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. 

Entries in Holiday Recipe Ideas (19)


Homemade Honey Chocolate for your Honey (gluten-free, cane sugar-free)


Ah, Valentine's Day is just around the bend. I generally tend to be a bit of a cynic when it comes to Valentine's Day, but I do like the opportunity to indulge my desires for tasty chocolate treats.  This homemade chocolate is dark, rich, and wonderfully creamy, sweetened with just a touch of raw honey.  It isn't too sweet, just the way I like it.

This recipe takes only minutes to make, and then you can use it to make shaped candies, chocolate bars, fruit/nut chocolate clusters, or even to dip strawberries.  My favorite iteration of this recipe used darling little heart-shaped silicone muffin cups.  I filled each cup with about 1 Tbsp of the melted chocolate mixture, let them cool, and then had darling little hearts. 

Make it for a Valentine's Day treat for you and your honey, or, if you're anything like me, you'll make it to nibble on while watching Law & Order SVU alone on the couch.


Homemade Honey Chocolate

yield approximately 3/4 cup melted chocolate - what you do with it depends on you!

I like the combination of butter and coconut oil - the flavor is less "coconutty" and the mouth feel is creamier  than when only coconut oil is used. However, if you are vegan or do not tolerate dairy, you can substitute the ghee/butter with another 1/4 cup of coconut oil. The rest of the recipe is also quite flexible. If you can't eat cashews, try using an equal amount of another tolerated nut or seed butter.  While the flavor will change, it will still be delicious and creamy (Sunbutter tastes great). The honey could be substituted with another natural liquid sweetener like maple syrup or brown rice syrup if you do not eat honey. 

  • 1/4 cup ghee or butter (if possible, use pastured dairy)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dagoba brand is certified GF) 
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free pure vanilla extract (Simply Organic brand is certified GF)

Place ghee/butter, coconut oil, cashew butter, and honey in a small saucepan and heat on low, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth, thickened, and well combined, but do not let it bubble. Remove from heat and add cocoa powder and vanilla, and whisk again until smooth. Adjust sweetness to taste.

Then, you have some options...

  • If forming chocolate in candy molds/silicone muffin cups/etc., pour desired amount of melted chocolate into molds (I used heart-shaped silicone muffin cups). Allow to cool for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Remove chocolate from molds. Store in the refrigerator.
  • If making chocolate bars or chunks, pour melted chocolate into a pan or dish lined with parchment or plastic wrap. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Cut or break into chunks of desired size using a sharp knife. Store in the refrigerator. 
  • If using to make dried fruit/nut clusters or bark, mix the ingredients into the chocolate until well combined, then pour into a pan or dish lined with parchment or plastic wrap, or drop in small clusters on a lined baking sheet. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. If making as bars/bark, cut or break into chunks of desired size using a sharp knife. Store in the refrigerator.
  • To dip strawberries, dunk your strawberries into the melty chocolate, place on a lined baking sheet or tray, and let chill for a couple hours until the chocolate is firm. Serve!


Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Kefir Ice Cream with Mixed Berries, No Ice Cream-Maker Required

Perfectly pink and full of probiotics.

My housemate Mary has been making coconut milk kefir lately, and our refrigerator was rather full of the stuff. She is using these kefir grains from Cultures for Health, and process couldn't be easier. I'm not going to go into details about how to make the kefir in this post, because you can read about it on Cultures for Health's website. She uses cans of organic coconut milk, not the coconut milk beverage, adds the grains, and lets it sit. After a day or two, it's ready to go! Every so often she needs to divide the grains and innoculate them in goat's milk, just so they stay active. Her grains are mulitplying like crazy, so I am going to take some from her and get my own batch started.  

The cultured coconut milk kefir is quite lovely. As the coconut milk cultures, it thickens considerably, resulting in a rich, very thick, very creamy and tart kefir that is much thicker than any dairy kefir I have ever eaten. In fact, it is so thick that in order to strain out the kefir grains, we have to thin out the kefir considerably with water! Mary has been eating it like yogurt and adding a dollop to soups, and I've enjoyed adding it to smoothies and spreading it on muffins and bread like cream cheese.

I thought it might be fun to try making it into a frozen yogurt/ice cream type thing.  It was a breeze to make - no ice cream maker required - and tasted delicious. It tastes a lot like a strawberry malt, is very coconutty, and has just a hint of that cultured tartness on the finish. A mixture of berries, a bit of agave nectar, and some stevia liquid add just the right amount of sweetness. And let's not forget the best part - it is filled with beneficial probiotic bacteria! Could there be a better dessert to show your special someone how much you care this Valentine's Day? I think not. Nothing says I love you like happy bacteria.

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Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Super Bowl Recipes

Truthfully, I don't really care about football 99.9% of the time.  I don't follow it through the season, I don't like the noisy nature of football games, and I hate the way that people get so worked up over it and scream at the TV. But when the Packers go to the Super Bowl, my loyalties to my home state football team flare up and I feel a little pride.  I suddenly become excited about football.  Yeah, yeah, call me a fair weather fan - I won't deny it.

I saw that a few bloggers had posted healthy Super Bowl recipe posts, so I thought I'd follow suit and post a few ideas for health-conscious, GF, allergy-friendly foods that everyone will enjoy while you cheer on the Packers (or that other team...).  

The irony of all this is I won't be having any kind of Super Bowl party at all! I'm in New York right now for a long weekend, and am flying back on Sunday during the game.  Oh well!

Eat, drink, and be merry!  


Crackers and Dips


Burgers & Meatballs

Yeast-Free Pumpkinseed Teff Sandwich Bread (GF, vegan, ACD) 



Crave-worth Vegetables and Salads

Cashnana Cookies



You can find more great gluten-free Super Bowl recipes from Ali at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen,  Diane at The Whole Gang and Elana at Elana's Pantry


Coconut Carrot Mash (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)


My household's winter CSA through Uptown Farmers is loading us up with more carrots than we know what to do with. They are accomodating our request for a potato free share (so amazing), since two of the three of us living together can't eat potatoes. In exchange, we are getting an equal amount of carrots instead.  That's a lot of carrots. I have carrots coming out of my ears. 

Last night I made this simple carrot mash with some of our winter carrots, flavored with coconut milk and coriander. It was so flavorful and vibrant, perfect for a cold, grey day.  

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


Coconut Carrot Mash

serves 4-6

  • 8 cups carrots, peeled cut into large chunks
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 full-fat coconut milk, plus 2-3 Tbsp for drizzling
  • 1/4-1/2 cup leftover cooking water, adjust amount to reach desired consistency
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add carrots and ginger, return to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Spoon out carrots with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor. Add coconut milk, 1/4 cup cooking water, coriander, and salt and process until smooth enough for your liking, adding additional cooking water as needed to reach desired consistency. Stop and scrape sides often to ensure even mixing. 

Serve immediately, drizzled with additional coconut milk and a pinch of coriander. If you need to keep it warm but will be serving soon, garnish as desired, loosely with a foil tent and put in a 250º F oven until ready to serve. 



Cashew Pumpkin Seed "Cheese" with Apple-Cranberry Sauce (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)


This dish appeared at my Thanksgiving family feast last week, and was a big hit. It satisfied two things that are an absolute must at any of my family's holiday get-togethers: cheese and cranberry sauce.

I'm from Wisconsin. Cheese makes an appearance at every family meal. And we're not talking fancy little wedges of imported stuff or raw milk cheese from small cheesemakers. No sir, we're talking classic Wisco favorites like multiple tubs Merkts cheese spread and slices of cheddar, colby, or pepper jack hacked from big blocks of the stuff.  There is always cheese.  And crackers. And summer sausage.

And as for the cranberry sauce? Well, each of my grandmothers make different yet equally delicious cranberry dishes that always seem to be there. Grandma Smith makes a raw cranberry relish that is to die for, a simple combination of raw cranberries, sugar, and orange juice. Grandma Christensen makes a cranberry mold that is spiked with Coca-Cola.  And I, for some reason, always succumbed to my strange fascination with the canned jellied variety that lines the grocery store shelves every holiday season.  I would insist on having a can of that on the table as well, and I would meticulously slice it following the can ridges.  Thus, we would have three varieties of cranberry per meal. Crazy. 

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