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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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


It's gettin' steamy in here: Steamed Sigtebrod a.k.a. Danish Spiced "Rye" Bread (gluten free, vegan)

I've been wanting to try my hand at making a gluten free steamed bread for quite some time now. Baking buns, biscuits, breads and puddings with steam is a very traditional way of baking that isn't done very commonly here in U.S., with the exception of Boston Brown Bread. But in other cultures, it is a standard, everyday way of preparing baked goods! In India, there is the dhokla, a steamed bread made of besan (chickpea) flour, yogurt, and spices. In Kenya, millet and sorghum are fermented, and then steamed into biscuits. In the UK and Australia, steamed puddings and cakes are common special occasion treats. In China and Japan, rice flour dough is filled with various sweet and savory ingredients, and steamed into little buns and mochi.

Many steamed recipes are naturally free of eggs, gluten, and dairy, due to the traditional cuisine of cultures who steam. A perfect solution for those of us on special diets! Steamed breads don't require added fats or oils, so they are great for people watching their fat intake. Plus, you don't need to use the oven! All you need is boiling water, a large covered pot, a can or baking tin of some kind, and a couple hours to sit back and let your bread steam over a low flame. Simple!

I've been wanting to try out this recipe for dhokla, but I'm in the midst of a detox, and all dairy is out the window for the next month. While I could adapt it to be dairy free, I really crave the tang of goat yogurt with the besan flour. So, February will be dhokla month (if I don't cave and make a dairy free version before then). Instead, I decided to adapt a steamed bread recipe from The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, by Marjorie Hurt Jones. I would highly recommend this cookbook - not only does it have a wide variety of recipes that are free of all the most common allergens, it also has tons of great, useful information about ingredients, substitutions, basic nutrition, food families, rotary diets, etc etc etc. The recipes are delicious, clever, easy, and don't use lots and lots of crazy, expensive hard-to-find ingredients.

Rather than make the sweet, fruit-studded rice and sunflower seed bread from Marjorie's recipe, I decided to throw in a Danish twist. In my gluten-eating days, I was always a sucker for a dark, heavy rye-based loaf, laced with caraway, dill, or fennel. I can't help it, I'm a Dane through and through. I've been craving the deep taste of a heavy, dark loaf - so, I decided to make a gluten-free, yeast-free steamed version of sigtebrod, a traditional Danish spiced rye bread. To emulate the rich flavor and color of rye, I chose a healthful blend of buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and carob flour. I used a traditional combination of spices from this recipe. To fit my allergies, I omitted the orange zest, but you should use it! Throwing back to Marjorie's recipe, I included ground almonds extra protein, and dark agave nectar replaces the sigtebrod's traditional molasses.

The result? A moist, dense loaf, studded with aromatic seeds, boasting a rich flavor, dark rye-like appearance, and lots of fiber and protein. Plus, a thick slice has as much vitamin C as glass of orange juice, thanks to vitamin C crystals. All in all, this bread packs a nutritious punch in a fun, ridged cylindrical shape. You can even slice it thin.

Steamed Sigtebrod a.k.a. Danish Spiced "Rye" Bread (gluten free, vegan)

1/2 c buckwheat flour
1/4 c + 2 T millet flour
1/4 c amaranth flour
3 T carob powder
1 1/2 t baking powder*
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/2 t caraway seeds
1/2 t anise seeds
1/2 t ground cardamom
optional: 1/2 t orange zest
1/2 c almonds, or other nut
1 1/4 c boiling water or apple juice
1/4 t unbuffered vitamin C crystals** (or 1 T lemon juice or vinegar)
optional: 1 T - 1/4 c agave nectar, depending on your tastes and sugar tolerance

large covered pot or dutch oven
boiling water
1 qt baking mold or empty 1 lb can (bean tins work great!)
tin foil
rubber band/string
metal rack or empty bowl
food processor


  1. Liberally oil mold/can.
  2. In large bowl, combine flours, carob, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground, stirring between pulses. Add boiling water/juice, and process for 20 seconds. Add agave nectar and vitamin C crystals, and process briefly.
  4. Pour almond mixture into flour, and mix until until evenly moistened and combined. Do not overmix! If too dry, add a little more boiling water.
  5. Spoon batter into the well-oiled tin/can, leaving 1/2-1 inch between the batter and the edge of the can for bread to expand. Cover top with double layer of foil, creating a slight dome shape, leaving room for the dough to rise, and secure with rubberband/string. I did not do this and mine exploded through the foil!
  6. Place a wire rack in the large pot, and put the can on the rack. Pour in enough freshly boiled water to come half way up the sides of the can.
  7. Cover the pot, placing a towel between the pot and cover if necessary to create a tight seal. Place the pot over medium-low heat, and steam for 2 hours. Do not remove the cover while steaming!
  8. After 2 hours, remove lid, and check if bread is cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, bread is done! If not, re-cover can with foil, steam another 10-15 minutes, and recheck.
  9. Remove mold/can from pot, remove foil, and let bread cool in the mold/can for 10-15 minutes. Transfer bread to wire rack to finish cooling completely before slicing. Once ready to slice, serrated knife works best!
  10. HINT: Have a little leftover batter, but not enough to warrant a second can? Blob leftovers onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, spread 3/8-1/4 inch thick, and bake 8-10 minutes at 350 F. It makes a tasty flatbread.

Serve bread slices with your favorite nut butters or spreads, use for tiny finger sandwiches, or slice thick and dish up along with a warm cup of soup. Would be delicious served with lox, mustard sauce, and capers. I think it should freeze well, so make a double batch and stash the extra loaf in the freezer for later. Nyde!


Approximate nutritional information:
Per loaf: 975 cal, 36 g fat, 145 g carbs, 22 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 30 g protein, 1,250 mg vitamin C (2083% daily value)

*If allergic to corn, make a baking powder substitute by combining 1 part arrowroot : 1 part baking soda : 1 part cream of tartar. Store in a well sealed glass jar and use in equal amounts to baking powder.

**Unbuffered vitamin C crystals make a great acid substitute for lemon juice or vinegar in recipes. According to The Allergy Self Help Cookbook, use 1/4 t unbuffered vitamin C crystals for each tablespoon on lemon juice. Marjorie suggests using vitamin C crystals equal to half the amount of baking soda. Look for vitamin C crystals, in powder form, in the vitamin department of your local health foods store or on many vitamin retail sites online, like this one.



Sunny Quinoa Burgers (vegan, gluten-free, ACD)

It may be cloudy outside, but I'm having a sunny start to 2009 in my kitchen.

I've been wanting to make my own sunflower seed burger, mimicking the beloved Sunshine Burger, but with a non-rice base. Thanks to 2009, I have the day off today, and decided to give a whirl. I'm totally pleased with the result of my experiment! I had some red quinoa already cooked up in the fridge, and thought its sticky texture would make the perfect base to hold everything together. I was right! The result is dense, high-protein, super nutritious burger that could be jazzed up a million ways. The red quinoa and flecks of green parsley look lovely as well. Success! I'd like to try this recipe again, including grated carrot, finely diced onion, miced bell pepper, or something along those lines...

I used the seeds raw, but you could toast them if desired for a nuttier flavor. Also, I kept the seasonings really simple, but you could add any combination of herbs and spices. Eat with your favorite gluten-free bread, sandwich fillings, and a side of veggies, or serve alone with a tasty dip! Or - here's a thought - make the balls really small and serve up like savory truffles...I'm doing that for the next party I host.


Sunny Quinoa Burgers

yield: 4-6 burgers, depending on how large you make them

1 c raw sunflower seeds
1 1/4 c cooked red or white quinoa
splash water
1 tsp Herbamare, celery salt, or seasoning salt OR a splash of tamari
1/4 c finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried onion flakes
optional: any other herbs/spices you'd like

Pulse sunflower seeds in food processor or blender until coarsely ground, until they resemble very coarse bread crumbs. You may have to grind your seeds in batches depending on how large your processor/blender is. Transfer ground seeds to large bowl.

Place 1 c of the cooked quinoa, Herbamare, parsley/herbs/spices in the processor/blender. Pulse a few times with a splash of water, stirring between pulses, adding just enough water to get things moistened. You want a chunky paste to form, with some whole quinoa grains left over. Transfer quinoa paste to the bowl with the ground seeds.

With a big spatula or your hands (my preference!), knead the quinoa and seeds together, adding the remaining 1/4 c of whole quinoa grain. It should form a slightly moist, sticky dough.
Divide into 4-6 balls, and flatten into patties. Eat as is if you are in a hurry, though they won't be as tasty as if you warm them up for a crispy nutty flavor!

To warm them you have two options:

  1. option 1 (no added fat): heat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment, and bake until warm and golden, flipping as necessary.
  2. option 2 (crispy and delicious): heat sunflower oil in fry pan. When hot, fry patties until warmed through, and golden brown and crisp.

Approximate nutritional information per patty (yield 5 patties): 200 calories, 12 g fat, 18 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 7 g protein


Approximate nutritional information for entire recipe: 1000 calories, 61 g fat, 90 g carbs, 17 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 36 g protein

Bon appetit!


Tarragon Roasted Turnips (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

"I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." --James Beard

I love turnips. And so did the Greeks and Romans - ancient author Pliny the Elder heralded turnips as one of the most important vegetables of the time. Cultivated nearly 4,000 years ago in the Near East, this humble member of the brassica family is versatile, stores well, and is a powerhouse of nutrition. Like the other brassicas, they have a slightly cabbagey, bitey flavor. Raw, they are crisp and pungent, and make a great addition to salads. Cooked in soups, they add a depth of flavor and nice, starchy texture. Roasted, they make great home fries. Sliced and fried, they get crisp and rich. Mashed and whipped, they are a great substitute for potatoes. Sliced thin and layered, they make a beautiful gratin. Even their greens are delicious and super nutritious! Turnips show up in a wide variety of food traditions, from French to Chinese to Eastern European to American Southern. Oh, how I love turnips and their endless versatility!

In addition to being tasty, they are darn good for you. Like other members of the brassica family, turnips have special health-promoting phytochemicals that fight cancer and other illnessess, and are naturally antifungal. Chinese medicine asserts that turnips help to move the qi and clear phlegm and mucous, making them a great choice for damp conditions like lung congestion or candida. They are low in calories and low glycemic, and full of fiber, folate, manganese, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. In fact, 1 cup of turnips provides nearly 50% of your daily recommended Vitamin C!

A cool weather crop, turnips are bounitful in the fall and winter, so now is the perfect time of year to introduce turnips to your diet. Look for firm turnips, free of blemishes, with smooth skin. While turnips can grow to be quite large, smaller turnips have a milder flavor and more tender texture that I prefer. Easily confused with a rutabaga and some radishes, the most most common turnip is white, and may have a purple, reddish, or green top. My local co-op has a beautiful heirloom variety of turnip that is a deep ruby red and is oh-so-tasty.

I had a number of turnips in my crisper that needed to get used up, so I decided on a French-inspired roasted turnip using tarragon. If you've never used tarragon, I'd recommend getting some to try - it has an aromatic licorice-y/anise-y flavor, and is often used in French cuisine for sauces, fish, and eggs. I adore tarragon, and think it combines perfectly with the turnip. This recipe is quick and delicious, and has a remarkebly complex flavor for being so simple. I would have a photo to share of the beautiful roasted little morsels, but I just ate most of them. Enjoy!

Tarragon Roasted Turnips

Yield: approx 2 cups roasted

5-6 small or 3-4 medium turnips (approx 2 1/2 c diced)
1 T dried tarragon
1-2 T olive oil
sprinkling salt and pepper to taste
optional: drizzle lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Wash and peel turnips, and dice into approximately 1 in. x 1 in. cubes.
Place diced turnips in heavy, oven-safe baking dish or roasting pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on tarragon, salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat.
Place in oven, and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, or until turnips are soft and golden brown.
Serve warm or chilled over sauteed greens (like TURNIP GREENS, for example!), grains, or beans, or as a tasty side dish to fish, poultry, or meat. Delicious with a squirt of lemon juice, if you can tolerate citrus!




Holiday and New Year's Greetings

To a peaceful end to 2008 and a hopeful start to 2009. May this holiday season and the coming new year bring you and those you health, wealth, love, laughter, prosperity, and peace. Positive thoughts for 2009 and beyond!

This year I chose to send holiday and new year's blessings with this remarkably cheesy design! Working at a photo studio has its perks now and then...

Best wishes to those of you I know and all of you I don't yet. Be kind, think positive, and may love chase all your fears.



Soft Amaranth Quinoa Buns (Gluten-free, Vegan, ACD)

I had an experiment with amaranth flour earlier this week, and while it didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, I think it is decent enough to post. This recipe makes 8-10 good size, flattish buns/rolls. They are chewy, moist, and flavorful, and could stand any number of added variations, like herbs, spices, chopped up dried fruit, or nuts, or substitute fruit juice for the milk/water.

These might work baked in muffin tins as well - if you try that, give it a shot and let me know how it works!

Soft Amaranth Quinoa Buns

1/2 c amaranth flour
3/4 c quinoa flour
1/2 c quinoa flakes
1 T arrowroot powder
2 T flaxmeal
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
1 T coconut oil (solid, not warmed)
1/2 c applesauce
1 c water, milk, or milk substitute

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Rub coconut oil into flour mixture with your fingers until well incorporated.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix applesauce, and water/milk. Mix well, then gradually add to flour mixture. Stir until evenly mixed and moistened, adding more water as necessary, to create a goopy, spoonable batter. Add any optional additional seeds, nuts, fruits, etc at this point, and stir until just evenly mixed.
Spoon batter onto prepared cookie sheet, in 3-4 inch rounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then transfer to cooling rack.

Smear as is with your favorite spread or nut butter, or slap two together and make a sandwich. Great reheated in the toaster oven - the top gets crusty and golden brown. Yum! These freeze and thaw very well.


Approximate nutritional information per bun:
125 calories, 4 g fat, 17 g carb, 2.5 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 3 g protein

12/31/08 update: I put two frozen and thawed buns to the test over the holiday weekend! I made a sandwich with two buns, a Sunshine Burger patty, hummus, lettuce, and cucumber slices, wrapped it in tinfoil, and took it on the road for my drive home. The sandwich held together well enough that I could eat it while driving without creating a total mess! Awesome. I was most impressed at the fact that they actually held together - no crumbling, no breaking, no lost sandwich fillings! Thaw frozen buns at room temperature, or place in toaster oven and toast for slightly longer than usual for a crisp outside and chewy inside!