Would you want to have the largest family in the world?
Well, this woman from Russia, who has 21 babies and wants to have up to 105 children, it is a dream come true!
Meet Kristina Ozturk: The Woman With 21 Babies Who Wants Up To 105
Kristina is 23 years old, and has taken to social media stating that she wants to have over 100 kids. At her young age, she already has 21 babies but looks forward to having many more with her wealthy husband Galip Ozturk, who is a hotel owner.
Where this story started
We should mention that the two of them are living in Batumi, Georgia, a coastal town where it is legal to have children through surrogate mothers. They also met there. Kristina was a single mom then, who desperately needed a break to reset. She went to Batumi and met her now-husband Galip.
“She is so easy to be with… always has a smile on her lips and yet at the same time is shy and mysterious.
She was the kind of wife I always wanted for myself, an uncut diamond where I saw what a pure and kind heart she had,” Galip says about Kristina.
Fast forward, they now have 21 babies, mostly through surrogate mothers.
Why do you need surrogacy for the World’s largest family?
She wanted a big family early on, and after talking about this with her husband, he also became fond of the idea. After Kristina and Galip decided to have as many children as possible, they decided that the best solution might be to hire surrogate mothers who can take some strain off her body.
“The clinic in Batumi chooses surrogate mothers for us and takes full responsibility for the process,” Ozturk explained. “We are not personally acquainted with surrogate mothers and do not have direct contacts with them in order to avoid problems after pregnancy.”
What does it take to have the world’s largest family?
Kristina had taken to her social media accounts, stating that she’s intended to have 105 kids with Galip. Anyway, she has now defined that she wants to have a great number of children, but 105 was just a random number that she has stated.
Certainly, money isn’t an issue for this pair, so the only thing that gets in their way is time.
If they truly want to have around 100 children, it will probably take them around 20 more years to make this happen.
Okay, so you don’t need to have as many kids as this couple, but big families are a true blessing, as there are some pretty amazing benefits to having a big family.
Reasons to have a large family
There’s someone to have fun with, always
Firstly, I can’t even describe to you how many laughing moments I had with my siblings every day when I grew up. I can just imagine how it would be having nine or more! But one thing is for sure, it would be hysterical!
Having the world’s largest family means you’re never lonely
We all need some time for ourselves, but it’s also comforting when someone close to you is always near. If there is a bunch of children at your house, there’s someone to do something or relax with at all times.
More kids mean less worry for the parents
Unless you have all 10 kids simultaneously, they will vary in age. They’ll always take care of each other, especially as some of the children get older and become more responsible and capable for themselves.
However, when the journey of conceiving and giving birth to a little miracle becomes complex and tough, people are more than grateful when they finally succeed to enlarge their family.
This was the story of one older woman, who after unsuccessfully trying to conceive for a decade, finally welcomed a baby to the world at the age of 50.
A “geriatric pregnancy” comes with numerous challenges, but this couple overcame them all.
Tom and Susie Troxler met later in life, and got married. Both of them dreamt of having their successor, but the process of getting one proved to be much more difficult than they imagined.
When they started, Susie was 40, and her husband 51. Yet, they never hoped it would take them 10 years to actually have a baby.
“We didn’t even realize there was a fertility issue when we got married, because we were just doing the couple thing. I was working, he was working, and we were just busy.”
When the couple was trying to achieve “geriatric pregnancy”, due to her age.
This classifies anyone having or trying to have a baby over the age of 35.
Yet, the term shouldn’t scare anyone, as it was created a long time ago, when having children later in life was a lot more challenging and involved a lot more risk.
Nowadays, more women in this age group than ever before have babies without issue.
It is a fact that the risk for infertility increases over time. According to The United States Department of Health and Humans, 9% of men and 11% of women will experience fertility issues.
However, Susie claims their doctors were always direct to inform them about the realities of conceiving at their ages, but they were very kind and caring at the same time.
After eight years of trying, the couple went to their OB-GYN to discover the issue that caused the failure to do so.
Their OB-GYN referred them to the Carolinas Fertility Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and their doctor figured out that Susie had something called fibroids. She was also diagnosed with endometriosis, and Tom, too, had a medical issue that contributed to the problem.
This was the reason why, despite IVF treatments, the embryos weren’t taking.
Susie removed the fibroids in surgery back in 2019, and after the needed time to recover, they started the procedure again.
“I had fibroid surgery January of 2019, went through the healing process, and then they collected egg after egg. I went through several rounds of egg retrieval and the insemination of eggs and none of it took. Nothing, nothing, nothing.”
At this point, she and her husband turned to egg donation. Two viable embryos were their last two chances.
Although the first one didn’t take, the second miraculously did.
“We weren’t waiting for our joy to happen once we had kids, We were in a place where if it turned out we never had children of our own, it would have been ok. We would not have liked it, but we would have been in a place of peace about it.”
When they eventually conceived a child, they were ecstatic!
On September 29, 2021, Susie and Tom became parents to a lovely baby girl, Lily, at the ages of 50 and 61, respectively.
“I don’t even have the words, it’s surreal. I still can’t believe it. I spent so much time being me, first, and then being a wife. So now, this idea of being a mom is… it’s still a ‘wow’ for me.”
It IS a “wow” indeed!
The Risks of Geriatric Pregnancy
From their own birth, women gave the same eggs. Therefore, every year after their puberty, the eggs get older as well.
Modern medicine allows people to give birth safely later in life, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without its risks, such as:
· premature birth
· low birth weight baby
· chromosomal defects
· high blood pressure in the mother, which can lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia, and early birth for the baby
· labor complications
· cesarean section
· gestational diabetes, which raises the risk of diabetes later in life
On the other hand, there are benefits as well, such as stability, better access to healthcare, healthier food, etc. Older women are more established and therefore have more resources available to them, like more education and higher incomes.
Therefore, don’t stress over this if you are older than 35. You still have lots of time to have a baby and have a healthy pregnancy, as age does not determine the health of the pregnancy.
When trying to conceive, talk to your doctor.
A healthy pregnancy can be supported by many steps, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, prenatal consumption of vitamins with folic acid, maintaining an appropriate weight, and avoidance of any substances like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
Your doctor can explain to you all your options when trying to conceive. You and your partner might need to be examined for other conditions, and you might be a candidate for certain types of fertility treatments.
If pregnancy seems not to be an option for you, you still have many options to welcome children into your family.
Beauty standards have often been unrealistic throughout history.
Unfortunately, things have become even worse nowadays, with social media making people feel even more insecure and dissatisfied with their physique.
What’s even worse, it seems that this trend isn’t stopping anytime soon, as more and more people feel uncomfortable with the way they look and regularly feel the need to filter the photos they post and enhance the way they appear.
Most celebrities and influencers use such applications as well, making people, especially women, feel even more insecure with their bodies.
TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are making women feel severely self-conscious about themselves, and multiple studies have confirmed this negative impact of social media on their self-esteem.
As a result, many brave women have decided to become the change they want to see in this strange world!
These women decide to speak out, stand up for us all, and challenge modern beauty standards.
Numerous women decide to stand up and combat this issue
Namely, intending to show that it is absolutely okay to look the way you do, these women go completely natural.
One of these powerful voices is Joanna Kenny, a 31-year-old, who shares close-up photos of her upper lip hair on Instagram, alongside inspiring captions.
She also shares videos that promote the debunking of the filter society.
Joanna Kenny reminds her followers that facial hair is NORMAL.
The British esthetician is the creator of the movement #poresnotflaws, and she is very much keen on being her natural self.
“What’s becoming more frequent is people’s desire to achieve the same poreless skin as their social media filter. This warped perspective of what skin should look like creates unobtainable skincare goals, and any real progress is overlooked.”
Joanna claims that society’s policing of female body hair has to stop.
In one of her Instagram posts, she stresses out that every woman goes through different things and shouldn’t judge others because they don’t like their looks.
“There are people who have a hormonal imbalance or have to take medication that makes their hair grow excessively. And right now, they can’t keep up with the societal pressure to remove or bleach every single to fit in.”
“Choosing not to remove my facial hair doesn’t make me or any other woman ugly.” Joanna insisted.
Yet, things often become tricky due to his youthful looks. Edson claims that he gets constantly confused for his step-daughter’s boyfriend, and adds that when he is out with his family at parties, the situation often becomes embarrassing for everyone.
“I am the eldest of my brothers, with the others aged 52, 28, and 27. At family reunions, people ask my father whether I am the youngest son. Once when traveling, I was flagged by the order police in Switzerland as they didn’t believe that I was forty at that moment.”
“They took my passport and checked it; they were surprised the passport belonged to me and wasn’t a forgery. The police asked me what I did to look so young.”
Edson does not smoke or consume drugs and has no secrets for his age-defying looks.
His ‘magical’ formula is a combination of regular exercise, good nutrition, and proper skincare.
Edson clarifies his appearance is due to trying to lead a healthy, cigarette and drug-free, lifestyle
Edson prefers healthy foods but consumes everything moderately. His daily diet involves 2,000 to 2,500 calories, and is high in veggies and fruits, fish, whole grains, cereals, and all kinds of vegetable protein, if organic, even better.
Plus, he does a 40-minute aerobic exercise and 60-minute of exercise with weights.
He consumes 2,000 to 2,500 calories daily, mainly vegetables, fruits, and cereals.
Asoniya glasses size 4.7 x 9.8 in (12 x 25 cm), have a comfortable wide elastic band. Asonia glasses filled with microspheres and silver-based nanocomposite can help relieve tension from the eyes, that accumulated during the day (working at the computer, reading), warming up the frontal sinuses, maximum comfort when falling asleep.
These glasses are very comfortable for long trips and flights, for a comfortable stay.
Glasses are very convenient in the summer when the bright sun shines in the eyes early in the morning, and the alarm has not yet rung, as well as when falling asleep in the daytime. For long trips and flights, glasses will help you to relax comfortably and escape from the environment.
The products are made of high-quality fabric with water-repellent impregnation. The product filler is chemically neutral, hydrophobized, does not retain odor, has a high mobility coefficient, and evenly distributes the load on the entire surface of the product. Due to the accumulation and distribution of heat creates a feeling of comfort. It creates pseudo-fluid and pseudo-zero gravity effects.
When using the product, there is slight warming up at the point of contact with the skin due to the return of natural infrared waves to the body. It helps to relax muscles, relieve tension, as well as better blood and lymph circulation, due to which the immune functions of cells are strengthened. In addition, biologically active points are naturally stimulated at the point of contact with the skin, which is similar in effect to products with the acupressure procedure.
Try to dry Asoniya glasses more often in the sun. Glasses can be washed in warm water up to 40 degrees.
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4.7 x 9.8 in (12X25 cm)
40 gr / (0.09 pounds)
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The products are made of high quality fabric with water-repellent impregnation. The product filler is chemically neutral, hydrophobized, does not retain odor, has a high mobility coefficient, and evenly distributes the load on the entire surface of the product. Due to the accumulation and distribution of heat creates a feeling of comfort. It creates pseudo-fluid and pseudo-zero gravity effects.
When using the product, there is slight warming up at the point of contact with the skin due to the return of natural infrared waves to the body. It helps to relax muscles, relieve tension, as well as better blood and lymph circulation, thereby strengthening the immune functions of cells.
To Use For:
On throat, neck, forehead, underarms, eyes, nose, ears etc.
strengthening the nervous system;
relaxing and calming effect;
assistance in the development of creative and logical thinking (using special techniques);
stress relief of various muscle groups of the limbs and trunk.
Shake before use, evenly smooth the product.
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For more details please email email@example.com
When we committed to going to the ocean, I immediately felt the thrilling sensation that washes over me when I stand at the intersection of land meeting water. I smelled brine and dampness. I saw certain patterns and colours; light sand against dark water, wet stones, seaweed, driftwood, and feathers.
This was the second recipe I created for the dreamy on-location photoshoot with Christiann Koepke back in October (you can see the first one here). The inspiration for this dish came first in fact, fast and furiously. Just thinking about the seaside brought this recipe to me in a wave of total inspiration. I wanted the ingredients to reflect the elements in this environment, and for the final result to be a visual meeting of land and sea.
Now I’m not super into “fake meat”, but there is something undeniably satisfying about tricking someone into thinking a vegetable is flesh. Tee hee. Plus, Rene Redzepi does it all the time, so maybe it puts me in the cool cooking club too? Yes? Anyway, I knew something on the plate had to look like seafood, and I had my sights set on scallops. In my first cookbook, I made “scallops” out of leeks, and wanted to try something different, so going through the rolodex of tube-shaped white veggies in my mind, I fell upon king oyster mushroom stems. Naturally. Browned in ghee and well-seasoned, I knew that these morsels would look exactly like mollusks, and taste deceptively meaty.
A pool of herbaceous, vibrant green pesto, would be the land, and the perfect resting place for my mushroom medallions. I combined flat-leaf parsley and spinach to create a bright yet balanced sauce that complimented – rather than overwhelmed – the rest of the dish. But with all this creaminess, I knew that I also needed to include something for textural contrast, so toasted hazelnuts became the beach stones, along with fried capers, which added a bite of seaside brine.
This dish is surprisingly easy to make, and it is the prefect main to serve for family and friends that you want to spoil a little. It looks impressive, but it’s a cinch to get on the table without gluing you to the stove. The pesto can be made a week in advance (although the fresher, the better), so that the only thing you need to do before serving is cook the mushroom and capers, and warm the pesto a little. I love cooking the capers and mushrooms in ghee (recipe here) because it’s just so darn delicious, but the pesto is vegan and if you want the entire meal to be so, simply swap out the ghee for expeller-pressed coconut oil, which is refined for high heat cooking and has no tropical aroma.
Edible mushrooms are both medical and nutritional dynamos. Collectively, they not only provide us with plant-based protein, vitamin D, and a whole host of minerals, but most excitingly a group of polysaccharides called beta-glucans. These complex, hemicellulose sugar molecules enhance the functioning of the immune system by activating immune cell response and stimulating the production of white blood cells. These compounds also effectively mobilize immune stem cells in your bone marrow, and exhibit anti-tumor properties, so they’re often used supplementally in cancer treatment protocols.
Beta-glucans help to lower cholesterol, as this type of fiber forms a viscous gel during digestion, which grabs a hold of excess dietary cholesterol, prevents absorption by moving it through your digestive tract, and eliminates it. Through your poop! This same gel also slows down your digestion, which in turn stabilizes blood sugar, and minimizes the release of insulin.
King oyster mushrooms are of course a good source of beta-glucans, but you can get them in other places too: barley, oats, sorghum, mushrooms like shiitake, reishi and maitake, as well as seaweed, algae, and dates.
I wouldn’t put king oyster mushrooms in the “specialty” category of fungi, but I also know that they’re not available at every grocery store, so if you can’t find them, substitute with any other kind of mushroom you like and forgo the whole “scallop” charade. The dish will still turn out delicious, I promise.
If you want to change up the herb in the pesto, try basil instead of flat-leaf parsley. Cilantro could also be delicious, but potentially overwhelming, so use more spinach in that case. And instead of hazelnuts in the pesto and garnish, try almonds, pecans or walnuts. Yummm.
I like to serve this with a big hunk of crusty bread on the side to mop up any leftover pesto in the bowl. It also helps to have some good olive oil and flaky salt around for this situation, just sayin’. If you’d prefer the grain route, steamed brown rice, quinoa, or millet could be a decent accompaniment too. And if you want to go completely grain-free, roasted sweet potato, winter squash, or pumpkin would be totally lovely.
King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops” in a Warm Pesto Pool Serves 4
1 lb. / 500g king oyster mushrooms (choose ones with fat stems)
a generous amount of ghee (or expeller-pressed coconut oil)
fine + flaky salt
1 jar brined capers (about 1/3 cup / 55g)
a handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped, for garnish
1 batch Parsley-Spinach Pesto (recipe follows)
cold-pressed olive oil, for garnish
a few leaves of parsley, for garnish
1. Remove any dirt or debris from the mushrooms with your hands, or small soft brush. (do not use water!). Slice the stems into enough rounds so that each person has 5 or 6. Keep the caps for another dish.
2. Drain the capers and pat them dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Heat about a tablespoon of ghee (or coconut oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and fry until split and crisp – about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add more ghee (or coconut oil) to the same skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sliced mushroom stems, a sprinkle of flaky salt, and cook on one side until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Then flip and cook on the other side until golden. Work in batches or use separate skillets – if you crowd the mushrooms they will steam each other and get soggy. That is not what we’re after!
4. While you’re cooking the mushrooms, place the pesto in a small saucepan, add a touch of water to thin, if desired, and warm over low-medium heat. Do not boil!
5. To serve, place about ¼ cup / 60ml of the warm pesto in the bottom of a dish, spreading it out to make an indent in the center. Place 5 or 6 mushroom stems in the pesto, then top with the fried capers and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Parsley-Spinach Pesto Makes about 2¼ cups
1 cup / 150g hazelnuts
1 fat clove garlic
2 cups / 35g flat-leaf parsley, lightly packed (tender stems only)
2 cups / 65g baby spinach, lightly packed
zest of 1 organic lemon
⅓ cup/ 80ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
¼ cup / 60ml cold-pressed olive oil
½ cup / 35g nutritional yeast
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ cup / 125ml water, more if needed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet. Toast in oven for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove and set aside. Once cool, remove skins by rubbing the hazelnuts together in your hands. Set aside.
2. Remove any tough stems from the parsley. Roughly chop the leaves and tender stems (this prevents the parsley from bruising in the food processor).
3. Place garlic in the food processor and pulse to mince. Add the hazelnuts, parsley, spinach, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds, then add the water and pulse again until it’s thick, but spreadable. Remove lid and scrape. Repeat until reaches desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky, but it’s up to you!). Store leftovers in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to one week.
We’re home from Bali now, settling back into life in the cold Canadian winter. It feels good to be here, especially after a satisfying few weeks in the sunshine, hosting two glorious retreats. Now it’s time to ground and focus on the year ahead. I’m very excited for 2019 – so many exciting things to share with you, just on the horizon.
I hope you’re all well out there, and enjoying a vibrant start to the new year. Sending love and gratitude out to you all, always.
miss Bali. Or maybe I just miss the warmth, the sun, the vibrancy, the life
bursting forth from every nook and cranny. I miss living outside, I miss my
eyes being assaulted by colours, and layers upon layers of wild sounds, but
hey, it’s March in Ontario and this is a familiar feeling. Are you feeling it
couple weeks ago when I was in the depths of yet another snowstorm, feeling
like spring may never come, I came up with this recipe to remedy my winter
woes. It’s called Bali Butter – and it’s the most delicious thing to cross my
lips since I could see grass outside my window. A rich combination of cashews, coconut,
and cacao, blended together with coconut sugar and salt, it’s like the nut
butter of DREAMS in all of its salty-sweet-crunchy-chocolatey glory. And I am
really excited to share this one with you, wherever you and no matter what
season you’re experiencing.
does one do with Bali Butter, you ask? Let me tell you, it goes on all. the. things.
Pancakes, waffles, smoothie bowls, toast, rice cakes, ice cream, fruit salad,
porridge, yogurt, and fingers! You can stuff dates with Bali Butter, stick them
in the fridge and have something delicious on hand to satisfy those salty-sweet-fat
cravings too. Slice a banana lengthwise, slather Bali Butter in the middle and
sandwich it together again. I even like it with carrot sticks. No joke.
chose to use coconut sugar in my Bali Butter because it’s one of the main sweeteners
used on the island and you can easily find it everywhere. Some of you may be
curious about using liquid sweetener as an alternative, but the problem with
using something like maple syrup or honey, is that it causes the nut butter to
seize up. Fat is hydrophobic (translation: it’s “afraid” of water) and will stiffen
when it comes into contact with anything that contains it. Using a solid sweetener,
like coconut sugar, avoids this problem and keeps the finished product relaxed and
runny. If you don’t want to use coconut sugar and you don’t mind a less-spreadable
version of Bali Butter, sweeten it with whatever you have on hand.
I think I’ve talked about all of these ingredients respectively, but for the heck of it, let’s recap why they’re awesome!
Coconut – I chose to use coconut flesh instead of just coconut oil in this recipe, and that is because there is a big difference between the nutrition in coconut oil and coconut flesh. Desiccated (dried) coconut is a whole food, so with it you’re getting the dietary fiber and protein that you won’t find in the oil alone. Although coconut products have risen in popularity, especially in the world of “health food”, it’s important to remember that coconut fat is mostly saturated, and should be consumed in moderation.
Cashews – Contrary to popular belief, cashews have a lower fat content than most nuts. And 66% of their fats are heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil. Cashews are an excellent source of copper, and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. They also contain good amounts of fiber, so that they keep you feeling full for longer.
Cacao – One of the best sources of magnesium found in nature, in addition to containing high amounts calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur, and potassium, cacao is a nutritional powerhouse. It also contains many chemical compounds that enhance physical and mental well-being, including alkaloids, proteins, magnesium, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic acid, lipase, lysine, and some neurotransmitters such as dopamine and anandamide – which explains why eating chocolate makes you feel so darn good!
Coconut sugar – Sometimes called coconut palm sugar, this incredibly delicious sweetener is high in minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. It is happily low glycemic, ranking 35 on the GI scale, compared to agave at 42, honey at 55, cane sugar at 68. This is due to coconut sugar’s composition of long-chain saccharides, which are absorbed by the body at a slower rate than something like refined white sugar. Coconut sugar also contains amino acids, which are thought to slow down the rate at which the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, acting as a “buffer” of sorts.
notes on the recipe. It’s very important that you make coconut butter to start,
as it creates the liquid base to help the get the cashews going in the food
processor. Once you’ve made the coconut-cashew butter, feel free to stop there
(it tastes incredible on its own), or go all the way as I have and add the
cacao, coconut sugar and salt.
like to leave my Bali Butter out of the fridge, since it remains liquid and
spreadable at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, Bali Butter with harden
completely. You can roll it into balls and make yourself some pretty delicious
little energy bites when it’s in this state, but it’s impossible to drizzle
If you’re into smooth nut butters, simply leave the cacao nibs out of the equation. They aren’t necessary for any other purpose than crunch, which I personally feel is essential, but I won’t judge anyone for skipping them. Even though you’re obviously crazy
Bali Butter Makes 3 cups / 750ml
Ingredients: 3 cups / 375g raw cashews 3 cups / 240g unsweetened desiccated coconut ¾ tsp. large flake sea salt (I used Maldon) ¼ cup / 23g raw cacao powder 3 Tbsp. coconut sugar 3 Tbsp. cacao nibs seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C. Spread cashews out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Toast for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so that they don’t burn! Remove from oven and let cool.
2. While the cashews are in the oven, toast the coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until slightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may want to work in batches.
3. Place the coconut in a food processor. Blend on high, scraping down the sides every so often, until the coconut is creamy and smooth (this make take up to 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor – be patient!).
4. Add the cashews to the food processor and blend on high until creamy and smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cacao nibs, and blend on high. Taste and adjust saltiness / sweetness / chocolate levels to suit your taste. Fold in the cacao nibs.
5. Store Bali Butter in an airtight glass container at room temperature (out of the fridge) for one month.
Dips are my favourite food group. Yes, food group. If I ever got a tattoo, it would probably say something like: “pass the hummus”.
I was recently hosting a party-for-no-reason, and like most of my get togethers they involve a lot of food. But I didn’t feel like making a fallback dip, like tzatziki, or baba ganoush. No. I felt like leveling up and creating something I hadn’t tried to before. Something with BIG DIP ENERGY – a chunky, spicy, creamy, and above all impressive layer dip. I’d cooked pinto beans the night before, had a little tin of chipotle chilies kicking around the pantry, and I knew that if I cut a couple corners, this thing would come together so I’d still have time to tizz myself up before the guests arrived.
My childhood memories of layer dip involve many cans and jars of processed food being dumped into a large bowl, but the current-reality-holistic-nutritionist version definitely involves making every single one of those things from scratch. Mama don’t have time for that! So I simplified things by cutting out the guacamole (don’t yell at me like that – add it if you want to!), and using jarred salsa. Everything else was homemade, but came together quickly and easily.
First, I sautéed the pre-cooked pinto beans with onions, garlic, spices, and the chipotle peppers. While that was on the stove, I whipped up the hemp seed “queso” (no soaking required!). And the salsa got an upgrade with some fresh, chopped cherry tomatoes. This is such an easy hack btw, since it makes the salsa taste more alive and juicy, while giving it a lot more texture, which I personally dig. All it takes after that is mushing the beans up a bit in the pan, which you can do with a bean masher, or an immersion blender, if you don’t want to haul out yet another large piece of equipment. Then layer away! All in all, this took me about 20 minutes, start to finish, and the party people hung around this bowl like it was the last dip on planet earth.
The delicious, creamy “cheese” sauce is a riff off my cashew queso, but in the interest of keeping this allergen-free, I used hemp seeds instead. I love this change-up, since it’s less expensive, and contains way more omega-3 fats and protein. You can dial up the heat here if you like, but because both the salsa and the bean layer have quite a kick to them, I kept the queso pretty mild. Did I mention that this is delicious on its own next to a platter of veggie sticks?! Or chips. Let’s be honest.
Pinto Bean Dreams
Just look at those beautiful beans! Don’t they look gorgeous in all of their tone-on-tone mottled-ness? “Pinto” actually means “painted” in Spanish, and when you take a close look at pinto beans you can clearly see how they’ve earned their moniker. Their speckles fade when cooking, and turn a lovely pale pink colour. They also gain a super creamy interior that is perfect in soups and stews, but also dips.
Pintos, like all beans, are a mixture of protein and complex carbohydrates, making them incredibly filling, but won’t spike blood sugar levels. Pinto beans are low in calories and fat, but contain the highest amount of fiber out of all the legumes (wow!). Key nutrients in pinto beans include potassium to maintain normal blood pressure, calcium for supporting muscle and nerve function, iron to enhance oxygen transport, and zinc for skin health.
Like all beans, pintos can cause an increase in intestinal gas (burps! farts! abdominal discomfort!), due to the oligosaccharides in the beans fermenting in the lower intestine. Because these starchy molecules live in the skin of the beans, a simple soak in water overnight usually does the trick. The soaking process will help leach out many of these fermenting properties, which is why it is so important to discard the soaking water and then boil them in fresh water. Adding a strip of kombu seaweed to the pot will further help to reduce the gas-producing potential of pinto beans (and all legumes), acting like a sponge to absorb those raffinose sugar toot culprits. Try these two tricks to reduce your toilet tunes, and stay social!
I used a clear glass bowl to serve the dip in so that they layers are visible, and it was not until after pouring in two layers did I have the idea to put cilantro stems up on the sides of it. Doh! But knowing it would be #worthit, I painstakingly scooped out the beans and salsa trying to keep everything separate, cleaned the bowl, and started over. I lightly brushed the tiniest amount of olive oil on the leaves to act as glue, then pressed them to the walls of bowl. This is completely unnecessary, but it makes the dip look less monotone and more enticing in my opinion – green always does it! This step takes an extra two minutes and adds a decorative touch, but it’s your call. Maybe you need those two minutes to tizz yourself up?
If you want to change up the recipe, try using black beans or kidney beans in place of the pintos. If you want to add another layer to this already boss situation, go on and add the guac! I was just trying to keep things a little easier for ya’ll. And if you’d like to make your own salsa, I have a stellar raw recipe right here.
Lastly, I want to add that my bowl for this was roughly 1½ quarts / litres capacity, and everything it fit perfectly. I would only suggest sizing up if you don’t have this exact container size.
Legendary Layer Bean Dip Serves 8-10
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or ghee) 1 medium yellow onion, diced ½ tsp. fine sea salt 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano (substitute with regular oregano) ½ tsp. ground sweet paprika 3 cups / 500g cooked pinto beans (about 2 cans) ½ can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use more or less to suit your taste) water as needed
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried 1 pint / 280g cherry tomatoes, divided 1 green onion, sliced (white and green part) 1 small jar (15.5 oz. / 415ml) store bought salsa, mild medium or hot, depending on your tastes
1 cup / 145g hulled hemp seeds 1 medium red bell pepper, seeds removed and roughly chopped ½ tsp. fine sea salt 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 2-3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste ½ clove garlic 1 small piece fresh turmeric, chopped (substitute with ½ tsp. dried) ground cayenne, to taste 3 Tbsp. water, if needed
Directions: 1. Melt oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, salt, and stir to combine. Cook until lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes), then add the garlic and cook for a couple minutes until fragrant. Stir in cumin, oregano and paprika, cook for 2 minutes, then add the beans and chipotles in adobo (use as much or as little as you like). Cover and cook on low heat while you make the queso. If the pot becomes dry, add a little water and stir.
2. To make the queso, put all ingredients, except water, in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If needed, add water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!).
3. Slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Add half of them to the salsa and stir to combine. Save the other half for later.
4. Smash the beans with a bean masher, potato masher, immersion blender, or put them into your high-speed blender (remove the queso first, but don’t worry about cleaning it). The goal is to get the beans creamy, but not perfectly smooth. Add water if necessary, and season to taste.
5. Pick out a few stems of the most attractive cilantro, brush them with a little olive oil and stick them to the inside wall of the bowl (this step is optional). Chop the remaining cilantro and set aside.
6. Combine the remaining cherry tomatoes and combine them with the sliced spring onion. Sprinkle with a little salt, and fold to combine.
7. To assemble the dip, Spread the bean layer in the bottom first, followed by the salsa and finally the hemp queso. Top with the chopped cilantro, and finally the fresh tomato mix. Serve with whatever you like to dip! Party on!
Hope you’re all doing well out there. If you are experiencing any semblance of Spring weather where you are, please send some my way. K thanks. Happy dipping!
And I’m so excited to finally be sharing my bedroom with you all and these Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Breakfast Bites!
We’ve now been in our home for a year and a
bit, and although it’s (still!) not complete, we’re enjoying working on the
finishing details here and there. Honestly, I don’t think we will ever be “done”,
and that is okay. This entire experience has made me way more patient,
realistic, and I’ve learned to set my expectations super low on every project
so that instead of being disappointed, I’m often positively surprised!
We moved with just boxes, zero furniture, and essentially had to start over in that department. That meant a new bed, a new mattress and all new linens, since we decided to make the jump from a queen size mattress to a king (literally one of the best life decisions, ever). My husband and I are both DIY-ers, and serious thrift store shoppers, and we knew that we wanted to build a bed ourselves, then find the rest of bedroom furniture second-hand. The one place where we knew we wanted to really take our time considering was a mattress and the bedding.
If you read this blog, you probably care
about your health to some degree. Like me, you may prioritize buying organic
produce, splurge on environmentally-conscious clothing, and look to sustainable
skincare and beauty products. But have you ever thought about your bedroom
environment? We spend a third of our life in bed (at least we should), so it’s
just as important to consider the things that we interact with in our homes,
not just what goes in and on our bodies. In fact, the greatest exposure to
chemicals you can have in a day, could be while you’re sleeping.
When I started looking into buying a
mattress, I found the options were totally overwhelming. And with so many
retailers moving to online platforms and selling directly to consumers, prices
have been slashed considerably, and the deals are tempting. Mattresses are one
of those things that seem pretty innocuous, and maybe even a place to save a
few bucks. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that the thing you spend so much
time on, is not the thing you should spending less money on, as you’ll be
paying for cheaper materials with your health. Modern, conventional mattresses
are made with a laundry list of harmful substances that can be affecting you
and your family.
One of the most offensive ingredients found in conventional mattresses is memory foam made from polyurethane; a highly flammable, petroleum-based material. Polyurethane foam emits Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Un-ironically referred to as “solid gasoline”, polyurethane foam is typically wrapped in or treated with fire retardant chemicals to meet the Federal and State flammability standards in the US, otherwise it would be totally unsafe.
Which brings me to the second thing to watch out
for in mattresses, and that is chemical fire-retardants (CFRs). These are compounds
added to the materials in a mattress to protect you, and they are an
inexpensive way to meet safety standards. The issue is that CFRs do not fully
bind to materials, and are released into the air through the mattress, then
build up in the body causing some people lifelong health issues.
boric acid, and halogenated flame retardants are some of the most damaging CFRs
found in modern mattresses, and the frustrating thing is that companies are not
required to disclose which ones they are using. Unless a mattress company is explicitly
eliminating these chemicals from their production and using a natural material alternative,
they are likely using one of the harmful chemicals listed above.
I looked at a number of organic / natural mattress companies in my research, and the one that stood out to me was Naturepedic. They are made with certified organic cotton, wool, and latex. For heavy-duty support without any health or allergy concerns, Naturepedic only uses the highest quality innersprings available made from recycled steel.. , and steel, with Naturepedic ensured the purity of every material used, along with fair labour practices.
I reached out to Naturepedic, to see if they would be open to me trying a mattress out and blogging about it. They agreed, and sent me their EOS (Ergonomic Organic Sleep) mattress that allows for fully customized layers for finding the exact right amount of firmness (you can even choose different support styles from your sleep partner, or swap out the layers down the line in case your preferences change). I’d never heard of anything like that before, and though it was so brilliant!
I went to the showroom in Toronto to try out the mattress in person, which was very helpful, but you can also just order online if you know what kind of consistency you like. The mattress components were delivered to my door, and it was easy to assemble, as everything gets zipped into a giant, certified organic cotton casing.
After spending the last twelve months on this bed, I can confirm that it’s been the best year of sleep in my entire life (even post-child, haha!). Besides the fact that I love going to bed knowing that I am breathing completely clean air, and that the materials that went into the mattress were made with a deep commitment to protecting the environment, it’s simply the most supportive and comfortable mattress I’ve ever tried. Period. I cannot recommend this mattress enough!
The other thing to consider when outfitting your bedroom is the bedding itself. Because we come into direct, skin-to-product contact with these textiles, it’s essential to choose something non-toxic. Most bedding on the market is made with cotton, one of the most chemical-laden crops grown. According to Pesticide Action Network North America, “Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop and epitomizes the worst effects of chemically dependent agriculture. Each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides — more than 10 per cent of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides.”
If you’re going to sleep in cotton, choose organic
whenever you can. Linen is a great alternative material because it is a much
lower impact material on the environment, and requires very little intervention
to be grown.
Coyuchi is a brand recommended to me by my dear friend Elenore, who has the highest standards I know of Coyuchi’s textile line is not only 100% organic, but also consciously processed, meaning that they use low-impact dyes for colour that is kind to the planet and our sensitive skin.
Coyuchi offered to send me some bedding to try out and I was instantly obsessed. Their textiles are beyond delicious, super soft, and incredibly comfortable. For a duvet cover, I chose the Crystal Cove pattern in white. I loved this choice since it’s reversible – a textured weave that looks cozy in the winter, and a crinkled cotton underside, which I like to face up in the summer. I also love their Topanga Matelasse blanket, shown here in warm stripe, which is also reversible (super convenient if you want to change up the look of your bedding with a quick flip!).
For winter, their Cloud Brushed flannel sheets are super luxurious, and especially enjoyable it’s very hard to find organic flannel! Words cannot describe the feeling of slipping into these on a chilly night. The giant back pillows in the bed are also from Coyuchi, and are perfect if you have an open-frame bed without a headboard. I like to sit up and read in bed, and these pillows are firm enough to act as a headboard itself.
When you’re shopping for any kind of textile (bedding, furniture, or clothing), the most important mark to look for is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification. GOTS is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well. Unlike most textile and mattress companies, both Coyuchi and Naturepedic are GOTS certified and adhere to their strict standards for agriculture and labour.
Okay, let’s get to the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Breakfast Bites!
I experimented with these Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Breakfast Bites for a long time. At first, I was blending up cashews to make flour, but that got expensive, and ultimately I wanted the recipe to be allergen-free (so the nuts had to go!). As an alternative, I opted for hemp seeds, which worked beautifully. It’s easy to make your own hemp “flour” in a food processor in a few seconds. I’ve been using it baked goods lately and love how moist and tender the results are!
I used strawberries and rhubarb for these nuggets of joy, but since we’re moving into stone fruit season, I’ll soon be switching it up and using peaches, plums, pluots, apricots, and cherries in their place. Any fruit will work as long as it’s not super moist (like melons). Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries would be lovely here too. Simply use 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit in any combination that tickles your fancy. To change up the flavour even more, add orange zest, warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom, or even some cacao powder for a chocolate version. Yum!
I really wanted to make a successful vegan version of these Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Breakfast Bites, so I tried using banana in place of the egg. The results were decent, but a little too moist. If I made these again, I would use the banana plus a tablespoon of ground flax seeds. If any of you do that, please let me know in the comments!
expeller-pressed coconut oil for greasing (or muffin liners)
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
Wash the strawberries and rhubarb well. Slice the rhubarb into small discs, and cut the strawberries into small chunks. Reserve 3 strawberries for topping the breakfast bites, if desired (remove greens, then slice them top to bottom). Set fruit aside.
In a food processor, blend hemp seeds until they’re a fine powder (don’t go too far or you’ll end up with hemp seed butter!). Add the arrowroot, salt and baking powder and pulse a few times to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg or banana, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together. Add the hemp seed flour blend, and stir to combine. Fold in the rhubarb and strawberries.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the batter into each prepared muffin tin. If desired, place a slice of strawberry on top of each bite. Set in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for five days.
Aside from getting the chemicals out of your space, here are five other ways to improve the health of your bedroom, and your sleep!
Having a couple of living things in your sleeping space keeps the air clean and fresh. Snake plants, areca palms, aloe vera and orchids are especially helpful, since they absorb CO2 at night, even when they are not photosynthesizing.
Keeping a window cracked at night is a good way to get some fresh air while you sleep. If it’s noisy outside, keep your window open during the day to ensure full air exchange, and close it right before bed. It’s very important to keep the air in your space fresh and moving.
Salt Rock Lamps
These are said to purify the air by omitting negative ions. I cannot confirm this in any way, but I can confirm that the light they give off is incredibly soothing and helps me wind down at the end of the day. Overhead lighting is very stimulating (and let’s be honest, not overly sexy).
Keep the Devices Out
Don’t work in bed, and avoid using your phone before snoozing. Blue light from screens inhibits our body’s ability to make melatonin, our sleep-wake hormone. If you choose to keep your phone in your room overnight, set it to airplane mode while you sleep so you’re not exposing yourself to radiation from EMFs (Electromagnetic Field).
Yes, it’s cozy to burn candles before bed, but paraffin candles pollute the air, full stop. Soy is a better alternative, but beeswax is my favourite since it actually helps purify the air by omitting negative ions, and removing dust and dander. For more, check out the blog post.
Show me your Strawberry Rhubarb Hemp Breakfast Bites on Instagram: #mnrbreakfastbites
Special thanks to my dear friend Sara for taking these photos of me (and putting up with my awkwardness for at least two hours!).