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 These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.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


August SOS Kitchen Challenge: MINT!

It's August already! HOW?! I don't believe it. This summer has flown by soquickly; I've only been to the beach twice, haven't gone camping, and hardly have a tan. Granted, I've been spending lots of time in the garden, went to New York, and been have spent lots of time walking around the lakes of Minneapolis, but still!  Where did summer go?

Despite my urge to just throw care to the wind, drop out of society, and go live in a beach hut or in the woods or on a farm for the rest of the warmer months, I am sucked into the crazy spin of living a busy urban life.  Between work, blogging, weddings, travel, health stuff, and all my personal projects, I have hardly had a moment to breath!  Yes, this summer has been crazy for both Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs (my SOS Kitchen Challenge co-host) and me. We've both been running around this summer like chickens with our heads cut off, it seems. So, we took the month of July off, and are now back from our SOS holiday and ready and rarin' to go. Not that August is any less busy - I have friends' weddings galore, and Ricki is busy marking papers. But we've decided to kick off another challenge anyway.

We are both very excited for our fourth challenge.  In April, you showed us what you can do with beets. In May, you amazed us with spinach. In June, you celebrated summer with rhubarb. And now for the sweltering month of August, Ricki and I are encouraging you to cool down one of our favorite herbs.


Your challenge is to create either sweet or savory dishes (or both, if you're really adventurous--though of course, that's not required) to submit to the event using mint in any way, shape, or form. Full rules are posted here.  And please note a few changes to the event's structure, also mentioned below.

Of course, mint is great for those times when you need a respite from the crazy-making work, boss, kids, traffic, neighbors, dogs, baby, etc.  And aside from its incredible health-promoting qualities (it's a great tonic for indigestion, nausea, headache or even congestion; it has antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities; and it's actually an excellent source of vitamins A and C), mint just plain tastes great.  And, as Ricki and I have both discovered, it's an almost indestructible perennial plant - both our gardens are both blessed/cursed with it!

Mint originated in Europe and the Mediterranean, and is now cultivated around the world.  With over thirty varieties of mint (mostly peppermint and spearmint), each with its own distinct properties and heady aroma courtesy of the menthol they contain, mint is a useful and versatile herb.  

Mint is appropriate in both sweet or savory dishes, from classics like peppermint candies or chocolates to mint chutneys and curries.  It makes a soothing, cooling beverage as well,  as we witnessed when Daisy, Gatsby et al sipped on their refreshing mint juleps.

If you'd like to participate in the challenge, all you need to do is create a new recipe and submit it through a link form at the bottom of this page (no more e-mailing, for all you past participants). Please enter the recipe description, your name, and your blog's name in the description, and upload a photo, following the Linky prompts. By entering through the submission form below, it will automatically display a photo and will have a link that will direct readers to your blog.  The images will display on both Ricki's and my blog, doubling your exposure!  We'll leave the form open until the end of the month, just in time for the next SOS Challenge! Please be sure to link up to this page, lin and mention the SOS Challenge in your blog post.

Please remember to follow the rules - vegan, no refined sugars, and natural, whole foods ingredients only - or at the very least, make sure you offer reliable substitutions for those things in your recipe if you use something else. Recipes that do not comply will be removed from the Linky list.  

We look forward to sharing our minty recipes with you and seeing what you create!  Check back often to see all the great submissions to this month's SOS challenge!

August SOS Kitchen Challenge: MINT


This linky list is now closed. 






"It's Alive!": Cultured Kohlrabi Sauerkraut and a few tips and tricks (gluten-free, vegan, raw, ACD)

I needed to clear out my crisper before heading out to New York City a couple of weeks ago.   I decided to whip up a two batches of cultured vegetables, my absolute favorite way to preserve the harvest.  

A friend recently told me that Common Roots Cafe, a local organic restaurant, is serving grated pickled kohlrabi with their entrees.  Inspired, I decided to embark on a pickled grated kohlrabi adventure of my own, a departure from my usual pickled kohlrabi spears (from this recipe or this recipe).  I combined shredded kohlrabi with red cabbage,  scallions, and red pepper flakes, inspired by the flavors of kimchee and Japanese sauerkraut, sealed up the jars, and hoped for the best.  

a portrait of kohlrabi

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Cucumber Onion Salad, version 2.0 (gluten-free, with ACD, vegan and raw options)

Growing up, our family summer meals often included a simple, classic cucumber, onion, and tomato salad. The flavors were simple - cucumber, onion, and tomato soaked in a light briny dressing of rice vinegar, sugar, and dill. I adored this salad, and often made it once I had a kitchen of my own. Each bite made me think of childhood summers spent topping fresh green beans with my mom, husking corn on the cob with my grandpa, and picking tomatoes out of the backyard. 

I've really missed that salad since cutting out most vinegars, sugar, and tomatoes from my diet. Over the last couple years I have tried playing with different ways to recreate it in a me-friendly way, but never really found the right combination. I finally hit the jackpot last weekend.  This salad has a fresh and complex flavor and great texture; it is salty, sweet, tart, crunchy.  I used a dressing of lime juice and umeboshi plum vinegar, which isn't really a vinegar at all, but a salty brine leftover from the fermentation and pickling process of making umeboshi plums. I added  little dill, a pinch of mustard, and just a bit of raw honey, and poured it over farmers market cucumbers and onions. Then I let it sit overnight for the flavors to meld, and the next day revealed an amazing salad at the 4th of July barbeque!  My friends really liked it, as evidenced by the photo...

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Fresh Pea Dip with Sorrel and Thyme (gluten free, vegan, ACD, raw)

Back in April when I planted my peas, I must have gotten my seed packets mixed up. Instead of two rows of snow peas, I ended up with two big rows of shell peas.  And as much as I love shell peas, I didn't intend on having to spend so much time actually shelling peas this summer.


Shelling peas is a time consuming process that is a lesson in patience. Because of this, I've been putting off harvesting and shelling, but finally did both the other day.  After about 40 minutes of shelling, I ended up with 2 cups of peas.  Then I blended them into oblivion (why did I do this to beautiful fresh peas?), and made some lovely dip, which is a lot like hummus, but green.  Despite the fact that my hard labor was now a bright green mush, the incredible flavor of the peas burst through, highlighted with thyme, sorrel, and olive oil. Most of the ingredients in the dip were either grown by me (peas, sorrel, parsley, thyme) or a local farmer (garlic). Pretty cool, huh?

fresh pea dip with baby farmers market carrots


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Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free 4th of July Recipes

Fireworks from the 2009 Minneapolis fireworks display at the Stone Arch Bridge

Geez, can you believe it is already JULY?!

Summer is officially here, and so is the 4th of July and all that goes with it.  America's Independence Day is celebrated with backyard barbeques, picnics, potlucks, cabins, and pyromaniac fiends (like my brother and his buddies) getting their jollies out by blowing stuff up and creating fiery explosions in the sky.  And while these gatherings are fun, they can be really stressful for anyone with dietary restrictions.  Parties are like obstacle courses, especially if you aren't hosting and you don't know what's what.

No fear! The key to these gatherings is to bring along plenty of safe food. Yes, it involves planning, but it will ensure that you have plenty eat, can relax and enjoy yourself, and not break your diet, have a reaction, or go hungry. 

I dug through my archives and hand selected a wide assortment of recipes that are perfect for summer gatherings and weekends at the cabin or cottage.  You will love them, other people will too, and you will feel happy, satisfied, and celebratory just like everyone eating all the "normal" food. Be sure to check out my Summer Recipe Index for more ideas. 

Have a safe and happy holiday, and please don't blow your hands up or start your garage on fire.  Kisses!

xoxo, Kim

Summer in Minnesota is like heaven, and the only reason living through the winter is at all worth the struggle.

White Bean and Garlic Dip

Appetizers and Snacks

Tomato Free Arame SalsaServe a big bowl of White Bean Garlic Dip, Beet Hummus, or Tomato-Free Arame Salsa with Crispy Raw Flax Seed Crackers  or another cracker, chip, or raw vegetable your choice.

Make Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté "Sliders" for a fun and delicious light lunch or snack. For something more filling, make picnic-perfect paté sandwiches with pickles, thinly sliced radishes, a smear of mustard, and a thick slice of Pumpkinseed Teff Sandwich Bread.

Pepper Crusted Cashew Cheese

Make a big batch of Wasabi Garlic Kale Chips or Toasted Nori Crisps to serve instead of potato or corn chips.

Serve Pepper-Crusted Cashew Cheese with crackers and fresh vegetables.



Jicama Collard Slaw 

Salads, Slaws, and Sides

White Bean Salad with Peppers and HerbsFor a hearty pasta or bean dish, try making White Bean Salad with Peppers and Herbs, Chicken Salad with Artichokes, or Chickpea, Pesto, and Broccoli Pasta Salad, or French Tuna Macaroni Salad.

Instead of a standard coleslaw, how try Carrot Ribbon SaladCurried Rhubarb Coleslaw, Celeriac Slaw with Creamy Cashew "Mayo"Cabbage Slaw with Sorrel and Sesame, Jicama Collard Slaw with Creamy Sunflower Dressing, or Really Raw Slaw instead.

Roasted Vegetables with PestoFeel like whole grains? Make my delicious Cucumber, Olive, and Quinoa Salad or Millet Tabouli with Roasted Red Peppers.

Substitute the classic sugar-laden maple baked beans with a delicious and hearty batch of Mexican Azuki Beans with Epazote.

For a simple and elegant vegetable side dish, serve a big platter of chilled or hot Roasted Vegetables with Basil and Garlic Scape Pesto or Sprouted Chickpea Pesto for dipping.


Firing up the grill for chicken breasts!

Main Course

Grilled Chicken Breasts with roasted vegetables and Jicama Collard SlawIf you're firing up the grill, try making Dad's Mesquite-Smoked Chicken Breasts, or make a grilled version of my Caper & Shallot Turkey Burgers with Pesto.

For a vegan burger alternative, try Sunny Quinoa Burgers or Mung Bean Burgers in a collard leaf with fresh sprouts and grated carrot.  I don't think they'd do well on the grill since they are kind of fragile, but they'd still be great done up on the stove.

Make Turkey Fajita Hash and serve it in brown rice tortillas with all Summer Spaghetti with Zucchini Cashew "Alfredo"the classic taco fixings, like black olives, lettuce or thinly shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, and salsa.

For a quick and filling pasta dish, use fresh farmers market vegetables to make Summer Spaghetti with Zucchini Cashew Alfredo - the sauce isn't too heavy, and is still appropriate for even hot summer days.


Raw Strawberry "Milk"Shakes

Sweet Treats

Rhubarb Cashew CookiesMy Black Bean Fudge is always a hit - and there is no baking involved, so it won't heat up your kitchen! For a crunchy version, try making the recipe for Fudge Sunny Bunnies but cut into stars or other fun shapes instead of rabbits.

Serve a plate of Rhubarb Cashew Cookies, Sunflower Butter Cookies, Amazing Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Chewy Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies.

Use fresh summer fruit to make Raspberry Rhubarb Coconut Bars or Plum Apricot Tart.

Beet and Cherry CreamsiclesCraving something icy to beat the heat? Try my Avocado Shamrock ShakeRaw Strawberry "Milk"shakes, or Beet & Cherry Creamsicles.

Go all out and make my Chocolate Cherry Berry Layer Cake, and decorate with raspberries, blueberries, and and cherries instead for a patriotic twist!



Granola with fresh berries - the perfect easy summer breakfast!

Breakfasts & Brunch

Rhubarb Coconut SconesFor quick breakfasts at the cabin or on the boat, make a batch of Super Seed GranolaApplesauce Muffins,Cinnamon Raisin Muffins, or Rhubarb Coconut Scones.

For more leisurely breakfasts at home on your holiday off, what about trying a batch of Salmon and Eggs Breakfast Scramble, Sprouted Quinoa Millet Waffles with Strawberry RHubarb Jam,  or Sprouted Buckwheat Blini with Salmon, Cucumber, and PUmpkin Seed Cream?


Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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