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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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 Recipes: Appetizers & Snacks (30)


Wholegrain Crackerbread with Sesame (gluten-free, vegan, ACD), my recipe calendar, and TWO giveaways

October's SOS Kitchen Challenge ingredient is sesame.  This is a really exciting challenge for Ricki and me, because we are being sponsored this month by iHerb. They are offering 1 pound bags of sesame seeds to the first 10 readers who submit recipes and set up an account with them, and at the end of the month we will draw a name for a $50 iHerb shopping spree. Pretty awesome, right? Head over to this month's kick-off post to read all the rules and details, then submit a recipe to the Linky.  You have until October 31 to submit a recipe, but if you want to be one of the lucky winners of a bag of sesame seeds, do it soon!  {NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}


The other big news is that my recipe calendar, entitled A Year to Eat Freely: 2011 Allergy-Friendly Recipe Calendar, is now for sale! Doesn't it look lovely? This 12-month recipe calendar features 17 recipes free of all major allergens, with full color photos and lots of good instructions. Read more about it here, or just go over to my Etsy shop. I have decided to share a lovely recipe from the calendar as part of this month's event, a wonderful Wholegrain Crackerbread with Sesame that is easy to prepare and delicious.  I love these crackers because they are truly a whole foods product - simply cooked buckwheat or quinoa grains, buckwheat flour, sesame seeds, olive oil, salt, and water.  So simple, and yet so delicious. They are crispy and crunchy, perfect for eating with dips, soups, salads, or nut butters.  The recipe is featured in the calendar with Smoky Zucchini Dip, one of my favorite recipes (and photos!) from the project.  Hopefully it works as a little teaser to tempt you to buy one. ;)  

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Oven-Roasted Watermelon Seeds (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

Roasted Watermelon Seeds

My coworker E blows my mind regularly. As a celebration of Rosh Hashanah, she brought in four varieties of homemade herb and spice infused honeys to eat with sliced locally grown apples.  I am the elated recipient of small jars of two varieties of those honeys - buckwheat honey infused with lavender, and clover honey infused with a variety of Indian spices (honeygasm, honeygasm). She also made two other clover honey infusions, one with garlic and jalepeño, and the other with fennel, anise, mint, and something else licoricey that is currently slipping my mind. Lord have mercy, those honeys were knee-weakeningly good.

Anyway, this isn't the only thing she does. E often makes amazing marinated vegetable concoctions and brings little containers into work for me to try, and they are always delicious and complex. We both saute greens in the kitchen over the lunch hour and talk about food while we share containers of oil-cured Moroccon olives and meaty cerignolas.  I bring fermented vegetables for her and other homemade goodies, but truthfully, I have a hard time keeping up, because she rocks.  Lately E has been amazing all of us with her homegrown and epically enormous Moon and Stars variety watermelons to share.  These melons are huge, round, heavy, lovely things that measure roughly 1 1/2 feet in diameter.   She transports these watermelons to work on a wheely cart. Yes, that' right: my friend E wheels watermelons through the downtown Minneapolis skyways while people in boring business suits whiz past carrying briefcases and talking on their dorky Bluetooth headsets.  The last melon she brought in - quite possibly the largest melon I've ever seen - was so unwieldy that it actually broke the wheely cart mid-trip, and she managed to get into work somehow anyway.  She is wonderful.

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Sugar-Free Homemade Beef Jerky (gluten-free, ACD)

I whipped up a batch of this beef jerky to take along camping with me this week, and had to keep myself from eating all of it before I left.  In fact, I'm in the woods RIGHT NOW at the Traditional WAys Gathering and far away from computers.  But I love all of you so much that I scheduled this to post while I was away.  Sorry, no photo -  I forgot to take a picture while making it and now the beef jerky is all packed away in my car and I'm not going back for it. I'll take a photo of the beef jerky in the woods (where I believe its natural habitat is anyway), and upload when i return!

This jerky is easy to make, addictively delicious, and much more affordable and allergy-friendly than buying it pre-made. You need a food dehydrator for this recipe, although you could probably make it in an oven as well, but I've never tried that. It makes a ton, and is perfect for quick snacks on the go, camping, bike rides, or any time you need easy protein.  

Just imagine me learning how to do old-fashioned things and munching away at beef jerky on the shores of Lake Superior. Huzzah!  I can't wait to share my experiences with all of you when I return home and get back to the world of technology.  Well, if I return, that is...I could see myself wanting to stay up there until I run out of jerky and need to start hunting down wild game with my homemade carved arrows that I'm probably learning how to make...


Homemade Beef Jerky

yield about 20 oz jerky

Adapted from Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook.  The spices and flavorings are very adaptable, feel free to customize to your liking. 

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (grass-fed if possible)


  • 1/2 cup Coconut Aminos, South River azuki tamari, wheat-free tamari (contains soy) or Bragg's Aminos (contains soy) 
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh garlic cloves, peeled crushed and minced
  • 2 tsp smoked sea salt or regular sea salt
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional, but adds a great flavor)
  • 2 tsp gluten-free spice mix of choice (I used my Dad's homemade mix), or 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp coriander, and 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp onion powder

Mix together marinade in a small bowl.  Place ground beef in a large bowl or container, and break up into small pieces. Then pour marinade over meat, and using clean hands mix until totally combined.  Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours for fullest flavor.

Form into discs or sticks using your hands, a mold, or a jerky gun and place on dehydrator trays. I use a teflex sheet covered with light mesh sheet on the tray, and then removed the teflex later on once more dry. Dehydrate at 145º-155º F for 10-24 hours, depending on the size of your jerky, the type of dehydrator you have and the humidity in your kitchen. Dehydrate until until dried out, blotting oil from surface of jerky periodically.  Finished jerky will be hard, but still pliable.  When done, wrap jerky in papertowel or cloth, which will draw out excess fat and allow it to stay fresh longer, and let it sit a few hours or until cooled. Once cooled, unwrap from towel and store in well-sealed bags or containers.  

For longer storage beyond 2-4 weeks, store in the refrigerator or freezer.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and a brief chronicle of my adventures last weekend.

Red Pepper Hummus

Last weekend I went on a quick trip down to my college town of Decorah, Iowa with my dear college friend Aimée.  She was in Minneapolis visiting from Port Townsend, Washington for our mutual friends B's and D's  wedding, and it was a great celebration.  I did all the flowers (photos to come!).  After the wedding, we had a quick little day trip through southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa. I made hummus to take along on our trip, and it was positively delicious and so easy, and I wanted to share it with you.  I generally think bean dip is the perfect travel food.  It is the perfect quick and easy thing to make for meals, snacks, picnics, etc etc etc.  And the ingredients really couldn't be simpler: quality canned chickpeas, roasted red pepper, capers, lemon, fresh garlic, and olive oil.  Together they create a rich and flavorful hummus, full of fresh flavor that jazzes up raw veggies, wraps, chips or crackers, or even cold hamburger patties (our breakfast in the car on Saturday morning).


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Fresh Pea Dip with Sorrel and Thyme (gluten free, vegan, ACD, raw)

Back in April when I planted my peas, I must have gotten my seed packets mixed up. Instead of two rows of snow peas, I ended up with two big rows of shell peas.  And as much as I love shell peas, I didn't intend on having to spend so much time actually shelling peas this summer.


Shelling peas is a time consuming process that is a lesson in patience. Because of this, I've been putting off harvesting and shelling, but finally did both the other day.  After about 40 minutes of shelling, I ended up with 2 cups of peas.  Then I blended them into oblivion (why did I do this to beautiful fresh peas?), and made some lovely dip, which is a lot like hummus, but green.  Despite the fact that my hard labor was now a bright green mush, the incredible flavor of the peas burst through, highlighted with thyme, sorrel, and olive oil. Most of the ingredients in the dip were either grown by me (peas, sorrel, parsley, thyme) or a local farmer (garlic). Pretty cool, huh?

fresh pea dip with baby farmers market carrots


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