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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #60

Updated on May 10, 2019
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

In the Rear View Mirror

In the United States we celebrated Thanksgiving Day on November 22. One day, set aside, to reflect on the multitude of blessings we have. And what better way to celebrate than to eat? The traditional feast is composed of a roast turkey, stuffing (or dressing depending on where you live), gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce . . . and then let your imagination run wild with sweet and savory side dishes.

Some people insist on sweet potatoes, others require a green bean casserole. In the "Deep South" you'll find corn bread and macaroni and cheese. It's a veritable smorgasbord of decadence.

And then, the diet begins (because we must make room for Christmas candy).

I'm joking, of course. We're here to talk about all things "food." But before we look at what came into the mailbox, I want to share with you a question I received from Mary.

Before We Begin . . .

In last week's introduction I stated that I always prepare my Thanksgiving turkey the day before so that there is ample time for worry-free roasting, gravy de-fatting, meat resting and slicing, and freeing the oven for other sweet and savory baking.

In your opening, when you will cook your turkey before the big day, how are you rewarming it without drying it out? That can be a question for next week if you like.

Mary, I always roast a turkey much larger than what we need for our celebration. There are only 4 of us sitting at the table who eat meat, but those who know me recognize that I always plan for leftovers, or, as we call them in the Carb Diva house "planned-overs."

Once that "day-before-the day" turkey has rested, we deconstruct with precision. One breast portion is sliced and half of that is set aside for our feast. Likewise, one thigh and leg are de-boned and sliced. The remainder is segregated; breast meat is sliced and portioned into freezer containers, thigh and leg meat is diced and frozen in portions, and wing/back meat is placed in separate containers for inclusion in soups and stews. The remaining carcass (skeleton) is simmered in a large stock pot with carrots, celery, and onions for an hour or so. Then the resulting stock is strained. Most of it goes into freezer containers for future soup or stew, but one cup is set aside for the Thanksgiving Day meal.

Typically, thirty minutes before we sit down to eat I place the turkey slices into a shallow pan, ladle on the reserved cup of turkey stock, cover with foil, and bake at 300 degrees. The meat is warmed to perfection, stays perfectly moist and juicy, and everyone is happy. This year was different but in a good (even better) way.

My "upside-down" turkey (the backbone is up) has "literally" fallen apart before my eyes
My "upside-down" turkey (the backbone is up) has "literally" fallen apart before my eyes

I Don't Use This Word Very Often

I abhor how people use the word "literally" to add emphasis, not recognizing that it means that something "actually" happened. ("My heart literally jumped out of my chest" is a gruesome thought). The opposite of literal is figurative and that, I'm almost certain, is what you truly intend.

However, the turkey meat this year was literally falling off of the bones. It was so supremely moist, tender, and succulent that the chef's knife was not needed. Those tasty morsels of white and dark meat were lovingly tucked into a microwave-safe food container and 4 minutes before the appointed moment for dinner were heated to perfection.

I employed one more step this year in preparation of the turkey, one that I did not know would have such a dramatic outcome. If you want to know the secret, ask me in the comments and I'll gladly share it with you next Monday.

Now, let's focus on this week's messages.

Keto Diet Recipes

I was wondering. I'm on the keto diet and would really love a recipe or two that is keto friendly. Any chance you could feature one in an upcoming hub?

Is the keto (ketogenic) diet the Atkins Diet of 2018? Both restrict carbs, both throw away the concept of calorie counting, but Atkins places no limits on protein consumption. The keto diet limits protein to about 20 percent of your daily intake. And according to the website EveryDayHealth:

The other big difference is that keto centers on the body being in ketosis during the entire period of the diet, while ketosis plays a role only during phase one and possibly two of Atkins. On Atkins, you eventually reintroduce carbs, but on keto, carbs are always limited.

That means Atkins may be more sustainable in the long run because it’s not quite as restrictive and doesn’t require you to make sure your body remains in ketosis. Plus, on Atkins, you can eventually add back nutritious foods like quinoa, oatmeal, and fruit.

However, there is no doubt that the keto diet can help one to burn fat, lose weight, and (ultimately) feel less sluggish. I'm not sure that I have the discipline to stay with it, but I might just give it a chance. Here are some guidelines on how to get started.

Keto Diet Foods - What You Can (and Can't) Eat

breads and crackers
cookies and donuts
fatty fish
sweetened beverages
full-fat dairy
healthy oils (olive, avocado, sesame)
starchy veggies (potatoes, squash, corn, peas)
beans and pulses
high carb (sugar) sauces such as barbecue, ketchup
tomatoes and peppers
beer and mixed drinks

Audrey, I know that you are a good cook, as are most of my readers. Rather than complete recipes, may I offer would some ideas (and a few links) on how keto-friendly foods can be combined to create a healthy and tasty meal? Here are some suggestions.


  • Saute red bell pepper and onions (think fajitas). Top with a poached egg and grated cheddar cheese.
  • Halve and pit an avocado. Fill the depression with a scrambled egg, some smoked salmon, and a drizzle of light sour cream.
  • Make an omelet with chorizo, goat cheese, spinach, and salsa.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

  • Make "lasagna" with thinly-sliced zucchini in place of noodles. Layer with ricotta or cottage cheese and marinara sauce.
  • Make an open-faced "cheeseburger" with a grilled portobello mushroom as the bun. Top with a grilled beef patty, lettuce, pickles, and onions. Fresh tomato is good but don't reach for the catsup.
  • Lettuce wraps with grilled chicken (shredded), your choice of spices (I suggest chili powder, ground coriander, ginger, turmeric) and a splash of coconut milk to moisten. Use as a filling in lettuce wraps.
  • Creamy mushroom chicken served with mashed cauliflower.
  • Shrimp with garlic butter over cauliflower "rice."
  • Oven-baked "fried chicken" coated with ground sesame and sunflower seeds. Serve with roasted carrot "fries." (Okay, so they're not fries but are still sweet, crunchy and (oddly) satisfying.
  • Purchase veggie "noodles" (long strings of squash, carrot, or zucchini strings) or make your own and then dress with meat sauce (make your own or find a jarred sauce with low sugar). Or top with garlic, olive oil, and cheese.

And then Brian Leekley offered this insightful comment:

After reading in your article, Linda, about food and depression, out of curiosity I googled to see if depressed persons are helped by a keto diet. (My wife is enthused about hers, and I've been leaning that way.) Numerous articles do say that a keto diet reduces depression.

One article examined a study that claimed to show that a high-fat diet causes depression. Turns out the food fed to the high-fat diet mice was even higher in sugar and other carbs than in fat compared with the low-fat diet. It definitely was not a keto diet.

A vegetarian keto diet is difficult but possible to achieve.

Intermittent Fasting

Linda I have been reading up on an intermediate fasting. The kind where you only eat during a 8 hour period of the day. As a cooking expert would you just do breakfast and dinner one day and mix it up? My question is about getting the most enjoyment per day in this fashion. maybe not a question for here.

Eric, I had not heard of intermediate fasting, so had to go to my friendly Google machine for a brief lesson. Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet, it's a pattern of eating, scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. It doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

Of course, fasting is not a new concept. It has been employed as a religious means of sacrifice or cleansing for millennia. But, those who are curious about IF are using it for weight-loss and overall health. There are several methods:

  • The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

The method that you asked about Eric, is the 16/8, so let's focus our attention on that one.


As MuscleMonsters explains on their website, your fast begins at 8 o'clock in the evening and continues through noon the next day (that's 16 hours, which means that you "skip" breakfast). You eat at any time between noon and 8 p.m. that evening (an 8-hour time frame in which, one would hope, you consume no more than you would in two ordinary meals. You don't want to pack in 3-meals-worth of calories in that 8-hour period).

Of course, you could alter the hours to suit your personal schedule. Perhaps you want to fast to end at 10 a.m. and your final meal of the day to be no later than 6 p.m.

I don't know about you, but I can't eat a large meal and then sleep comfortably so, with that in mind, I personally would opt for having my larger meal at noon and a lighter meal near the end of your eating period. One word of caution—some nutritional specialists state that it's important to have a minimum of three hours after your last food intake before you go to bed.

As with the keto diet, I do not feel that I have what it takes to stick to a rigid nutritional regime (I'm spoiled), but if you believe that this approach would significantly improve your health and well-being, I suggest that you discuss it with your team of doctors, and if they give you the thumbs-up, go for it. Every day might be difficult, but an intermittent fast on even 2 or 3 days a week might provide some benefits.

As for what to eat, I would concentrate on the larger meal in the middle of the day and soup or salad near the evening.

Remember, since you are reducing your caloric intake, you want to pack in as many nutrients as possible. Focus on lean protein, fresh organic produce, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid processed foods, simple carbohydrates (white flour, rice, sugar, potatoes), and smoked meats.

Good luck with your journey.


After our Thanksgiving feast of potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and countless desserts, it's time for a light (guilt-free) meal. This savory broth contains just the right amount of spice and is vegetarian-friendly with the umami flavors of shiitakes, tofu, and miso.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced and stems removed (discard stems)
  • 6 baby bok choy, halved or quartered
  • 1 package (200 g) udon noodles
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons white miso


  1. Place broth, ginger, and soy sauce is a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and baby bok choy to simmering broth. Let cook about ten minutes.
  3. Gently stir in noodles. Cook a few minutes until tender and heated through
  4. Turn off heat and stir in miso.
  5. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook tofu, turning often, for 5 minutes or until browned and heated through.
  6. Serve soup topped with tofu.

That's All for Now

Miss Kitty is still sleeping off her turkey-induced tryptophan bliss, but sends her regards. If you've enjoyed this little food journey today, please come back for a visit next Monday.

If you have a question that you would like answered, feel free to leave it in the comments below. Or, you can write to me at

© 2018 Linda Lum


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