ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #115

Updated on December 15, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

Pulling Out the Stops

I attended an organ concert last week, a noontime offering by Dr. Wyatt Smith at Kilworth Chapel on the University of Puget Sound campus, and it was unusual, to say the least. The traditional chorales of Franck or harmonic flourishes of Bach were replaced by a decidedly different style of music by a young composer named Nico Muhly. The chords were atonal, dissonant, piercing, jittery, sounding almost improvisational. I sensed that many in the audience were taken aback by this modern use of their beloved pipe organ, but I was thrilled.

The rule of thirds states that odd-numbered groupings are most pleasing to the eye. I find beauty in asymmetrical floral arrangements, hymns in minor keys, poetry that does not rhyme, and yes food styled with an odd number of elements on the plate.

And isn't that what life is truly like? Our days are not an orderly 4:4 time in the key of C. Open your mind and your heart to those things that are different, perhaps even a bit off-kilter. You might be pleasantly surprised at the beauty of a new type of concert.

Let's Open the Mailbox

Let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Ideas for Flavoring Rice

Linda, I have a question regarding flavorful rice side dishes. I always keep brown rice and basmati rice on hand but don't know what to do with it, so I end up buying Near East rice mixes. As a from-scratch cook, what are your go-to recipes for delicious (but uncomplicated) rice sides?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Low-fat unfried riceHealthy brown Mexican riceTomato-basil riceRice pilafTurmeric coconut riceHerb-seasoned rice
Low-fat unfried rice
Low-fat unfried rice | Source
Healthy brown Mexican rice
Healthy brown Mexican rice | Source
Tomato-basil rice
Tomato-basil rice | Source
Rice pilaf
Rice pilaf | Source
Turmeric coconut rice
Turmeric coconut rice | Source
Herb-seasoned rice
Herb-seasoned rice | Source

Shauna, rice is so much fun; I love its versatility. With just a few seasonings it can take on Asian flavors, Tex-Mex, Italian, Moroccan, and on and on.

To get us started, here's a recipe for a seasoning mix that you can put together in just minutes from things you probably already have in your pantry. It makes enough for 4 batches of rice. That's easy. How about something a bit more imaginative?

Low-Fat Unfried Rice - I mentioned Asian flavors, and this brown rice side dish has all the tastes of fried rice but no frying, no oil, no guilt.

Healthy Brown Mexican Rice - Simmer your rice in a chicken broth fortified with fire-roasted canned tomatoes, cumin, and garlic.

Tomato-Basil Rice - All the flavors you love in a rich pasta sauce in your bowl of rice.

Rice Pilaf - You've probably made Rice A Roni, the white rice/orzo blend in a box flavored with dried chicken bouillon powder, herbs, and spices. This is how to make your own. It's fresher and less salty (thank goodness). I like to add dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and feta cheese.

Turmeric Coconut Rice - Instead of water or broth, simmer brown rice (or basmati) in coconut milk. The color is stunning, and if you stir in a rinsed can of black beans you have a complete meal.

And then, if you want a one-pot meal with rice you might try this article. Not to toot my own horn, but here are five ideas for cooking chicken thighs on a bed of rice in your oven. Easy-peasy and amazing flavors.

How to Make Protein Powders More Palatable

"My husband, since his surgery, is trying to gain weight. He has bought protein powder to help supplement what he's eating. The problem is he doesn't like the taste. Here they are flavored. Vanilla was the best option, but it's hard to incorporate that into a savory meal. He can't drink it.

Do you have any ideas about making custard or something sweet that is easy to swallow using the protein powder. It is made from egg whites."

Mary, I don’t have any personal experience with protein powders but I’ll give you a few ideas off the top of my head, and then some links from the internet.

  1. I’m wondering if the powder could be stirred into oatmeal (unless, of course, Ian detests oatmeal). Do you have a pumpkin (or squash) curry soup recipe that he likes? I’ll bet you could hide some vanilla powder in there. And then these from the internet:
  2. Banana oatmeal breakfast cookies
  3. Vanilla protein pancakes
  4. Vanilla avocado protein pudding

I also did some research on how to wisely gain weight; obviously cake and ice cream are fun but not the way to put on pounds in a heart-healthy way. The Mayo Clinic offered these suggestions:

  • Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals rather than the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll actually end up eating more by doing this.
  • Watch when you drink; consuming liquids just before sitting down for a meal will make you feel full(er).
  • Also, make sure that every bite counts. That's probably why you are bulking up Ian's foods with protein powder, but you can also focus on nutrient-rich foods such as seeds, nuts, avocado, or fat-free powdered milk stirred into soups and stews.

Foods to Help Offset Dementia

"Hey, Linda, what foods do you suggest for early-onset dementia? I think we are doing good with antioxidant foods but maybe there is more?. I am doing well with research but you are my go-to gal."

Eric including antioxidant foods in the diet certainly puts you on the right track. For those who don't know what those foods are, I'll list the best ones below. But it's important to not only take care of what does into the diet but also what is omitted.

  • limit refined sugars
  • keep sodium to a minimum
  • avoid red meat
  • delete margarine from the diet and use butter sparingly
  • no cheese
  • no pastries
  • no fast foods
  • no deep-fried foods

Taking care of the body will also improve overall health. Make sure your loved one takes care of herself each day by:

  • Exercising at least 30 minutes each day
  • Getting 8 hours of sleep
  • Reduce stress (very important. Meditation or yoga can help)
  • Do things to stimulate the mind—crossword puzzles, play an instrument, paint, etc.

Red or purple grapes
Red berries
Dark-green leavy vegetables
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash
Green tea
Soy beans
Fresh tuna
Dark chocolate
Whole grains

Antioxidant Powerhouse Foods

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.


Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)