ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, and Cooking, #38

Updated on February 20, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

Last week my dear friend billybuc (aka Bill Holland) introduced his 207th(!) weekly mailbag by writing:

To clarify, heat for us in Olympia is anything over 80 degrees. We are a bit wimpy in the Pacific Northwest. We like our seventies, so when the forecast calls for ninety we all get a bit grumpy. If you ever want to live in an area where the word “moderate” is embraced (only regarding weather and not politics) this is the place for you. None of that has anything to do with writing, but I felt like sharing. Hope you don’t mind.

Bill and I live just 20 minutes away from each other . . . and I agree with everything he said, and then some! Good golly miss Molly it's hot around here. I don't do heat. It's not a pretty sight. But thankfully you don't have to look at me (this series will never become a podcast).

Let's start talking about happy things, like food.

Recipes for Non-Alcoholic Frozen Drinks

This question is from Patti - Any recipes for non-alcoholic frozen drinks? I'm having a July 4th afternoon party and would like to offer something fruity that's not a smoothie to go with wings and other grilled items. Don't want the alcohol but along the lines of a daiquiri or something like that. A couple of suggestions would be good.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
virgin strawberry daiquirivirgin mango daiquiri
virgin strawberry daiquiri
virgin strawberry daiquiri | Source
virgin mango daiquiri
virgin mango daiquiri | Source

Patti, I don't know where you live, but in my corner of the world fresh strawberries are in season and will still be available in early July. You can make a great-tasting strawberry daiquiri without the alcohol. The link for that recipe is here. I would be willing to bet that the recipe could be adapted to use other fresh fruits as well—I'm thinking nectarines or peaches.

Want something a bit more "tropical"? Here's a recipe for a mango daiquiri that uses fresh mango, pineapple juice, and a hint of lime.

I hope that helps.


I Have 10 Fingers and I Want to Keep it That Way

Two weeks ago I introduced a new topic, explaining that once a week I will be channeling my inner Julie Andrews and write about "A Few of My Favorite Things"—the cooking tools, equipment, and gadgets which I cannot do without. I promise that I won't be promoting expensive sous vide cookers or instant pots. Some of these might even be available at your local Dollar Store. I've told you about my indispensable spider strainer. And last week I mentioned the microplane (a very sharp rasp-like kitchen tool). If you purchase a microplane, I think you need to buy one of these as well—a wire mesh glove.


I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV, especially the Iron Chef-style programs. I'm fascinated by the plating techniques and knife skills. However, there is one aspect that I simply cannot watch. I find that I must turn away whenever a chef uses a mandoline. No, I'm not talking about the stringed instrument in the lute family. A mandoline is a kitchen utensil consisting of a flat frame with adjustable cutting blades for slicing vegetables very thinly and with rapid speed. That blade is razor-sharp and most professionals (I've noticed) employ it without using the safety guard! Why, oh why don't they use a mesh glove?

A what?

Last week I told you about the microplane—a rasp-like utensil for zesting and finely shredding hard spices and cheeses. You don't want to accidentally rub your fingertips against those sharp teeth, and that is why you need a pair of wire mesh gloves. They come in a range of sizes (small to extra-large) and cost less than $10.00 on Amazon. That's only $1.00 per finger! Totally worth it.

What Do You Cook When You Don't Feel Like Cooking?

When you are just too lazy or whatever to cook, what is the go-to stuff you use? I lean toward salads and cereal.


Eric, please don't hate me, but I can't remember the last time this ever happened to me. I love to cook and, except for a few aches and pains that come with six-plus centuries on this planet, I'm in relatively good health.

Spontaneity is not my middle name, and so I usually plan out meals for a week (or more) which are based on what I have in the refrigerator/freezer/pantry, and what I know our schedule will be during the week. Some days are easy-peasy, some are very short (duty calls), and on some days, I know that I need to get dinner on the table at a precise time (because of evening meetings).

But no matter how much planning one does...surprises happen. Here are some suggestions for what to cook when you just don't feel like cooking or don't have the time:

  • Salad - You mentioned this, and it's a great idea because it's fast, there's usually little to no actual cooking involved, and is a great way to use up leftovers. Make it a meal by tossing in protein—leftover chicken, canned drained tuna, rinsed and drained canned beans, or top with a poached egg.
  • Soup - Canned soup is horribly salty, but I keep a few cartons of low- or no-sodium chicken or vegetable broth on hand. Heat on the stove. Add diced carrot, onion, and celery and when those veggies begin to soften, stir in dry noodles or some rice. Or add canned beans, croutons, and some pesto for a Tuscan-style soup.
  • Pancakes - Yes, I know it sounds decadent, but it's a hot meal that can come together pretty quickly.
  • Eggs - This is probably my favorite go-to meal and another way to use up leftovers. Add sausage, diced cooked bacon, leftover roast beef or pork, or tofu. Is there less-than-crispy spinach lurking in your salad bin? Add that, or shredded carrots or kale. Leftover boiled potatoes? Bingo.

Can You Make Coconut Aminos at Home?

I am back with a question for you - could you share any information on whether there is a way to make coconut aminos at home? We don't get it here, and I heard the process does not require many ingredients but was unable to find a process to make it at home.

Rinita, your question really had me scrambling. I have learned that I still have much to learn. I did not know what coconut aminos are, nor had I even heard of them.

For those of you who (like me) had not heard of coconut aminos, here is a description:

Sold as a condiment, coconut aminos is a dark colored, sweet, salty alternative to soy sauce or tamari. Coconut aminos liquid is promoted for its low glycemic and low salt content. This natural nutrient-rich raw sauce is totally soy-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and rich in amino acids – hence its name.

That’s the good news. But, unless you are lucky enough to have a live coconut tree in your backyard, you will probably not be able to make your own coconut aminos. Unlike other coconut products, aminos are derived from the fermented sap of the coconut tree, not the meat of the coconuts.

If you are trying to avoid/eliminate soy and/or gluten from your diet by using coconut aminos, here is a substitute recipe you can make at home (but it is not vegetarian!)

To Flip, or Not to Flip, That is the Question

This question comes from Bill - It's barbecue season and I have heard you should only turn meat over once on the barbecue...something about retaining the that true?


Bill, I'm in no way a "grillmaster" so I went to the publication "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee for the correct answer to your question. (And I checked with my friend Kenji who has tested and agrees with Mr. McGee's findings)

Here are some considerations, suggestions, tips, and pointers from the pro:

  • Take the chill off. The warmer the meat is before putting on the grill, the less time it will take to cook. Makes, sense, doesn't it? Remove steaks or chops from the refrigerator at least an hour before grilling or, if possible, seal in a zip-lock plastic bag and immerse in warm (100°F) water for 30 minutes.
  • Want to make it pretty? If grill marks are important to the appearance of the finished product, of course, you will flip and rotate one-quarter turn or 45 degrees each time. Watch this video:

  • Size matters. The thickness of a steak is not just about portion control. With a thin cut of meat, it's nearly impossible to achieve that contrast between exterior (crusty bits) and interior (melt-in-the-mouth tenderness) that all of us desire.
  • Season well. Salt your steak at least 40 minutes before grilling. The day before is even better. If you don't have that much time (you just bought the steaks on the way home) salt them just before grilling. And always use kosher salt.
  • Have a flipping good time. If moisture is more important (and that's what Bill was asking about), then flip every minute.

By flipping a steak multiple times—as often as once every 15 seconds or so—you not only end up with meat that's more evenly cooked, you also cut down on your cook time by as much as a third, and develop a great crust on top of that. This is because with multiple flips, neither side is exposed to intense heat for too long, nor does it lose much heat to the relatively cool air above. It's the equivalent of cooking it from both directions simultaneously.

— Kenji, The Food Lab

And, that's it for another week. This time I managed to cobble together (with your help) more than 1,250 words, so the Hub Pages gurus will be pleased. Thank you all for your questions, and for stopping by each week to read my little column. Thirty-eight weeks! Who could have imagined?

If you have a question for me you may leave it in the comments below, or send an email to

© 2018 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)