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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Grain-Free Chocolate Pumpkinseed Bread (gluten-free, ACD)


I've been experimenting with eating grain-free the last few weeks.   By grain-free I obviously mean gluten-free, but also free of gluten-free grains like sorghum and oats and the grain-like seeds quinoa, millet, buckwheat, teff, and amaranth.  

Why am I doing this, you ask?

Lately I have noticed that when I eat grains, I feel quite imbalanced.  Despite the fact that energetically grains are very grounding and stabilizing, somehow that gets screwed up for me. My blood sugar goes wacky. My cravings and appetite become insatiable. My emotions seem to spike more. Once I start, I can't stop, and find myself eating half a bag of rice cakes or 3 muffins in a row or massive bowls of rice. AH! I have carb problems!  I was also feeling a massive flare up in my Lyme symptoms, was suffering crazy sinus congestion (one of my main allergy symptoms), and felt very sluggish digestively.  I knew I needed to make a change and focus on a diet high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbs. 

So, I went grain free. Conveniently, I have recently learned that I tolerate small amounts of duck egg.  So, I decided to try my hand at a bit of high protein baking with coconut flour and duck eggs. Victory!  After making a great batch of plain bread, I made a beautiful loaf of chocolate bread that turned out very well.  In fact, I loved it more than pretty much any loaf of grain-containing bread I've ever made, aside from this one. I was amazed! The flavor and texture was so fantastic and rich, and it looked beautiful.  And it sliced. Like REAL bread. Wow.



The secret is in grinding up toasted pumpkin seeds and using them in combination with cocoa powder and coconut flour to form the base of the bread.  The duck eggs bind, so you needn't add xanthan or guar gums.  If you tolerate chicken eggs, go ahead and use those instead. Just keep in mind that duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs, so you need more chicken eggs in order to make the recipe (see below for details).  Add a little olive oil and cinnamon, a handful of whole pumpkin seeds, and some high quality salt, and you have a killer combination.  It is chocolatey, slightly sweet, and decadent.  And it stays moist for days, even when only wrapped in parchment and stored on the counter.

Not only did I think this bread was totally awesome, it also passed the test with my burly friend Derek who loves Chinese takeout and my dear friend Aimée who loves co-ops and raw smoothies. She ate this bread every morning for three days while staying with me.  Because it is high in protein and healthy fats, it is very satisfying and filling, and isn't one of those loaves that you will just eat endlessly because it is just carbs and air.  This is bread with substance and character, and you'll love it.  Best yet, no blood sugar crashes, hardly any carbs, and lots of quality protein and fiber! 

My grain-free experiment is going well so far. I feel more balanced, have more energy, my Lyme symptoms that were flaring are diminishing, my sinus congestion is TOTALLY gone, and I have lost a couple of pounds. All great things for me. So, onward.  I don't plan on being grain-free forever, but for now it feels right. Summer doesn't require as much concentrated carbohydrate like grains provide, but I'm sure I'll be back come cooler temperatures...




Grain-Free Chocolate Pumpkinseed Bread

yield 1 9"x5" loaf  | ©Kimberly Christensen | www.affairsofliving.com

This high-protein, high-fiber, low-card bread is lightly sweet, rich, and moist, dotted with crunchy pumpkinseeds. It is totally grain-free and uses a combination of low-glycemic evaporated palm sugar and stevia to sweeten. Serve warm or cooled for breakfasts, snacks, or with coffee or tea. Delicious drizzled with a little olive oil, or eaten with sugar-free raspberry jam!

I made the recipe with duck eggs. I haven't tried this recipe with chicken eggs, but included rough conversions below. 1 duck egg equals roughly 1 1/2 chicken eggs, so 5 duck eggs equals roughly 8 large chicken eggs. The batter should be quite thick, but follow your intuition - if you are using chicken eggs and it seems too thick, add another well beaten egg.

1 cup raw pumpkinseeds/pepitas
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (or carob flour if you don't tolerate chocolate)
1/2 cup palm sugar (or date, maple, or coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp corn-free baking powder or regular baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure stevia extract powder (see additional stevia conversions here)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 duck eggs or 8 large chicken eggs (1 duck egg = roughly 1 1/2 chicken eggs)

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add pumpkin seeds. Toast until golden brown, fragrant, and just starting to pop, about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350º F and line a bread tin with parchment.  

Measure a heaping 1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds and place in a food processor or coffee grinder, and grind until fine and powdery, like flour. Place ground seeds in a medium bowl and add coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, palm sugar, stevia powder, and salt. Whisk until totally mixed and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs until smoothly scrambled, then whisk in olive oil until evenly mixed.  Then add flour mixture and stir until just moistened, then stir in remaining toasted pumpkin seeds, reserving a few for sprinkling on the top of the loaf, if desired.  Batter will be very thick.

Spread evenly and firmly into parchment-lined bread pan, smoothing top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle a few remaining seeds on top if desired.  Place pan in pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then pull up on the edges of parchment to release bread from the pan and let finish cooling on a wire rack. when ready to serve, peel away parchment and slice. 

Serve bread warm or cooled. Flavor improves as it sits.  Store at room temperature for up to five days wrapped well in parchment.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve warm or cooled, toasted or untoasted, for breakfasts, brunch, tea or coffee breaks, or afterschool snacks
  • It is delicious drizzled with good olive oil and a pinch of smoked or regular sea salt.  
  • Spread with ghee, coconut oil, or coconut butter
  • If you tolerate vinegar, I bet it would be very good dipped in a combination of high-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil - balsamic and chocolate were made for eachother. 
  • Smear with your favorite nut or seed butter or some sugar-free jam (try raspberry!).  
  • Use to make chocolate French toast :)
  • Make a decadent open-face sandwich with a slice of bread, nut/seed butter, a few allergy-friendly chocolate chips, and sliced bananas or strawberries. I haven't tried this and can't eat it myself, but I guarantee you it will be delicious.

Sweetener substitutions: 

  • Substitute the palm sugar 1:1 with date sugar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, or another dry sweetener as desired.  
  • If you want to sweeten solely with stevia and make it sugar-free, try omitting the palm sugar and using 3/4-1 tsp TOTAL of stevia extract powder instead, tasting as you add it to judge sweetness level.  If you are using other forms of stevia, use this chart to determine appropriate quantity of stevia. 
  • Using liquid sweeteners like yacon syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar may effect the moisture level, so use at your own risk.   




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Reader Comments (29)

So, why or why was I polite and didn't eat the last piece when I was cleaning up the kitchen?? Instead I carefully rewrapped the last lovely piece in the tattered parchment and set it on the counter for Aimee. Hmm. More please? ox
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim's Mom
Sometimes, I think you are writing this blog just for me.

I am gluten, sugar, yeast, dairy free + low grain. And I love chocolate.

And I am making that bread.....

Oooo - this looks delicious. I might have to break down and buy some stevia. I've been avoiding doing that. I've not been impressed with stevia in the past. But, I've been doing the mostly grain-free thing, too and finding that I like the way it makes me feel.

Or I might try upping the palm sugar just a bit and seeing where that takes me.
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna
Wonderful! My Lyme doctor has me on a no-grain diet. But my problem is I also can't eat soy, egg (although I can have the egg white), dairy, gluten, sugar, etc. Do you think I can substitue egg white for the chicken eggs? where do you get carob powder and coconut flour?
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
MOM - tee hee! when i offer you something, you must try it :)

CHRISTIE - great! let me know how it turns out!

DEANNA - upping the palm sugar should work just fine. however, you don't taste the stevia in this recipe, so you may want to give it a shot. definitely lowers the sugar/carb content!

MARTHA - coconut flour and carob flour can be found at natural food stores and co-ops and Whole Foods, as well as TONS of places online. Bob's Red Mill, Tropical Traditions, Coconut Secret, and Wilderness Family Naturals all make coconut flour. there are many brands of carob flour online as well, I believe Bob's Red Mill is certified GF. As for subbing egg whites, you can substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg. So, if you are using chicken eggs, you will need around 16 egg whites, or if using duck eggs, 10 egg whites. LOTS of eggs! You'll need to give someone the yolks or make some homemade mayonnaise for a friend :) Good luck!
August 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim
Christie I feel the same way. I am so making this today!
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris
Looks perfect! So moist, dense, and bready all at the same time! But that is a whole lot of eggs (and I can't even imagine how expensive duck eggs are. . . ). I love playing with grain-free recipes so might just have to try this one out as vegan. Just so happens I've got all the ingredients on hand already! :)
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicki
Oh my - this looks amazing. I am SO making it. Sadly, I can't tolerate eggs (even duck eggs :( ) - should I try ground flax to substitute? I have yet to find a good source of information on baking with coconut flour (or grain free in general) and not using eggs to boot. I do tolerate soy, so maybe I should try use silken tofu.

I took have cut my grains back a lot this summer - it was unintentional at first - I bought a dehydrator and was experimenting with lots of seed-based "breads" but noticed I was feeling better, so I am experimenting with grain-free versus low-grain. If only I felt more confident in vegan grain-free baking.
August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterValerie @ City|Life|Eats
This bread looks amazing ! I think I could be having this same problem been living on too much white rice lately , very bloated and really feeling bad , I got sick from my tomatoe's too , I know better but I get so hungry and pretty much everything makes me sick so after a while I just eat what ever than I become so sick , so I am going to try to learn more to I could do better , I loved the sound of this bread . Hi MOM :) Yes you should have snatched that last piece for yourself , see it got eaten and not by you :( next time grab it while it's there ...lol... when it cools off a little I'll give this a try :) thanks
August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
I just made this bread two days ago using the chicken eggs (natural food store was out of duck eggs and local CSA store was closed because it was Sunday). I must say I LOVE it! I have been on a anti-candida diet for 5 months now so chocolate bread is a rare treat, and this one I can actually eat and not feel too guilty (did use the date sugar but no symptoms with using it so I think I'm okay). It's moist, had a light/subtle flavor and the crunch of the pumpkin seeds is perfect. There is no "eggy" taste at all (even with 8 chicken eggs!). My husband eats it with ice cream and loves it (he can eat whatever). THANK YOU for a great recipe...one that I didn't need to "tweak" at all...I much appreciate all your efforts. Keep it up!
August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterS. Crawford
VALERIE - hmn, i don't know about subbing flax eggs for the other eggs. i think it would become very gummy and wouldn't set up correctly, because ultimately, flax and egg behave very differently. you could try a combination of flax egg, maybe some pureed fruit/applesauce, and maybe some kind of starch or a bit of garbanzo flour? and i would add more baking powder to make up for the loft that the eggs provide. good luck...let me know how it turns out!

KATHY - sorry to hear you are having troubles lately :( white rice makes me feel bloated and yucky too. so i avoid it. you can do it, i have faith that you can stay on track! be strong, i'm sending you positive energy. :)

thanks so much for sharing your experience, I'm just thrilled that it worked for you and that you and your hustand love it! when the man that can eat everything still likes a gluten-free sugar-free recipe, you know it is good ;) xoxo
August 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim
Before this moment, never in my life have I been so grateful I can tolerate eggs. This is delicious. I made it last night (house smelled awesome) and enjoyed a big fat slice after my long run this morning. Much as it saddens me, I should probably stay away from chocolate so I will try carob next time. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
August 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter(another) Kim
What a divine & tasty looking chocolate GF pumpkin seeds bread!!

Just so stunning!

Could you make it with less eggs?

Greetings from Brussels, Belgium!
August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSophie
Bonjour Sophie!
I don't know Belgian, so that is the closest I can get to your language! I love Brussels! Travelled there in high school, also visited Leuven.

You could try omitting 2-3 of the eggs and substituting fruit puree, vegan egg replacer, or a flax or chia egg substitute (1 egg=1 Tbsp ground seed + 3 Tbsp water, sit 10 minutes, whisk). I would also add more baking powder to make up for the loft the eggs provide. I don't know how it will work, but it would be worth a try!
August 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim
hooray! thank you for your kind note, i am so happy that you enjoyed the bread. your kind reply means so much to me! i imagine it will be just as delicious with carob. thanks again :)
August 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim

I bought some pumpkin seed powder from the Asian food market today. How much powder/flour does your 1 cup of pumpkin seeds make?

P.S. If you have an Asian market near you, I highly recommend it (I live in the Bay area, Ca). They have a lot of the GF flours for a fraction of the cost you would pay at a health food market. For example, tapioca starch is 69 cents for two cups. Brown rice flour was $3.00 for the same amount. Yeah!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercindysue

Thanks a lot fot the info on using less eggs. You will have to know that I come from Flanders, near Leuven so that I don't speak french but Dutch! I can speak French, English, German & now I am in my 3rd year of Spanish!

Bye bye for now!! I will try the bread with the added alternatives!

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Hi Kim, Will be making this tomorrow. How big of a bread tin? Like a quick bread loaf tin? Can't wait to get started :)

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

Kim, I'm an idiot. Sorry. Never mind. I see the dimensions you noted at the top of the recipe. me = total doofus. Again, apologies.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

Thanks for the totally inspiring recipe - this looks and sounds AMAZING Kim. :)

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

Kim, you have done it again! I made this last night and my girls and i dug into it before i had time to put it on the rack...and needless to say it WAS HEAVEN! We are all on ACD, so i debated on the sugar and all i had at home was brown cane sugar that i use for the water kefir, so i put 1/4 cup instead of 1/2, didn't up the stevia and it still came out sweet enough. I did add a bit more coconut flr and ground more then 1/2 the pumpkin seeds to make up for dry content, so the cake was a bit dense, but still absolutely delicious. Wondering, if i omit the sugar all together and up the stevia, would i need to add more of the flours next time?

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaterina Gabro

i'm so excited~ i'm waiting for this to finish baking right now. :3 since being on an anti-candida diet, and pretty much starving... i'm really excited to get something sweet & faux-grainy into my body and on my taste buds. :D thank you so much. your blog is a true lifesaver for me, especially since i don't cook or bake a whole bunch from scratch. but from now on, i'll be cooking all my foods at home from scratch to compensate for my dietary needs. i'll be at your site a lot! ^___^ thanks~

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwinter

i took these out of the oven, let them cool for a while, and tried a slice. i think i did something wrong, because it was slightly bitter. but besides that, very good! i wish i knew what i did wrong, and why there was that bit of bitterness. i put some almond nut butter on the slice to take away a bit of the odd flavor. i will be trying this again, for sure, and try to do a better job! honestly, i'm just grateful & glad to eat bread again... lol.

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwinter

Hi Winter!
I'm sorry that it has kind of a bitter flavor. It could be the pumpkin seeds. Sometimes pumpkin seeds tend to have a little bitterness to them, and I've noticed that some batches of seeds from my co-op are more bitter than others. I think that fresher seeds have a less bitter flavor than older seeds, so depending on the age of the seeds (even if they've sat a long time at your local grocer), that may have affected the flavor. Perhaps get some new seeds and try it again. Good luck, and thanks for trying the bread and leaving your feedback. xo

July 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterKim

It does look exactly like bread plus one will get the health benefits - and enjoyment - of eating dark chocolate. It is an excellent recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

July 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYoga Teacher Training

This looks heavenly...for my daughter (and me) who's a chocoholic and limited grains at 4. Does anyone have any idea where to get nut free pumpkin seeds?. She tolerates pumpkin seeds in moderation but is anaphylactic to nuts (even contamination) and most of the sources I've found near us have nut warnings. Thanks so much. Dreaming of yum!

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

I love this bread, I have also made it substituting almond meal and walnut meal for the ground pumpkin seeds. Each is delicious in it's own way, Walnut is much lighter, my go to favorite is the original especially when I have one of those chocolate cravings.

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGr8shoes

Hi - Has anyone ever tried this without so much chocolate (though I love it), and with less sweetener? I'm looking for a more savory bread that actually behaves like bread, and since this is the best GF recipe I've ever tried, I wondered about experimenting with it, but since I live in a country where some of the ingredients are expensive or scarce, I don't want to waste all those precious ingredients if it won't work.

And by the way, I did try this with flax in place of the eggs once - it didn't rise, but it made the most wonderful gooey brownies ever! Jan

February 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan Kennedy

Made this today, and I loved every bite! So so so good, great job kimmy!

June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrittinee
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