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. 

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Sweet Potato Crumble Bars (gluten-free, vegan)


Hi there! Did American readers have a good Thanksgiving weekend? Mine was fantastic, spent with family and friends eating wonderful food, laughing a lot, and crocheting my brains out.

Our family Thanksgiving feast was quite incredible this year, boasting 25 people. My mom is now avoiding gluten and dairy as well (GO MOM!!!!), and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of great stuff to eat that others would enjoy too. Between what we cooked and what everyone else brought, the quantity of food that sat upon the two buffet tables is almost embarassing in its bounty.  Rather than listing everything present that day, I'll share the allergy-friendly, gluten-free foods that made an appearance and had everyone smiling...

  • Cashew Pumpkin Seed "Cheese" with Apple-Cranberry Sauce and Sesmark Brown Rice Crackers
  • crudités with red pepper hummus
  • smoked turkey from Neuske's
  • roasted turkey with flourless gravy (gravy made the same way as this one)
  • beef tenderloin with mushrooms and onions
  • mashed rutabaga and parsnips
  • Rutabaga Apple Salad
  • umeboshi plum vinegar quick-pickled beets
  • pan-seared green beans with lemon oil
  • wild rice and vegetable pilaf
  • more Apple-Cranberry Sauce (I love cranberry sauce....)
  • Sweet Potato Crumble Bars 

Are we lucky, or what?  My plate was bursting. I haven't eaten this well at Thanksgiving in YEARS.  Even before I went gluten-free I didn't enjoy Thanksgiving this much. The meal was almost as awesome as my Thanksgiving dinner headpiece.  I think it is rather like Carmen Miranda gone harvest-time, don't you? 

IMG_5258harvest portrait

To share the bounty of my beautiful Thanksgiving feast, I'm posting three of these recipes with you this week: Cashew Pumpkin Seed "Cheese", Apple-Cranberry Sauce, and Sweet Potato Crumble Bars. All of these dishes were devoured at the meal, especially by my grandparents, who asked for leftovers!

I'm kicking it off with the Sweet Potato Crumble Bars. Not only will these bars be perfect for any of your wintertime get-togethers, they also fit the rules for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which features  none other than my favorite orange root this month.  These bars, which are, quite truthfully, like little nuggets of heaven.  They are a truly whole foods dessert that you can feel good about eating - and they even pack a ton of protein with each bite!

And by the way, if you're a sucker for sweet potato desserts, you might also like my Sweet Potato Pie with Seedy Amaranth Crust.


Sweet Potato Spice Crumble Bars

yield 1 9"x13" pan


  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • optional: 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • pinch salt
  • optional: 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, or other liquid sweetener 


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch/flour
  • 6 Tbsp cold coconut oil or butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 Tbsp ice cold water


  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups sweet potato puree (from 4 large, baked sweet potatoes, about 3 1/2 - 4 pounds)
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (yes, beans - trust me)
  • 8 pitted and chopped medjool dates, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened hemp milk this time, but have used coconut, rice, and cashew also. Any non-dairy milk should work) 
  • stevia liquid, to taste (I think I used between 40 and 50 drops)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch 
  • 1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract or flavoring
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/4 tsp allspice


Bake the potatoes

Prick each potato a few times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350º F, until soft. Remove from oven and let cool while making crust.  Leave oven on.

HINT: soak dates now if you haven't already!

Prepare the crumble and the crust

Lightly toast 3/4 cashews in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, and remove from heat. Then toast 2 cups of oats, and remove from Heat. Set aside until cooled slightly.

Make the crumble first by placing 1/4 cup oats and 1/4 cup cashews and in the food processor/Vitamix and lightly chop, leaving coarse "crumbly" chunks. Mix in a bowl with remaining 1/4 oats and other crumble ingredients, and set aside.  

To make the crust, place remaining cashews and oats in food processor/Vitamix and grind until fine, like flour. It's okay if there are still a few chunks. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining dry crust ingredients. Then cut in cold oil, until you have a course, dry, crumbly dough. Add water and mix until just sticky. Pat evenly into the bottom of a lightly oiled 9"x13" pan.  Rinse out the food processor/vitamix.

Make the filling

Peel the cooled potatoes and place in the food processor/vitamix. Process until smooth, scraping sides as needed.  Remove excess potato puree, and then add remaining filling ingredients and puree until totally smooth. 


Spread the filling over the crust and bake in the preheated 350º F oven for 40 minutes.   Then sprinkle crumble over surface and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Let cool completely before eating; filling will thicken. Store in the refrigerator. I like these best after they are cooled completely in the fridge, then allowed to sit out for about 30 minutes before eating.  Slice and serve. Best eaten with a fork.  


NOvember SOS Kitchen CHallenge Submissions: Sweet Potatoes


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Reader Comments (7)

I would have loved to have been at your Thanksgiving feast! Love your headpiece too - I think you should wear it more often. :)

These bars sound fantastic: full of fall goodness and spice - and ever-so-satisfying oaty nutty crumble - yum.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

Hello! This recipe looked great as soon as I saw it. I saved it up for my holiday cooking and enjoyed making the three layers. Unfortunately I was frazzled and exhausted during the cooking and forgot the milk. It ended up tasting like bad baby food. I still love the recipe and will give it another go when I'm not so tired. As a sweet tooth, I'm wondering if the sugar in the milk is enough to make these dessert-like or if, for my tastes, I ought to add more? Thank you!

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

Hi Teresa!
You need more sweetener for sure, otherwise yes, baby food! - the recipe above does call for stevia liquid in addition to the dates, but didn't have a measurement - I must not have included "to taste", and have included that now. You could also include honey, agave, or some other liquid sweetener if you'd like - just cut back on the milk a bit if adding a significant amount of liquid sweetener so it doesn't get too runny.

Sorry you had an unfortunate experience with the filling, but if you add the milk and more sweetener, I think you'll like it!

January 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterKim

hii! may i know what can i substitute the white beans with if i don't have it ? what about black beans or kidney beans ? will it work ?

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersiewlingchaw

Hi there, sorry for the slow reply! I haven't been able to make time for blogging lately. to respond to your bean substitution question, I wouldn't replace the white beans with black or kidney beans, or any other type of bean. white beans have a fairly neutral flavor, and such a pale color, so they don't affect the flavor or the color of the filling. Any other bean will alter the filling color and have a more pronounced "bean" flavor, which may be harder to cover. That said, the recipe will work the same with another bean - it just may not taste or look as good. Good luck!

October 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim

hi thanks for the response back. are white beans the same with garbanzo/chickpeas ? :)

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersiewlingchaw

nope! white beans are like cannellini/white kidney beans or great northern beans. they look any other bean, just white! butter beans could also be used in this recipe very well i think. but chickpeas/garbanzo beans might work though, since they aren't as flavorful as a black bean or a red kidney bean. I would just recommend avoiding any dark colored or very flavorful bean - the blander the better for this recipe!

October 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo