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 Recipes: Breads and Baking (41)


Tahini Raisin Bran Muffins and Simple Sesame Milk (gluten-free, vegan, low sugar)

I have had this crazy craving for baked goods lately. If I were to post all the cookies, breads, and other sweet treats I've made lately, I'd have to call this a baking blog, seriously. Combined with my crazy craving for and indulgence in fruit, my liberal use of sweeteners like honey and maple syrup and palm sugar that I know I shouldn't be eating, my wild desire for chocolate, my urges to binge eat (and the inevitable followthrough), and my recently recurring joint pain, burning feet, headaches, and a crazy bought of wicked congestion, I am feeling a little concerned. I can't deny it anymore. Once again, I'm having a Candida flare up again or my Lyme is acting up, and  I think I am overindulging in some of the foods that I had been previously avoiding due to allergies or intolerances.

Damn it!  It is hard to keep clean of Candida when taking so many gosh darn antibiotics for Lyme treatment, and it is so easy to go overboard with those foods you reintroduce after years...  Argh.

In addition to being frustrated about those symptoms, I feel fat. I know I'm not, and I know I look healthier now than I have in years.  But my lifelong struggle with weight and body image is playing massive tricks on me. I want to feel more comfortable and confident in my skin again. 

So, I am posting this muffin recipe as sort of a bon voyage to baked goods for a while.  I told myself that once I ate half the batch, I had to put the other half in the freezer, and that I have done.  And now, I need to go on a break from sugar, fruit, and most grains again.  I know these things throw off my blood sugar, increase my cravings, and slow my metabolism. I need to focus on protein and vegetables; I feel best eating that way, and I need to get back on track.  This is going to be hard, but I know I have the willpower, somewhere...I am hoping I didn't forget it in the pocket of those smaller jeans I had to divorce last year....

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Some new foods and Loaded Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Bread (gluten free, dairy free, ACD)

First,  I have two words: duck eggs.

Second, I am happy to say that the noble lemon has found its way back into to my diet.

Third, the Minneapolis Farmers Market has the most beautiful strawberries in the whole world.

And fourth?  These three foods have made my culinary life much more interesting lately.

Ah yes, I'm reintroducing foods again, for better or worse.  So far, it is only for the better - I think - so I'll just keep rolling with it, and hope that it never seems worse.

In the meantime, I am taking full advantage of my new foods.  It is so exciting to have access to this incredible trio of ingredients! Let's start with the duck eggs. Minneapolis has multiple places to easily purchase duck eggs: the Seward Co-op, Traditional Foods of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Farmers Market.  This is absolutely incredible and makes me feel über fortunate.  After deciding to take the plunge and try them, I was first a little perplexed - I haven't cooked with eggs in two years, and really didn't know what to do! So, my first duck egg experience was simple: scrambled with fresh herbs and arugula from my garden, finished with smoked sea salt.

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

Updated on Thursday, August 5, 2010 by Registered CommenterKim

In my early days of being gluten-free, I swore I would never use binders like guar gum or xanthan gum.  I thought they were creepy (I still do, actually).  I wanted to believe you could bake healthy, delicious breads relying only on the natural qualities of flours and things like flax seeds and chia (I still believe this too). So, I went forth without them.  Over the last two years of my gluten-free life, I have baked lots of crumbly loaves of bread, breads that were like sponges, breads that were like hockey pucks, breads that I put in my mouth and promptly threw away. Thankfully, I had more successes, but never was truly satisfied. I yearned for the beautiful breads on gluten-free sites like Gluten-Free Girl and La Tartine Gourmande and Gluten Free Goddess and Whole Life Nutrition. I too wanted to become more ambitious with my baking. I got sick of sawdust and pudding.  I wanted the gluten back.  So last Fall, I started experimenting with guar gum, and was generally disappointed. Too much guar gum makes me feel like someone injected putty into my intestines, and I don't really enjoy the texture that it creates in baked goods.  It is just too, well, gummy.  I've used it probably less than 5 times, and each time find myself unhappy.

What about that other infamous gluten-imatator, xanthan gum?  Well, xanthan gum has occupied a touchy place in my life. You see, xanthan gum comes from the dried cell coat of a microorganism called Zanthomonas campestris. It is an all-natural ingredient derived from the fermentation of corn sugar, however, all corn sugars are removed in the processing of xanthan gum. Xanthan gum contains no corn protein and is usually tolerated by most corn-free people.  Some people, however, have reactions.  Fearing myself to be one of these people, I have been rather hesitant to jump on-board the xanthan gum train, nervous I would have some kind of corn-allergy reaction.  Occasionally it would its way into my life, in a brown rice tortilla or something else pre-made, but for the most part, I have been actively avoiding it for the last two years.

A couple nights ago, I broke down. I did it. I threw care to the wind, and I bought my first bag of xanthan gum.

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Cinnamon Raisin Rice-Free Muffins (gluten-free, rice-free, vegan, ACD option)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I was on a break. I've never been good at putting myself on time outs.

These little gems were the result of an emergency gluten-free baking consultation session with a newly GF friend last night. I had to share the success story, because it is close to my heart! Imagine the following situation: you just found out you're allergic to lots of stuff, you're freaking out, you don't know what to eat, and then I show up on your door with a box of gluten free flours, a great big smile, and lots of determination to help you bake up something good.

 My dear friend B is an amazing baker - truly amazing - and makes cakes so beautiful you'd expect she went to pastry school.  Her buttercream frostings are epic.  She makes cookies and candies and pies that melt your heart.  But, in a rather tragic turn of events, she just found out she has allergies to rice, wheat, dairy, and eggs, as well as legumes, most nuts and seeds.  She suspects additional allergies to oats, corn, and soy, as well as other foods, but she isn't sure.  She is very allergic to the cats she loves deeply.  All these allergies explain a lot about the symptoms she's been dealing with, and she's already noticing some positive changes after cutting these foods out of her diet.  But she has a long way to go, and a lot more unanswered questions.

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Millet Amazaké Muffins with Sesame and Anise (sugar free, gluten free, vegan, ACD)



Eager to try using some of my homemade amazaké in a baked good, I started doing a little online research to see what was already out in the blogosphere.  I came across a delightful sounding Millet Muffin recipe on Kitchen Therapy that called for amazaké, and it seemed like a great jumping off point - it was already gluten free, vegan, and xanthan free.  AWESOME!  So, I decided to tweak a few things, most notably adding a bit of toasted sesame oil and crushed anise seeds.  A couple tweaks turned into a lot of tweaks, and soon it seemed like a rather different muffin recipe all together.

They smelled very tasty as they baked, letting off a rich sesame aroma near they end.  I pulled them out, and they were dense and lovely, a beautiful golden color with nice cracks and a nubby texture.  Then I tasted one. Yum!  These muffins were moist and flavorful, with a hint of natural sweetness from the amazake, a subtle, nutty flavor from the sesame oil, and the wonderful fragrant quality of anise.  Millet flour is always a good base, and the whole millet seeds and and rice flakes add great texture.  I have my own recipe for millet carrot muffins that uses some whole millet thrown in, and I love the crunch!  On the topic of texture, these muffins were lacking a bit of definite crumb, and were quite dense - but that isn't terribly uncommon for GF baking without starches or binders or eggs.  A forgivable offense, in my opinion, and it doesn't detract from the greatness of the muffin.  They have a great body, and I really enjoy their unique flavor.  Amazaké muffins are awesome!  Not exactly falling within the realms of the ACD plan that I had intended, I'm falling off the wagon and need to get back on.  Culinary curiosity is killing my good intentions.

Thanks to the amazaké and millet, these muffins are bursting with B vitamins, niacin, thiamin, manganese, fiber, and healthy complex carbs.  Millet is a naturally alkaline grain, is high in protein, and it has anti-microbial qualities.  And all the added flaxmeal is full of healthy omega fatty acids and loads of fiber.  What does all this mean? These muffins are full of good stuff that can help regulate healthy gut flora and regulate digestion, all while providing healthy complex carbohydrates and other important nutrients.  There isn't any added sugar, which is awesome - but amazaké is higher in natural sugars than regular rice due to the fermentation process, so use your best judgement to decide if amazaké is right for you.

Any changes for next time?  My taste buds want orange zest in the mix, but sadly, I'm allergic to oranges and just not going there.  However, I think it would taste totally amazing, so I'm throwing it on as an optional add in.   I think that chopped dates would be quite decadent.  I didn't have any sesame seeds on hand, but they would be fun thrown in too, so I added some as an optional ingredient as well.  These aren't particularly sweet, so if you like a sweet muffin, feel free to add your sweetener of choice.  And finally, if you aren't into sesame or anise, feel free to omit them, adding your own spices and seasonings to the batter, or just leaving it naked.  You'll still end up with a delightful muffin, perfect for a breakfasts, a quick snack on the go, or to eat along a tasty bowl of soup.  I recommend freezing leftovers immediately; as with many GF vegan treats, these got a little dry after about 24 hours.  The frozen muffin thawed very well.

A note on amazaké:  
Amazaké is a naturally sweet traditional Japanese beverage made from rice fermented with koji culture.  I made my own batch of amazaké from scratch, but you can find amazaké rice shakes by Grainaissance in the freezer section of most co-ops and natural food markets.  In addition to a standard rice variety, they make a ton of different flavors.  Their shakes, however, contain xanthan gum, so if you avoid it, beware.   If you are in the U.K., I hear the company Clearspring makes rice and millet amazaké varieites that are both quite tasty and easy to find.

If you don't want to use amazaké, I think you could probably substitute 3/4 c cooked grain and blend with 3/4 c water.  It won't have the same sweetness as amazaké, but it would make a thick, creamy liquid base.



yield 12 muffins

3/4 c homemade amazaké base + 3/4 c water OR 1 1/2 c Grainaissance Amazake Rice Shake
1/3 c grapeseed oil or other light tasting oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 c millet flour
1/2 c brown rice flakes
1/4 c whole grain millet, toasted
1/2 c flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp anise seeds, toasted
1 c unsweetened non-dairy milk

optional: 2 tsp sesame seeds
optional: orange zest
optional: chopped dates
optional: stevia or a glug of agave or brown rice syrup - just reduce milk quantity by the same amount if using liquid sweetener

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F and prepare a muffin tin with muffin cups or oil/flour.
  2. In a small dry skillet, toast the whole millet grains and anise seeds over medium heat until they smell nutty and fragrant, stirring often.  Remove from heat.
  3. If using homemade amazake, blend amazake base and water together in blender until smooth. With blender on high, pour in grapeseed oil and sesame oil and run until blended. If using a store-bought amazake shake instead of homemade, you can whisk together all liquid ingredients in a bowl, or use a blender to mix, whichever you prefer.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together whole grain millet, anise seeds, and the remaining dry ingredients.  Once mixed, create a well in the center.  Pour in the amazake/oil mixture, and stir all ingredients together a few times to moisten.  Gradually add non-dairy milk in 3 or 4 batches, stirring gently between each pour.  If adding orange zest or chopped dates, add now. Mix until just evenly combined and milk is fully incorporated.
  5. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes so flour and flax absorb moisture; the batter will thicken.  
  6. Fill muffin cups ¾ full, then place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in cups for about 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on wire rack.  Chow down!  Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 1 day or freeze for longer storage.