with dinner a whole lot easier. I am partial to eggplant parm when I'm feeling like spending a while in the kitchen, or coconut-breaded fish or chicken with some fried spinach.

Food for snacks
One of the biggest challenges when you go paleo is finding food you don't have to cook. Sometimes you just want something crunchy or sweet and you want it now. I am partial to Nut Thins. They're gluten free crackers. I don't think they're technically paleo, but they're damn close and I love crackers and ham too much to care. But what about sugar cravings? I usually keep a little stash of dark chocolate somewhere, and I'll slice up an apple, grab the almond butter and make 'smores'. I mean, they're not really smores, but it hits the spot. There's also nothing wrong with giving yourself a night off and having a Twix or something. Letting yourself go once in a while is key to actually staying on the diet.  I'm also partial to cauliflower popcorn, you can get the recipe here.

To be honest, when I was getting started on paleo, and this is true of anyone who's starting to learn how to cook, recipe lists were my saving grace. NomNomPaleo and Paleomg both have AWESOME recipe lists that are broken down by meat and veg, and for the first little while I relied on them completely. Learning how to throw together a meal is a skill. You're not going to start teaching yourself to cook by never look at recipes. So, get to know your food a little, what your skills and are what kinds of flavors you like together. Once you do that, you can start to write your own recipes. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How paleo is enough paleo? Idiot-Proof Paleo pt 1

Hello all, and welcome to the part one of the Idiot-Proof Paleo Plan!
So, I'm going to post on the Facebook page to find out what kinds of questions you guys have, but we'll see what kind of responses I get. Until I get a feel for what the people want, I'll be answering some of the questions I had that I had a hard time finding the answer to when I started. I'm not an expert guys, I'm on this journey too. I've been paleo nearly three months now, so I like to think I'm past the brand new beginning phase.  One of my biggest questions when I started going paleo was how paleo I really had to be.
What I mean is, do I really have to buy coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, because you're not supposed to eat soy?
Do I have to go out of my way to replace milk with coconut or almond milk?
What happens if I can't find almond butter, is peanut butter okay?

For a while I felt kind of guilty about not being 100% paleo. I really wanted to go all out on this, but there are two things that stood in my way (and probably will stand in yours too). Price and availability.

Price is a pretty self explanatory problem. Paleo can be expensive. Organic food, free range eggs, grass fed meat, that doesn't come cheap. The trick to this is to figure out what's really worth spending the money on and what it's okay to scrimp on. For me, organic fruits and veg were something that I just couldn't justify. A bag of grapes at the on-post grocery store costs me around three bucks. Organic grapes cost more than five bucks. That's almost twice the cost, that's just too much. Also, to be honest, organic produce just doesn't last as long in the fridge as non-organic food does. I know that's probably desirable, you know, less preservatives or whatever, but we do two grocery trips a month, and I need that produce to last or we're wasting tons of money. Also, there's a lot of stigma surrounding organic food and GMO's and how much better organic food actually is for you than normal food. Personally, I don't think there's that much in it. I know that's practically blasphemy for the paleo crowd, but I've had all organic fruit and veg and it taste the same, looks the same, cooks the same. If you've got the extra $100 a paycheck to spend on organic produce then by all means, go ahead. I'm not casting a judgement on eating organic. But for me, for the Two Idiots, and for a lot of people I know living on a fixed income, it's just not feasible. Meat is another animal entirely. Pun intended. Meat is the most expensive thing you'll be buying at the grocery store. If you want to buy grass fed/organic/free range meat you can pretty safely double the cost of your meat budget. If you're not worried about that, then good for you, buy all of the grass fed meat! But, probably, you are worried about spending that much money, which is why you're here. If there is grass fed stuff on sale, buy it. I also almost always buy free range eggs. They're only slightly more expensive than cage raised eggs, and we eat a TON of eggs, so I can feel good about that. I try my best not to buy from companies like Tyson, who is notorious for factory farming and really terrible conditions. If the animal has had a miserable life, I don't want to buy that meat. It's also probably not as good for you as an animal that has been raised for all or most of it's life free-range. So, do a little research and buy what is the least bad. I know that sounds like a cop out, but spending $20 for a dozen chicken breasts vs $12 is hard to argue. Don't beat yourself up because your fridge doesn't look like a frontiersman's wet dream, just try to buy the best you can.
For other things, like coconut aminos and coconut flour and things like that, that's kind of a different story. I still use soy sauce and Sriracha for reasons I'll discuss below. But for things like almond butter or coconut flour, it really is worth it to spend the extra and follow the rules. These types of...pantry things don't need to be replaced as often as the produce and meat, so you're only going to rack up a bill maybe once every month or two, depending on how much you use them. I love love love coconut flour, so I'm more than happy to spend $6 for a pound of it. Bt maybe you don't do much baking, or much frying. You probably don't need coconut flour. If you're a nut-butter fiend though, like Mr. Idiot, then spend the extra for almond butter, or sun butter or cashew butter. (If you're feeling super thrifty, you can make that yourself.) Deciding what you want to spend on is really up to your tastes. So before you go blowing a whole paycheck on paleo baking goodies, think about it. Are you really going to use it? Like ghee for instance. I don't use a whole lot of butter in my cooking, so spending extra for ghee just isn't worth it. I just use the regular stuff. That's what you should consider.
TL;DR: Is the money I'm spending on this going to be worth it, or is this going to be something that slowly goes bad in the back of the fridge?.

This is a problem no matter how much money you have to spend. It's also one of the most frustrating things about going paleo. If you live in a major city, this probably isn't an issue. Hell, if you live in really awesome cities they have paleo restaurants you can go to. Unfortunately, not all of us can live in the big city. Some of us (the Idiots included) live out in the boonies. Or outside an army base, whatever. This is something I've had to deal with a lot because we primarily shop at the on-post grocery, and the best alternatives are Piggly Wiggly and WalMart who's selection isn't much better. I've had a hard time finding stuff like almond butter, which should be super common. If you're struggling to find really specific things (again, coconut aminos, looking at you) my advice is don't sweat it. If you're committed to finding something, then use I found some paleo wraps that I loved and for pretty cheap. But sometimes you just can't find what you're looking for. I'd kill if I could find myself some paleo bread that I didn't have to pore over the ingredients to identify. 
The problem I had in the beginning is I felt I wasn't doing a good enough job being paleo, especially not good enough to justify blogging about it and giving other people advice about it. But, my advice to you is just relax. You don't have to be paleo 100% of the time. It's all right to have a break day during the week, it's okay to occasionally have a sandwich or some chicken wings. The world is not going to come crashing down around you, and you are definitely not a paleo 'failure' for not being perfect. If you can't find coconut flour, use almond flour, it's easier to find. If you can't find coconut aminos, just use soy sauce (or fish sauce in a pinch.) Part of the fun in paleo is figuring out new ways to make old recipes. It's pretty gratifying when I can make something like eggplant Parmesan, and Mr. Idiot says it's better than the real stuff. That's the best part of paleo, and that's the part I think is the most important. This shouldn't feel like a 'diet' this should just feel like an adjustment to your lifestyle. After a while, it really becomes second nature. 

Thanks for reading guys! Please let me know in the comments what else you'd like covered in the Idiot-Proof Paleo guide!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What to expect when you're go paleo

So, if you're good little Idiots, you've all looked at the paleo shopping guide I posted earlier today. Over the course of the week, I'll be breaking down that list for you a little, and going over some of the big hurdles I encountered when I started going paleo.
Things like:
Do I spend more and buy all organic?
Do I buy all free range meat and eggs?
Can I still have milk in my coffee?
How much cooking am I going to have to?
Is there a 'convenient' paleo?
There's also the question of whether you want to be really, totally, completely paleo, or whether it's better for you to give yourself some leeway on things like coconut aminos and paleo Sriracha that are really hard to find, or are really expensive. I know for me at least, because we shop at the military grocery store, there's a limited selection of specialty and organic/all natural ingredients. And I also know paleo can be really expensive. You're supposed to buy all this pure food, all organic, all free range. That shit is pricey, and if you live on a fixed income like we do, being a perfect example of paleo sainthood isn't really possible.
What is possible though is changing the way you think about food, about snacking and about the things that are going to fill your belly and make you happy and healthy.
These are all questions I had, and I did a lot of googling to try and answer them. Unfortunately, there are so many competing voices out there it can be overwhelming trying to pick one to follow. So, I'll send you to some great resources I used, and I'll tell you my experience and let you decide what you want to do.
The list that went up today was a total paleo overhaul of your kitchen. It's kind of a one-size-fits-all guide: a pretty comprehensive list of the basics, and it looks a lot like my first paleo shopping list.
Over the course of the week, I'll be talking about all these things. I don't want to scare you with massive walls of text, so the Idiot Proof Guide to Paleo is going to get broken down a little bit.

Paleo can be stressful and intimidating at first; you come home with a cart full of vegetables and no idea how to cook them, but rest assured, if this Idiot can do it, you can too.

Idiot Proof Paleo Shopping

Alright, you asked for it, and it's here, the Idiot Proof guide to your first paleo shop. I know I said I'd have it up last week, but the Mother Idiot was here and we were busy enjoying the sun (that finally made an appearance and warmed up the godforsaken iced over hellscape of NC).
So, it's here now. This is a complete list of everything you'll need for your first shop. I'm going to get another printable list up soon to show you what my weekly grocery list looks like, because it isn't nearly as extensive as this. Next weeks list will also have amounts of what I'm buying and a breakdown of where the food goes and how many meals I get out of it. I hope you guys like this, because this lil ole' blog is turning into a full-time thing, what with all the designing I'm doing.
Now, this list is also for two people. If you're a solo paleo eater, you can probably knock off some of the veggies and a few of the meats and still be okay. A lot of this is trial and error, and I hate to break it to you, but the first few weeks you may find yourself not eating things in time and throwing them away. I know that's awful, and it made me super angry because I absolutely detest wasting food, but until you figure out exactly what your individual needs are, you just have to suck it up. Or buy less and make more trips to the grocery store. Mr. Idiot and I share a car, so multiple grocery trips are a huge pain in the butt.
Tell me what you think, tell me if there's anything missing, and as always, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Public Service Announcement

I've finally gotten the desk set up in 'my' spare room, or the guest room/office. I've got my monitor, all my reference books, the printer. It's awesome. I have my own little office! It almost feels like I've got a serious job or something, "I've got to work in the office today."
So stoked. 

Anyway, over the course of the week (or weeks) I'll be posting some grocery guides. If you'd like to see something specific, please leave it in the comments or email me @ but as it stands there will be two lists/guides: Paleo for Newbies (of which I am only very recently not one) a guide and grocery list for those of you currently eating a normal diet. Because paleo is already gluten/dairy/peanut/pretty much all intolerance free, I'm not going to make a specific list for the people with particular intolerances, so just be mindful if I've missed something or put something on the list that will trigger a reaction, don't get it. Dur. I'm also going to try something, but I don't know how it will work out. THere's been a couple of Facebook comments on the 2idiots1kitchen page (GO LIKE IT, NAO!) for a breakdown of the shopping list and how it evolves into actual whole meals. Because that's going to involve a graphic, give me some time on that. My Adobe skills are there, but rusty, so I'll have to make a couple attempts before I have something internet worthy. I am going to make you some Idiot-Proof shopping lists that you can save and print off and take to the store with you.

This has been a PSA from your friendly, neighborhood Idiot.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Madness

Hello all.
I'm going to apologize again, and in advance for the lack of posts in the next few days. It's been a bit of a crazy week for me. The dog has been taking up pretty much all of my attention, because I mean come on. She's adorable and ALWAYS down to play.
Look at that freakin face!
So, there's that, there's the fact I've been working out (at an actual gym I'll have you know) and going to yoga a ton. (More on that whole deal later this week, I promise)
AND there's the minor thing that mama Idiot is coming to visit on Saturday! I'm pretty stoked about it, because I haven't seen her since Christmas, BUT that means I have to do a total blitz of my house. I have a highly organized plan of execution, room by room, to get the whole place mom-approved before she gets here. 
I've also got some furniture revamping to do. We finally got around to getting a sander, so Mr. Idiot sanded down the coffee table and the dresser and it's my job to paint them. I have never painted furniture, so we'll see how they turn out. I'm pretty hopeful, because Mr. Idiot is a total handyman n00b and he did a beautiful job sanding the stuff down. Fingers crossed I can pull of my first attempt as flawlessly. 
In other news, I managed to spend less than $200 at the grocery store this week. I don't know if that's because I'm eating less, so we have more food or something, but it was nice to not cry inwardly as I watch all the money just...trickle away. I'm going to post a shopping list for all my dedicated followers (all three of you <3) Partly for me, so I can stop wasting scraps of paper, and partly for you guys, so you can get an idea what paleo shopping on a pretty tight budget looks like. I know that $200 at the grocery store sounds like a LOT of money, but that feeds two people for two weeks and change. Fifty bucks per person a week isn't bad I think. It's actually less than we were spending before we went paleo, because I'm not buying chips or oatmeal or cookies or anything. Or frozen dinners, I won't lie, I was kind of partial to those, and they add up quickly. Plus, there's normally at least two or three days left of food at the end of the two weeks if I can't get to the grocery store on payday (because it is an ungodly hellscape.)
So, stay tuned for the grocery list, a break down of my workout, my diet and how the weight loss is going (I'm down ten pounds already!!)
So, stay tuned, I promise to be more on top of the whole posting thing, because I know you all care about my little life. 
Much love,
Mrs. Idiot. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dogdogdog and other things but mostly DOG!

Ladies and gentlemen, readers and friends, I have some very exciting news to share with you. In fact, I have two pieces of very exciting news.
One, I AM WRITING THIS FROM A KITCHEN TABLE. That's right folks, no longer do the Idiots have to lean weirdly over a coffee table, or eat out of our laps. We have a real life, honest-to-god, motherfucking kitchen table. It is amazing what not having to eat in the living room can do for a person. I feel like an actual adult. Mr. Idiot and I had dinner at the table last night! I didn't have to pick up crumbs of eggplant off the floor, or vacuum up bits of turkey after we were done. I didn't come out this morning and see tomato squished into the couch cushions. Oh happy day.

In even better news, dear readers, the Idiots have taken in a fluffy, adorable third member, and I believe she fits right in with the two Idiots already here. Her name is Koda. I wanted to name her Laika, after the first dog in space, but she's a little too old to rename.

She's been here for a week now and she seems to be pretty well settled in. In fact, it didn't even take her a day to make herself at home. Within six hours all three of us fell asleep on the couch. Cuddle puddle style.

It's incredible how much better having a dog makes me feel. I was starting to get pretty down. I've had no luck looking for work, I've had no luck making friends and it's hard to keep your spirits and motivation up when it feels like everything sucks. I was lonely, and pretty bummed about my prospects in general. Not to say I'm unhappy, because I'm not. I've got no right to be. I have a wonderful husband and a nice house and we make enough money to pay the bills and keep the lights on, but I felt (still feel, a bit) like I was stagnating. Like I wasn't doing anything with myself. Koda has helped a lot. She needs to get walked every day, she needs to be fed and she always wants to be played with or cuddled. So it gives me things I have to do every day, and she keeps me company. The house feels less empty now, and when Mr. Idiot has to be gone for training exercises, I've got a little fuzzy girl to keep me company.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Arrrrrriba fajitas

I do like North Carolina, although I am not a huge fan of Fayetteville. I like how close the beach is, I like the weather and I love that it snows here.
What I don't like is that there is nowhere to get freaking Mexican food. Arizona is my heart, and Mexican food is the key to my heart. Amado's carne asada fries, breakfast burritos, being hungover and miserable in the parking lot of a Filliberto's while you wait for your quesadilla is perhaps what I miss the most. (Second to my besties and my parents, obvs). 
So, sometimes I get all nostalgic and I just want some damn Mexican. I cannot really recreate the greasy, beany, cheesy wonder of drive-through Mexican food, but I do what I can. 
So, here we are at fajitas. My dad makes fajitas, but his are better than this. He makes skirt steak fajitas on the mega-grill, so I'm aiming for that good and if I make it halfway, I'll be pretty pleased. 

This is a paleo diet, except for the tortillas, which you obviously can take out and still enjoy the wonder of half-decent Mexican food.  
What you'll need for a little taste of the desert:

2 stoplight bell peppers, sliced. I used red and yellow, but you can use whatever colors you want.
1 lb 'pork for fajitas' sidenote, thank you Commissary for so clearly marking your meat products. 
1 poblano pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 packet McCormick's fajita powder (so I have no idea if this is paleo, but whatever. Yolo and stuff)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water

The 'pork for fajitas' came pre-sliced, but if you're just using a hunk of meat, cut it into strips. 

Put the olive oil in a big pot over medium high heat.

Add in the pork and let it sizzle for a minute. 

Add the peppers, bell and poblano.

Once everything is sizzling away happily, add the water and the seasoning.

Mix everything around so the seasoning doesn't clump on to anything.

Cover, lower the heat to medium and let it cook for around ten minutes.

You can serve and leave the leftovers on low to keep everything warm.

These weren't very spicy (jalapenos next time) but they were definitely what I was looking for. It had tacos and peppers and a little bit of zing. If you're like me and you can't substitute anything in the world for a good burrito, this might help.
Signed, a recovering carne asada addict.
(Jk, there is no recovering from that)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Coconut chicken, root mash and spinach

Hello guys and gals!
I have been terrible this week and haven't posted at all. Which means, I've got tons of stuff built up for you this week. Like, my first and second slowcooker experiences (why haven't I been doing this all along?), my very first hot yoga class (very nearly died) and A GETTING A DOG!
Super stoked about that one. We're picking her up tomorrow and we're going to name her Laika and I cannot wait to have a fluffy love ball.
But that's news for tomorrow.
Today we're going to talk about breadcrumbs. Mainly about how I love things dipped in breadcrumbs and it made me a sad, sad panda for a while because they are a no no for paleo eaters.
Fortunately, I have discovered that coconut makes a damn good substitute. To be totally honest guys, I actually prefer coconut breadcrumbs to bread breadcrumbs. Crazy, I know. But they're so light and crispy and they taste very...decadent. Very rich, without being heavy. They're perfect, basically.
The weather is finally, FINALLY picking up here. The hubs and I celebrated Friday with some beers on the patio tonight and it was indeed lovely. 68, breezy, perfect.

Anyway, since the weather has been picking up and it's not snowing every damn day, we can start eating things that aren't designed to keep a body warm in a dark, winter hellscape. Hooray. Mr. Idiot and I have been rotating through the various frozen meats in our freezer, and Monday is chicken day, and I'm trying to avoid the chicken, carrots and broccoli meal I see so many paleo people eating. I like my diet food not to taste like diet food. And so was born Coconut breaded chicken breast, winter root mash and fried spinach with tomatoes.

What you'll need for the whole meal:
1/2 bag frozen spinach (about 2 cups)
Handful of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (Mine comes in pretty large flakes, so I put it in the food processor to get it breadcrumb sized)
1 egg
1 tbsp cold water
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the egg and the tbsp of cold water into a bowl. Get your coconut down to the desired consistency and put it in a bowl too.
Shameless plug for my AMAZING food processor. Miallegro, you are a star. 

Line an oven tray with tin foil.

Dip the chicken breasts first in the egg, and then coat it in coconut.

Put the chicken breasts on the oven tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is white and cooked through. The coconut should be browning and crispy.

While the chicken is cooking, peel and chop all the root vegetables.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the veggies for about ten minutes, or until soft.

Heat a pan over medium high heat and melt the coconut oil.

Mash all the vegetables together. I added some butter because mine were a little dry, but that's up to you. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the spinach to the pan until it starts to cook. I just put mine in frozen and cooked it that way. No big deal. Then, add the tomatoes and garlic until everything is cooked.

Take the chicken out, plate everything and serve.

This was pretty easy in terms of the skills required to make it, though it was kind of labor intensive and had me running between tasks a little.

Though, I think it was worth it. Tasty, filling, and super healthy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Steak is good for the soul

So, here's the belated Valentine's day post I know you've all been dying to get your eyes on.
Even if you don't care, here it is anyway, so enjoy. ENJOY I said.
Mr Idiot was lovely and went out in the morning to pick up a veritable cornucopia of deliciousness (which included tulips, awww) and we feasted upon eggs and bacon and sausages and biscuits. We also decided that if we were going to take a break day (maybe it went to the rest of the weekend) from paleo v-day seemed to be the best day to do it.
So he came home with chocolates and biscuits and champagne. Because he knows how to treat a lady.
What a charmer.
Yes guys, those are wine bottles you can see in the background. We love us some fermented grapes in this house.

Anyway, I won't bother to give you breakfast recipes, because it was pretty basic. And massive, and delicious. And full of mimosas, which is my favorite kind of breakfast. We could barely move once we'd finished, so thank god House of Cards came out as we needed several hours to deflate. (IT'S SO GOOD GUYS. WATCH IT NOW. SHAMELESS NETFLIX PLUG. I DON'T EVEN CARE)

After all the biscuits, and all the House of Cards tension, we figured we'd skip the traditional Valentine's Day candlelit dinner and go rock climbing. There's a place in downtown Fayetteville called The Climbing Place, which we love. The staff are great and friendly, and on Fridays they do $13 equipment rentals, and free pizza. Which is kind of a big deal.

So we went and climbed off some of the chocolate, and I was reminded that physics is a thing, and when Mr. Idiot, who is a fair bit heavier than me, falls off a wall, I will inevitably fly off the floor and nearly collide with his crotch. To the delight of The Climbing Place employees.

If you're clicking on this post for a recipe, you've finally made it. Though I hesitate to really call it a recipe. It's more's what we ate.
But you're here, so I should share it anyway.
Steak is good for the Soul

2 (absolutely enormous) sirloin steaks
1 1/2 packs of whole button mushrooms
3 tbsp butter (but you can never really have too much)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bundle of asparagus, with the woody ends cut off.

Season the steak with salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika and parsley.

Cook it in a skillet over medium high heat for eight or nine minutes on each side, or until the center has reached your desired level of pinkness. Our sirloins were really and truly giant, so if your steak is smaller, you won't have to cook it as long.

Wash off your mushrooms to get the dirt off (or don't, a little dirt never hurt anyone.) and add 2 tbsp olive oil to a pan on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and let them cook for a few minutes. Drizzle some olive oil over the top to coat and cover the pan. Let the mushrooms cook until they become fragrant and are a little soft, about ten minutes.

While the steak is going, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your asparagus until they're about halfway done (six or seven minutes in boiling water) and then drain the pot. Melt the butter in the pot and lower the heat to med-low. Put the asparagus back in and let it absorb the butter, so another five or six minutes, or until most of the butter is gone.

That's it. Nothing complicated for v-day for the Idiots, but damn was it tasty. Opened a nice little bottle of wine and watched Kevin Spacey get all amoral on D.C.'s ass.

Perfect Valentine's day if you ask me.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Greasy bar food, paleo style

So, if you're anything like me ( and if you're reading, I assume you are) you love yourself some tasty, greasy finger food. I love dive bars, partly because the beer is always cheap, but also becasue the food is always good and spicy and extra greasy, and I can eat it with my fingers and no one will judge me.
Double win.
Sometimes when you're trying to eat clean and be healthy you get cravings for things you really cannot have. Like hot wings, fries and ranch, or cinnamon rolls. But the goal is to not give in to those cravings. Though, don't torture yourself. Mr Idiot and I have Saturdays off. We can have a little ice cream, maybe some hamburgers, and we don't get nutso over the smell of McDonald's the rest of the week. I guess the trick is to set yourself a limit--I can have a break day, or meal, or week, and then I have to stick to the plan. It helps stop binge eating on stuff you've been denying yourself and then feeling guilty about it for ages afterwords. At least, that's what works for us. There are lots of great resources on making sure you don't crack and go crazy on a diet.
But, I've gotten off point. I had a craving for the bar food I love (and can't have) so instead of caving and ordering delivery, we made an attempt to recreate the joy of wings and fries without the grease and bad fats.
So, this recipe is kind of labor intensive. There's a few recipes that I combined to get this meal, but you can swap in or out whatever you feel like eating.
I wanted something spicy, and I really wanted finger food, so we made drumsticks and fries and Caesar salad with paleo friendly ranch dressing.
So, this is probably a thing you should start early, because the drumsticks need to marinade. I only marinaded them for an hour, and they were not nearly as spicy as I wanted.

So, this is what you'll need for the drumsticks
However many drumsticks you feel like eating (we made eight)
2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1/4 cup of coconut oil melted
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
4 cloves of garlic peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Blend all of that good stuff together in a food processor. Put the drumsticks in a freezer bag and pour in your spicy marinade. Shake the bag around to coat the drumsticks and stick them in the fridge for anywhere between one and eight hours. (I'd go for more than an hour, let that lime and jalapeno really sink in there.)

While those are marinading, you can prep the sweet potatoes and the dressing.

This dressing, by the way, is awesome. I used the leftovers to dip meatballs in, I used it as veggie dip, it's great.
So, here's the ingredients for the dip/dressing/awesome sauce

1 ripe avocado
3 garlic cloves
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste.

Throw all of that in the food processor and blend it all up. I put a hearty squish of sriracha sauce into the mix because I'm a sucker for punishment.

I threw together a salad with some turnip greens and some lettuce that was leftover in the fridge. There were some carrots and...whatever in there, use your imagination.

So! Once your lime chicken is done marinading, make your sweet potato fries. You can get the low down on sweet potato fries from the Idiot Burgers recipe here.

The fries have to go in at 450 and the chicken cooks at 425, so make your choice which one you wanna cook first, it's no big deal.

Put the drumsticks on a wire rack over an oven tray covered in foil.
We don't have a cooling rack, so I used the rack from the toaster oven. Don't judge. Improvise, okay?

Anyway, cook the chicken at 425 for fifteen minutes, take it out, turn it and cook it for another 15. Make sure the juice runs clear when you cut into it.

That's it. You can make the fries or not, or just salad, or coleslaw or anything you like.

If you're in the mood for some really good barfood that's not nearly as bad for you as it tastes, this is the stuff for you.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Saturday loooovers

Happy Valentine's day (a little late, I grant you) I hope you all had a lovely day, I know these two Idiots did. Mr. Idiot even brought champagne so we could have mimosas. But, this is not where I rub your faces in how much breakfast food I ate yesterday. (It was a LOT by the way) But, I am here to talk about this awesome baked eggplant I made last night. (Don't panic guys, Valentine's day steak dinner photos are coming soon, but I am full of leftover steak and wine, so be happy I'm posting at all.)

Anyway, one of the things I realized was missing in my new paleo delicious lifestyle was some hearty Italian food. There's plenty of awesome recipes for Asian food and burgers and all kinds, but I think Italian is hard to fake because of all that cheese and pasta and...okay, I'm drooling.
But! If you've got a hankering like I did for hearty, meaty yummy Italian goodness, this is stuff for you. And it's pretty easy. And I got to use a new vegetable so score on the experience chart for me!

Anyway, I used ground turkey in this because we didn't have any other ground beef, but you can use beef too.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

You have to slice the eggplant up and "weep" it, which is something I had never heard of until the other night. Slice it, put it in a colander and salt it. Leave it for 20 minutes and it'll leak liquid. (Put a bowl under the colander fyi)

Squish it down a little after the 20 minutes to get any leftover liquid out.

Brush the slices of eggplant with olive oil on both sides and put the eggplant in the oven for 25 minutes.

The time it takes to get the eggplant done is different depending on your oven, so make sure it's crispy on the edges.

Turn the oven down to 350 and heat a pan over medium high heat. I diced up a couple of tomatoes and added a cup of tomato juice.

Let the meat cook through, the turkey only took about ten minutes.

You can layer this however you like, I know eggplant parm isn't usually layered like lasagna, but I only have a little oven dish, so I layered it.

Once the oven is down to 350, put the eggplant in for another fifteen minutes.

I sprinkled parmesan on top (SUE ME GUYS) because it's delicious and we had a little bit still leftover.

Plate, and ta-da! Awesome, filling, Italian amazingness. So satisfying.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coconut Mushroom pork with bacon turnip greens

So, most boring title ever, but whatever. It was super yummy. And today was ANOTHER snow day, which can I just take a minute and say what the hell North Carolina, it is halfway through February, it is time for snow days to be over and done with. It snowed nearly three inches in one day, and it's supposed to snow more tomorrow and Thursday. I do love the snow and it's so nice because AZ NEVER gets snow in the Valley, so it's a nice change, but come on weather gods. It's halfway to March, isn't it supposed to be getting to spring now? Like...soon?
Whatever, snow or no snow, I tackled p90x yoga again today, and I am quite proud to say that I made it through a whole hour of that crazy stuff today. And let me tell you, I am indeed hella sore. But, I feel good and like I worked hard and my butt is on fire guys. On. Fire. But in the best way. So, I'll be back at it again tomorrow, and the goal is to actually finish a session finally. Maybe tomorrow. My butt hurts today.
Here's some tasty pork-stuffs to eat when  your butt hurts, like mine does.

Mushroom and Coconut pork with bacon turnip greens.

What you'll need:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
10 oz mushrooms (or just a whole package sliced, that works too)
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
Big handful of turnip greens
3 slices of bacon, sliced

So, the vast majority of this cooking is done while you are in the living room, so that is a definite bonus for me.
Anyway, the steps for you to follow are thus:

Liberally season you pork chops with salt and pepper and cook in the coconut oil in a deep skillet on medium high heat for about four minutes per side, or until it gets brown on the outside.

Take the pork chops out and put them aside.

If you have to put more coconut oil in the skillet, you can, but either way, saute your onions and mushrooms in the same pan for another couple of minutes, or until the onions start to go transparent.

Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, let it come to a boil, take the heat to med-low and put the pork chops back in the skillet.

Add 2 tbsp of mince garlic, and cover the skillet and let it simmer for ten minutes, in the meantime start the turnip greens.

Take a pan, melt the other tbsp coconut oil and put in your turnip greens. Cover and let the leaves wilt for a few minutes. 
Bacon is my BFF
This meal, unfortunately is NOT a one pot meal by any means. There were like three pots going while I made this. It was delicious, but make sure you've got a lovely husband who is going to do the cleanup for you.

Add your bacon, and 2 tbsp minced garlic to the turnip greens and re-cover.

While the turnip greens are wilting, after the ten minutes are up, add in the cup of coconut milk to the pork chops and let it simmer. Bring the heat up to med-high and simmer, covered, for another ten minutes.

Turn the turnip greens down to med-low and let them heat up until the pork chops are done.

Once the turnip greens are done and the ten minutes are up, you're ready to serve.

I blended my turnip greens in a food processor for a few seconds before I plated, just to break up the turnip greens (which are ENORMOUS).
This stuff was super good, and Mr. Idiot was very disappointed that there wasn't more turnip greens to eat. That's usually a good sign, when Mr. Idiot is bummed there isn't more of it.

I'll admit, this is kind of an intensive meal...there were lots of pots going and lots of checking to make sure everything was going alright, but it was delicious and totally worth it.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Man there is something about Mondays that really sucks the life out of me. On Friday I was so amped about yoga and feeling good (and I fit into a skirt that didn't fit a month ago, HOORAY) and the weekend was nice and relaxed and I wake up this morning and I just...cannot be bothered.
I know this is all very first world problem. I'm unemployed, so it's not like I have to drag myself to work, I know that, but sometimes the monotony of being a homemaker (sorry, barf) gets to me. Mondays are perhaps the worst because the weekend is so nice. I get to hang out with Mr. Idiot and we watch 30 Rock and drink wine and goof around and Saturday is break night, so sometimes we have cake, and we can sleep in and make lazy breakfasts. I love the weekends. And Mondays suck because I know I've got five more days of being in the house by myself, just trying to fill up the time. I make schedules for myself during the day to keep me busy so I don't go nuts just sitting on the couch. I know some of you reading this are thinking that I'm crazy and you'd kill for a chance to laze around, but I've been unemployed for a long time. Far, far too long, and trust me, the "staycation" gets old really quick.
Normally I wake up and I'm looking forward to doing yoga and making breakfast and all the stuff I do in the morning but not today. It is grey outside and I am feeling listless. I barely made it through the yoga this morning, and I've got none of that lovely zen buzz I have afterwards. I just want to go back to bed.
I suppose days like this are normal, people have off days and days they don't want to work out and eat right and it's So. Much. Easier just to sit on the couch and nap. But I guess that's the hard part is not letting yourself do that. It's easy to be healthy and active when it feels awesome and you feel great and energized, the part that's really work are the days you don't want to get up and work, when you can barely drag yourself out of bed, let alone onto a treadmill or a yoga mat.
This is a work in progress, being fit and getting back into being a healthy person. For a long time I really was a couch potato with no energy, and it seems logical that sometimes I'll be tempted to slip back into that.
But I do feel a million times better, days like today excepted. I've read online that people do paleo and get these amazing results just from changing their diet. I haven't been that way. I'm more or less the same size, I don't own a scale so I don't know how much I weigh but it's probably about the same. So the weight loss isn't the reason I'm doing this, though the p90x should help with that. I just want to feel better about myself and about my body. Even if my actual body doesn't change, the way I feel about it is changing. That, for me, is the most important thing, changing the way I perceive my own body. Just the feeling that I'm treating it better and working it harder has done wonders for me.
But I still hate Mondays.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thanks everyone!

So, I've been keeping an eye on my Blogger stats and 2idiots1kitchen just passed 1500 pageviews!
Thanks so much everyone who's reading this now, thanks to everyone who's shared a link to this page, who's commented or who's tried out a recipe.
You are all awesome! Sending so much love <3

Breakfast is my favorite, happy Friday, and other stuff

Hello one and all.
First of all, a big shoutout to the lovely guys and gals over at /r/paleo for giving me the Reddit bump. Doubled my pageviews this week compared to last week. I hope you guys are loving the recipes and my ranting and all that fun stuff. Keep coming back, you're all wonderful <3
Now that the sucking up is out of the way, I've got big news. I finally convinced myself it was time to tackle the beast that is P90X yoga. I know a lot of other paleo bloggers are all "Crossfit, woo!" "I love working out, woo!" But I've got a bit of a ways to go before I'm back on my pre-squishy tummy game. So, we're starting at the beginning, which seems like the right place to start, right?
Anyway, I've been doing Erin Motz's GREAT 30 Days of Yoga Challenge over on YouTube and loving it. And her. Totally normal to have a girl-crush on your virtual yoga instructor, right? Well, anyway, if you're interested in getting back into yoga, or need something short in the morning to get you moving before work, PLEASE go check her out. She's adorable and her videos are great. So, ANYWAY, I had been doing that, and I'm halfway through and still doing it. But that was pretty much the only workout I was getting, so I started doing some primary ashtanga poses before I watched Erin's videos which was working for a while but last week I realized I just wasn't sore anymore after doing yoga. And I loooove that yoga burn. I live for that yoga burn. So...Tony Horton came to town and I decided to try my hand at the sweatiest yoga video ever. I swear to god. I've been to hot yoga classes that are less sweaty than I was this morning after just 45 minutes of that crazy guy's yoga video. LOVED it. The video is actually an hour and a half, and I only made it halfway through, it's tough. But I'll be back again tomorrow, and again and again until I finish it and then it's on to the next workout milestone.
I can't believe how great I feel. I can't believe I let myself sit around the house all stagnant and unenergetic for so long when I could have been feeling like this. If you're reading this and you don't know if you want to start getting healthy, or maybe you're like me and you used to be a fairly fit (and maybe yoga addicted) person and you let yourself go, don't wait another day. Get back on the wagon. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome I feel.

Okay, so that was a lot longer than I anticipated, but anyway. Breakfast. I love breakfast. I'm always starving after I do yoga in the morning, so I always need something quick.Mr. Idiot and I are trying to reduce our bacon consumption (I KNOW, blasphemy) because we're going through like three packages a week. Which is 12 things of bacon a month guys. So. Much. Bacon. Luckily, I found a really great substitute. Sausage.
Neese's is the brand I'm using, partly because it's just a big rectangle of ground pork that I can have my cooking way with, and also because there is a grand total of four ingredients in it. Pork, salt, spices and sugar. Big plus. There is added sugar in it, which I know, cardinal paleo sin, but Neese's is the best option I can find for less than four bucks a pack.

There's lots of options with sausage. I normally mush some into a scramble with whatever is about to go bad in the fridge, and presto, breakfast! But I wasn't really feeling ANOTHER random scramble this morning, so I fried up some slices of sausage instead.
This was leftover from breakfast a few days ago, and there wasn't enough to make a whole scramble with so I fried it up instead. Good decision.
I also threw some mushrooms into the pork fat once the sausages had cooked and scrambled some eggs. YES guys, that is cheese, but it's parmesan which I have on good authority (intense Googling) is the least bad for you of all the cheeses, so nyah.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken and squash coconut curry

So, I haven't made anything that I can keep in bulk, and after last weeks "what the hell are we going to eat" problems, I figured making some big quantities wouldn't be a bad idea.
It's not that we're not buying enough food, I buy enough vegetables to feed a small country, but by the time the last few days before payday rolls around we've eaten all the fresh stuff, and I never know what to do with just frozen veggies.
So I'm looking out for recipes that I can cook and freeze.
Curry ticks all of those boxes. Freezes well, can easily be made in bulk and super easy to stretch out.
This particular curry is It's got carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes in it, so there's lots of filling veggies in here.
This is the one time I listened to Mr. (baby) Idiot and didn't  make something stupid spicy, and then he had the gall to complain! So, the frozen half of this will be getting a heavy scooping of curry paste next time.

Anyway, here's what you'll need

4 carrots, chopped
1 butternut squash, chopped
1 sweet potato chopped
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp curry paste
3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp cumin
3 tsp paprika

The lovely thing about this is that you kind of just...throw everything into the pot and let it simmer for a while. Super easy, and you can ignore it and go watch 30 Rock on Netflix. That's what you guys do right? Right??

Anyway, even if that's not what you do with your 25 minutes of free time, but chop all your veggies up and throw everything in the pot.

Side note. I have never peeled a squash before. Know what you're getting into before you start peeling, because your veggie peeler will not work here. The skin is like an inch thick. I just sliced the skin off and called it a day. I'm sure there are other ways to do it, but..I got frustrated so it happened.

Add in the chicken stock and bring it up to a low boil.

Add in the coconut milk, as well as all the spices and let it simmer for a while.

After about 15 minutes, check on everything and keep letting everything cook until the chicken is cooked through. Plate, and serve. Hey presto. I had TONS of this left after I'd made two servings, so this is going in the freezer for next weeks dinner.
I made cauliflower rice to serve this on, which is basically ground up cauliflower. I used my (amazing and wonderful) food processor to get this to the right consistency, but if you have a grater (and the patience of a saint) you can grate it down to rice-size. I also ground up some coconut flakes in with the cauliflower and heated it up in a pan with some coconut oil.