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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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


Lima Cashew Cream (gluten free, vegan)

I had a vision last night before going to bed.  It was a vision of a creamy, thick, dippy, saucy kind of thing to eat over the steamed kabocha squash that was on deck for breakfast.  Something with cashews.  And lima beans.  Yes, lima beans.  

I love lima beans!  The little green baby ones, the white mature ones, in salads, in soups, in cassoulets, and dips; I love them all, I love them always.  I was not damaged as a child with bad lima bean experiences, thank goodness.  If you were damaged as a child in the lima bean department, give this dip a try.  It might heal your wounds.  It is thick and creamy and rich and totally easy to make.  I flavored mine with a dollop of pesto, but feel free to jazz yours up however you'd like with other fresh herbs, spices, or lemon or lime juice.  If I could, I think I'd try making a chili-lime-cilantro version! Before I added the pesto, it was a lovely, very pale green color; after, it took on a brighter shade of green.  
The cream was delicious spooned over my squash.  So delicious, in fact, that after finishing my breakfast portion, I proceeded to eat the rest of the cream out of the jar with a spoon.  Not smart. Now I have a bellyache, ugh.  I would not recommend eating the entire batch in one sitting.  I just may be one of the only people on earth who binge eats lima beans.  
A better way to use it would be as an awesome vegetable dip, a sauce over pasta, grains, or vegetables, or spooned on a sweet or baked potato or over squash.  Made in a double batch, I think it would be great filler in some vegetable-laden, gluten-free lasagna (the Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles are pretty great!).  I hope you like it enough to eat the whole batch.  But don't.

Lima Cashew Cream

yield: approx 1 c

  • 1/3 c raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
  • 2/3 c frozen, pre-cooked baby lima beans
  • 1 T pesto OR 1/2 T olive oil and 1 T other herbs/spices
  • 1/2 c water
  • a few drops of ume vinegar or a pinch of sea salt
Soak cashews for 4-6 hours.  Drain and rinse well.  Puree cashews, thawed limas, pesto, and about 1/3 c of water until totally smooth.  Add salt/ume to taste, and any additional water needed to reach desired consistency, and puree again until well mixed and creamy.  Serve!  Will thicken slightly if refrigerated.
Try using soaked almonds instead of cashews.  Or, choose to season with different herbs, spices, or oils.  Here's a few ideas spinning through my head...
  • chili powder, lime juice, cilantro
  • sesame oil, ginger
  • dill, lemon juice
  • fresh garlic
  • roasted onions
  • curry powder 



Goji Sunflower Mesquite Energy Bars...and variations! (gluten free, vegan)


I made these energy bars to feed to my friends and family that are helped me move this weekend.  As it turned out, I didn't end up feeding these snacks to them at all, and instead I still have a bunch in my fridge, which is okay, because I am really pleased with how they turned out!   They are chewy, not too sweet, and make a great little snack.   I really like them pulled out of the refrigerator, but they are also great room temperature.  The mesquite flour (my new favorite ingredient) adds a delicious sweet and spicy flavor that combines well with the tartness of the goji berries!  Plus, they are full of vitamin C - goji berries, mesquite flower, and vitamin C flour combine to provide a whole lot of immunity boosting nutrition.

Next time I think I will add more sunflower seeds for extra crunch, and a scoop or two of rice protein powder to increase the protein content and make these bars lower glycemic.  Using a crunchy crisped rice cereal would add some great texture. As I brainstormed on this recipe, I think there are lots of options for making variations, see some of my ideas below.  I plan on making lots of tweaks and variations of this recipe, so stay tuned...


yield: 16 approx. 1"x4" bars

3 c gluten free puffed or crisped cereal (I used puffed millet, feel free to try using puffed amaranth, puffed or crisped rice, any other puffed/crispy cereal, like Perky's Nutty Flax or Nutty Rice)
3 T chia seed
1/2 c sunflower seeds, toasted (or other seed/chopped nut)
3 T goji berries, lightly chopped (or other dried fruit)
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 c + 3 T brown rice syrup
1 T sunflower oil (or other oil)
3 T mesquite flour
optional, for extra vitamins!: 1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals 
  1. Place cereal in a large bowl.
  2. Warm brown rice syrup and sunflower oil together over low heat, whisking until mixed.  Remove from heat. NOTE: if using flax oil, warm brown rice syrup alone, remove from, then stir in flax oil.  Flax oil should never be directly heated.
  3. Quickly add mesquite flour, salt, vitamin C crystals, and any additional spices to warm syrup/oil mixture, and stir until well combined.  Work quickly, mixture coats cereal and other ingredients best when still warm.
  4. Pour warm mixture over cereal, and stir a few times to coat cereal.  Add goji berries, chia seeds, toasted and sunflower seeds in batches, and continue stirring until evenly mixed.
  5. Transfer cereal mixture into prepared 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Spread evenly across surface of pan, then press mixture firmly until smooth and even.
  6. Place in refrigerator to chill, for 1-2 hours.  Slice into bars of desired size.  
  7. Wrap bars tightly or transfer to airtight container.  Stores best in the refrigerator.
Approximate nutritional information/bar (yield 16 bars): 100 cal, 3.5 g fat, 14 g carb, 8 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 2 g protein
 Don't eat nuts or seeds?  Can't eat fruit?  Require a higher protein bar?  Want to mix up the flavors?  Great!  Feel free to swap out ingredients to fit your tastes, desires, and restrictions. Here's a few ideas to get you going!  I'd love to hear how you make this recipe your own.
  • pumpkin seeds, currants, pumpkin seed oil, ginger
  • dates, shredded coconut, coconut oil
  • pecans, dried cranberries, cinnamon
  • almonds, dried blueberries
  • cashews, coconut, coconut oil
  • hemp seeds, hemp oil, dried apricots
  • flax seed, flax oil, dried apple, cinnamon
  • minced figs, orange zest, walnuts
  • omit mesquite flour, and add cashews, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom
  • Alternate your sweeteners, and use agave, honey, maple syrup or molasses as your body can tolerate.  NOTE: a runnier sweetener like maple syrup may require different quantities than a thicker one like brown rice syrup.
  • lower fat: omit oil, add additional 1 T of rice syrup
  • high fiber: add rice bran, and/or extra flax or chia.  Use ground flax for easiest assimilation.
  • lower carb/sugar: substitute additional nuts/seeds for a portion of dried cereal and either all or some of the dried fruit.  Omit or use less mesquite flour (5 g sugar/tablespoon). 
  • lower GI: follow suggestions for lower carb/sugar.  Substitute all or a portion of the brown rice syrup with agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index.
  • higher protein: Add more nuts/seeds in place of fruit/cereal.  Add protein powder (rice, hemp, soy, etc) for all or some of the mesquite flour.  For added flavor, include additional spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice.



Herbed Ground Turkey Jerky (gluten free, low fat)

I LOVE JERKY. When I was a kid, I ate it all the time.  Then I went vegetarian for nine long, passionate, dedicated years. I never craved meat when I was a vegetarian - I wasn't tempted by bacon, cared less about cheeseburgers, and never had late night, drunken escapades with pepperoni pizza, like many of my fair-weather vegetarian peers. But I missed one thing, and one thing alone: JERKY. When I was still a teenager living at home, sometimes I'd make my own jerky with my parent's food dehydrator - I don't remember what we used, it was probably some kind of tofu and TVP-based puree.  Those were the days before food blogging had taken over the internet, when you had to use real books made of paper to find recipes and had to rely mostly on your own ingenuity to come up with crazy substitutes.  The world of the internet has done amazing things for those us living with dietary restrictions; what a wealth of knowledge we can share in an instant!  

Anyway,  I can still remember the weird crispy-chewy texture and totally unappetizing brown color of my soy "jerky" - but it tasted good and totally worked on camping and canoe trips.  Then I went off to college and had a food co-op in my town, and was thrilled to find so many vegetarian jerky alternatives - Primal Strips, anyone?  God, I lived on fake jerky in college.  Hell, I lived on fake meat products.  My college caf had all sorts of vegetarian and vegan friendly stuff - veggie burgers, soy and rice milk, fake deli meats, fake "sausage",  fake "chicken", vegan "cheese", beans and tofu chunks on the salad bar.  It was a vegetarian hippie kid's dream!  
Yeah, I went to a private college.  I'm still paying the government each month for that vegan cheese that didn't melt and those "sausage" crumbles.
These days I wouldn't touch half of those meat substitutes with a 10 foot poll.  ost of them are so wildly processed and full of weird soy and corn by-products and strange binders and vegetable gums that NO ONE should probably them.  That ain't real food, man.  No wonder I'm allergic to soy, I think I ate it at every meal for nine years.  Anyway, that's neither here nor there.  Basic point: I LOVED Primal Strips and all those things, because they were such a good replacement for jerky.     


Then I started eating meat again and got back on the jerky bandwagon big time.  The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis has this amazing turkey jerky, thick slices of turkey breast that have been marinated in soy sauce and brown sugar. Yum. And if you are willing to pay the price, you can get some really high quality, pre-packaged jerkies, made from beef, bison, and turkey. But sadly, when I started having my major digestive troubles last year and figured out Candida was causing my problems, I stopped eating jerky all together, since most commercially produced jerkies, even the good ones, are was usually treated with sugar. Man, have I have missed jerky.

Then, the other day, I realized something marvelous.  I have my parent's food dehydrator and jerky making accessories!  I can make my own jerky!  
So, I threw a batch together using some organic ground turkey from the co-op.  I'm picky about meat, and whenever possible, try to eat locally produced, organic poultry and red meats. Organic meats are non-irradiated, come from animals that are antibiotic and hormone free, have been free-range or pastured, and have not been fed GMO feed or feed that contains animal byproducts or has been treated with pesticides/herbicides/etc.  Try to find a local farmer at your local farmer's market or grocer; often times small family farms, even if they aren't certified organic, give their animals access to pasture, do not use hormones or 
antibiotics, and use high quality feed or allow grass-feeding.  If you can't find local products, and are shopping at a market, at least try to find free-range, non antibiotic and hormone meats.  Bottom line: if you are going to eat meat, make it good.  Even though it will cost more per pound, ultimately, you are better off eating smaller amounts of high quality meat than lots of low-quality meat. 
Anyway, I threw my turkey in a bowl with a bunch of herbs and seasonings and mixed it up.  I mentioned jerky-making accessories earlier - my parents have this cool jerky gun thing.  It is kind like a cookie press, but for ground meat.  It comes with different attachments for making different jerky shapes - strips, sticks, etc.  See the fine photo example I found online?  This thing is cool.  So, I packed it full of my ground turkey mixture, pulled the trigger, and - voila! - perfect jerky strips.  Awesome. So I threw the trays on the dryer, turned the bad boy on, and let it work its magic.
My kitchen smelled like cooking turkey while it dried and dried and dried some more.  And the jerky turned out great! Oh, it is so good, I am so happy, and now I have a high-protein, gluten-free, all natural on-the-go snack.  Plus, making your own jerky, even from more expensive, high quality meat, is much more affordable than purchasing an equally high quality, pre-packaged jerky. I got about 20 strips (around 4 oz) of jerky out of my 1 pound, $4 package of turkey.  FActor in maybe $.50 for seasonings, and that's $4.50 for about 4 oz of high quality jerky. A 4-oz package of similarly high-quality jerky can cost $6, sometimes as much as $8.  So, that's a deal! Plus, you can tailor the seasonings, marinades, and meats to fit your desires and requirements, an important thing for us sensitive folks.  I am going to try it with the ground bison I have in the freezer, and may try drying slices of the venison roast I still have from the big family deer hunt in Northern Wisconsin last fall. That deer was about as free-range an animal as you an get.  Hell, I'm going to make jerky out of everything.  My food dehydrator cookbook even has dried fish jerky recipes - I've gotta try that.
I fell back on my old favorite herbes de provence for this first batch, but feel free to try any variety of seasonings and herbs.  Try adding lemon zest and pepper, or ginger, tamari, and garlic.  Add cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and lime juice, or italian seasonings and minced sundried tomato or tomato powder.  Get creative!  Go wild!  

HERBED GROUND TURKEY JERKY (gluten free, low fat)


yield: approx 20 strips of jerky

1 lb ground turkey
a few big pinches of herbes de provence
about 1 T tamari (azuki, or regular soy) or some sea salt, or a little of both
fresh cracked pepper
about 1 T dried chopped garlic
about 1 T dried onion
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Lightly oil dehydrator trays.
  3. If you have a jerky gun, select your tip attachment, assemble, and pack it full of the turkey mixture.  Squeeze jerky onto dehydrator leather trays.
  4. If you don't have a jerky gun, you can hand form your jerky. You have a few options.  either form and pat them by hand right on the leather tray, choosing to completely cover the sheet and score into wedges, or forming into strips or rounds.  Or, place small balls or strips on a sheet of wax paper, press flat, place another sheet of wax paper over the top, and roll with a rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thick, and transfer to leather tray.
  5. Dehydrate strips at 145* for 18-24 hours until crisp,, turn over if necessary to dry evenly.  If oil rises out of the turkey, pat off with paper towel.
  6. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or freeze for longer storage.



Crispy Flaxseed Crackers (raw, vegan, gluten free)

I have been wanting to try making raw crackers with the dehydrator I'm borrowing from my parents. I did a little internet research, and found this recipe for flax crackers.  PERFECT!  So, I decided to give it a shot.  They turned out great!  Crispy, flavorful, and sturdy, using soaked flaxseeds.  Yum!  And oh-so-good for you.  Each cracker is like a little omega-3 bomb. This is a really versatile recipe and can be seasoned however you'd like.  I bet you could add sesame, hemp, or other finely chopped or ground seeds/nuts as well.  Or, use a mix of brown and golden flaxseeds for a pretty color mix.  
I'm finally getting around to putting up this post, but I'm housesitting and don't have the crackers with me, so no photo as of yet!  But soon, I promise.  They are beautiful.  


recipe from The Holistic Chef

2 cups flax seeds
4 cups filtered water
2 teaspoons sea salt
seasonings of choice - herbs, spices, curry, seaweed, tamari, etc (I divided the batch in thirds and did one with thyme, one with azuki tamari and dulse, and one with caraway, fennel, and dill seeds).  

Soak flax seeds in water for 1 to 2 hours. The flax will absorb the water and create a thick gooey liquid similar to egg whites.
Grind flax seeds and sea salt in several batches in a blender or food processor. If the flax is too thick to process, add more water until mixture moves freely. Blend until flax seeds are completely broken. Add desired seasonings and blend for another 30 seconds to thoroughly mix.
Spread mixture in a thin layer to the edges of a teflex sheet on top of a dehydrator tray. Use a rubber spatula for easy spreading. Recipe should cover 3 or 4 trays. For a thicker cracker, spread in a slightly thicker layer. 
Dehydrate at 108 degrees for 15 to 20 hours or until mostly dry. Peel the flax off the teflex sheet and break into whatever shape of cracker you want. 
Place crackers back onto dehydrator tray without the teflex sheet and dry for 2-4 more until crispy. Store in a cool dry place.



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.

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