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. 

Recent Posts

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Site Search

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 Recipes: Beverages (19)


Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie (gluten-free, vegan option)

Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie

As I write this post, I have sweat dripping down the back of my neck. I know that's not the most hunger-inducing way to start a post on a food blog, but seriously, it's hot in Minneapolis. Like, really hot. In classic Minnesota style, the weather abruptly changed from the cool, damp 50º F range to a sweltering 95º F with 55% humidity, all in about one week. And in fact, right now it is a whopping 101º F! And it will only get more humid from here, and soon, we'll all be sweating the minute we get out of the shower. It is a pretty intense shock to the body to undergo these kind of rapid changes, but that is the reality of living here. We experience a range of about 120º  throughout the year, from bone chilling, paralyzing subzero temperatures to heat and humidity so intense that you feel like you are walking through pea soup. Either it's too cold and too dry, or too hot and too humid, and you hear conversation about it everywhere and anywhere you go! Oh, but those few golden, perfect, glorious days we have in the brief window between the unbearably cold and the unbearably hot make all of it worth it (okay, okay, almost worth it). We're a tough breed here in Minnesota. 

That said, this morning when I woke to my bedroom feeling like a steam room, I had to remind myself out loud that somehow, this heat is still better than feeling like a popsicle. I put on a somewhat work-inappropriate black minidress (dress codes in weather like this lose all meaning to me) and went downstairs to make breakfast. I had absolutely no interest in fried eggs or a bowl of oatmeal. I hardly wanted to eat I was so hot! So, a smoothie seemed appropriate. Searching the freezer and refrigerator, I came up with a smoothie inspired by the foods of early summer in Minnesota, with a tropical twist: fresh rhubarb, fresh strawberries, frozen mango, organic yogurt, hemp oil, and hemp seeds. Creamy, sweet, tart, and most importantly, cold, this smoothie totally rocked my world. It's kind of like a Minnesota-version of a mango lassi! I know adding raw rhubarb to a smoothie sounds goofy, but you'll like it. Go with the flow. 

 rhubarb strawberry mango smoothie

Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie

yield: approximately 3 cups

I used organic yogurt in this smoothie for a blast of probiotic bacteria, a boost of protein and a creamy, rich texture. If you live dairy-free, you still have lots of options for a creamy twist. Feel free to substitute yogurt with a non-dairy yogurt (or non-dairy kefir), of your choosing, such as store-bought varieties of soy, rice, or coconut milk yogurt or kefir (make sure to look at ingredients, most have added sugars or other additives). You could substitute homemade cashew-coconut yogurt (try this recipe, it is great), homemade nut or seed creams (soaked nuts/seeds blended with water), or full fat coconut milk. For a different direction entirely, add 1/2-3/4 cup sliced banana (either room temperature or frozen) in place of yogurt - it won't have the protein content, but it will be creamy, add body to your smoothie, and amp up the "tropical" flavor.

  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes
  • 8 large strawberries, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1/2-3/4 cup organic cow, goat, or sheep yogurt (or a non-dairy substitute, see italics above for suggestions)
  • 1 tsp hemp oil or flax oil
  • optional: 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • water, as needed

Place all ingredients in a blender and add about 1/2 cup water. Blend on high until smooth, adding more water as necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a well-sealed jar or bottle for up to 24 hours before serving. 


Creamy Hemp Milk (gluten-free, vegan, raw, ACD)


This is my go-to recipe for a quick milk, a simple combination of filtered water, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Hemp seeds do not contain phytic acid, are easily assimilate by the body, and do not need to be soaked for optimal digestion like other nuts, seeds, grains, and beans. Although you can make this recipe without the chia, including it lends a creamier, thicker consistency and better mouthfeel.  

Click to read more ...


Blueberry Soaked Oatmeal Smoothie (gluten-free, vegan, ACD, raw


The secret to this smoothie's magical color is frozen blueberries. Whenever there is an abundance of natural color, there is usually an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other great stuff. This smoothie is no exception, and I feel lucky to have access to such nutritional wealth! And to top it off, the opulent indigo hue makes me feel fancy, like I'm drinking some kind of beverage fit for royalty. 

In addition to the rich color, this smoothie boasts a wonderfully creamy texture, a result of blending the blueberries with soaked steel cut oatmeal and hemp seeds.  Soaking does more than soften the oats for easier blending -  it also breaks down the phytic acid and allows for easier digestion.  Hemp seeds to not contain phytic acid, and are easily assimilate by the body and do not need to be soaked. 

If you've never used hemp seeds, this smoothie is an easy way to start.  For more information about hemp seeds, I recommend reading this post by Food Renegade. According to the post,

Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids — those building blocks of protein which our body can not manufacture on its own. Flax seed also contains all the essential amino acids, but unlike flax seed, 65% of the protein found in hemp seeds is globulin edistin.  What is globulin edistin? It’s a simple protein that our bodies need to build the immunoglobulins necessary to repel infection. The best way to ensure your body has enough amino acid materials to build these globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins.   [see References for source]

Pretty cool, right?  With each sweet sip, you are getting all sorts of things your body needs.  It has a beneficial balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and provides bioavailable nutrition that will keep you satisfied. I love this smoothie as a breakfast-on-the-go - as long as you do a little planning ahead the night before to soak your grains and nuts/seeds, it takes mere moments to prepare in a busy morning. It would also make a great recovery drink for after a good exercise routine.

I'm including this recipe in February's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which features stevia. My co-host Ricki and I are encouraging our readers to use stevia in delicious, sugar-free recipes this month. Four lucky participants will receive a stevia prize from NuNaturals, our favorite brand of stevia. 

Each prize contains:

For full Challenge guidelines, please see this post, then check out the Linky below the recipe to enter your recipe in the round-up and be eligible for the giveaway! Good luck, and we can't wait to see what you make with stevia this month. 


This recipe is linked to  Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, written by Amy Green. As a side note, Amy just released her new cookbook and it looks fantastic, so check it out!


Blueberry Soaked Oatmeal Smoothie

yield: 2 cups 

I use hemp seeds in this smoothie.  Hemp seeds are high in protein, omega fatty acids, and amino acids, and have a nutty, warm flavor that I love. Unlike other nuts and seeds, they do not contain phytic acid, an antinutrient that can inhibit digestion. If you do not like, have or tolerate hemp seeds, feel free to use 2 Tbsp of any other nut or seed, and soak them with the oats to break down the phytic acid and allow for optimal digestion (and creamier blending).

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free steel cut oats, soaked for 6-12 hours in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp raw cider vinegar, raw coconut vinegar, whey, or lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp finely ground flax seed or chia seed
  • 2 tsp flax oil or hemp oil
  • plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to taste (I like NuNaturals brand)

Place steel cut oats with 1 1/2 cups water and acidic medium in a bowl, cover lightly with a cloth, and let soak for 6-12 hours. Drain and very rinse well.

Place soaked oats and all remaining ingredients in blender, and blend on high until smooth. Sweeten with stevia to taste. Serve immediately,  or refrigerate until ready to serve.


February SOS Kitchen Challenge: Stevia



Sweet Green Juice (gluten-free, raw, vegan, ACD)

sweet green juice

I love my Vitamix and the wonderful fiber-filled smoothies I make with it, but sometimes I just want juice.  And during those times, I pull out my old hand-me-down juicer and whip up something tasty.  Someday, I will buy a juicer that allows me to juice greens as well as fruits and veggies (I'm rather fond of the Omega and Samson juicers). But in the meantime, my old Juiceman and I are making due. 

Here's a tasty little juice I whipped up this morning. It was lovely; sweet, minerally, tart, and fresh. It was the most lovely, easy, and nourishing way to re-enter the world of food after five days of liquid fasting for Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse. I loved the cleanse and feel it was very effective, but drinking only vegetable broth and apple juice psyllium drink was getting a little old. Adding in solid food and green juices is a wonderful change. I'll be writing up a full review of my experience with the cleanse soon.

I think you'll like this juice, and it couldn't be easier to make. I like that it isn't terribly sugary, relying mostly on green veggies with a touch of apple. The fruits and vegetables in this juice are not terribly expensive and are easy to find, so it is affordable and easy to shop for. As always, try to use only organic fruits and veggies when you juice. If you have a limited access to organic produce or are on a very limited budget, check out this list for a suggestion of how to prioritize your organic purchases.


IMG_0778 copy copy

Sweet Green Juice

yield: about 4 cups

Use organic produce when juicing if possible!

  • 3 medium apples (I used Braeburn)
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large cucumber
  • juice from 1 large lemon

Wash all ingredients well. Cut in a size that fits your juicer's feeder tube.  Remove rind from lemon if putting in the juicer, or if your juicer doesn't handle citrus well (like mine), juice manually with a citrus reamer and reserve juice.  Run everything through the juicer. If you juiced the lemon manually, add to the juice and mix in. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to drink. 



Celebrating a Florida Christmas with Sweet Green Smoothies and Maple-Candied Bacon


I am spending the holiday weekend in Orlando, Florida, hanging out at my brother and sister-in-law's cozy little apartment. My parents drove down from Wisconsin and I flew down from Minnesota, and the warm Florida sunshine is a welcome departure from the wildly snowy, grey weather up north.  The weather in Florida has been marvelous, perfect for sitting outside playing cribbage and telling stories, going on walks, and simply enjoying the sunshine. I forgot that there are many parts of the world where things remain colorful, sunny, and green all year round, and this has reminded me that I need to get away to warm places more often during the cold Minnesota winters. I don't even want to think about the snow back home, and I'm sure my parents don't either. I mean really, when this snowy mess (otherwise known as my parents' house) is what the northern Midwest has to offer right now, why wouldn't we want to see all this beautiful color that Florida has to offer?

Why deal with this in Wisconsin and MInnesota when you could have warm, sunny weather and flowers in Florida?

little purple loveliesmy brother and mepalms at Christmastime! Hibiscus are one of my favorite flowers.I'm always amazed at the way that trees become habitats for so many other plants and animals, especially in warm climates. This tree had lichen and two other varieties of plants growing on the bark. Amazing.

Of course, since this is a food blog, I have to talk about what we have eaten thus far. We have eaten lots of great food together so far.  My mom brought down their Vitamix, so we have been able to make lots of delicious green smoothies.  The warmer temperatures left me craving fruit and raw foods, which is an unusual departure from  my normal winter desires for warm stews, meatloaf, and starch!  So, the smoothies were a welcome addition.  In addition to smoothies, I have made lots of other things, like roasted butternut squash, seared Brussels sprouts with apples, chickpea and celery spread, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and a wonderful clean-out-the-fridge leftover soup. I made awesome red curry with chicken, squid, and fresh vegetables, served with quinoa (I will share that recipe soon!).  And my dad made grilled salmon and grilled mahi mahi that brought us to our knees.

Since the holiday always makes me want to bake, I did spend plenty of time whipping up sweet treats to satisfy the cookie craving. I made raw "trail mix" truffles, a nice mixture of a Larabar, dried apple juice-sweetened cranberries, homemade trail mix, and coconut oil.  We ate those on Christmas Eve instead of cookies, and they absolutely satisfied everyone's taste buds.  Later on, I dug through the pantries and my mom's snack box, and managed to throw together a really delicious breakfast scone/biscuit/cookie thing, made from freshly ground rice flour, oatmeal, apple sauce, finely shredded carrot, among other things.  Everyone loved it, and I'm going to refine that recipe and share it in my  next recipe collection.  

But the real star of the kitchen thus far has undeniably been the maple-candied bacon we ate on Christmas morning, accompanied by green smoothies.  


Click to read more ...