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. 

Saturday
Nov192011

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie (gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, grain-free, nut-free)

 No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie

The original recipe for this pie was published in my 2011 recipe calendar A Year to Eat Freely. It was a really fun recipe project that I had for sale through Etsy. While I won't be publishing another calendar for 2012, I really enjoyed the learning process and experience of creating the first calendar. 

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and wanted to share it with you. It is different than a traditonal sweet potato pie that is baked, but has its own distinctive flavor and texture that is very good. It would be perfect for your holiday table. 

If you are looking for other Thanksgiving pie or bar ideas, check these out:

This recipe is linked to Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov182011

I'm still here, really. 

sack o' squash

I haven't really been present on the blog lately. Life has been a mass of curveballs and uncertainty, and while it's all been for the best, it hasn't really allowed by the time to leisurely keep up on my blogging. In the last 3 months I've moved between three homes (more on that here), slept on a number of friend's couches, traveled to New York to visit my Lyme-literate MD, weaned myself off most of my Lyme antibiotics, hosted two food swaps, led two cooking demos, and performed in an outdoor Halloween puppet extravaganza for thousands of people over two weekends. All while anxiously awaiting the birth of my best friends' baby and trying to finish an awesomely tacky holiday-themed crochet baby sweater. And finishing the Harry Potter books. And making lots of pies. Oh yeah, and working a full-time 8-5 job. 

 

Hot damn. I need a nap.  

 

Thankfully, my life seems to be settling down a bit, perfectly in tune with the impending season of hibernation. I just moved in to a wonderful home on Tuesday, where I will be living with three great roommates in my favorite neighborhood of Minneapolis. I am so grateful to be able to finally settle in to a place I could call my own, somewhere safe and comfortable. My crazy schedule and lack of stability has kept me from the kitchen, and I've hardly been cooking. I have mostly subsisted off eggs, salads, smoothies, and squash. I picked up that gorgeous sack of squash pictured above from a farmer at the St. Paul Farmer's Market about a month ago for a mere $15, and it has been my salvation. 

 

I'm looking forward to unpacking in my new home, settling in to a new stable rhythm, and having time to focus on my healing process and on working on a new recipe project that I'm excited about. I'm thrilled to say that despite all the craziness that I"ve made for myself the last few months, I've been able to stay remarkably healthy and energetic. Although I feel pretty terrible at the moment - lots of body pain and lots of pressure in my head - I'm doing pretty darn well. It seems that I've reached a new level of success with my treatment for Lyme and all those other nasty little co-infections. My journey isn't over, but it sure has become a much more enjoyable trip. 

 

Life is good. I am lucky. Thanks for being here with me.
Wednesday
Nov022011

November SOS Kitchen Challenge Reveal

Happy November!  It's the beginning of the month, which means it's also time for a new SOS Kitchen Challenge ingredient reveal!

Your posts last month all made such great use of cranberries.  Here are a few highlights that Ricki and I particularly enjoyed:

This month's featured ingredient is one that Kim and I both adore.  Although they're a bit of a paleface compared to many other antioxidant-rich vegetables, they offer lots of great nutritional value as well as deep, succulent flavor. They may at first appear like off-white carrots, but this month's veggie offers its own unique, healthy and delicious properties.  We're talking about--

PARSNIPS!

[image source]

What Are Parsnips?

They may look like albino carrots, but the gnarly parsnip, native to Asia and Europe, provides many health benefits.  One of the less-lauded root veggies, parsnips appear to be paler carrots with somewhat bumpy exteriors and a light yellow or off-white flesh inside.  Their flavor has been described as alternately nutty, sweet, or peppery; I also find them somewhat earthy.  Because of their high starch content, they brown and caramelize well when roasted, releasing natural sugars for a mild, sweet flavor.

Known as a biannual plant, the flowers blossom from June until August, though only the roots are consumed (unlike carrots, the tops of which can be eaten). [source] Interestingly, parsnips aren't grown in warmer climates because they require frost to develop their flavor (one reason they're so abundant where Kim and I live, I guess!) ;) [source]

Health Benefits of Parsnips

While parsnips are a white root vegetable like potatoes, there are some significant differences between the two.  Parsnips contain lower levels of protein and vitamin C than spuds, but they do provide more fiber. And parsnips contain a host of nutrients, offering an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese. They also contain good amounts of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. [source]

In fact, some sources suggest that parsnips can be used to help regulate bowel movements and to keep the liver healthy. [source]

 

[image source]

 

Choosing and Cooking Parsnips

When choosing your parsnip, look for cream or lightly tan exteriors, with a skin as smooth as possible.  The smaller roots are the more tender ones; the larger roots tend to become woody.

Parsnips should be peeled unless they’re organic (in which case, wash well and scrub away any visible dirt before cutting and cooking).  Some sources suggest that parsnips should never be eaten raw, but this is a fallacy; it's just fine to eat them that way! Use them to replace some or all of your potatoes in a mash; chop or grate and include in soups, stews or pasta sauces; roast on their own or in root vegetable fries; or mix up with your favorite carrot cake recipe, substituting parsnips for some or all of the carrot. The possibilites are endless!

Now, it's time for you to show us what YOU can do with parsnips!  You have until the end of the month to link up your favorite parsnip-based recipes.

[source]

 

How to Participate in the SOS Kitchen Challenge

To participate, please adhere to the following guidelines. We hate to remove entries, so PLEASE READ THE GUIDELINES CAREFULLY BEFORE LINKING UP!

  • Cook up a recipe--whether yours or someone else's with credit to them--using cranberries (for our purposes, you can use whole berries, fresh or frozen; dried cranberries; or cranberry juice).
  • Your recipe must be made for this eventwithin the month of the challenge--sorry, no old posts are accepted.  Then, post the recipe to your blog (if you don’t have a blog, see instructions below).
  • Be sure to mention the event on your post and link to the current SOS page so that everyone can find the collection of recipes. Then, link up the recipe using the linky tool below.
  • As a general rule, please use mostly whole foods ingredients (minimally processed with no artificial flavors, colors, prepackaged sauces, etc.).  For example, whole grains and whole grain flours; no refined white flours or sugar (but either glutenous OR gluten-free flours are fine).
  • Please ensure that recipes are vegan or include a vegan alternative (no animal products such as meat, fish, chicken, milk, yogurt, eggs, honey).
  • Please use natural sweeteners (no white sugar, nothing that requires a laboratory to create--such as splenda, aspartame, xylitol, etc.). Instead, try maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, dates, yacon syrup, Sucanat, stevia, etc.
  • Feel free to use the event logo on your blog to help promote the event
  • Have fun and let your creativity shine!

You may enter as many times as you like, but please submit a separate entry for each recipe, and submit only one entry per blog post.

If you don’t have a blog, you can still participate!  Simply email your recipe, or recipe and a photo, to soskitchenchallenge@gmail.com. We’ll post it for you.

For all the details (and to view past challenges), check out the SOS Kitchen Challenge pageDeadline for submission is Wednesday, November 30, 2011.Kim and I look forward to seeing all your culinary creations using parsnips! :D

November 2011 SOS Kitchen Challenge: Parsnips

Tuesday
Oct182011

Homemade Vanilla Salt, Two Ways

Vanilla Salt

There are all kinds of fancy salts out there for you to blow your paycheck on. Confession: I own many of them

Thankfully, one of my favorite salts is one that I make at home. Vanilla salt couldn't be easier to prepare, and the end result is lovely. I have two methods for creating vanilla salt, yielding different yet equally delightful results. I am sharing both methods with you; try each one and see which fits you best. I use my vanilla salt in baked goods, with fruit, over roasted sweet potatoes or squash, sprinkled over chocolaty desserts, or with roasted or grilled meats (helloooooo pork and chicken). I think you'll like it too. If you decorate the jar with a cute label and a bit of ribbon, you have a wonderful homemade gift. 

Vanilla beans are über-expensive if you buy them one-by-one or in small quantities. The trick is to buy a big bag and split the cost with a friend. A fellow foodie and I split the cost of this 1/2 pound bag of vanilla beans. We each ended up with about 30 beans for only about $13 per person. Sweet deal, right? 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct172011

Cabbage Apple Slaw (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, ACD)

Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Simple slaws are ideal for every season of the year. They are crunchy and light, yet satisfying and filling, and endlessly adaptable to a variety of seasonal produce. Despite this, my favorite time of year for slaws is late summer and fall, when farmers markets are bursting with fresh, crisp cabbages. The sweet, glistening, unblemished leaves tempt me from every vendor table, and inevitably, I go home with a weighty cabbage in my market basket.

I was inspired to combine my beloved green cabbage with another locally grown favorite, the spectacular Honeycrisp apple. The Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota's Horicultural Research Center in the 1970s, and has won a devoted following of fans. There are a number of wonderful orchards in the Minnesota and Western Wisconsin that grow this apple, and every year I anticipate the arrival of locally grown Honeycrisps at my farmers market and co-op. The flavor is sweet like honey and slightly tart, and it has a marvelously crisp, juicy texture that is, in my opinion, the sign of a perfect apple. Equally good for eating raw or baking, Honeycrisp is one of my favorite apples, hands down. 

The combination of sweet, fresh cabbage, sweet and tart apple, plump golden raisins, toasted caraway, and a hint of nutmeg in this slaw is magic. It only takes minutes to prepare, and it holds up in the fridge for 2 days without becoming soggy. 

Oh me oh my, autumn tastes so good. 

Click to read more ...

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