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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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


Celery Root & Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

I went to the last Saturday farmer's market last weekend. It is tragic to think that this coming Saturday, my bags and I will not be going to the market. I won't be able to flirt with cute farm boys, I will no longer have the anticipation of which vegetable will finally be ready harvest, and I will no longer be able to buy the tasty Cauliflower Pakoras made by the friendly woman who makes kitchari and chutney and all sorts of delightful Indian entrees.

The upside?

I made out like a bandit and got some great deals from farmers looking to get rid of the last of their harvest.

I purchased some beautiful celery roots, jerusalem artichokes, turnips, beets, parsnips, and kohlrabi, among other things. I had a lot of cooking to do this weekend - and that I did. But my fridge is still bursting, and I needed to use up some veggies. I wanted to use up my celery roots and make a small dent in the stash of jerusalem artichokes in my crisper. So, a quick soup was needed.

The result? A creamy, dreamy puree of two of the most unattractive members of the vegetable kingdom, the celery root and the jerusalem artichoke. Knobby and gnarled, they both are far too often ignored in American cuisine! The French use celery root, or celeriac, frequently in cooking, and have lots of tasty recipes for it. It tastes like celery, but more mellow and starchy and delicious. Perfect for a pureed soup. The jerusalem artichoke, also known as the sunchoke, is the tuber from a variety of sunflower. It is starchy and tastes a lot like a potato, and lends itself well as a potato substitue. Jerusalem artichokes make great 'home fries' if you roast them, or can be shredded and made like hash browns. Or, eat them raw, grated on a salad. Paired with celery root, it makes this soup tasty and creamy as can be. Quick and easy, this recipe makes a ton in a very short amount of time.

Celery Root and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

2 celery roots (a.k.a. celeriac), diced
5-6 jerusalem artichokes, about 2 cups diced OR 1-2 potatoes
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T thyme
1/2 t red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil/butter combination
7-8 c broth
optional: splash rice/soy/hemp/nut milk

In heavy bottomed soup kettle, heat oil/butter over low heat. Add onions, and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and celery, saute for 2 more minutes. Add carrots, saute for 2 minutes. Add chopped celery root, jerusalem artichokes, bay leaf, and broth, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, and simmer until vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat, and using a blender, food processer, or immersion blender, puree soup until smooth and creamy. If desired, add a splash of your preferred milk substitute to add to the creaminess. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste, and puree again to mix and make smooth.

Serve warm with anything!


New favorite cookbook: The Natural Gourmet

I would highly recommend "The Natural Gourmet" by AnneMarie Colbin. I am borrowing this book from a dear friend of my mom's, who lent me a number of cookbooks. This cookbook is my favorite from the stack - is a goldmine of incredible recipes that are easy, nutritious, delicious, and based on vegetables, legumes, and grains. I don't have to substitute a darn thing in half the recipes, which given my current dietary restrictions, is incredible. Pulling from various food traditions, she provides a lot of useful information about food combining, flavors, and the five elements theories, discusses different ingredients, and gives suggestions on kitchen tools and equipment. Most of all, I love her soup recipes - I am a soup person, I could (and, basically, do) live on soup. This weekend I made three batches of soup from her book with my purchases from the farmer's market: carrots, turnips, onions, squash, parsnips, to name a few. All three were delicious: Hungarian Asparagus Soup, Squash-Carrot-Parsnip Soup, and Japanese Red Bean Soup. My freezer is bursting and ready for winter.

Check it out on Amazon: CLICK HERE

Her recipes do use some gluten containing grains (wheat, barley), and she does use butter, natural sweeteners, and other items that are on my no-no list. But, some of those can be substituted. And besides, no cookbook will ever match your needs 100% on every recipe. Overall, this cookbook is a winner, I need to get my own copy! She also has written other cookbooks that sound just as enticing.


Sunshine Burger on a cloudy day.

I was hungry for something this morning beyond my usual bowl of warm spiced grain. It is dreary, drizzly, and cool today Minneapolis, the kind of morning that in the past would have warranted a quick run to the cafe down the street for a steaming Americano and a trip to the cafeteria for a spinach, turkey, and cheese omelet.

Unfortunately, that's not really on the menu right now. I needed a substitute.

After eating a small piece of lasagna (Butternut, Fennel, and Chard Lasagna - recipe to come!) this morning while packing my lunch, and still feelings pangs of hunger, I knew I'd have to come up with something at work. Then I remembered! A package of Sunshine Burgers was waiting for me in the freezer. I recently discovered Sunshine Burgers, delightful little patties made solely of brown rice, ground raw sunflower seeds, carrots, and herbs. Convenient, delicious, minimally processed, and totally free of gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, and corn!

I have tried both the Garden Herb and Original, and have a box of South West style (with black beans, red pepper, cilantro, etc) waiting for me in the freezer at home. This is the Sunshine Burger website, check 'em out: http://sunshineburger.com/

This is how I did mine up this morning in the microwave at work, using leftover brown rice and the remaining sauteed chard from last night's lasagna-making experiment.


Sunshine Breakfast

1 Sunshine Burger
1 c wilted greens (I used red chard)
1/2 c brown rice
Ground flax seed
Flax seed oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put frozen Sunshine Burger, greens, and brown rice in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, until everything is warmed through. Chop up Sunshine Burger and stir up ingredients until mixed, like a scramble. Warm for 20-30 more seconds. Remove from microwave, add flax meal and flax oil, and season as desired.

This would be even more satisfying if made on the stove in a fry pan - Sunshine Burgers are really tasty when warmed up in a pan!


Beet Hummus (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

I've been cooking and baking up a storm since I got the chest freezer, and it has already proven to be a huge convenience item for me. I love being able to grab something wholesome on the go! I will be sharing recipes as time goes on, I've got some good ones!

A quick and easy one to share now...

Beet Hummus

Inspired by leftover cooked beets and the ever-present cans of garbanzos in my pantry, this recipe is tasty, nutritious, and beautiful. I squealed with delight at the fuschia-pink color, and squealed again when I tasted the sweetness of the beets mingling with the thyme and garlic. For a golden-hued variation, try golden beets or a mix of golden and red. Good for you, fast, pink, and ultimately versatile, this hummus rocks.

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 medium beets, cooked and peeled (approximately 1 c cooked - you could use frozen or canned if you don't have fresh)
2-4 cloves garlic, either raw, roasted, or lightly sauteed (your preference)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp dry thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
optional: 1-2 T sesame tahini

Put beans, beets, garlic, tahini (optional) and olive oil in blender or food processor, and blend until well mixed. Add additional olive oil if necessary. Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and blend again until well mixed and smooth, adjusting seasoning as necessary.

v1: Reserve 1/4 c of garbanzos. Prepare hummus as directed above and blend beet/bean mixture until completely smooth. Lightly mash reserved garbanzos, or leave whole, and stir them in to smooth hummus. The whole garbanzos look like little golden jewels in a pink velvet sea. Or something like that. Fun!

v2: Prepare hummus as directed in main instructions above, but do not blend until completely smooth. This results in a highly textured hummus full of chunky beets and bean.

Garnish with parsley, fresh thyme, whole garbanzos, olive oil, or beet matchsticks. Enjoy any number of ways - serve in a bowl with veggies, or spread flatbreads, crackers, sandwiches. If you can eat goat milk products, this would be amazing with goat cheese. Or, you could thin mixture with water, broth, or rice/soy milk, and use as a sauce over steamed veggies, pastas, sweet potatoes, grains, or squash. If you have leftovers (unlikely, but possible), add broth and other veggies if you'd like, heat through, and eat as a warm, creamy Borscht-like soup.

Any way you serve it, it is sure to please! Enjoy.


Chest freezer = AWESOME

My parents bought me a 5.5 cubic foot chest freezer. My first appliance. My small, apartment size refrigerator/freezer combo just wasn't cutting it for long-term food storage, and I was spending too much time making things from scratch constantly. So, now I can cook BIG batches, freeze up servings, and have my very own, homecooked fast food! Perhaps I will have a life outside my kitchen once again!

I went to the farmer's market and stocked up on veggies, and my mom and I had a cooking extravaganza. My freezer now has beets, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, green beans, yellow beans, homemade beet pasta sauce, some tasty homebaked, gluten free, homemade chicken stock, cooked frozen grains, sugar free breads and muffins (recipes to come!), and four different soups! All this on top of some good store-bought frozen standards - good meats, frozen veggies, . The coolest part is that I also received a FoodSaver, which vacuum seals your food into little, reusable plastic bags. Things last WAY longer in the refrigerator and freeze better once vacuum sealed. Kind of like canning, but easier. Either take the item out of the bag and heat, or put whole bag in a pan of simmering water and heat until contents are warm! Then open the bag, and pour out your tasty, warm, wholesome food. Awesome. I can't wait to FoodSave more stuff.

For example, did you know you can keep vacuum sealed hard cheeses for up to three years in the fridge? Not that I"m eating cheese right now, but kind of an interesting fact regardless. Pretty cool.