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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, and Cooking, #30

Updated on June 28, 2019
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

In the past few weeks, I have introduced this article with a glimpse of my home environment. Skunk cabbage and weeds were the most recent features, but today I want to share something beautiful, peaceful, and calming. Now that the nighttime temperatures are above freezing, we are slumbering with the windows open.

The air is fragrant with spring blossoms. The chirping of birds awakens us at dawn. And at night we a serenaded by hundreds, perhaps thousands of tiny tree frogs About the size of a dime, they hop about our yard during the day. Brown, green, yellow, and aqua--they leap here and there in search of insects. They snatch up aphids and borers. For me, that would be enough. But then there is the nighttime choir.

The mailman did not have to overexert himself this week. The queries were few, but those that I received were real head-scratchers. I think you'll enjoy them, so let's get started.

What Is Apple Butter?

That is the first time in a long while I have heard of apple butter. Is that just like an applesauce that is cooked longer?


Mary, to think of apple butter as boiled down applesauce is doing this treat a true disservice. It is wonderfully rich, thick, tart, sweet, and spicy . . . and no one can agree on how it is to be made. Is it smooth or chunky? Is it spiced with cinnamon only, or should one use cloves and/or allspice? Oh, the controversy!

There is one thing, however, on which we can agree. It originated in America with German settlers.

I did an internet search on "apple butter recipes" and got 1,120,000 hits! Most start with chopped apples simmered on the stovetop, baked in the oven, or cooked all day on low in a crockpot. But then, I found this posting by Steven Edholm. Steven gathered recipes from old cookbooks, corrected and updated the spelling, and entered them in his blog. He then used that information to create his own recipe.

He juiced winter apples and boiled down that juice to make thick, rich, shelf-stable apple butter. Those vintage recipes are in the above link and Steven demonstrates his own recipe and cooking technique in a video. It's fascinating and probably the most authentic recipe you will ever find, but it's also far more work than most of us are willing to expend.

So, of the remaining 1,119,999 recipes, here are my choices.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Perfect Homemade Apple ButterEasy To Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Perfect Homemade Apple Butter
Perfect Homemade Apple Butter
Easy To Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Easy To Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter | Source

SandpaperAndSillyPutty made a stovetop Perfect Homemade Apple Butter with cored quartered apples simmered in cider. Once the apples are falling-apart tender she uses an immersion blender to make the butter smooth and silky. In the next recipe, Easy To Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter is made from apples peeled, cored, chopped, and simmered all day long in a crockpot/slow cooker. Your house will smell amazing!

Can You Bake Bread Without Salt?

I love bread. I understand that salt should be added to the dough for it to rise correctly. Is there a bread without that?


Eric, I'm going to take a chance on this one. Typically, Hub Pages does not like it when we link from one article to another. (Overly-promotional, or something like that). However, I don't think they are really paying attention to this Q&A series. That said, I'm going to share with you the link to my article on making Tuscan bread.

Please be sure to read the story behind Tuscan bread before you jump to the recipe. It's worth learning about.

Lexicon of Cooking Terms


Continuing with our alphabetical listing of obscure, odd, and unusual cooking terms:

Tourage – The French term for a technique of making puff pastry dough by continually folding and rolling out the dough to make hundreds of dough layers that rise when baked.

Tournedo – A cut of beef taken from the tenderloin that is no more or less than 1 inch thick and 2-21/2 inches in diameter.

Trattoria – An Italian term describing an informal restaurant where simple, but satisfying meals are served. An informal atmosphere.

Trinity – A Louisiana Cajun/Creole vegetable mixture consisting of an equal combination of onion, green pepper, and celery used extensively in these types of cooking.

menudo soup
menudo soup | Source

Tripe – According to the Dictionary of American Slang, tripe is "contemptible material, nonsense, worthless stuff." In the culinary world, tripe is not held in much higher favor; it is the stomach lining of a ruminant animal, the offal, the parts left on the slaughterhouse floor. However, if plagued with a hangover, it is said that a bowl of Menudo soup is a curative and a godsend. (Personally, I wouldn't know).

Blue Foods

Do you have any suggestions for special foods or beverages for a graduation party? School colors are light and dark blue.

Goodness sakes, Flourish. I hope next time you ask me something difficult LOL. There are, of course, blue corn chips, blueberries, and blue M&M's. A Google search of 4th of July foods will probably provide a wealth of red, white, and blue ideas. Delete the red and you might have something workable.

Or, you could try some of these:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Blue Party PunchBlue Velvet CupcakesBlue Velvet White Chocolate Chip CookiesBlue Chocolate Pretzel RodsBlue and White Popcorn
Blue Party Punch
Blue Party Punch | Source
Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Blue Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Blue Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Blue Chocolate Pretzel Rods
Blue Chocolate Pretzel Rods
Blue and White Popcorn
Blue and White Popcorn

This blue and white popcorn mix was created to celebrate the Dallas Cowboys, but the colors sound perfect for your daughter's school graduation as well. The pretzel wands are based on the Disney movie "Frozen," but would be easy to make (perhaps your daughter and her friends could be enlisted to help).

Remember the "red velvet" craze a few years ago. From there, interests moved to blue velvet. I think both the cookies and the cupcakes look amazing.

The blue tropical punch looks fun (only 3 ingredients!), but I can't guarantee that they won't stain the carpet.

How to Survive as a Vegetarian in a Carnivore's World (and the Importance of Omega-3's)

So why don't you include more Omega rich foods in your next mail? Or how to survive nutritionally as a vegetarian in a country where most are big on meat.

Manatita, that's such a great question. But before I provide that list, I think I should provide some background information for the rest of the audience.

What are Omega-3 fatty acids? The technical answer is:

Fatty acids consist of chains of carbon atoms linked together by chemical bonds. On one end (terminal) of the carbon chain is a methyl group (a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms). On the other terminal is a carboxyl group (a cluster of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms). The chemical bonds between carbon atoms can be either single or double bonds. Single bonds have more hydrogen molecules around them than double bonds. These chemical bonds determine whether a fatty acid is saturated or unsaturated (see discussion below). Fatty acids also come in different lengths: short chain fatty acids have fewer than 6 carbons, while long chain fatty acids have 12 or more carbons.

Well, that's about as clear as mud, isn't it? (I'm assuming that none of you are chemists). Let's see if I can explain in layman terms.

One might assume that anything deemed “fatty” is bad. Well, it depends.

  • There are saturated fatty acids, otherwise known as saturated fats. These are found primarily in animal-based products (lard, butter, whole milk, cream, red meat). A diet high in saturated fats can lead to an increase in your blood cholesterol, which puts one at risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Monosaturated fatty acids (aka monosaturated fats) are vegetable-based. These are in the “good” category. Avocados, nuts, and some oils (olive, peanut, canola) added to one’s diet can help lower your “bad” cholesterol numbers and thus reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Then there are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (are you still with me?) These are the Omega-3's, substances that our bodies need to boost metabolism, serving as energy for the heart and muscles and serving as building blocks for cells. Our bodies cannot produce these essential fatty acids—they can only be gained through what we eat.

But wait, there's more. There are three types of Omega-3's (and you need all three of them).

  • ALA – found mainly in plant oils, your body cannot make it so you need to ingest it
  • EPA – found in fish and other seafood
  • DHA – also found in fish and seafood

If you eat a wide range of foods, you should be able to obtain the required levels in your diet. But what if, like Manatita, you have dietary restrictions? Some people are vegetarian, or vegan, or have allergies to fish and/or shellfish? What to do?

Well, your body is an amazing thing. It can convert some ALA into EPA (and then DHA), but not enough. If you have dietary restrictions you will need to take supplements; you should talk with your physician about what types of supplements you should take, and how much.

How Much Omega-3's Do You Need?

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) “Experts have not established recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, except for ALA. Average daily recommended amounts for ALA are listed below in grams (g). The amount you need depends on your age and sex.

Life Stage
Recommended Amount of ALA
Birth to 12 months*
0.5 g
Children 1-3 years
0.7 g
Children 4-8 years
0.9 g
Boys 9-13 years
1.2 g
Girls 9-13 years
1.0 g
Teen boys 14-18 years
1.6 g
Teen girls 14-18 years
1.1 g
1.6 g
1.1 g
Pregnant teens and women
1.4 g
Breastfeeding teens and women
1.3 g

*As total omega-3s. All other values are for ALA alone.

The NIH has a treasure-trove of information on this topic. Here's the link so that you can explore. I've also compiled a list of vegetarian/vegan foods that provide Omega-3's:

  • flaxseed oil
  • chia seeds
  • English walnuts
  • canola oil
  • soybean oil
  • black walnuts
  • mayonnaise
  • edamame
  • refried beans
  • kidney beans
  • baked beans
  • whole wheat bread
  • eggs
  • low-fat milk

I'm not a dietician or a licensed nutritional specialist, so I don't want to pretend to be able to give any of you specific guidelines on what to eat, or how much. Look at the NIH website and, if you wish to pursue this subject further, talk with your medical specialist.

Thank you to everyone who wrote in this past week with questions, and thank you to each and every one of you for reading today. I hope you have a wonderful week. And, please remember that you can give me your questions or suggestions in the comments below, in the "questions and answers" capsule provided by Hub pages (I'm still not sure how that works), or you can write to me at

© 2018 Linda Lum


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