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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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


Insalata di Pollo con Carciofi - Chicken Salad with Artichokes (gluten free, ACD)

Artichokes are this week's Blogger Secret Ingredient! Since I'm hosting this week's event, I need to post something artichoke-alicious, right?  I have had this post waiting in my drafts section, and since I have been crazy busy this week, and needed an artichoke recipe, it was perfect timing to use it!  Before the BSI deadline on Sunday night, I plan to whip out the fresh artichokes and try something, but this will do for now.

So, here's another vacation meal, like my Fave Fresche, Finocchi, and Piselli Brasate al "Latte" (Fresh Favas, Fennel, and Peas Braised in "Milk").   I was inspired by the River Café cookbooks once again, and decided to transport myself to Italy through my kitchen.  I just can't help it. Italy has invaded my brain!  

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Cabbage & Celeriac Winter Slaw (gluten free, vegan, raw, ACD)

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by superfoods.

Seriously, I can only handle so much trendy food. I don't want spirulina or chlorella or maca in everything I eat.  Remember when everyone was head over heels for pomegranate juice about 5 years ago?  Then acai hit the market.  Now everyone is nuts over chia seeds and maca.  Or camu (what is that anyway?) or lucuma (again, what?).  Not that I'm against this stuff, per se. I'll try anything, I love new flavors, and I'm a sucker for foods that are packed with nutrients.  But every time I put an $8 bag of goji berries in my basket at the co-op I ask myself, "Are you insane?" This fancy bag of funny dried berries, as delicious as they are, don't even come close to making a meal, nor do they have anything to do with my local food economy.  My $8 could be much better spent on an entire bag of vegetables or a whole organic chicken.  Multiple meals from locally produced ingredients vs. one bag of goji berries shipped from who knows where...what would you choose?

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Really Raw Slaw and A Day of Uncooking (gluten free, vegan, raw, ACD)


A chilly winter night is just as good for a tasty raw slaw as any other, in my opinion.  Especially when I have this snazzy new julienne peeler to use.  I've been using it like mad!  I think I've had something julienned at every meal since I got this thing on Friday.  One thing is for sure, it is inspiring me to eat more raw vegetables. 

Speaking of raw, I had a fun day of uncooking with A-K of the fabulous blog Swell Vegan over the weekend.  We had joined forces a few months back and made slightly less-than-fabulous gluten free pumpkin scones (oh well).  Not letting our lack of stellar baking success hinder us, we decided to get together once again and make a raw feast!  As it turns out, we are both one of the only people we each know that is really open to the idea of making totally raw meals, so it is a good match.  Plus, we are nearly neighbors - we live only blocks apart - so it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.  The internet really does bring people together!


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Russian Salad with Sauerkraut and Creamy Mustard-Herb Dressing (potato-free, gluten free, vegan)


Привет (Privet)! Hi!

Do I speak or read Russian?  Um, нет (net).  No.  But I can say very basic things like hello and goodbye and sing folk songs.  Why?  In college, I played in my campus Balalaika Ensemble.  Balalaika ensembles are traditional Slavic folk music groups featuring instruments like domras and balalaikas, and sometimes accordions, fiddles, guitars.  I played the alto domra, a lovely and bulbous little stringed instrument you strum like a mandolin.  We played Slavic and Klezmer folk songs, wore Russian outfits, and went to Slavic language conferences all over the U.S.  You see, our group was rather special, one of only a few college Balalaika ensembles in the entire country, so we were a bit of a hot commodity in the whole Slavic folk music scene.  

Obscure, right?  

I thought so too.  After I saw them perform the first time, I was hooked.  The minor chords, the throaty singing, the percussive beats, I was in love, Dr. Zhivago-style.  And thus, it set off this whole obsession with all things Slavic.  I had many favorite songs, but our traditional way of ending a great performance was with a rollicking round of "Kalinka" (Калинка).  My good friend Derek and I still sometimes break out in rounds of "Kalinka"; he was our vocalist, a towering, dark-haired tenor who looked quite handsome in an embroidered Russian shirt.  Curious to see this song yourself? Here's the Red Russian Army Choir doing a very boisterous rendition of "Kalinka", complete with dancers.

My Balalaika college friends and ensemble director still sometimes call me by my chosen Russian name: Zoya, a variant of Zoë, meaning "life".  I like to say my name with a low, breathy voice, heavily accenting the first syllable, just for drama. So, imagine me speaking like that, serving you this salad.  

It hails from Russia, by way of my kitchen, with love.

Russian Salad is usually made of potato, various vegetables, and finely diced meats, all mixed together with mayonnaise.  Many of the vegetables are boiled or pickled, and there are lots of different versions that contain everything from tuna to tongue, from pickles to peas.  I have eaten traditional Russian Salad before, and while I enjoyed it in theory, in practice it never worked out so well.  I always found it a bit too heavy and stifling for my digestive system.

This version is a whole lot lighter, and touch more allergy-friendly.  Inspired by a recipe in Paul Pitchford's wonderful Healing With Whole Foods with my own tweaks and twists, it would probably be scoffed at by Russian Salad traditionalists, but it is really tasty.  I mixed together beets, turnips, and carrots with sauerkraut and peas, and drizzled it with a creamy, flavorful mustard and herb dressing in lieu of mayonnaise.  Later on, when I ate leftovers, I added a bit of olive oil-packed tuna, in the style of the Spanish version of Russian salad.  Delicious!  Pitchford's original recipe calls for chickpeas, which I'm sure would be equally delicious.  Hooray for mayonnaise-free, potato-free Russian salad!

Just like the Balalaika Ensemble, this salad has grabbed my heart and won't let go.  I shouldn't be surprised; it contains most of my favorite foods in one dish.  I think I'll be making more versions of this salad in the future, so stay tuned.  It is, as they say, пальчики оближешь (palchiki oblichesh).  That would be "very tasty" to you. 

If you want to learn some basic Russian phrases to impress your friends and lovers, check this or this out.  You can learn to say things like "I love you" and "I can't live without you", just in time for Valentine's Day, as well as a number of other phrases, ranging from useful to inappropriate.  In the meantime, Приятного аппетита (prijatnogo appetita).  до свидания (Dos svidaniya)!

(Thank you Google translator for giving me the Cyrillic translations!  That's one thing I didn't learn in Balalaika Ensemble.)


Potato-Free Russian Salad with Sauerkraut and Creamy Mustard-Herb Dressing

Yield: 5 cups


1 cup cooked turnips, thinly sliced in half moons (about 2 medium)

1 cup cooked beets, thinly sliced in half moons (about 4-5 small)

1 cup cooked carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 3-4 small)

1 cup sauerkraut, drained

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

handful fresh parsley, chopped

optional: 1-2 tsp caraway seeds

optional, for the fish eaters: 5-oz can water or olive oil-packed tuna 

1 batch Creamy Mustard Herb Dressing (recipe follows)

Cook turnips, beets, and carrots per desired method (steaming, roasting, boiling, etc).  I roasted my beets whole until tender (450º F, wrapped in foil, for about 1 1/2 hours), cooled them slightly, then peeled and sliced them.  Beets can also be boiled, steamed, or pressure cooked, which takes less time.  For the turnips and carrots, I peeled and sliced them, then steamed the slices until tender.  

Place cooked, slightly cooled vegetables and sauerkraut in a large bowl.  Add thawed peas, parsley, caraway seeds, and tuna, if adding. Drizzle with about 1/2 cup of Cashew Herb Dressing, and stir to coat, adding more dressing as desired, and stir to combine.  Serve immediately, or for a fuller flavor, refrigerate and let marinate for up to 12 hours before serving.  Garnish with freshly cracked pepper and fresh dill sprigs.


Creamy Mustard-Herb Dressing

Yield: approx. 1 cup

1/2 cup raw cashews (try blanched almonds, or for nut-free, try hemp, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds)

1 cup water

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground dry mustard

1/2 tsp dry dill weed

1/2 tsp dry basil

1-2 tsp umeboshi vinegar, to taste

freshly ground pepper

Place cashews in a blender or food processor and grind to a powder.  Add 3/4 cup water, herbs, mustard, pepper, and umeboshi vinegar, and blend until totally smooth, adding remaining 1/4 c water and seasoning to taste.  Add additional water as needed to reach desired consistency.

Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly sealed jar.



Egg-Free Celeri Rémoulade a.k.a. Celeriac Slaw (gluten free, vegan)

Every heard of celeriac?  It also goes by the name celery root.  Put simply, it is an ugly, knobby, root vegetable that tastes like celery but is starchy like a potato.   You can eat it raw or cooked; roasted, baked, steamed, cooked in soups, braised, raw, doesn't matter, celeriac is always delicious.  And while celeriac hasn't captured any remarkable popularity here in the States yet, celeriac is very popular in other parts of the world, especially in French cuisine.  Ah yes, the French love their celeriac, and I love the French.  One of classic French celeriac dishes is celeri rémoulade.  Like most French salads, is remarkably simple and totally delicious; shredded celeriac in a mustardy mayonnaise dressing, sometimes with a bit of hard-boiled egg added in, other times with a pinch of tarragon.   I had the fortune of eating this salad in France on a number of occasions, and was always delighted with it.  Seriously, the French really know how to work with vegetables; much can be learned from the way their cuisine celebrates and highlights the natural flavors and textures of each ingredient.

Since I'm off the mayonnaise these days (no more eggs for me, boo), but still have this deep love of of celeri rémoulade, I like to make my own mayo-free versions.   I come up with various versions of it pretty frequently, with whatever I have on hand.  Sometimes I opt for a tart, vinaigrette-type dressing, other times I use a creamy one.  Regardless of the ingredients or dressing, a few things are always certain: it is simple to make, it is always delicious, and allows me to sink deep into daydreams of France.  

I have been eating all sorts of French-inspired foods the last week; the abundance of harvest vegetables and fall weather always makes me think of France and puts me in the mood for a partie de campagne (day in the country).  Over the weekend I made an epic Caramelized Onion, Fig, and Parsnip Tart  (ooh la la).  I will be sharing the recipe for this soon, but need to do a little tweaking.  I used a bunch of fig sauce I had made and had stashed away in the freezer.  About a month back, when figs were all over the place, I had purchased about 4 lbs of them (crazy) and made a huge batch of the most incredible sauce I've ever tasted.  I'd like to come up with a recipe for similar tasting fig sauce that is on a smaller scale and uses dry figs, which are available year-round.  Good things come to those who wait, friends - this recipe will come soon, I promise.  In the meantime, here are some tempting photos of the tart.  The filling was rich and savory without being heavy, and the crust was golden and tender.  Wow.

Gluten-free Fig and Parsnip Tart

On another French-inspired note, I am working on a recipe for a vegan Chickpea Paté de Campagne for my cookbook-to-be, inspired by the hearty, country-style patés found at French street markets and boucheries.  Those patés convinced me that liver is truly fit to eat - as a vegetarian, I remember waxing philosophical about how nasty it was for people to eat liver.  Despite my conversion to a meat eater, I also love meatless food, and am hell bent on making a meatless paté that is just as delicious and satisfying as the real thing.  Well, I completed my task with flying colors:  my first batch was a total hit, and loved by all who tried it.  It was incredibly savory, hearty, and totally addictive. I ate a thick slice of it today for lunch with a smear of mustard and homemade pickles, in the true French style.  Fantastique!  The more I cook, the more I realize that I totally dig French cuisine, and all the preserving, fermenting, cooking, seasoning, and baking techniques that the traditional gastronomy employs.  Like the rest of the foodies out there right now, I'm about ready to have a marathon viewing session of "The French Chef".

Anyway, I had purchased a beautiful celery root at the farmer's market over the weekend, and in keeping with the French theme of late, decided a celeriac salad was in order.   Inspired, I reached into my crisper, grabbed for the humble root, snagging some parsley along the way, and set to work shredding.  Keeping on the French kick, I wanted to make a creamy mustardy dressing, like mayonnaise.  So, I tried making a batch of Karina's Egg Free Olive Oil Mayo recipe.  Because I don't really do xanthan gum, and I didn't feel like adding guar gum or another thickener, my mayo didn't thicken up until it was chilled.  But once it warmed up, it became much runnier than mayo, like a thick dressing.  Anyway, I ended up with a wonderfully creamy, rich, tart, mustardy dressing that was perfect on the blanched celeriac.  But one word of warning - if you are looking for a low fat dressing, this isn't it.  It is brimming with olive oil; thankfully, a little goes a long way.  Anyway, I added a bit of crushed dry tarragon and a pinch of celery seed for an extra punch, and was super happy with the result.  The salad tasted fresh and light, the dressing was wonderfully bitey; one of my better celeriac slaw versions for sure.  Yum!  Hooray for the French; they are a constant source of culinary inspiration.  

If you try out celeriac, and enjoy it, here are a number of other tasty looking recipes that use it, try 'em out, alter them to make them work for you, or use them as is!  I will warn you that many of these include ingredients that neither you or I can eat, but they are great inspiration.

Bon appetit!


yield about 3 c 

1 medium celeriac/celery root, peeled and shredded (about 4 c)
2 T fresh parsley, minced
optional: 2 pinches dry tarragon
optional: 1/2 tsp celery seed
fresh cracked pepper
1/4-1/2 c Creamy Cashew-Mustard "Mayo" dressing (recipe below)

Make a batch of the Creamy Cashew-Mustard "Mayonnaise" dressing, and put in the fridge to chill and thicken.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While water heats, wash and peel celeriac, and shred with a large-hole grater.  Add shredded celeriac to boiling water, and blanch for about 1 minute.
Drain immediately, and pat dry with a towel.  Place dry celeriac in a large bowl.
Mince parsley, and add to bowl with celeriac, sea salt, pepper, tarragon, and celery seeds.  Add 1/4-1/2 c of the "Mayo" to desired flavor/consistency, and toss to evenly coat.
Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.  Will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Creamy Cashew-Mustard "Mayonnaise" dressing 
Adapted from Karina's brilliant Egg Free Olive Oil Mayo recipe 

Karina uses xanthan gum to thicken her Mayo - I opted against it, and ended up with a creamy dressing instead of a thick mayo. Sometime I will try it with a little guar gum, and see if it will thicken with that.  Regardless, the thinner but still creamy dressing is great for this salad, but is definitely not like mayonnaise.  It will thicken up once it chills, and become more like mayo - but once it warms up, it will be much thinner again. The olive oil really shines through, so chose a high quality oil with a good flavor.  This is very rich, so a little goes a long way.  It sounds like a clumsy process, but it is very quick to prepare - 5 minutes tops!

 Yield 3/4 c

2 T cashew butter (or sesame tahini)
3-4 T apple cider vinegar
3-4 T cold rice milk (or other milk substitute)
1/2 c olive oil
2 tsp ground mustard
pinch salt

In a small mixing bowl or blender place the cashew butter, vinegar,  rice milk, sea salt, and mustard, and beat/process to combine.
With the mixer/blender running, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream.  Continue to beat or process until the mixture gets creamy and starts to thicken, adjusting seasoning as necessary with beaters running.  Be patient! Mixture will naturally thicken and emulsify.
Place in the refrigerator and chill; mixture will thicken as it chills.  Use within 3 days.