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. 

Friday
Mar302012

Hello. I'm back. 

me in February

Greetings friends. It's been a while. A long while. I'm still here, really. I've been taking time for myself the last few months, doing much-needed self-maintenance and self-care that had little to do with blogging.

Sure, I've still been cooking and baking up a storm. But I've been doing it without recording everything so intensely and without stressing out over the minimal amount of natural light available during Minnesota winters. Instead of maniacally attacking my laptop as my cookies cooled to write up a post, I've been sitting down with crafts or a book or housemates or friends instead.  Instead of spending weekends holed up in my kitchen, I've been doing all kinds of other things. And I gotta tell ya, it's been great.

My time away has allowed me to form interesting perspective on my place as a food blogger. Since starting my blog in 2008, the landscape of the food blogosphere has changed. It's expanded and exploded and everyone is publishing cookbooks and presenting at conventions and writing for Martha Stewart and Real Simple and doing product reviews and partnerships and doing giveaways all the time and buying amazing cameras and setting up small photo bays at home in their kitchens or wherever the light is the best and sharing everything through every social media channel out there. Blogs are looking beautiful these days, and it is truly inspiring.  And to watch the way that some of my blogging friends have just soared into the stratosphere is really awesome. Hot damn,  they deserve it. 

While I applaud the bloggers that have the energy for that kind of thing, I'm realizing that I just, well, don't. I enjoy the inexactness of spontaneous cooking - something that doesn't bode well for recipe development and cookbook writing. I get overwhelmed by all the new types of social media. I don't want to "check-in" or "pin it", my Twitter accounts were dormant for months, and I'm currently on break from Facebook. Sometimes I only want to focus on what's in front of me, you know? All I wanted to do is make recipes, take a few photos, and share them on my blog, and really, that's all I still want to do, without feeling like I need to participate in all the other stuff. I don't need to have a huge reputation or an outstanding Google rank. I just want to do my own thing and create a space I'm proud of, without pressure. And if people keep noticing and reading, that's awesome! 

In addition to being a cook, a baker, a canner, a fermenter, and a blogger, I am a musician, a crafter and artist, a writer, a gardener, a community organizer, an activist, a whole foods educator, a proud chosen auntie, a committed friend, and a lady about town. This blog is just one of the many ways I express my creativity and define my identity, and I need room for all of these things in my life if I am to remain happy and fulfilled. It's not that I can't focus - I just like to focus on lots of things all at once. 

Honestly, I didn't miss blogging at all until a few weeks ago. It was a relief to allow myself time away from this self-created virtual space, remove myself from the expectations of "oh it's been awhile, I should really post something" or "it's Valentine's Day, I should do a recipe round-up" or "these are great muffins, I should post them". I realized it was okay if I turned the "should" into a "could" and said "no" and did something else instead.

But the desire to write about food and healing is back, and I'll return to my old ways soon, with fresh energy and a new spunk in my step. 

xo

Monday
Dec122011

Can you beet my new forearm tattoo?

I've known for years  someday I would cross the visible tattoo threshold and put a design on my forearm.  More recently, I've been leaning toward a food-centered design that would support my passion for the vegetable kingdom. Well, the blessed day finally came a week and a half ago, when I got these little beauties. Beets, my friends, beets! Aren't they lovely?

My Beet Tattoo

I am a huge fan of black tattoos and greywork, so I'm not getting any color added. I love my design and delicate yet bold effect of the black ink. The skin is still peeling and the area is still a little red and inflamed, but overall it is healing beautifully and looking great. 

I acknowledge that may seem strange for someone that is dedicated to non-toxic living (namely, me) to get themselves voluntarily assaulted with a needle and ink. But despite my sensitivity to oh-so-many things in this world, tattoo ink and I seem to get along just fine. The tattoo process doesn't mess up my qi significantly and the skin heals well. So I say, bring on the ink and let's get to business.

I'm happy to now have the earth (my newly acquired root veggies) and the sky (a flock of birds on my ribcage) represented on my body. What tattoo will be next, I wonder?

Do you have any food tattoos?

 

 

Sunday
Nov272011

Who needs potatoes when you have Parsnip Apple Mash?

IMG_3744.jpg

I haven't eaten potatoes in almost 4 years. Although I undeniably enjoy the starchy goodness of a potato and the multiplicity of ways to enjoy them, consuming them just isn't worth the allergy-induced joint swelling and digestive discomfort that inevitably results. 

Instead of mourning over the loss of potatoes, I found solace in other starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes have always reigned supreme over any other true potato in my book, and I enjoyed a reason to romance their sweet, orange flesh. I adopted my mother's love for parsnips and beets at a young age, and explored their versatility further, quickly becoming obsessed with their different yet equally sweet flavors and hearty textures. I explored the glory of the celeriac, the gnarly vegetable that is also known as celery root, and took a liking to its unique, strong flavor. I tried every squash I could get my hands on, and prepared it almost every way I could think of. I mashed cauliflower to use as a topping for shepherd's pie, made creamy pureed soups from turnips, and made french fries out of rutabagas and carrots. 

Truly, I haven't missed potatoes a bit. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov252011

Honey-sweetened Gluten-free Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Gluten-Free Mesquite Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt
It's happened: winter is slowly setting in on Minnesota. Last week Saturday the yards and streets took on the familiar white layer of fresh snow. Within a few days the snow had melted, which was good - the abundance of fallen leaves on the grass dyed the snow a strange yellow color. It looked like packs of dogs descended upon the neighborhood and lifted their legs on every inch of snow. Hopefully everyone will rake up their leaves so that unfortunate discoloration doesn't repeat itself when another inevitable snowfall arrives.

 

Yellow snow aside, I experienced a surprise flutter of excitement with those first flakes. My relationship with Minnesota winters is historically a tenuous one, but I feel differently this year. My body is healthier and stronger, cold weather doesn't seem like torture, and I'm actually looking forward to talking walks on bright winter days and hearing the crunch of snow underfoot. I just moved back into the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis last week, my favorite neighborhood, and the beauty of this place in the winter is making me giddy. This is my third time living in Seward since moving to Minneapolis in 2004, and I feel like I'm returning home. Literally - I lived in a duplex directly across the street  from 2005-2006 and lived in another duplex two blocks north from 2007-2009. Seward is the kind of neighborhood where people bike and walk all year round, where the ice rink in the park is regularly used, and where freshly made snow people line the front yards. The neighborhood is nestled between the Mississippi River and railroad lines, and the quaint houses reflect its modest, blue-color upbringing. My favorite food co-op is three blocks from my front door, bike paths abound, a community park and a Montessori school are on the other side of my block, and people wave when they pass each other in cars. It's wonderful. Once the snow falls again, I'll take some photos. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov212011

Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-free Thanksgiving Recipes

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  On Thursday the nation will gorge themselves on turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, those pasty dinner rolls and pie. Lots and lots of pie.  For those of us with allergies, such holiday meals can be like obstacle courses. The traditional Thanksgiving fare leaves those of us with multiple dietary restrictions feeling left out at the family table.  

Fear not! Thankfully, there are many delicious ways to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving without sacrificing your diet.   Here are some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for holiday get-togethers and good enough for your very traditional grandma and your picky uncle to enjoy. 

Cashew-Pumpkin Seed Cheese with Apple-Cranberry Sauce

Appetizers

 

Cabbage-Apple Slaw 

Salads

 

 Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Soups

 

Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder with Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato, and Apple

Main Course 

Who says you need to cook a whole turkey? Try one of these other protein packed options instead.

 

Paprika Rice

Stuffing Substitutes

Gravy

 

 Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash

Sides

 

socca with rosemary and cumin

Breads & Muffins

 

Sweet Potato Crumble Bars

Pies & Bars

 

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Other Sweet Treats

 

Rainbow Curry Chicken Stew

Yummy leftover turkey ideas