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. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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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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Tahini Raisin Bran Muffins and Simple Sesame Milk (gluten-free, vegan, low sugar)

I have had this crazy craving for baked goods lately. If I were to post all the cookies, breads, and other sweet treats I've made lately, I'd have to call this a baking blog, seriously. Combined with my crazy craving for and indulgence in fruit, my liberal use of sweeteners like honey and maple syrup and palm sugar that I know I shouldn't be eating, my wild desire for chocolate, my urges to binge eat (and the inevitable followthrough), and my recently recurring joint pain, burning feet, headaches, and a crazy bought of wicked congestion, I am feeling a little concerned. I can't deny it anymore. Once again, I'm having a Candida flare up again or my Lyme is acting up, and  I think I am overindulging in some of the foods that I had been previously avoiding due to allergies or intolerances.

Damn it!  It is hard to keep clean of Candida when taking so many gosh darn antibiotics for Lyme treatment, and it is so easy to go overboard with those foods you reintroduce after years...  Argh.

In addition to being frustrated about those symptoms, I feel fat. I know I'm not, and I know I look healthier now than I have in years.  But my lifelong struggle with weight and body image is playing massive tricks on me. I want to feel more comfortable and confident in my skin again. 

So, I am posting this muffin recipe as sort of a bon voyage to baked goods for a while.  I told myself that once I ate half the batch, I had to put the other half in the freezer, and that I have done.  And now, I need to go on a break from sugar, fruit, and most grains again.  I know these things throw off my blood sugar, increase my cravings, and slow my metabolism. I need to focus on protein and vegetables; I feel best eating that way, and I need to get back on track.  This is going to be hard, but I know I have the willpower, somewhere...I am hoping I didn't forget it in the pocket of those smaller jeans I had to divorce last year....

This is about living more mindfully, about trying to reevaluate my relationship with food, and about making decisions that honor my body as best I can.  This is about creating an inner ecosystem that better facilitates my healing process, and about creating an outer image that makes me feel more confident and reflects my spirit.  I need to start doing more physical activity now that I have more energy, and I now that I will feel better.  I have started a modified plan from the amazing book The Fourfold Path to Healing by Dr. Thomas S Cowan, and I couldn't believe how satisfied and balanced I felt today. I'll be posting more later about my modifications and changes.

Okay, enough about me. Let's talk about muffins, a much more delicious topic. These are moist and dense, with a spicy sweet flavor and flecks of sweet raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.  The flours - a mixture of quinoa and sorghum - are toasted in advance for a nuttier, warmer flavor.  I love quinoa flour, and the unique flavor of toasted quinoa comes through in these muffins.  Combined with fiber-rich rice bran and a little tapioca starch, these little guys have a nice texture and solid mix of protein, complex carbs, and whole grain nutrients.

The use of tahini and homemade sesame milk adds a powerful punch of nutrition to these muffins. Sesame is high in copper, manganese, tryptophan, calcium, magnesium, and iron.  They also provide protein and fiber, omega fatty acids, and valuable amino acids.  

Okay, wish me luck. Please send me positive energy and strength to help me make the life changes I need to make in order to get back on track, have more energy, and feel more comfortable with my body.  Healing is a struggle sometimes, isn't it? At least I will have the rest of these muffins in the freezer, waiting for me when I get to the other side... ;)


Tahini Raisin Bran Muffins

yield 12 muffins

These muffins are dense, spicy, and sweet.  Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients - these are very simple and easy to prepare, and worth the gathering.  Palm sugar is a low glycemic sweetener, with 9 grams of sugar per tablespoon, lower in sugar than agave, honey, maple, or any other sweeteners. However, to make it completely Candida-friendly, omit the raisins and palm sugar, and substitute more stevia to make it sweeter.

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour
1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch/flour
1/2 cup rice bran
2 Tbsp finely ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp corn-free baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp stevia extract powder
1/4 cup melted butter, melted coconut oil, or other neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/3 cup palm sugar
2 cups sesame milk (see recipe below), or other non-dairy milk (a creamier, fattier milk would be a good choice)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds 
sesame seeds and palm sugar, for sprinkling 

Pre-heat oven to 350º F and prepare 12 muffin cups. 

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Place quinoa flour and sorghum flour in pan, and spread out evenly.  Stir around in pan, and toast until it starts to smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat, and transfer the flour to a medium bowl. Add starches, salt, spices, baking powder, stevia powder, and 1 Tbsp of flax seed.  Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, palm sugar, and remaining 1 Tbsp flax, let sit 5 minutes, then whisk in tahini and melted butter until creamy. Slowly stir in dry ingredients, then add raisins and pumpkin seeds. Mixture will be very thick.

Spoon evenly into muffin cups, smooth the tops lightly with wet fingers, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little palm sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then turn out of tins and finish cooling on a rack.


Simple Sesame Milk

yield about 2 cups

1/3 cup raw or toasted sesame seeds
2 cups water

Soak seeds in water for about 20 minutes, then blend on high until totally smooth. If you have a Vitamix, use as is. If you have a regular blender, you may want to strain it through a fine sieve to remove chunks.


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Reader Comments (6)

I am on the same diet restrictions and have been struggling and starving for the past three weeks. Finding your blog has completely changed my outlook on my diagnosis. I could not have survived without your help. Keep up your self control and creativity in the kitchen so that we can be healthy in style. Thanks, Kris

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Ooo, I never thought to make sesame milk before. I want to try it! I also want to try these muffins, they look so rich and moist :)

~Aubree Cherie

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAubree Cherie

I understand at least a little bit what you are going through. I have struggled with binge eating and over doing it on sweets and other things for a long time. Lately, I've been overdoing it again, and need to step back a bit. I also have had the same feeling of being overweight (sometimes true and not). I have struggled with eating things I know I shouldn't eat too...things that I know don't do my body good. Perhaps you and I can help each other do a little better everyday...and cheer each other on. :) I know you can do it and wish you all the best. I know it takes incredible strength and self-control to do so...especially with doing the ACD diet (which I started once...and never went back b/c it was so hard.) But, I may do so again at some point, for now, I need to focus on getting more veggies in my diet, less sugar (including fruit-----I overindulge in fruit too!), whole grains, simple meals, and not overeating. Thanks for helping me be a better, healthier person...your blog is one of much inspiration and help to me. Even though I am not on the ACD right now, I still think I need to focus on the same kind of things ACD is about. Here's to both of us, with some hard work, we both can reach our goals.

Thanks a bunch!

Oh Kim - I am so sorry to hear your body is flaring up again. I am going through something with sugar myself - summer makes me want to eat fruit (especially bananas in soft serve) which I had been able to mostly cut out in winter -and sure enough, I have more fatigue/headaches again :( Nothing like what you are going through, but just saying I understand - I made muffins for the first time since CHristmas over the weekend, and had to freeze half the batch after i consumer 4 within the first two days. Sugar and baked goods are such a slippery slope.

Hi Kim,

I just wanted to let you know I added this recipe to my favorite recipes from last week post. They look so tasty, I hope I can try them :)

~Aubree Cherie

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAubree Cherie

Hey dear girl , I sure do understand . I have never gotten things right yet but I still keep trying . I know if anyone can meet the goals that you set for yourself it will be you . I understand none of this is easy . I am sending you all the postive energy and strength I know how to . I can relate to your thoughts and those of Ari and Valerie so much so we will keep each other in our thoughts and prayers that we will succeed and while we are acheiving our goals we will remind ourselves that the pay off will be way worth the saccrifices and while being able to enjoy such beautiful indulgent treats such as you have shared here with all of us we will not feel too badly at all . I bet these are so tastey . I too would have never thought of the seasme milk ....yum :) XO

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
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