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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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: Sides (35)


Allergy-Friendly Arame Salsa (tomato free, vinegar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan, ACD option)


Let's say you buy a new car.  A red car. And suddenly, all you ever see around town are red cars.  There are red cars on every street, in every parking lot.  You realize your neighbor has a red car.  That annoying co-worker has a red car.  The new guy you're dating has a red car (yours is better, but that's okay). Every other car you pass on the highway?  You guessed it.  RED.  Yes, now that you have a red car, suddenly the world is full of them - did they sprout up over night?  Where did all these red cars come from?

Contrary to what it seems, all those red cars have always been there, you're just noticing them now.  Instead of being just another car on the road, the red car now plays an integral role in your life.  You have become aware of the red car.  And once you are aware of anything, once something is on your radar, it changes how you view the world around you.

What do red cars have to do with food?  Well, nothing really.  But The Red Car Phenomenon - the fact that when you are aware of something, you just notice it more - applies to everything.  I've especially noticed it in the realm of cookery.  Now that I am rather well-versed in the world of whole foods, I can look through many of the books I've gathered along the way and suddenly see more recipes.  Why?  Put simply, I just know more about food these days.   Instead of glazing over a recipe because I am not familiar with the ingredients, I am drawn in, tempted by new combinations of familiar foods that are now on my radar.   There's no more "What's agar agar?" or "Where can I find that?" or "How do you say quinoa?".    Instead, those perplexed questions are replaced with a confident curiosity.  Inspiration replaces desperation.  And suddenly, you start getting a whole lot more out of those cookbooks.   It's like going to an art museum after taking your first art history survey class - suddenly, those paintings speak to you in a whole different way.

Yes, the more you know about food and preparation techniques, the more fun cooking becomes.  You can sink into the sensual rhythm of cooking, relishing in the rich colors and textures, the aromas, the subtlety of flavor.  It becomes fun.   It becomes addictive.  It can start to creep into your mind at all hours of the day, consuming your thoughts as you envision the wide palette of ingredients and possibilities.  Cooking is like a drug, and cookbooks are full of temptation.

Because of this, I have started finding much more excitement in all those cookbooks I have sitting in my bookshelf.  I will look through cookbooks I've had for years and find "new" recipes I've never even noticed.  Sometimes, I'll find even find recipes for foods that I've been trying to create recipes for (like when I found the perfect recipe inspiration for my epic gluten free, soy free, vegan pumpkin pie) or find recipes nearly identical to things I've already created.  Recipes using millet and amaranth and celery root and seaweeds are leaping off the page, surprising me at their presence.  "Why wasn't I making this sooner?!" I ask myself sometimes.  "I've been living with these recipes for YEARS and wasn't making them?! What the hell?"   Just goes to show that there is knowledge everywhere, if you know where to look and have your eyes open to what you find.

Anyway, rewind to last night, the end to a totally shitty day that tested my patience and faith in the Universe.  I wanted to do was disappear.  So, I put on some vintage Bollywood music, brewed a hot cup of Dandy Blend, and cozied up on the couch with a stack of cookbooks looking for inspiration for my Christmas menu.  As I was paging through The Voluptuous Vegan, I stumbled across a recipe I had never noticed before: Arame Salsa.  I was stunned - I've had this book for years and years, and I'd never noticed it.  Why?  Probably because arame  didn't enter my sphere of knowledge until about a year ago.  Yes, this was a case of The Red Car Phenomenon.  Anyway, after reading over the recipe, my mind had totally left Christmas menu research task.  I was now fully consumed in brainstorming what to eat with this radically delicious sounding - and totally tomato-free - salsa.

If your aren't familiar with arame, here's a little primer.   Arame is a sea vegetable a.k.a. seaweed that is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine.  It is sold dried in packages at Asian markets and natural food stores, and looks like long, thin black brittle threads.  Arame is especially high in calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A, as well as being a good dietary source forc many other minerals.  Like all seaweeds, arame is a good source of fiber and has naturally anti-microbial properties, as well as potentially curative properties for  inflammatory conditions, worms and parasites, and maybe even tumors.  Since arame has a mild flavor, it is a good introductory seaweed for sea vegetable newbies, and it can be prepared in a variety of ways, wonderful steamed, sauteed, added to soup, eaten in salads, or added to lacto-fermented vegetable mixtures.


I conveniently had all the necessary ingredients in my fridge and pantry, and decided to try it out tonight.  So, I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, put it all together, and tasted it. Holy smokes, was it good!  Tomato free salsa victory!  The arame is cooked in apple juice/cider, giving it an addictively sweet flavor that is delightful, especially when mixed with onion, scallion, and garlic. I spooned it into a hallowed out, cooked Delicata squash; it was totally delicious.

Still hungry after my salsa-stuffed squash, I started eating more salsa with a spoon right out of the bowl.  Seriously - awesome.  I can't wait to eat the leftovers; it would be great served over cooked grains, scooped inside a sweet potato, eaten with chips/crackers/flatbreads, or scooped up with crispy endive leaves or celery sticks.   I think that arame could be substituted with hijiki, another sea vegetable, if desired.  This recipe will find its way through my kitchen more on a regular basis from now on, and I am totally making it for the next party I have.  And not only is this salsa delicious, it is fat free, tomato free, vinegar free, and citrus free, unlike most other salsas out there!  Totally brilliant.

Arame Salsa

adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan (original recipe posted here )

1 c dry arame seaweed (1 oz)
1/2 medium cucumber, diced (1 cup)

1 tsp vitamin C crystals dissolved in 2 T water
2 scallions, finely sliced (1/4 c)
1 c apple juice/cider  - see note below for ACD friendly/low sugar options

1/2 c minced red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or 2 T dry
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch salt
optional: 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
optional: 1/2 inch piece ginger, grated


Soak the arame in water for 20 minutes.
Drain, then place in a medium skillet or saucepan with the apple cider.
Simmer, uncovered, until the cider has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the arame to a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  

For a lower sugar option, use a blend of 50/50 or 25/75 cider and water.  Or a totally ACD friendly solution, boil 1 1/4 c water with 1 T of apple juice/cider or 1 tsp agave nectar/maple syrup/brown rice syrup for 10 minutes, then add the seaweed and cook for an additional 10 minutes as directed, or until all liquid is absorbed.  According to The Candida Yeast Guidebook, sugars  that have been cooked for 20 minutes in a large amount of water do not affect the yeast; many recipes in that book use small amounts of sweetener cooked for extended periods of time in all stages of the ACD.  If this still seems too risky for you, make as directed in recipe above, but use 1 c water instead of juice with a little pinch of stevia for a slightly sweet flavor.





Gluten Free Holiday Recipes: Wild Lentil Loaf, Parsnip Gravy, Amazaké Pumpkin Custard with Apple Cider Gelée, Quinoa-Wild Rice Stuffing, and more!

Hooray for Thanksgiving!  Hooray for gluten free, allergy-friendly holiday food!

Holiday time is always the hardest for those of us with dietary restrictions, right?  Well, no fear.  Here are some of my favorite recipes that are just right for holiday get-togethers, from tasty goodies for the appetizer table to delicious gravy and to a sugar free, gluten free, vegan pumpkin pie.  A handful are new, but most are pulled from the archives.   Christmas will be big this year with a lot of family coming to Minneapolis, so expect Round 2 closer to Christmas!  In the meantime, enjoy these!

All recipes follow the following restrictions:
  • gluten free
  • soy free
  • corn free
  • egg free
  • dairy free (ghee may be used occasionally, sub oil of choice, and might be used yogurt used in a few older recipes)
  • cane sugar free
  • peanut free
  • yeast free
  • potato free
  • citrus free
  • tomato free
  • vegan/vegetarian (with exception of dairy)
Appetizers & Snacks
Wild Lentil Loaf  - NEW! see recipe below 
Vegetable Sides

Lacto-fermented vegetables 
These are perfect for a relish tray and help aid digestion of heavy meals.

Stuffing/Dressing a.k.a. CARB FEAST
Wild Rice & Quinoa Pilaf  - NEW! see recipe below
Waffle Stuffing: dice up waffles and use them like bread cubes in any traditional stuffing recipe! Sprouted Quinoa Millet Waffles,  Savory Wild Rice Millet Waffles with Garlic and Rosemar

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream
Amazaké Pumpkin Custard with Apple Cider Gelée - NEW! see recipe below
Apple Pear Streusal Cake
Plum Apricot Tart (substitute apples, pears, or cranberries instead of plums and apricots!)
Wild Lentil Loaf

Wild Lentil Loaf

yield 1 large pan, approx 6-8 servings

This looks like a lot of instructions, but it really is easy!  Rice and lentils can be made 1-2 days in advance if necessary.   Mixture can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.  A make-ahead miracle!  The texture is very moist, but is sliceable and delicious covered with parsnip gravy.  Leftovers are awesome hot or cold.
1 1/4 c dry red lentils
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c dry wild rice/brown rice mix, soaked 6-8 hours OR 2 cups cooked
1 c brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, GF oats, or GF bread crumbs (I used brown rice flakes)
1 handful brown rice flour + 2 T brown rice flour
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and grated (or one additional carrot)
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 T dry thyme
1 T dry rosemary
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 T flax seed meal + 1/3 c water
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
olive oil
a couple handfuls raw sunflower seeds, toasted
2 T brown rice flour or other GF flour for dusting
  1. Rinse rice and soak for 6-8 hours.  Rinse, then cook per desired method.   I used a pressure cooker (2 cups water for 20 minutes at 15 lbs pressure).  
  2. Pick through and rinse lentils.  Cook the lentils on a stove top with 2 1/2 c water, the bay leaf, and minced garlic for about 15 minutes, or until lentils are totally tender and water is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove bay leaf.  
  3. Preheat oven to 375* F.  Oil a 2.5-3 qt square or rectangular dish and dust with 2 T of rice flour.
  4. In a microwave or on the stovetop, heat water and flaxmeal until a thick and gooey gel forms (1-2 minutes).  Stir vigorously with a fork a few times, then let cool completely.
  5. Toast sunflower seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant.  Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
  6. Add olive oil to the saucepan, and heat over medium-high.  Add cumin seeds and sauté until fragrant, then add onion and celery, and saute for a few minutes. Then add carrot and parsnip and saute for an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and fully cooked.  Add a little broth or water and cover if you notice the mixture is getting dry or cooking slowly.  Remove from heat.
  7. Mix 2 cups of rice, the lentils, and flax goo in a large bowl until smooth. Put 1 cup of rice/lentil mixture and half the sauteed vegetables in a blender and puree until smooth, and return to the bowl.
  8. Add the rest of the vegetables and all the remaining ingredients and stir, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Mixture should be super thick.  
  9. Pack the mixture firmly into pan, and then sprinkle with sunflower seeds. At this point, you can bake immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.  If you let it sit, the flour and flakes absorb the moisture and the loaf sets very well.  
  10. Bake covered for about 45 minutes at 375* F, then uncover and let bake for about 15 minutes, until top is crisp and sunflower seeds are golden brown.  NOTE: if you had it in the fridge and it went in the oven very cold, it may take longer to bake and get warm.  

Parsnip Gravy

yield 3 cups

This gravy benefits from the rich flavor and velvety texture of pureed parsnip and onions.  Serve on lentil loaf, over cooked grains or veggies, or on top of mashed cauliflower or potatoes.

3 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3-4 c broth/stock or water, divided
2 T olive oil
2 T sweet rice flour, white rice flour, or millet flour
salt and pepper to taste
optional: itty bitty pinch of nutmeg
  1. Peel parsnips and thinly slice.  Steam until tender, then put in blender.
  2. While parsnips steam, saute onions in a saucepan with a little olive oil over medium heat until browned and tender.  Put in blender with steamed parsnips.  heat about 1/2 c broth in the saucepan until simmering, swirl around, and pour into blender.  Puree until smooth.
  3. Heat 2 T olive oil in the saucepan, warm over medium heat, then add flour and stir.  Cook until flour starts to brown and smells nutty, then gradually add about 2 c broth, whisking constantly.  Bring to a scald, then reduce heat.  Gravy should start to thicken.  Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning.   
  4. Add pureed parsnip mixture and whisk until smooth.   Simmer a couple of minutes, adding more broth as necessary to reach desired consistency and stirring often.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and if desired, just an itty bitty pinch of nutmeg.
  5. Serve warm drizzled over lentil loaf, or use on cooked grains, steamed vegetables, or anything else!

Wild rice and quinoa create a chewy, wonderful texture for a pilaf

Wild Rice & Quinoa Pilaf Stuffing

serves 8-10

This stuffing uses whole grains instead of bread, but is still full of all the same delicious flavor.  Stuff inside a bird, or serve on the side - either way, it is sure to satisfy.
3/4 c wild rice
3/4 c quinoa
water for soaking
water/broth for cooking
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c carrot, grated
3/4 c celery, thinly sliced
10 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 c fresh parsley, minced
1 T dry thyme
1 T dry rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
salt and pepper to taste
optional: handful toasted nuts/seeds
optional: handful dried fruit (apricots, currants, raisins)
optional: diced apple
optional: 1-2 T maple syrup
  1. Place quinoa and wild rice in separate bowls with 3x as much water as grain.  Soak for 6-12 hours. 
  2. Rinse grains (rub quinoa together while rinsing) and drain.  
  3. Cook wild rice: I like to cook wild rice in a rice cooker or pressure cooker.  If using a rice cooker,  cook as directed in your owner's manual.  If using a pressure cooker, follow directions for rice.  I cooked mine for 15 minutes at 5 lbs pressure, placing wild rice grains and 1 1/2 c water in an oiled pan, and placing the pan and 2 c water in the cooker. If cooking in a saucepan on the stovetop, add 2 c water and rice to pan, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until all water is absorbed and grains are tender.  Remove from heat and let steam about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  4. Cook quinoa: Place quinoa in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 c water/broth, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.  Turn off heat let sit covered for about 10 minutes.  Remove cover and fluff grains with a fork.
  5. Peel and grate carrot, thinly slice celery, and thinly slice scallion.  If using apple, peel, core, and finely chop.  
  6. Heat oil in a large saute pan.  Saute celery for 1-2  minutes, then add carrots, scallions, and chopped apple (if using), and saute until everything is tender.  Add spices and stir to coat.
  7. Add cooked grains to pan, stirring to mix, and heat mixture over medium heat until evenly warmed through.  Cover and add a little extra broth or water if mixture is getting dry.  
  8. Serve warm.  If desired, sprinkle with toasted nuts/seeds or a handful of dried fruit before serving. 

This dessert has a crystal clear layer of apple cider gelée - beautiful!

Pumpkin Amazaké Custard with Apple Cider Gelée

yield 1 9" round custard, approximately 8-12 servings

This dessert looks elegant, tastes amazing, and is incredibly easy to make.  As always, it is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and soy free, but there's also no added sugar and it is low in fat.   A layer of apple cider gelée adds a special twist, but the custard can be served just as well without, if desired.  The perfect allergy-friendly dessert that all your guests will enjoy!

1 c amazaké base + 1 c milk substitute OR 2 cups Grainnaissance Amazake Shake OR 2 cups grain puree (see NOTES below)
2 T arrowroot starch + 4 T milk substitute
2 tsp agar agar powder OR 4 T agar agar flakes
2 c cooked pumpkin or squash, packed (I used butternut!)
1/4-1/2 tsp stevia extract powder (start with less, then add more to taste if desired)
1 T coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or other light tasting oil
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped OR 1/4 tsp vanilla powder OR 1 tsp GF vanilla extract
1 T mesquite flour, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cardamom OR 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Cider Gelée (do not serve with gelée if on strict ACD)
1 1/2 c apple cider or apple juice
3/4 tsp agar agar powder OR 1 1/2 T agar agar flakes
Make the custard:
  1. Puree amazaké and milk/water in blender until totally smooth.  Strain mixture into a saucepan through a fine sieve to remove any unblended chunks, and set aside.
  2. Put 2 cups of cooked squash in the blender, along with oil, spices, salt, and vanilla, and set aside.
  3. Sprikle agar flakes/powder over amazaké in saucepan, and heat to a simmer over medium heat without stirring.  Then simmer for two minutes, stirring gently until agar is totally dissolved.  Dissolve the arrowroot in 4 T cold milk substitute, and add it to the amazaké mixture.  It will thicken immediately -simmer 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Mixture will be VERY thick.
  4. Immediately transfer amazaké mixture into blender, and puree all ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour into an 9" x 1 1/2" round tart/flan/cake pan with a drop bottom or a springform pan.  If your pan is not non-stick, lightly oil the sides of the pan before pouring it in.   Smooth top with a spoon or rubber spatula, and drop pan lightly on counter top a few times to remove air bubbles.  Let sit in a level place for about 30 minutes.  If serving custard without layer of gelée, transfer to refrigerator, let chill 4 hours, then serve.  If serving with gelée...
While it sets, make the gelée:
  1. Pour cider into a small saucepan and sprinkle agar agar powder/flakes over the top.  Heat to a simmer without stirring, then stir and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until agar is totally dissolved. 
  2. Add vanilla if using, and stir again to mix.  Pour into a cool bowl or measuring cup, and place in refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes.  Don't let sit too long, or it will start to set!
  3. Once it has cooled, gently pour cooled cider mixture over custard.  Let sit in level spot for about 20 minutes, then put in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
To serve, remove ring, place on serving platter, and slice into wedges just before serving.  If desired, top with a blob of something creamy (whipped cream/cashew cream/coconut cream/rice cream/some other creamy thing) of your choice. It is really tasty with Coconut Bliss Coconut Milk Ice Cream!  

  • If you do not have amazaké, make a grain puree:  blend 1 cup of very well cooked grain with 1 cup of milk substitute until totally smooth, straining to remove chunks.  I tried this recipe again with leftover mixed brown and wild rice blended with rice milk, and it worked great!  I would recommend using grain that has been cooked with a higher than usual amount of water so it is very soft and very well cooked.
  • If you do not have a drop bottom pan, you could make this in an pie tin, and just serve slices of it like pie.  
  • For individual servings, spoon mixture custard cups or molds and let set, and topping each serving with equal portions of cider gelée as desired.



Cumin-Kissed Kale (gluten free, vegan, ACD friendly)


I adore kale in all forms, and this is one of my favorite ways to eat it lately.  It is really really simple to make, and is ready in 10-15 minutes.  Kale is a super nutritious food, full of vitamin A, C, calcium, and fiber.  Cumin helps to stimulate digestion, helps the liver's detoxification processes, and has anti-carcinogenic effects. 


serves 4

1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp grapeseed, sunflower, coconut, ghee (not vegan), or other high temperature oil (not olive)
ume vinegar or salt to taste
1/4 c water or broth
optional: red pepper flakes

Heat oil over high heat in a saute pan until it reaches the smoking point.  Add cumin seeds, stir to coat with oil, and heat until they start to pop and smell fragrant.  Watch them closely to make sure they don't burn.
Add chopped kale and water/stock, stir to mix, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and recovering after 5 minutes.  After 10 minutes check the tenderness of the kale; if you want it less chewy, add a little more liquid and cook until desired tenderness has been reached.
Season with coriander, ume vinegar or salt, and optional red pepper flakes, and serve warm.



Bring on the Vegetables: Garlic-Seared Brussels Sprouts, Pan-Fried Parsnips & Leeks, Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds (gluten free, vegan, ACD friendly)


My parents and grandma were in town this weekend.  They came up to see "Devoured", The 16th Annual Barebones Productions Halloween Extravaganza .  I'm playing in the orchestra this year, and we just had our opening weekend of shows.  This annual production takes place outside in a beautiful, wooded park next to the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN.  For those of you unfamiliar with Minneapolis and St Paul, the Mississippi River cuts between the cities in a beautifully tree-lined river gorge.  The governments of both cities have put a great priority on forming a well-developed park system, and there are trails and parks that line both sides of the river the length of both cities.  When you are walking the tree-lined trails or along the sandy shore, hearing nothing but bird calls, or are canoeing or kayaking along quiet stretches of the Mississippi, it is easy to forget you are in a metropolitan area of nearly 1 million people.  It is especially beautiful this time of year, when summer's green changes to the warm ochre, burnt orange, and fiery red and fall.

The performance takes place in Hidden Falls Regional Park, one of my favorite parks, and it is really something awesome.  Taking place in the evenings (the darkness ups the spookiness factor), the performance features larger than life puppets, fire dancers, people on stilts, and and a masked actors, set to a different story line each year.  This year's theme plays off the Egyptian myth of Anubus, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and the various stories of werewolves.  Accented with kick but lighting, AWESOME live music, and the natural beauty of the heavily wooded park, it is a really magical show.  I'm playing in the orchestra, and have felt lucky to meet and play with such a talented and creative group of people.
If you live in the Twin Cities, and are looking for something fun to do this coming weekend, come to our final two performances!  They will be held Friday, Oct 30 and Saturday, Oct 31, at 7 pm, in Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Check out the Barebones Productions website for more info, and I hope to see you there!

When I wasn't performing this weekend, we had a great time hanging out, hitting up the farmer's market,  taking Grandma to Ikea for the first time (what an adventure!), and of course, cooking a big family lunch at my aunt and uncle's house.  My dad and I fixed two very quick and tasty vegetable side dishes from our farmer's market finds, Garlic-Seared Brussels Sprouts and Pan-Fried Parsnips & Leeks.  They were so good and in keeping with my promise to share more simple vegetable recipes, I thought I'd share them with all of you!  I also made some über-delicious Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds, a recipe that was too addictive not to share.  Stevia + salt + roasted seeds = naturally delicious snacking heaven.
Speaking of butternuts and all things squashy/pumpkiny, I also made a too-good-to-be-true-but-it-is vegan, gluten free, sugar free, fairly ACD-friendly Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream for our lunch.  WHAT?!!?!?!  Yes, it is true friends, and I can attest to the fact that is was AMAZING.  I actually used butternut instead of pumpkin, which I tend to prefer for pie because it is naturally sweeter.  Anyway, it got a great big thumbs up from my whole family, pie-expert Grandma included, as well as two of my dear friends that I happened to run into when I had the leftover pie in my car.  The texture is dense and velvety, the flavor is sweet and spicy, the crust is crunchy and delicious, and the cashew whipped cream is thick, rich, and rather addictive.  Hard to believe there's no added sugar, no eggs, no dairy, no gluten, and only a little added fat!  That post will be coming shortly, I'm working on writing it up.  But here's a little photo for a teaser.
In the meantime, eat your vegetables.  Dessert will come later.

GARLIC-SEARED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)

 serves 8

1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
4-5 cloves garlic (about 1/2 medium bulb), peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Herbamare/sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

  1. Wash, trim, and half Brussels sprouts, and peel and slice garlic.
  2. Fill a large pot with about 1 inch water, or insert a vegetable steaming tray, and set water on to boil. Once water is boiling, add Brussels sprouts, and steam until just tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from steamer immediately and set aside.
  3. While Brussels sprouts steam, heat olive oil over medium low heat in a large pan.  Add garlic cloves, and saute for 10 minutes, until garlic is softened, golden, and fragrant.  Keep heat low so garlic doesn't burn and taste bitter.  
  4. Add steamed Brussels sprouts to pan, and turn up heat to medium high.  Stirring frequently, sear Brussels sprouts and garlic until they become golden and  a little crispy.  Make sure garlic doesn't burn.  
  5. Once Brussels sprouts have reach desired "seared"ness, remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.  Garnish with Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds for a tasty twist.
Other ways to use this dish:
  • Chill and serve on a vegetable plate or relish tray.
  • Use on a warm salad with greens, roasted butternut squash cubes, and a sprinkling of chopped nuts/seeds
  • Throw leftovers into stew, pot pie, or shepherd's pie

PAN-FRIED PARSNIPS & LEEKS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)

serves 8

6-7 small parsnips, peeled and sliced in 1/8" slices
2-3 medium leeks, white parts only, sliced in 1/4" slices
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 1/2 c water or broth
Herbamare/sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
optional: dash nutmeg

  1. Wash, peel and slice parsnips, and trim and slice leeks.
  2. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil a large pan over medium heat, then add parsnips and leeks, stirring to coat with oil.  Add water, and cover, stirring occasionally, cooking until parsnips are tender and water is absorbed.
  3. Remove cover, adding additional 1 T olive oil, and turn up heat to medium high.  Saute until parsnips have become slightly golden, and season with Herbamare and sea salt.
  4. Remove from heat, and serve immediately.
Other ways to use this dish:
  • Mash instead of leaving whole for a tasty mashed potato substitute - serve plain, with gravy, or use to top a shepherd's pie!  
  • Blend with broth and/or your favorite milk substitute for a creamy, flavorful soup.
  • Throw in the blender/food processer with 1/2-1 c of white beans and a little extra olive oil for a creamy bean dip.

SWEET 'N SALTY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SEEDS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)

seeds from 1 butternut squash
1 tsp grapeseed, coconut, or other high temperature oil
tiny pinch stevia powder
sea salt

  1. Scoop the seeds from the squash, and clean off the stringy squash meet.  Soak seeds in salted water for about an hour, to help soften the seed and clean off the squash goo.
  2. Rinse well, and transfer to a baking pan.  Heat an oven to 400*.  Bake for about 10 minutes to dry out a bit, stir, drizzle with oil and a sprinkling of salt, and stir again to coat 
  3. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden and crisp, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl.  Add a teeny tiny sprinkling of stevia powder and additional salt to taste, and stir to coat.
  5. You probably won't have leftovers, but if you do, cool completely and keep in a well-sealed jar in the fridge.



Harvest Festival: Turnip Broccoli Au Gratin and Red Russian Borscht (gluten free, vegan)

Happy autumnal equinox!

Bring on the comfort food!

Seriously, I feel my body craving foods differently now than back in the height of summer. My body is sensing the change in season, and is yearning for foods of fall's harvest. This means it is time for soup. For roots. For warm cooked things (sorry raw foodies, I like my food cooked once the temperature starts dropping). I've been obsessing over beets and turnips and squashes and apples. So, today I went crazy for fall-time cooking. After eating some of the delightful homemade borscht featured below for lunch, I came home from work and made this amazing Turnip Broccoli Gratin, some fennel-spiked fava bean and rice soup for lunch tomorrow and leftovers, and took my first stab a carob beetroot cake (seriously).

I've been doing all sorts of harvesty things, like going to the apple orchard, hitting up the farmer's market to make huge batches of soup and sauces, admiring fall colors driving through the country, and harvesting the last of the herbs and squashes from my garden. My arugula is still going strong, I still have a couple squashes on the vine, and most of my beets are still firmly planted, but my herbs have waned, my zucchini is (finally) slowing, and even my chard and kale seems to be slowing down. It's true, fall is upon us.

So, in celebration of the change of season, here's a little harvest festival for you, two of my most recent recipes perfectly suited for the final trips to the farmer's market. A lovely Turnip Broccoli Au Gratin, creamy and rich and totally dairy free, and a nourishing Red Russian Borscht, full of beety goodness (and more turnips...).



yield: 1 7"x11" pan

Like potatoes au gratin, but WAY better because it uses the humble turnip, one of my favorite vegetables. There's a reason why a turnip graces the top of my blog - I truly adore them! Especially au gratin style, with broccoli, onions, and rich, creamy Béchamel sauce. Béchamel sauce is an awesome thing to have in your cooking toolbox. It can be made in a flash, and works really well with GF flours to make amazing gravies and creamy sauces for vegetables, meats, and grains.

To top the whole thing off, I sprinkled it with GF bread crumbs. Feel free to sprinkle with any other crumbly tasty stuff you'd like, like nut flour, potato/tapioca chips, crumbled cracker crumbs, or french fried onions. Or, leave it nude and eat without a crunchy, crumbly topping - it will still be wonderful!

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
6-8 mediumish turnips, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
2 cups Béchamel sauce (recipe below)
1/2 c gluten free bread/cracker crumbs
Herbamare/salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400* F.  Wash and prepare vegetables, saving broccoli stems for later use, and set aside.
Prepare Béchamel sauce per directions below.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of 7"x11" glass pan.  Place turnips in pan in long rows, layering each turnip slightly over the other, until pan is full. Tuck broccoli florets between rows and around the edges of pan. Finally, evenly spread thinly sliced onions over entire pan.  Cover with tin foil, and bake for 20-30 minutes. Then remove foil, sprinkle on bread crumbs, salt, and pepper, and place bake in oven to bake until golden and bubbling, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool 10-20 minutes before serving.


1/4 c + 2 Tbsp millet or brown rice flour
3 T olive oil
3 c water
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2-1 tsp Herbamare
white or black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp garbanzo bean miso (or soy, if tolerated)

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, mix flour, garlic powder, and ground mustard, then sprinkle over oil. Stir to mix evenly, and toast flour until it smells nutty.
Add water in steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Bring heat up to medium high, and bring to a scald while stirring constantly. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer briefly until thickened.
Remove a small amount of the sauce and mix with miso paste, then add back into pot, with additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.


yields plenty.

In keeping with my beet theme of late, here's another beet recipe. Seriously, I can't get beets off my mind, I'm using them constantly right now. I made that beet sauce last week, ate roasted beets all weekend, threw a beet in my smoothie this morning, and am obsessing with the idea of beetroot baked goods (like I said, tonight I made beet carob cake).

In regards to soup, I've always been a sucker for borscht. Borscht is a classic Eastern European soup, pure peasant food at its best, made mostly of beets and with a variety of other vegetables thrown in, depending on the variety and version. I've made various versions of borscht through time, but this one is a winner. I started with a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, omitting some things, adding others, and throwing in my own twists, and coming up with something new and wonderful. Sweet and tangy, and bursting with rich flavor, this soup features the best of late summer vegetables. And better yet, it is a striking ruby red, dotted with bits of orange, green, and purple. Truly satisfying to the eyes and the belly.

I made a batch of this soup a few weeks ago, and ate greedily off the pot for a couple days. Then I froze the rest for later. "Later" came today - when I looked outside this morning, and saw the clouds and cool weather, a bowl of borscht seemed like the natural choice. What better way to usher in the autumnal equinox than a bowl of soup? Perhaps my current obsession with beets is my body's natural connection to the change of seasons, an unconscious drive to take part in the bounty of fall's harvest. So, I grabbed a pouch of soup from the freezer, a bit of leftover shredded beef from my fridge, and headed off to work. When the lunch hour came, beef and soup went in the bowl, and a smile crossed my face. The flavors and aroma were divine - chunky vegetables in a sea of fragrant broth, a little sweet, a little sour, and brimming with hints of caraway and dill. Perfect.

3 medium beets, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium turnips, peeled and thinly sliced (or potatoes, if you prefer)
2 small onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt or Herbamare
fresh ground black or white pepper
2 Tbsp chopped celery leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
1-2 Tbsp buckwheat or other variety of honey, or another liquid sweetener (if on ACD, omit sweetener entirely or use a very tiny pinch of stevia)
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice, or 1/2-1 tsp vitamin C crystals dissolved in water)
6-8 cups water or stock
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

optional add-ins:
1/4 c tomato paste (I did not add because I'm allergic to tomatoes, but it would be very good, and is commonly added to borscht!)
grain: cooked kasha (buckwheat groats), brown rice, millet, or quinoa
protein: shredded cooked chicken or beef, cooked white beans, strips of tempeh/tofu, etc.

dairy/non-dairy yogurt or cream, cashew cream, or other creamy something of your choosing
fresh minced dill

Prepare vegetables. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil. Add cumin seeds, caraway seeds, and ground cumin, stir to coat with oil, and heat until fragrant. Add onions, and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add celery and carrot, and saute for 2-3 more minutes. Finally, add beets and turnips, and saute for a few more minutes. Then add cabbage.

Add water/stock, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer on medium until vegetables are almost tender. Then add celery leaves, dill, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, as well as any other add ins (cooked meat/beans, cooked grains, etc). Let simmer 5 more minutes to flavor through, then remove from heat.
Serve immediately, or cool and freeze.