The Strip District, Pittsburgh PA

Before I get too deep into this post, I’d just like to point out this has nothing to do with strippers. ‘The Strip District‘ in Pittsburgh is merely a strip of road, (hence, ‘strip’) with a bunch of cute little food shops and stores.

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, I suggest you go take a look.

Also, some of these are definitely not real food, just interesting things I came across. Some I plan to cook with and some are just funky so I bought them… Cuz I’m an impulse shopper and I love strange things.

First up is the dragon fruit. Super beautiful, interesting little fruit from Thailand. They have the texture of a kiwi and taste very sweet. It was actually quite good. They are really hard to find over here in the US, but we went in an Asian grocery and found the little bugger hiding in there.

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Next we have some squid ink pasta. Just three ingredients- Flour, eggs and squid ink. It gets its dark color from the ink. Yum!

As well as some Chinese hot peppers and Pakistani hot peppers. I love hot peppers.

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Then some yummy tea balls. These little sucker are awesome. Put em in hot water and they open up into a flower of tea and flavor. They look as beautiful as they taste. I got a few mint ones and a few butterfly flower ones. Can’t wait to enjoy some!!

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Brown rice noodles, sesame oil, a package of seaweed, the dragon fruit, a cassava, instant jellyfish and the peppers.

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The cassava. A root vegetable from South America and Africa packed with vitamin C. I won’t delve into it too much, since you’ll be seeing a post on what I make from it and I’ll tell ya more then! =)

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Jackfruit! Super huge, super cool (super expensive!) fruit from many Asian countries. I found him in the same Asian grocery we got the dragon fruit. I can’t wait to chop this (18 lb!) baby up and make things from him. Yet another blog post I will be writing…. However I will tell you that the jackfruit’s flesh is used as a vegan meat substitute. The texture is supposed to be just like chicken.

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Crappy picture, but apple juice from just one kind of apple. They had all different flavors. However, you would have had no idea of different flavors if you didn’t have a few to taste test at the same time. In that case they were noticeably different!

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Totally not healthy or real food, but a Kinder bueno, basically a Nutella kit-kat. I honestly have no idea what was in it because the whole wrapper was written in Italian! But it was nifty and yummy!

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Lastly alligator, wild boar and pheasant jerky and sticks. They were all ‘pheasantly’ delicious. (Hehe, see what I did there….)

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I love interesting food!!

I can’t wait to cook up my jackfruit and cassava and share with you!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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Epic Healing Salve

Hey guys! Don’t forget to ‘like’ me on Facebook!! I only need 100 total likes by August 11th likes to do a giveaway of 6 half gallon mason jars!!

I’ve been debating weather or not I should share this recipe. I adjusted another bloggers recipe to make mine, so its kind of from another blogger (which you should go read so you can decide which way works best for you!). But in the end, its just the most amazing salve ever so I decided you all needed to see how to make some!!

Epic Healing Salve

(Salve is pronounced sav, in case you didn’t know ….)

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This particular salve is made from the leaves of the plantain leaf. (Not the starchy banana looking fruit plant). Plantain (broad leaf or narrow leaf) can almost certainly be found in your yard or a nearby field. I used broad leaf plantain for my recipe but you could use narrow leaf plantain if that’s what you find.

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This is what the leaves look like. They are easy to identify by the thick veins that run through them in one direction and the flower stems are thick, green spikes out of the middle.

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The plant in its natural environment

This plant is really an amazing plant. You may think its a weed but its pretty awesome. Its edible (just like salad greens or cooked in a recipe in place of any greens) and medicinal. If you get stung by a bee just pick a leaf of this, chew it up and rub the poultice on the sting. It removes the stinger, stops the swelling, eases the pain and eases the itchiness.

How to make the salve-

You will need:

A mason jar loosely pack with plantain leaves* Organic Olive Oil Beeswax (Buy here) Coconut Oil (Buy here)

(*I didn’t put amounts because its how much you want to make. I used a quart jar 3/4 full of leaves and got a pint and a half of salve and half a pint of leftover infused oil. As far as beeswax and coconut oil go, use 2 tablespoons of each per 1/2 cup of oil.)

Process:

The leaves in the oil

The leaves in the oil

Add enough olive oil to your mason jar to cover your leaves (I used about 2 cups for my quart jar). Here’s where I do my own thing. Put the jar of oil in a cool, dark place. Take it out and shake it twice a day (or more) for 2 weeks. At the end of the two weeks strain the leaves out. Squeeze them in your fingers to get all of the oil out. You don’t want to waste any. Get rid of the leaves however you see fit (or save them and use them as a poultice). Put the oil in a sauce pan and melt the coconut oil ad beeswax into it over as low of heat as you can. You heat it on low heat so you don’t disrupt the nature of the beeswax.

Pour it into sterilized mason jars and let it cool. Its ready to use immediately. It lasts for a year stored in a cool, dark place.

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So what do you use it on??

Everything!!

Ok, not quite, but almost!

It stops bug bites from itching along with making them go away quicker, it helps stings, scratches, small cuts, bruises and poison ivy. It also really helps new tattoos and piercings. I recently got a new tattoo and its healing up very nicely. It was one of the most painful tattoos I’ve gotten and the salve really helps when it starts burning and itching.

Just because I mentioned it, this is the tattoo I got. It was a horrible, crappy, scratcher tattoo (just thick, black letters) that my favorite artist over at Inner Vision Body Art fixed for me =)

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Anyways, back to the salve, I’ve been rubbing it on everything. Its fantastic!!

So go make some!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Wildcrafting Wednesday Featured Blogger Award

This post was shared on Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Natural Living Monday, Party Wave Wednesday, The Blog Strut and Wildcrafting Wednesday!

The Final Real Food Challenge Days

Well, its been fun! I enjoyed reading all the others’ blog posts and seeing how they did! I enjoyed all the real foodie goodness!

Thanks for hosting Mary!!

So for the final days I did cheat a bit. I was traveling to Pittsburgh to visit my grandma for my bridal shower and they made cookies at the shower. They were homemade but used refined white sugar…. And I ate waaaaaaaay to many =)

But we did have grass fed, free range beef tacos with tons of greens on top for lunch as well as homemade organic, heirloom tomato salsa. (Delish!!!)

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I also had some super delicious green salsa made from heirloom tomatoes (BEST salsa EVER!! Thanks mom!) on some oven roasted organic nachos with some freshly shredded cheese. Yummmmyyy!

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Honestly, that’s the highlights of the last days. Nothing else was exciting (or it was just the same as other days).

Check out how the other bloggers did on their challenge!

Lydia over @ Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen (She’s also joining me for the Couch to 5K challenge!!)
Joyce over @ It’s Your Life
Maureen over @ It’s All Connected
Melinda over @ Auntie Em’s Guide to Life
Kristina over @ Mother’s NicheTaylor over @ Mama Has PINK Hair

And of course the host of it all, Mary from Mary’s Kitchen!

I loved it!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delilnquent

Couch to 5K Challenge!

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The 7 day real food challenge got me stuck on challenges so now I want to do my own!!

You may have heard of the Couch to 5K before, you may have even done it or tried to do it!

I have been wanting to do it for ages but never did. As soon as I decided I wanted too I found out I was pregnant. And your not supposed to start new stuff when your pregnant, just continue what you were doing. So I never did. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a jogging stroller since she was born so I could start and am finally gonna have a little extra money next week to get one.

My fiancé also wants to get back into running. He had to run and get Delilah her binky and was out of breath and decided its time to get back in shape, haha!

So I’ve come up with a master plan!!

Here’s the deal-

I have trouble sticking with exercise routines and I generally have very little interest or motivation to continue them. This time I feel very motivated to actually go through with it, so that’s a good start. However, if other people join me (or at the very least I’m accountable to someone i.e. you followers!) I won’t be able to quit.

Beginning August 1st, ending October 3rd, 3 days a week, half an hour a day I will be doing the Couch to 5k! At the end of which I will run a 5K 3 times a weeks to stay in shape.

What on earth is the couch to 5k?

Well its an exercise program (and there’s an app for your smart phone!) that can take any beginner runner and in 9 weeks you’ll be able to run a 5k! (5K is equal to a tad over 3 miles). The work outs are 3 days a week, half an hour each. The first week you start with a 5 minute warm up walk, then you alternate running 60 seconds with walking 90 seconds for 8 repetitions followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. The next week the running time increases and so on. It trains you slow enough to get your body used to it. Instead of going out, trying to run, then giving up because you did too much too fast and it hurt too bad.

So, why are you posting about it?

As I said earlier, I’d love to be accountable to you guys. Every week I will share a post on what this weeks work out is, how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, if I’ve lost weight, if it hurts, if I feel better about myself etc. Anyone who wants to join me can comment and let me know how you feel! Any bloggers who want to join will be linked back to this post and can share their own posts on it! It’ll be a fun way to get active and do the same routine as others and see all the results. I will share more often on my Facebook about it, but I hate having tons of repetitive blogs posts all the time, so it’ll just be one per week on the blog.

Is anyone with me?

 I’d love it someone, (or a few someones) joined me!

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I seriously can’t wait!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Real Food Challenge Days 3 and 4

I’m combing days 3 and 4 because I had a slight problem with my auto-post so nothing got posted when it was supposed too (operator error….). This is also the reason its been 3 whole days since I posted. So your getting 2 posts today instead of 1!

Don’t forget to check out how the other bloggers are doing as well!!

The real food challenge is going really well!! Enjoying lots of delicious food and getting some wonderful recipes from the other bloggers!

Here’s some of the more exciting things I’ve eaten the past few days (I won’t bore you with pictures of glasses of water or pictures of apples…)

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Purple potatoes and onions cooked in coconut oil (my favorite!). Purple potatoes having a lower starch content then other potatoes which gives them a better taste and they are also high in antioxidants!

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Fried queen Anne’s lace flowers and roasted Portobello mushroom tops with mozzarella cheese.

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BEAUTIFUL organic heirloom tomatoes =)

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Pre-cooked purple potatoes (since they’re so beautiful!)

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Homemade organic real food chocolate oatmeal cookies.

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Even Delilah is getting in on the action!! Munching on a frozen organic heirloom carrot to help her poor teething gums!

So far its a delicious week!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Real Food Challenge Day 2

The 7 day Real Food Challenge kicked off yesterday!

So I’m gonna share a bit of whats going on over here!

Today we enjoyed some homemade pasta carbonara, real food cinnamon and chocolate chip muffins, watermelon and lacto-fermented ginger mint lime soda, among other things. These were just the most delicious =)

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Tomorrow we’re off to the farmer’s market to stock up on some fresh, local organic veggies and things!

I’ll definitely be sharing recipes from what I get tomorrow!!

Today was pretty delicious and successful. enjoying the challenge!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

P.S. Don’t forget to go check out how the other bloggers are doing in the challenge!!

Easy hot food? Or cancer-in-a-box?

That is the question.

As far as warming our food goes, we just have a stove/oven combo. And a plain ole toaster.

No microwave.

If you’ve ever eating anything cooked in a microwave you know that it tastes rubbery, soggy, mushy and just generally bad 99% of the time. So why on earth do 90% of American’s have one in their homes?? Because it seems easier (‘seems’ being the key word here). There’s no pre-heating, it take a minute to warm up just about anything and you just pop it in and press a button.

Living in our modern day and age where everything has to be done the easy, fast way, microwaves seem to make sense.

But, (there’s always a but!) do you know anything about your microwave?? I’m sure you know its a box that makes things warm and you can’t put your fork in it. Other then that, what else do you know?

Hold on to your butts cuz I’m gonna tell you all about it.

In order to explain to you how it works, I’m going to copy a section from University Today’s website, since I’m not a scientist and couldn’t word it better or differently-

“Microwaves used for cooking… are electromagnetic waves possessing frequencies around the 2.45 GHz range. Now, electromagnetic waves are waves made up of alternating electric and magnetic fields. For this discussion, we’re more concerned with the alternating electric fields because charged particles readily react when exposed to them. That is, when a positively charged particle is exposed to an electric field, it experiences a force (due to the field) pointing in the direction of the field. By contrast, when a negatively charged particle is exposed to the same field, it experiences a force in the direction opposite to the field. Now, since an electromagnetic wave (like the microwave) is made up of alternating electric fields, a charge exposed to it will experience forces regularly changing in direction. For water molecules, which are dipoles, the net effect would force the molecules into rotation. Again, since the fields are alternating, the rotation will change from clockwise to counterclockwise at regular time intervals. The agitated water molecules would then possess heat energy that can rub off (much like friction) to nearby molecules. If the water molecules are well distributed in the body subjected to the microwave (like food, for example), then the entire body can heat up quickly – not to mention, uniformly. Electromagnetic waves in the microwave range are most suitable for this purpose because the water molecules readily rotate when exposed to such frequencies. Avoid putting in metal into the microwave oven while heating. The reason is because pointed portions of the metal can accumulate high voltages which can cause dielectric breakdown of the air inside the oven. Once this happens, some harmful gases can be produced.”

Hopefully that didn’t thoroughly confuse you, I know it took me a while to fully figure it out. Basically, electro-magnetic waves move really fast and create something similar to friction, which in turn, makes heat, thus heating your food.

You know what else is electro-magnetic waves? Yup, radiation!

Radiation that causes burns, poisoning, death, mutations, debilitating disease and pain. 

(Radiation is spreading energy using electro-magnetic waves.)

Mmmmm, yummy! Radiation in your kitchen pummeling your food. Of course, like many statement the FDA makes, they say, ‘Its OK in small doses.’ Just think about that for a minute. You use your microwave twice a day, everyday for your whole life. Say you live to be 85. 85 years, 365 days a year, twice a day heating for a minute. You’ve microwaved 62,050 minutes in your life. Or 43.09 days worth of microwaving. And that’s only if your using it twice a day for a minute at a time. Most people are using theirs much more then that.

43 days worth of radiation can’t possibly be good for you.

Many studies show how the microwaves used in a microwave can change healthy foods into cancerous foods. For instance, extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens. (source)

Who created microwaves? The Nazis. So they could heat food for lots of people all at once. Some folks over in the Soviet Union got a hold of some microwaves and soon after banned the use of them because they realized they were dangerous. Yet they are still a staple of every American household.

In a report by Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell they sum up the research done by Russians on the effects of microwave ovens. A few little tidbits from the report include-

-Ingestion of microwaved foods caused a higher percentage of cancerous cells within the blood serum [cytomas — cell tumors such as sarcoma]

-Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables.

-A breakdown of the human “life-energy field” in those who were exposed to microwave ovens while in operation, with side-effects to the human energy field of increasingly longer duration

 

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So now you know a little something about your microwave.

Now, if you do want to rid yourself of your microwave, you may be wondering how on earth you’ll be able to eat anything!

It’s not as hard as you think!! People heated food for thousands of years with just fire. Not even an oven.

So for soups, just put em in a pot and heat them on the stove. Most things can be popped in the stove. Moist things that aren’t quite soupy but will dry out in the oven you can put in a glass or stainless steel bowl inside of a pot of boiling water and stirred until they’re warm (shout out to my mom for figuring that one out!). You can grill, put things in toasters (its surprising how much you can do with an average toaster!), or you can go way back and just use a fire! Things cooked over a fire are quite delicious! (I do realize fire is impractical a lot of the time, but its still fun!)

I don’t miss our microwave one bit!!

Until next time!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

 

7-Day Real Food Challenge!

Mary's Kitchen

So I’m joining up with some other bloggers for a real food challenge!

Its quite simple really, for 7 days, starting July 21st, absolutely only real food. No refined sugars, no store bought, pre-made, processed crap, homemade everything, basically, the lifestyle I’m working towards and that I endorse on this blog.

Super exciting!!

Mary, over at Mary’s Kitchen is hosting and there are currently 7 bloggers in on it, not including me.

(Found out about it through Lydia, over at Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen!! Thanks Lydia!)

I hope to update at least twice during the week about how its going. Mary plans to update everyday and let you know how she’s doing! It’ll be like a week long detox from processed crap!!

Are you looking to try out real food and see if its up your alley?? Or test your stamina before heading in full force??

Go ahead and join!!

You don’t have to be a blogger to join!

Click hereor here to be referred to some awesome real food recipes and info on the challenge over at Mary’s blog.

I’m pretty confident in our ability to eat real food for a full week as we already have the very bare minimum of processed, pre-made, un-healthy  anything at our house, and we eat real food *almost* all the time anyways.

Super stoked!!

Here’s a few real food recipes I’ve made to help you out!

Real Food Teriyaki Chicken

Garlic Lemon roasted Asparagus

Garlic, Greens and Sprout Pizza with Rosemary Crust

Super Easy Homemade Salsa!

I’ll be sure to let you know how its going =)

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent