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. 

Entries in Life (33)


Gluten-Free Birthday Party Ideas: making "potions" at a Harry Potter party

a happy child with his "potion"

A few weekends ago, I traveled to Northern Iowa to participate in a cob oven-building workshop. My friends were hosting the workshop at their home and I took advantage of the opportunity to stay the weekend with them and their three kids. One of the highlights of the weekend was participating in their 9-year-old son's Harry Potter-themed birthday party. 

The minute I arrived, my friend told me I was going to be the Potions Master and lead the kids in an activity to make their own smoothies (a.k.a. "potions") from fresh fruits. Awesome! We prepared the fruits before the party and displayed them in trays and bowls. To label each magic ingredient, I drew out the names of each on paper with a water insoluble pen, tore it around the edges, and lightly singed each torn edge to make it look old. We grownups came up with some fun ideas for the "magic" equivalents of common ingredients: 

After the kids finished a rousing game of quidditch, it was time for potions. Each child was given a goblet and instructed to fill it up with their choice of fruit and juice. I put the ingredients the Vitamix with a handful of ice, asking them (in a terrible British accent) to tell me what their magical "potion" will do, then flipped the switch. As it blended, I waved my wand (oh yeah, I had a wand) and made crazy sounds for dramatic effect. Then I poured their "potion" it right back in their goblet. A quick rinse of the blender container, and I was ready for the next one!

dragon hearts and eyes of giant newt

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Charcutepalooza: smoking, pudding, and porkgasms


Q: What do you call the feeling of intense euphoria brought on by the consumption of well-prepared pork?

A: A porkgasm!


I proudly take full credit for that dirty food joke.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow  and The Yummy Mummy, in partnership with Food52, are hosting a year-long blog event called Charcutepalooza: A Year of Meat. Using Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie as a guide, this challenge encourages bloggers to explore the world of salting, smoking, and curing their own meats. There is a big grand prize at the end that involves a trip to France and personal charcuterie lessons, but I jumped on the Charcutepalooza boat a bit too late to be eligible. A sad but true fact I can't escape. C'est la vie!

My corned beef post from last month was featured by Food52 as one of the ten best blog posts for the March brining challenge. I'm honored! I adore Food52 and admire the work of the other bloggers featured in their round up, so I was thrilled to be mentioned. Be sure to check out Food52's recap of the challenge, as well as my post about making corned beef. 

This month's challenge is hot smoking. I became giddy at the prospect of trying a new recipe in a smoker. My housemates have a Camerons stovetop smoker, and since moving in I've gotten into the habit of using it at least once per week. Smoked salmon paté, smoked hamburgers, smoked locally-made sausages, smoked marinated chicken breasts, the list goes on. I'm totally addicted to the food that comes out of it. So, I went right for the gold and took on the Charcuterie Challenge of making Spicy Smoked Pork Loin from Charcuterie.


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MPLS Swappers: Food Swap Love comes to Minneapolis on March 19!

Homemade Jam is the perfect contribution to a Food Swap.

Canning jars and homemade curry powder in hand, I am following the lead of Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne and Brooklyn Homesteader Meg Paska. These ladies started the BK Swappers, and contributed to a modern trend of food swaps around the country! Food swaps are a place to trade your homemade, homegrown, and foraged food items with other like-minded folks, and are a great way to share knowledge, build community, and turn home food production into a habit. Truly inspired, I am starting a chapter here in Minneapolis: say hello to the MPLS Swappers.  I am so excited, and can hardly wait for our first swap on March 19. 

The Dish

If you live in the Twin Cities area, and would like to join me and other enthusiastic foodies for the first meeting of the MPLS Swappers, all you need to do is register and bring something to swap. Canned goods, a batch of homemade mustard, kombucha SCOBYs, sourdough starters, homemade sauerkraut or kimchee, spice mixes, home-cured meat - the options are endless, and anyone is welcome. I'm excited to meet you!

MPLS Swappers March 2011 Food Swap

Saturday March 19, 2011, 2-4 pm

3401 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN (located upstairs)

In order to have the most productive swap possible (and so my brain doesn't explode the first time I'm organizing this), participation is limited to 30 people. Registration is required, and the cost is free.

Register for MPLS Swappers March Food Swap in Minneapolis, MN  on Eventbrite

Check out all the details on the MPLS Swappers blog: http://mplsswappers.wordpress.com 

Want to know more about Food Swapping?

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking Food Swaps Guide

Food Swaps around the country:

(list courtesy of Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking Food Swaps Guide)

BK Swappers: Brooklyn NY

  • Brokelyn featured the August 1, 2010 swap here.

ATXswappers: Austin TX

MPLS swappers: Minneapolis MN

PDX Swappers: Portland OR

  • Video from Cooking Up A Story
  • Huffington Post article, January 20, 2011

BAHSwappers: Houston and Bay Area TX

LAX Swappers: Los Angeles CA

East Bay CA Food Swaps: East Bay CA

  • Check out the blog they’ve started

Derby City Food Swap: Louisville KY



A culture of love

love is everywhere

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."


How does this quote resonate with you?

[think about it]

This quote has been one of my favorite quotes about love for years.  Instead of telling us to go looking high and low for love, Rumi empowers us to take responsibility for ourselves, and create an environment where love can flourish. Even more, I think this approach love infers that love omnipresent, and what's not to love about that?

When I say "love", I am not referencing the commercialized romantic love that is most often associated with Valentine's Day. That kind of love comes laced with expectation, and needs to be proven through culturally-specific predefined behaviors and the exchange of token material objects.  It is love reserved for individuals in a specific kind romantic relationship, and exists in contrast to the dreaded status of being "alone".  A life without this kind of love is seen as solitary, and that somehow, we deserve this solitary existence for not being "lovable" or "good enough". One might think, "I would find love if...", blaming their body proportions, their health, their bank account, their material possessions, etc. etc. etc., for the lack of "love" in their life.  This thought process is destructive, hateful, and breeds alienation. 

When we feel alienated from love, we are incapable of recognizing our own beauty, and the beauty of those around us. We lose sight of kindness and patience, and give in to anger, frustration, and sadness. These emotions lead to fear.  Fear is the ultimate death of real love.  Fear builds walls against hope, beauty, generosity, and all the myriad ways that real love manifests itself everyday.

Real love, in my opinion, is everywhere, and is accessible to anyone who is brave enough to see it. I see love in anything approached with honest intention. I see it in unexpected kindness from a stranger, in a warm embrace from a friend, in acting with compassion, in being fully and sincerely present with those around you, in sharing a batch of homemade cookies, or in being generous with your time and trust. It means having an open heart, learning to recognize and honor the emotions of oneself and of others.  It means seeing past imperfections and flaws, and embracing true nature and potential.  It means doing something because it feels right, not because you "should". It means setting aside your doubts and acknowledging how totally amazing you are. 

[It's true, you know. You are. You are amazing.]

I think that it is much easier to live in fear than it is to live in love. Forces of fear work on us everyday through the news media, intolerance, hate, political uprisings, mainstream cultural entertainment, and commercial notions of beauty. Materialism and selfishness abound, stemming from fear of not having "enough".  We are encouraged to compare ourselves to others, resulting in a fear that we aren't good enough.  Learning to cut through the fearful messages and break down the walls takes hard work! It requires hope, courage, and an unfaltering commitment to to beauty within

I want to live a life of love, embodying the spirit of Rumi's wisdom. I refuse to be blinded by the barriers of fear and doubt and loneliness anymore.  I want to have my eyes and heart open, share light with the world, and brighten dark corners of alienation. I want to act from my heart with sincerity and trust. I want to fully acknowledge that am an not alone or alienated, but have access to as much love as I am willing to allow for myself.  Love is as vast as the universe.

Will you join me? Let's create a culture of love, together, with every thought, breath, action, intention, prayer, bowl of soup, and gluten-free muffin.

So, with that, I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. And remember, I love you! Truly, I do. That's why I keep coming back here, after all. 




Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Super Bowl Recipes

Truthfully, I don't really care about football 99.9% of the time.  I don't follow it through the season, I don't like the noisy nature of football games, and I hate the way that people get so worked up over it and scream at the TV. But when the Packers go to the Super Bowl, my loyalties to my home state football team flare up and I feel a little pride.  I suddenly become excited about football.  Yeah, yeah, call me a fair weather fan - I won't deny it.

I saw that a few bloggers had posted healthy Super Bowl recipe posts, so I thought I'd follow suit and post a few ideas for health-conscious, GF, allergy-friendly foods that everyone will enjoy while you cheer on the Packers (or that other team...).  

The irony of all this is I won't be having any kind of Super Bowl party at all! I'm in New York right now for a long weekend, and am flying back on Sunday during the game.  Oh well!

Eat, drink, and be merry!  


Crackers and Dips


Burgers & Meatballs

Yeast-Free Pumpkinseed Teff Sandwich Bread (GF, vegan, ACD) 



Crave-worth Vegetables and Salads

Cashnana Cookies



You can find more great gluten-free Super Bowl recipes from Ali at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen,  Diane at The Whole Gang and Elana at Elana's Pantry