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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Homemade Vegan Vegetable Bouillon and Irish Beef & Cabbage Soup (gluten free, ACD)

I generally make my own vegetable broth from vegetable scraps and trimmings, but recently purchased a quart of store-bought broth in a pinch. Blech! I forgot how weird-tasting store bought vegetable broth is by comparison, especially for the price of an organic broth without creepy stuff in it. I swore I'd never do it again, even in a pinch, and vowed to only make my own vegetable broth from now on.  So, I started collecting all my little vegetable scraps again for my next pot of broth.

The next day I was catching up some reading over at 101 Cookbooks, one of my favorite blogs.  Heidi is so inspiring; her images are beautiful, her cooking seems absolutely effortless and elegant, and I relate strongly to her philosophy on food.  I deeply admire her cookbook Super Natural Cooking, and am excited about her forthcoming cookbook that she is currently working on.   She just seems so cool. I always find her posts inspiring, and somehow, she has this way of posting things that totally click into something I am thinking about, it is like magic.  However, my visit to her site the other day was particularly timely.  Why, you ask?  Because I came across her post for homemade vegetable boullion!  

I flipped out! Why hadn't I ever thought of this?!  It seemed so simple.  Bouillon is just ground of vegetables and spices, so why can't we make our own, right?  Geez.  

I knew I had to try it immediately.

Making bouillon from scratch is the perfect allergy-friendly, gluten-free solution to the problem of broth.  Broths and bouillons often contain yeast extracts, preservatives, or tons of vegetables and spices that may be problematic if you have a lot of allergies and sensitivities.  Since you're choosing the ingredients, you can choose to add or subtract whatever works or doesn't work for you.   This recipe is so wildly versatile, I can't wait to try it again with different vegetables or seasonings.

This recipe makes a hefty batch - about 3 1/2ish cups - which is more than you will probably need for a week of cooking, unless you have a big family or are making lots and lots of soup.  The solution?  Freeze a portion of the batch in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for later use.  Just toss a few frozen cubes in to your soup kettle or rice pot, and you'll have tasty broth in no time!

I've been using the bouillon all week in soups, threw a scoop into the pot when cooking rice, and also mixed it with vegetables before roasting them.  I have positively loved it!  So flavorful, so fresh, and so easy.  And much cheaper and more nutritious than buying that stuff at the store.  If you are on a strict rotation diet, you could modify this recipe to have only a few ingredients, so it fits with your rotation.  Here is the recipe for my version of the bouillon, as well as a recipe for a delicious beef soup I made that uses it.  I know it is a week after St. Patrick's Day, but I often run late, so this soup is kind of Irish: ground beef, celery, celery root, and cabbage, with a flavorful homemade broth seasoned with my homemade bouillon, thyme, and just an itty bitty pinch of nutmeg.  Bring on the yum, folks.

As a side note, you may have noticed a slight change in my photography over the last week or two.  I am very happily borrowing a Canon Rebel xTi and am loving the versatility of a macro lens.  Despite having taken photography classes in college and working at a commercial photo studio (I do project producting, not photography), I am not terribly well-versed in the mechanics of cameras.  So, to the camera manual I go.  I'm also going to be getting pointers from some of the photographers at work.  I am really excited to take this opportunity to learn and improve; I love the creative freedom of photography.  I also love playing with food, and I want it to look as beautiful as possible for all of you!   And besides, I have a cookbook to photograph, so I have to get my act together.  :)

Bon appétit!

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon

yield: approx 3 1/2 cups 

inspired by Homemade Bouillon Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

You will need a food processor or Vitamix to make this. I chose to make it in my food processor, and added the vegetables in batches, grinding between adding to make more room in the processor.  Store in the fridge in a well-sealed container for 5 days, or freeze in small portions to use later on!  I love ice cube trays for this very thing.  I did not make this very salty, so that it is more versatile and I can salt the dish I use it in to my preference later on.  I added miso paste for a rich flavor; feel free to omit if desired.  The beneficial bacteria of the miso will be cooked out once the broth is heated, but the delicious flavor will remain!

3 large carrots

3 celery stalks

1 large leek

1 very small onion (or probably about 1/4-1/2 of a medium onion)

4 garlic cloves

1/2 large fennel bulb, with stalk and fronds

1/4 cup packed parsley leaves

1 tsp dry thyme

optional: 3 Tbsp azuki or chickpea miso

1 tsp salt

Chop all ingredients and place in a food processor.  Pulse a few times, then process until you have a smooth vegetable paste.  Place a small amount in a container in the fridge and use within 4 days.  Freeze remaining boullion in ice cube trays, then package in freezer bags.  Easy broth!

To use: use 1 Tbsp bouillon per 8 oz of water


Irish Beef & Cabbage Soup

 yield: 4-6 servings 

This soup is simple and delicious, with a rich flavor. If you don't want to use homemade bouillon, feel free to substitute 6 cups of vegetable, chicken or beef broth, or use a desired amount of another bouillon paste or cube to season the water.  Using high-quality beef will make all the difference in this soup; if possible, choose beef that is grass-fed, and free of antibiotics and hormones.  My beef was very lean, so I did not drain it. Depending on the meat/fat percentage of your beef you may choose to drain it before adding broth; use your judgement.  I've been eating off this pot of soup all week, and it just gets more delicious by the day!

1 lb lean ground beef, grass-fed and antibiotic-free preferred

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

4 large stalks celery with leaves, stalks diced and leaves finely chopped

1 small celeriac, diced

6 cups water

6 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon

1 tsp dry thyme

pinch nutmeg

1/2 small head cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2-1 tsp Herbamare or sea salt, to taste

Chop onion, celery and garlic.  Peel celeriac and chop into 1/2"x1"cubes.  Cut cabbage in half, and save the other half in the refrigerator. Cut remaining half in half again, and notch out the core. Chop the core to the same size as the celeriac cubes, then thinly slice the rest of the cabbage.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot, then add onion and celery, and saute briefly. Then add garlic and ground beef and saute until browned, breaking up into crumbles.  Remove from heat and drain, if desired. If your meat is very lean, you may not need to drain it. Return to medium heat, adding celeriac, thyme, and nutmeg, and sauteing for 2-3 minutes.  Then add water and bouillon.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until celeriac is almost tender.  Then add cabbage and cook about 10 minutes, until cabbage and other vegetables are tender.  SEason with salt to taste, and serve.

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Reader Comments (6)

I figure I'd anwer on the blog instead of Facebook for once ;).
Thanks for sharing these recipes.
I'm used to make bone broths and sometimes I use teas (like rooibos or laspsang-souchong if I want some smokiness) or nourishing herbal infusions as stocks but I never made bouillon.
Store bought stocks are a no-no: they are loading with sodium + known and/or hidden source of MSG, sometimes there are also trace of gluten as well (that's incredible how creative these mad food scientists can be nowadays).


March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlchemille

This looks very interesting! I just bought some chickpea miso, so I'm looking for exciting new ways to use it.

My mom's coming for a visit, so I'm also looking for things to cook for her (she's a carb-eating, soy-loving vegan) that I can also eat. This looks like something to file away for the visit.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

What a great idea!!! I am going to give this a try as I seem to make a lot of soups. By the way your Beef and Cabbage soup looks wonderful. Terry (My Journey With Candida)

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

What another fantastically creative idea making this bullion is , I absolutely will be making this , I have never been able to tolerate store bought stock very well or instant stock ( cubes of bullion ) I would have NEVER EVER thought of this , you are truly brilliant :) and as for the cabbage/beef soup that looks so warming and so satisfying I will be making as soon as I can.You always make make my day with your great ideas and your writing and your great recipes . Thank you so much ! BYE :)

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

A thousand times, thank you! Nothing like allergies for revealing the prevalence of soy, corn and wheat, in just about EVERYTHING at the grocery store (and that's just the start, for me). You're helping me through that recurring slump where I experiment with unreasonable extremes--such as the 100% Kettle chip diet (a really bad idea) or ceasing to eat altogether. And I see I'm far from the only one appreciating your creativity. God bless you!

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

I am looking for a homemade bullion recipe that has the flavorful melanoidins found in "Better-Than-Bullion" vegetable paste. I may try to just modify this recipe to include a caramelization step, but if you are aware of any simmered or cooked bullion that caramelizes sugars and amino acids, I'd love to see it. In my opinion, the very best way to include savory flavors is via the Maillard reaction (also called browning/caramelizing), which requires sugars, amino acids, and temperature. This seems healthier than increasing the fat or salt content to enhance savory flavor. The yeast extract found in commercial brands is probably to boost the free amino acid content to allow this reaction to occur more quickly. I am considering using a carrot, celery, and onion base and using nutritional yeast and brown sugar (or honey) to make a homemade melanoidin bullion. If you're interested in how it turns out, email me. Cheers. -Tim

July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim
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