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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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 Seasonal Foods (56)


Sugar-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (gluten free, vegan, ACD option) 

I saw the most frighteningly gorgeous strawberries at the farmers market last weekend. They were perfect - vibrantly red, plump, shiny, local, and organic. You could smell them from 5 feet away (no kidding).  These berries had the perfume of summer and sunshine and all things gorgeous and amazing.

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Oven-Roasted Garlic Scapes (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

Scapes, let me count the ways I love thee.

This recipe couldn't be more simple or more delicious.  And it will make your kitchen smell great too.

Garlic scapes are green plants that grown out of garlic bulbs.  These unruly, spirally, rather rebellious little things have a pungent, garlicky flavor, and a texture similar to a cross between a green bean and asparagus. They can be eaten raw, roasted, sauteed, fried, pureed in soups, pestos, and hummus, or whatever else you can imagine. I love scapes, and look forward to the short window of time in early summer when you can find them at the farmers market.  I saw them last weekend and promptly purchased two beautiful bunches.  Hey, scape season is brief; we must take advantage of it while we can!  These little darlings are only around for about a month or so in early summer, so eat up. I was even more excited to see scapes forming on the garlic in my garden. 

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Cabbage Slaw with Sorrel and Sesame (gluten-free, ACD, vegan, raw option)

My coworker E and I have a wonderfully reciprocal relationship.  We trade produce, health tips, and knowledge about various things. Most of the time I feel like I get the better end of the bargain - she is incredibly generous and knowledgeable, and I have a hard time keeping up! The other day she brought me a bunch of lovely sorrel leaves from her garden.  I was thrilled! I'm growing it in my garden, but it hasn't quite gotten large enough to harvest yet.

If you aren't familiar with sorrel, it is a perennial herb with a tart, sour, almost lemony flavor.  The flavor is due to the high amount of oxalic acid present in the leaves. If you are particularly sensitive to oxalates, you may want to steer clear of sorrel. In large quantities, everyone should be careful - too much sorrel can be toxic! But a small amount here and there won't harm you. So, if you can handle oxalates, find sorrel immediately, because it is delicious.   It is used all over the world in various dishes from soups to salads to meat dishes.  It is delicious with butter over fish. Because it has a tart, sour, lemony flavor, it like adding it to slaws and salads for an acidic bite.  Minneapolis is in the midst of a heat wave, and I am craving raw vegetables non-stop, so I used some of my gifted sorrel for a tasty slaw. 

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Gluten Free Sugar Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream (soy free, ACD-friendly)

THIS PIE IS AMAZING.  I like this more than regular pumpkin pie.  My whole family and some of my friends tried it, and they all said it was totally bangin'.  Even my put-a-pound-of-butter-in-everything grandma loved it. How can a egg free, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, sugar free pumpkin pie win over a crowd?  Magic and a pinch of love.  Okay, okay, and some good recipes to work from.


The whole foods/gluten free/vegan/allergy blogosphere is bursting at the seams right now with pumpkin recipes.   'Tis the season, after all.  Ali from Whole Foods Nutrition just posted a recipe for Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, Nancy from The Sensitive Pantry shared her Spiced Pumpkin Cider Smoothie recipe , Gluten Free Goddess Karina posted a Pumpkin Pie Bread recipe that makes me drool at the thought of it,  Naomi at Straight Into Bed CakeFree and Dried posted a recipe for Stuffed Tiny Pumpkins a while back that looks lovely, Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen posted a recipe for Fat Free Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits that I want to make GF, and Stephanie at Gluten Free by Nature offered up some delectable-looking dairy-free Pumpkin Ice Cream that I want to try making without eggs.  And that's just the beginning!  Whew.  My reader has been full of pumpkin.  And I, like all of you, REALLY wanted something pumpkiny/squashy last weekend.

I wanted pumpkin pie.

Actually, no, I wanted butternut pie.  I love butternuts in pie instead of pumpkin, because they are sweeter and just darn tasty.  My family was in town, we were having Sunday afternoon dinner, and I wanted those homegrown butternuts in my pantry to be served in pie form.  But given my decision to return to the ACD plan, I knew I had some obstacles when embarking on this pie mission.  On top of all my other allergy restrictions, I could only use stevia to sweeten, and I needed a lower carb crust.  Hmn.

Not easily intimidated, I jumped in headlong, and set to work researching in my big collection of cookbooks.  I found inspiration in two standbys: the pie filling is adapted from Myra Kornfield's The Voluptous Vegan, and the crust is adapted from Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook.  Kornfield's book is great, whether you are vegan or not - her recipes are innovative and always delectable.  I've had this cookbook for years, and have always loved everything from it (her chocolate cake is incredible).  I love this filling recipe because it is soy free, unlike many vegan pumpkin pie recipes.  It is creamy and dense, with a great mouth feel, and took to my little tweaks very very well!  Best yet, it is incredibly easy to make - if you can use a blender, you can make this pie.  The most complicated part is finding agar agar powder instead of flakes (according to Myra's recipe notes, the recipe will absolutely not work with flakes).   I used a combination of mesquite flour, allspice, and cardamom to season it, since I am still avoiding all those tasty traditional pumpkin pie spices due to some allergies.  But I included Myra's original spice combination below as well.  The crust is made of high protein flour and ground nuts and seeds, and also worked well with my little tweaks.  Martin's Candida guidebook has a ton of great recipe suggestions (as well as great Candida treatment recommendations), and I've tried many of them over the last year or so. This crust is especially awesome, and totally ACD approved: it bakes up crunchy, has a great flavor, and actually holds together better than a lot of gluten-containing crusts I've seen!  Last but not least, the cashew cream is born of my own mind, and is rich, thick, quite addictive, and absolutely perfect for dolloping on a big slice.

If you have nut and seed allergies, give this crust a try, substituting coconut oil or shortening for the ghee if you don't tolerate it.  Otherwise, try going totally crustless, baking the filling in a greased pie pan for a tasty pumpkin custard!  I'm going to give that a try it this weekend, and think it will be just as delicious. The pie will last for 4-5 days in the fridge, and slices can be frozen and thawed.  Trust me, I tried both, and those slices of leftover pie were just as good as the fresh ones.


Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust (gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, ACD)

 pie filling adapted from Myra Kornfield's Voluptuous Vegan
yields 1 9" pie

  • 3 cup pumpkin or squash puree (from a 2 1/2-3 lb squash, or canned) - I used Butternut squash
  • 1 cup SoDelicious Coconut Milk beverage, coconut milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 4 teaspoons melted coconut oil (or other light oil)
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder or 30-40 drops tsp plain, vanilla, or English toffee flavor stevia liquid
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon agar agar powder (NOT agar agar flakes.  If you are not vegan, you can sub 1 teaspoon unflavored plain gelatin powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder OR 1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract or flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons mesquite flour, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom OR 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons agave nectar, yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, coconut nectar, or brown rice syrup
  • 1 recipe for Crunchy Crust (recipe below), or other 9" pie crust

Heat oven to 400º F.

Prepare Crunchy Crust or another pie crust recipe, and put in prepared 9" pie pan.

Make puree by placing cooked squash/pumpkin in a food processor/blender, and pureeing until totally smooth.  
Add milk, oil, stevia, arrowroot, agar agar powder, salt, vanilla, liquid sweetener (if using) and spices to blender, and blend again until totally smooth and well incorporated.  Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared crust and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.


Gluten Free Crunchy Pie Crust

crust adapted from Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook

yield 1 9" crust

  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (or almonds or hazelnuts or other nut/seed)
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup teff flour or amaranth flour
  • 1 tablespoon mesquite flour or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Heat oven to 400* F and oil a 9" pie pan.

Grind nuts and seeds in a blender/food processer until finely ground (a few chunks are okay). Mix together ground nuts/seeds, arrowroot, teff, mesquite/cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.  Add coconut oil, and toss to evenly coat mixture with oil.  Add water bit by bit, until a coarse, dry dough forms.  If it seems really dry and won't stick together, add a little more cold water.

Pat into prepared pie tin into a crust about 1/4" thick, and then place in the oven for about 7-8 minutes.
Remove crust from the oven, and let cool slightly in pan on wire rack before filling with pumpkin mixture.


Dairy-free Cashew Whipped Cream (vegan, gluten free, ACD)

yield about 3/4 c

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup SoDelicious Coconut Milk beverage, or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon agar powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch stevia powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/16 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle agar agar powder over 1/2 c of non-dairy milk in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, whisking until powder is totally dissolved, about 5 minutes.   Add to blender with cashews, additional 1/4 c milk, vanilla, and salt.  Add water as needed to get things flowing! Once smooth, add stevia powder to taste.  

Chill in refrigerator for about 2 hours, mixture will firm up.   



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.