Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Sprouted Buckwheat Gluten-Free Blini with Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, and Pumpkin Seed Cream (gluten free, ACD, vegan option)


I think I'm going to start a Sunday brunch series.  Not only is a wonderful brunch a great way to start the week, it is also one of the only times I have the opportunity to make use of natural light to photography food! Seriously - a little sun makes all the difference!  Last week I had Salmon & "Eggs"Scramble.  Today? Buckwheat blini, baby.  Gluten-free blini.  Sprouted, even.  With smoked salmon.  And pumpkin seed cream. Yum.

It seems appropriate to follow up my Russian Salad from the other day with blini, another Russian culinary contribution.  These little blini may not be as light and fluffy and magical as "real" blini, but for a blini made without yeast, gluten, eggs, or dairy, I think they are pretty darn good.  I like using the same basic soaked and sprouted blended grain technique I used for my waffles as I do for making pancakes and blini.  They are soft and moist, not too heavy, and have a lovely, light buckwheat flavor that isn't too strong.  I love buckwheat, but it can be a little overwhelming sometimes; I cut the buckwheat with some quinoa for a milder flavor.  I think I will probably continue to tweak this blini recipe some as time goes on (as we cooks do) but here is the first published version.  I have a couple other tricks up my sleeve I think could help make these a wee bit fluffier.

Next time I plan to serve this with a little hijiki caviar.  There are many recipes like this one floating around online.  I have made it using a recipe from Myra Kornfield's The Voluptuous Vegan on a number of occasions, and adore it.  Sadly, my seaweed stash is running a little low at the moment, so no "caviar" for me this morning.  That's okay though, because I had some tasty pumpkin seed cream (my substitute for craime fraiche), sliced cucumber, and a lovely greens salad with azuki miso & mustard vinaigrette to go with it.  

Vegan? Omit the salmon!  Try substituting with thin slices of your favorite lentil or bean loaf, or if you tolerate soy, roasted tempeh or tofu steaks. Or, just serve with cream and a batch of that tasty caviar.

Perfect for breakfasts and brunches, or for the perennial favorite of breakfast-for-dinner, this is a healthy, delicious meal you can feel good about.  And it is easy too!  

So, again, I'll say it: 

Приятного аппетита (prijatnogo appetita)!

Gluten-Free Sprouted Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, and Pumpkin Seed Cream

Make it: buckwheat blini, pumpkin seed cream

Buy it: smoked salmon, thinly sliced cucumber, capers, fresh dill sprigs or dry dill, freshly cracked pepper

To serve as a breakfast or brunch, arrange individual portions of each ingredients on plates, allowing each person to make their own blini stacks.  If desired, serve with a greens salad.

To use as an appetizer, make appetizer-size blini variation (see recipe below).  Stack one cucumber slice, a bit of smoked salmon, a dollop of cream, a caper, and a bit of dill on top.  If desired, sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper and fleur de sel.   Arrange on a tray, and serve.  Bite size blini beauty!


yield 20-22 4" blini

3/4 cup whole buckwheat groats

3/4 cup whole quinoa grains


3/4 cup non-dairy milk (or water)

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp flax meal

2 Tbsp light olive oil, grapeseed oil, or melted ghee

2 Tbsp buckwheat flour

1 tsp salt

optional: 5 drops stevia liquid (I like SweetLeaf)

Rinse quinoa and buckwheat grains, and place in a large bowl.  Cover with 4 cups of water, and let soak for up to 12 hours.  Drain and rinse well, rubbing grains together.

Place soaked grains in a blender, and level off.  Pour in just enough water to cover grains, and blend until grains are almost completely chopped up (if using a Vita-Mix or some other high powered blender, do not use the High setting, go only as high as highest setting in Low).  Add 3/4 cup milk/water, oil, flax, salt, flour, and stevia, and blend until totally smooth.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat a non-stick griddle over medium-low heat until a drop of batter sizzles.  Spoon about 2-3 Tbsp of batter per pancake onto griddle, and cook until surface bubbles, edges peel away from pan, and top is set, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip, and cook again for 4-6 minutes, until golden and slightly crisp (cooking time may depend on your griddle and heat setting, use your best judgement).  Transfer to a parchment lined pan in a 150º F oven as you remove them from the griddle.  Let blini warm oven for 15-20 minutes before serving - it will help set up the blini so they aren't mushy in the middle, and will soften the crisp edges so they become pliable.  It is worth the wait, I promise!

Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.  Serve with salmon, or serve as desired.  Leftovers freeze very well.

Appetizer Size Variation (2-inch)

Spoon 1 Tbsp of batter onto griddle, and cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2-3, then place in oven.  Yields LOTS and LOTS of little blini, at least 45 of them.  



yield 1 cup 

Pumpkin seeds have a very strong flavor.  If you find the taste of pumpkin seeds do not agree with you, substitute all or part of the seeds with cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds for a milder flavor.

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (or water)

1/2 tsp dry dill weed

1/4 tsp dry ground mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 tsp vitamin C crystals, to taste

3 drops stevia liquid (I like SweetLeaf) - the stevia helps cut the bitterness of the pumpkin seeds

Place 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and all other ingredients in a blender, pulse a few times, then blend.  With blender running add remaining pumpkin seeds.  Stop blender and scrape sides as necessary, and blend on high until smooth.   Store leftovers in refrigerator.

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Reader Comments (14)

So when am I coming over for brunch? ;-) Seriously, these look beautiful!

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA-K

I must say EVERYTHING you make looks so beautiful and so tastey you are certainly a very accomplished Chef and photographer ! All these new treats are really very exciting , I am looking forward to making this too, thank you for sharing your talents and for helping me to find new things to try .

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Wrona

yay for brunch, my favorite meal of the week! keep the recipes coming, i cant wait to see what else you'll post :)

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterirene

Um, WOW is all I can say!

I will be making these in a few weeks, they sound amazing! I made quinoa-salmon burgers today and was trying to figure out a recipe for pumpkin seed cream to dollop on top, looks like you got it, yay!

Again, everything looks amazing as usual! -Ali :)

Wow Kim!

This looks like an incredible spread! I will be trying the blinis tomorrow (I would do it tonight if I didn't have to soak the grains!) And I LOVE the new website...so attractive and easy to navigate.

Hope you're healthy and happy :)


Ps. Have I mentioned that you make it so much easier (and tastier!) to be on a hypoallergenic/anti-candida diet? BLESS YOU! :)

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

YUM! That is all I have to say.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I can't wait to try this recipe out. You've used vitamin C crystals in quite a few recipes, and I'm unfamiliar with it. Is it for a source of sweetness, or tartness? Do you have a brand that you've had the most success with? I'm interested in trying it out. Thanks for any info!

January 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Hi Kris-it is a source of tartness/acid, it is pure powered ascorbic acid (powered vitamin C). I use it in place of lemon juice or whenever I want a lemony or vinegary bite! I always buy the brand produced by the local co-op I shop at, but any brand could work. It is a suggestion from the Yeast Connection Guidebook, they use unbuffered vitamin C crystals for everything in that book. Unbuffered vs buffered is a question, buffered means it won't react as much as be as acidic - so in the book they recommend getting unbuffered. I've used both and both seem to work. Some ascorbic acid is derived from corn, so if you are super sensitive to corn, check to look for one that is derived from sago palm instead. I have corn allergies, and have used corn-derived vitamin C crystals without a problem.

January 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim

I was unsure as to the difference between buffered or unbuffered and also unsure if there was a possiblity they came from a corn sorce , I too am senstive to corn , Kim asked a great question and your answers are so informative , I love your site . I always learn something new , thanks .

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Wrona

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question, Kim. Just wanted to let you know that I made this for my birthday brunch yesterday, and it blew my mind. It was definitely the highlight of the day, so thank you for sharing it with us!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Kris, I'm so glad to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to share the results with me, I love hearing out things turn out! happy birthday, and may you have a healthy and happy next year of life...filled with lots of GF pancakes, of course ;)

January 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim


January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Hey Kim,

These look great!!! Im amazed at all your recipes. Are they easy to do? I dont know how to cook since Ive been living in New York but do you have any ideas on what types of cookware would be needed to begin?

Thanks hon! Keep up the amazing work!! WOW.

February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Hi Kim,
So these are delish! And soaked grains for better digestability. LOVE IT

I cook them in butter because they stick when I use coconut oil. Though I am dairy intolerent I do fine with organic butter -yay! I am really careful with my cookware/bakeware as far as materials go. I threw out my non-stick and use La Cruset. It works pretty good.

I tried a silicone bread pan and it worked great. Then I read some scarey stuff about some risks. So am going to try glass next. I would love to know what kind of bread pan you are using?

What happened to your Sprouted millet buckweat sourdough recipe? That is just what I would like to make but need to create a recipe. Was it a flop? It sounds like a tricky combo but I am willing to try!

Thank again for sharing all your hard work.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Yancey
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo