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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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

Entries in Blog Events (63)


August SOS Kitchen Challenge Round Up: Mint

Last month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and me, featured none other than everyone's favorite invasive herb: mint! We received so many wonderful sweet and savory contributions from bloggers all around the world. I found myself drooling regularly whenever I'd check the Linky for updates.

We saw everything from dips to salad dressings to bean dishes using mint, as well as wide assortment of delicious desserts.  As a devoted chocolate lover, I must confess that my favorite way to use mint is in combination with chocolate. Our readers certainly did not disappoint me and provided many delicious ways to combine two of my favorite ingredients: Mint-Chip Ice Cream, Maca Mint Blondies, Frozen Mint Mojito Avocado Truffles, Not-So-Faux After Eights, and Coconut Milk Mint Chip Ice Cream.  Amazing!

Check out the Linky below for a listing of all the recipe submissions for last month's challenge. You may discover a new blogger and find your new favorite recipe, and that's what this challenge is all about.  Thanks to everyone who participated, and we hope you'll join us for this month's challenge, which will be announced on Tuesday. Any guesses on what September's ingredient will be?

Click to read more ...


Grain-Free Tabouli Salad with Mint and Olives (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)


This month's SOS Kitchen Challenge ingredient is mint, one of my favorite herbs. So, here we go!

I love the way that Middle Eastern food uses mint in savory dishes. One of my favorite Middle Eastern salads is tabouli. I adore tabouli!  When I stopped eating wheat and could no longer make tabouli with the traditional bulgar, I started using quinoa and millet instead, which works like a charm. Right now I'm on a grain break, so my standard gluten-free tabouli isn't really in the cards.  Desperate to satisfy my tabouli cravings, I was trying to come up with ways to make a decent grain-free tabouli salad.  I have seen recipes for tabouli made with finely chopped nuts or seeds, but the thought of eating that much nut or seed in one sitting along with other foods is a little overwhelming to my digestion. Then it came to me - cauliflower "rice" is so delicious, why not use it as a stand-in for bulgar in tabouli?

Hey, where there's a will, there's a way.

Click to read more ...


August SOS Kitchen Challenge: MINT!

It's August already! HOW?! I don't believe it. This summer has flown by soquickly; I've only been to the beach twice, haven't gone camping, and hardly have a tan. Granted, I've been spending lots of time in the garden, went to New York, and been have spent lots of time walking around the lakes of Minneapolis, but still!  Where did summer go?

Despite my urge to just throw care to the wind, drop out of society, and go live in a beach hut or in the woods or on a farm for the rest of the warmer months, I am sucked into the crazy spin of living a busy urban life.  Between work, blogging, weddings, travel, health stuff, and all my personal projects, I have hardly had a moment to breath!  Yes, this summer has been crazy for both Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs (my SOS Kitchen Challenge co-host) and me. We've both been running around this summer like chickens with our heads cut off, it seems. So, we took the month of July off, and are now back from our SOS holiday and ready and rarin' to go. Not that August is any less busy - I have friends' weddings galore, and Ricki is busy marking papers. But we've decided to kick off another challenge anyway.

We are both very excited for our fourth challenge.  In April, you showed us what you can do with beets. In May, you amazed us with spinach. In June, you celebrated summer with rhubarb. And now for the sweltering month of August, Ricki and I are encouraging you to cool down one of our favorite herbs.


Your challenge is to create either sweet or savory dishes (or both, if you're really adventurous--though of course, that's not required) to submit to the event using mint in any way, shape, or form. Full rules are posted here.  And please note a few changes to the event's structure, also mentioned below.

Of course, mint is great for those times when you need a respite from the crazy-making work, boss, kids, traffic, neighbors, dogs, baby, etc.  And aside from its incredible health-promoting qualities (it's a great tonic for indigestion, nausea, headache or even congestion; it has antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities; and it's actually an excellent source of vitamins A and C), mint just plain tastes great.  And, as Ricki and I have both discovered, it's an almost indestructible perennial plant - both our gardens are both blessed/cursed with it!

Mint originated in Europe and the Mediterranean, and is now cultivated around the world.  With over thirty varieties of mint (mostly peppermint and spearmint), each with its own distinct properties and heady aroma courtesy of the menthol they contain, mint is a useful and versatile herb.  

Mint is appropriate in both sweet or savory dishes, from classics like peppermint candies or chocolates to mint chutneys and curries.  It makes a soothing, cooling beverage as well,  as we witnessed when Daisy, Gatsby et al sipped on their refreshing mint juleps.

If you'd like to participate in the challenge, all you need to do is create a new recipe and submit it through a link form at the bottom of this page (no more e-mailing, for all you past participants). Please enter the recipe description, your name, and your blog's name in the description, and upload a photo, following the Linky prompts. By entering through the submission form below, it will automatically display a photo and will have a link that will direct readers to your blog.  The images will display on both Ricki's and my blog, doubling your exposure!  We'll leave the form open until the end of the month, just in time for the next SOS Challenge! Please be sure to link up to this page, lin and mention the SOS Challenge in your blog post.

Please remember to follow the rules - vegan, no refined sugars, and natural, whole foods ingredients only - or at the very least, make sure you offer reliable substitutions for those things in your recipe if you use something else. Recipes that do not comply will be removed from the Linky list.  

We look forward to sharing our minty recipes with you and seeing what you create!  Check back often to see all the great submissions to this month's SOS challenge!

August SOS Kitchen Challenge: MINT


This linky list is now closed. 






Lacto-Fermented Vinegar-Free Cucumber Pickles (gluten-free, vegan, raw, ACD)

'Tis the season to preserve, friends, so I'm posting another recipe for pickled vegetables.  You can't escape the natural cycles of the growing season.  So, I'm offering this one up for Summerfest 2010, a community blog event celebrating summer ingredients.  This week's theme is cucumbers and zucchini, so it was perfect timing for my pickles.

I have to say that these are the best dill pickles I have ever tasted. Granted, I'm partial, but seriously, these are crunchy, not too salty, and full of garlic, dill, and spices. And best yet, there isn't a drop of vinegar to be found - they are naturally pickled and fermented in a salt brine, and are full of beneficial bacteria. 

Lacto-fermentation is a process of preserving foods that relies on lactic acid, a naturally occurring preservative that is produced by lactobacilli. Lactobacilli are live bacteria that exist on the surface of every living thing. At the most basic level, you create a brine of water and salt, which preserves the food long enough for the lactobacilli to catch up and produce lactic acid, which then preserves the food for the long-term. In addition to being preserved, the food is live, meaning that the healthy bacteria are still thriving in the finished food product and are available to your body. Live beneficial probiotic bacteria - like those found in these pickles - help strengthen immune system function, aid in detoxification, and regulate digestion. When you learn to control the production of lactic acid, you are able to protect against putrefying bacteria and safely preserve all kinds of foods, from meats, to vegetables, to fruits, to beverages. Unlike vinegar-cured and canned pickles which are shelf-stable, most lacto-fermented foods require refrigeration or cold storage.

I make a lot of fermented food and find it to be very beneficial to my overall health, especially because I take so many antibiotics for Lyme Disease treatment.  I've been playing around with cucumber pickles since last summer, but just hadn't hit the right combination of factors until now. I think I finally nailed it, and have concluded that it comes down to a few decisive factors...

Click to read more ...


June SOS Kitchen Challenge: Rhubarb Round-Up

As you may recall, rhubarb was the choice for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and me. This recipe challenge is focused on using a key ingredient to create all natural, sugar-free, vegan recipes. Our readers certainly didn't disappoint for the third installment of our challenge, and Ricki and I are excited to share a wide array of delicious-looking, allergy-friendly, vegan recipes for you!  Depending on where you live, it may not be too late for rhubarb - up here in Minnesota, rhubarb still abounds at the farmers market, the co-ops, and in backyards!

This month was incredibly busy for both Ricki and me, and we both found ourselves strapped for time. Next month will be the same, so we have decided to go on summer holiday from the challenge for the month of July and will return in August.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our global shout-out to rhubarb.  Feast your eyes on these incredible sweet and savory submissions...



 Raw Cashew Coconut Rhubarb Cookies

Raw Cashew Coconut Rhubarb Cookies from A-K at Swell Vegan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

gluten-free, vega, raw, sugar-free

I actually dreamt about these cookies last night! A-K makes wonderful use of dates, coconut, and  rhubarb, in a lovely raw cookie that doesn't require any unusual ingredients or a food dehydrator.


Baked Rhubarb and Apples with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest

Baked Rhubarb and Apples with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest from Janet at The Taste Space, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free option

Janet's recipe looks so wonderful, and her photos make me feel like I can almost taste the rhubarb!  The combination of flavors is unexpected and very unique; she is a creative chef with a wonderful blog.


Millet Biscuits with Rhubarb

Millet Biscuits with Rhubarb by Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, ACD/sugar free

Ricki's delicious-looking adaptation of this recipe from Celiac Teen features little chunks of rhubarb in a tender millet-based biscuit. I want one warm from the oven, smeared with coconut oil...


Rhubarb Shortcakes

Rhubarb Shortcakes from Rachel at My Munchable Musings, just oustide of Seattle, Washington, USA

wheat-free, vegan, refined sugar-free (could be adapted to totally sugar-free), could be adapted to nut-free

Listed on her site as Spelt Biscuits with Lemony Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, these little biscuits are gluten free and look wonderful, and are covered with a light strawberry rhubarb compote that is scented with lemon balm. How clever! She also includes a very intriguing-looking recipe for Rhubarb Pilaf that she hopes to try making some day, so be sure to check it out!


Date Rhubarb Pecan Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Date Pecan Crumble Cake from Gretchen at The Gluten-Free Edge, Georgetown, Texas, USA

gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar free

Janet struggled to track down rhubarb in her hot, dry home state of Texas, but managed to find it, and whipped up this luscious looking gluten-free crumble cake.


Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Cake with Pine Nuts

Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Cake with Pine Nuts from Kim at Affairs of Living, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

gluten free, vegan, ACD option

Sweet rhubarb and strawberry sauce is sandwiched between moist, dense layer of cake, and topped with a pine nut crumble. Brunch never had it so good.


Rhubarb Muffins , Rhubarb Compote Loaf with Fresh Strawberries, Rockin' Rhubarb Chutney, and Rhubarb-Raisin "Rum"ble Cake

Rhubarb Muffins , Rhubarb Compote Loaf with Fresh Strawberries, Rhubarb-Raisin "Rum"ble Cake, and Rockin' Rhubarb Chutney from Sarah at What Smells So Good?, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

options for vegan and sugar-free

Wow, Sarah really went crazy with rhubarb.  Muffins, bread, a cake, and chutney? The muffins sound light and flavorful, and perfect for breakfast or snacks on the go. The compote loaf has a swirl of rhubarb compote throughout, which is so clever, and that rhubarb-raising "rum"ble cake sounds nothing short of decadent. And while they all look delicious, but the chutney sounds particularly tantalizing - how can you go wrong with a cooked up mixture of warm spices, rhubarb, red onion, and raisins?


Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce 

 Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce from Lisa at Vegan Cookbook Critic, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, sugar-free/ACD, raw

Lisa's raw rhubarb sauce relies on the sweetness of dates and strawberries instead of sugar or other sweeteners, with a touch of ginger and orange for a final flavorful twist. 


Sugar-Free Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

Sugar-Free Rhubarb Strawberry Jam, from Kim at Affairs of Living, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

gluten-free, vegan, ACD option

 Inspired by the strawberry rhubarb jam from my childhood, I came up with this tasty sugar-free and vegan version, scented with just a hint of cardamom.


Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream by Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, ACD

Ricki's ingenious ice cream recipe features coconut milk, walnuts, and peaches or pears for the creamy base, with a delicious sounding swirl of rhubarb. Perfect for a hot summer day!



Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices by Janet at The Taste Space, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, ACD

Janet's adaptation of Mark Bittman's recipe looks wonderful and intriguing, full of warming Indian spices, tart rhubarb, and flavorful lentils. What a wonderful vegan main course!


Sweet and Sour Chickpeas

Sweet and Sour Chickpeas by Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

gluten-free, vegan, ACD

Featuring warming spices and Indian flavors, the rhubarb adds a "sour" element to the flavorful sauce used in Ricki's chickpea dish.  This sounds delicious!


Beetroot and Rhubarb Soup 

Beetroot and Rhubarb Soup by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe, Melbourne, Australia

gluten-free, vegan, ACD

Bursting with root vegetables, cabbage, rhubarb, and a hint of orange, Johanna's recipe sounds wonderfully flavorful, aromatic, and satisfying. And the color is marvelous! This soup looks perfect for a cool day (it is winter in Australia, after all - where does one find rhubarb in the winter?), but I bet it would also be wonderful chilled for those of us experiencing the warm summer days of the NOrthern hemisphere. Joanna also includes a recipe for a tofu-based vegan "sour cream" to use for garnish.

Curried Rhubarb Coleslaw

Curried Rhubarb Coleslaw from Kim at Affairs of Living, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

gluten-free, vegan, ACD, raw

Crunchy, flavorful, and colorful, this slaw is perfect for early summer days, and boasts and unexpected twist of raw rhubarb and curry powder.


What a delicious looking array of recipes!  We also had a handful of submissions from readers who either didn't follow our ingredient rules (as posted here and here) or submitted posts dated before or after the deadline.  However, the recipes did look wonderful, and I didn't have the heart not to include them in the round up.  We will be sure to re-emphasize the ingredient rules that are posted on the SOS page at the challenge kick-off to eliminate any possible confusion, as well as emphasize the deadline, and next time will only be including posts that fall within those guidelines. 


Thanks to all for participating, and see you back here in August for the next SOS Kitchen Challenge! I wonder what the ingredient will be...

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