Seasonal Fresh Peach and Walnut Coffee Cake

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake

Fresh from the oven, a warm Peach and Walnut Coffee Cake

In this recipe, it is always best if you can use fresh from the farmer’s market peaches. If they are pretty young, you can let them ripen on your countertop until the skin peels away easily. No need to use a knife to peel them.

Coffee Cake Ingredients:

1 cup – white granulated sugar

1/2 cup salted butter

1 cup  – full fat yogurt

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

2 eggs, beaten to just combine yokes and whites

2 cups – whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon “Salt-For-Life” salt

4 small peeled, pitted and chopped fresh peaches


1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

3 tablespoons softened butter (not melted)

Coffee Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using a 9 inch square (I use ceramic) , grease with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and flour with whole wheat flour to prepare the pan.

In a large bowl cream the granulated sugar and the softened butter. Beat in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add in the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and “Salt For Life” salt.

Spread one-half the batter in the prepared pan. Smooth to edges. (I find a spatula and a dinner knife make the job easier.) Add the chopped peaches evenly over the top of the batter. Spread remaining batter over the peaches, smoothing to the edges.

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

3 tablespoons softened butter (not melted)

Topping Directions:

In a small bowl, add the walnuts, flour, sugar and cinnamon and cut in 3 tablespoons softened butter. It should look like walnut crumbles. spread evenly over the cake.

Bake for 1 hour in the pre-heated oven (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).


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To carbonate, or not to carbonate – that is the question?

I have resisted purchasing a carbonator machine for many years. I went to Los Cabo in 2009 and was fascinated by a carbonated margarita served at the Las Ventanas Hotel.  I came back and found a ISI Soda Siphon which I used to make a similar drink since the hotel manager shared the recipe with me at the time.

Since my discovery of shrubs, I decided to investigate the products available today for carbonating water. If I were still going to make the carbonated margarita, I would likely dig out the ISI siphon since carbonators recommend only carbonating cold water. There are a variety of products advertised and lots of reviews, such as the one from SweetHome, which influenced my purchase. I shopped Amazon, Ebay and Bed-Bath-And-Beyond. I opted to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond because it meant I had immediate gratification.

Soda Stream Source

Soda Stream Source

I purchased the Soda Stream Source Starter Kit. I thought at first I had not gotten the complete kit which was to contain the machine, one bottle of CO2 and a bottle.  Turned out the bottle was inside the machine where the CO2 goes. I washed the bottle and filled it with water from my reverse osmosis filter tap. I drink only filtered water as I found I had an allergy to the fluoride that is added to the water. After several hours of chilling the water, I carbonated my first one-liter bottle.  The Source Soda Stream has lights on the front of it to tell you how much carbonation you are using. I decided the first bottle should be at the medium carbonation and went for the two level. You push down on the carbonating block, hold for 1-2 seconds until the first level lights up.  Release, wait until the light goes out and the head returns to its upward position. Then you press again and hold for the second level of lights to light up. That is a medium level of carbonation. I used that liter of water that same day, so I chilled another bottle overnight and decided to try for the third level of carbonation, just to see the difference. The process is the same other than waiting for that third level of carbonation.  I find I like the third level of carbonation the best, although I realize I may not get 60 liters of carbonation out of the CO2 canister.

My Soda Stream Source

My Soda Stream Source


So there you have it. I am now the proud (??) owner of a Soda Stream.







HINT:  Be sure to take a 20% off coupon if you purchase from Bed Bath and Beyond. I purchased 2 extra 1-liter bottles which were priced at $19.99 and used a $5 off $15 purchase for that. I saved $25 total. It made the whole package compatible to the Amazon and Ebay prices and I had my immediate gratification. <smile>

**Photos © Carlanne McCrystal 2016

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New info on food that hurts or rarely helps

Nutritional Information

Read the nutritional information very carefully.

The title says it all…..

Every time I turn around there is new information (that is sometimes old information) about our eating as it relates to our health. Back in the “old” days, there was good nutrition and sound eating habits.  I am talking now about my childhood days. That was a time when my mother and grandmother used to cook from “scratch” and not rely on boxed mixes and commercially prepared foods that are bought in the grocery store.  Even my mother fell prey to the advertising and marketing so that soon her recipes contained more “Betty Crocker” than it did “Mother”.

Not all that recently I turned away from nearly all the pre-packaged foods.  I rarely shop the middle of the grocery store – only for a few necessities I cannot make myself or buy at a farmers’ market.  Even at that, as I shop, I am carefully watching the nutritional information on the label and taking everything I read with that proverbial grain of salt. I am fortunate that 6 months out of the year, the farmers’ market is directly outside my front door.  I have a pea-patch that is quite large for an urban setting in which I grow tomatoes, gypsy peppers, onions, herbs such as pineapple sage, mountain magic basil, rosemary, chives and more. I have access to cantaloupe, peaches, apples, grapes (concord and green), pears, and more at the market.  I also discovered OMG! vinegars and oils. I highly recommend these.  This summer I have spent more on oils and vinegars with OMG! than I did in the rest of the market. And it is worth every dime! (Just tell them Carlanne sent you – and no, at least right now, I am not an affiliate and that this not an affiliate link.)

The other thing I have been doing is being more experiential. I am making up my own recipes and adding whatever is in the kitchen, the way I remember my mother and grandmother cooking.  Ok, there are a few flops here and there….but for the most part, my husband is more than happy to be my guinea pig.  When I share the leftover food with neighbors, they are very pleased to try my recipes.

I also tend to “share” our food. It is hard to cook for two. Inevitably I wind up with leftovers.  Since I like to cook fresh every night, the leftovers are not what I like to serve at dinner.  I used to send them with my husband to work but his waistline is requiring a little more care these days. So I have begun “sharing” leftovers with single person neighbors who seem to appreciate not having to cook for one and who enjoy my experiments. I am not a fan of throwing out perfectly good food just because the neighborhood I live in has a food waste compost bin.

In the next few weeks I shall be sharing recipes for BBQ Sauce, Cole Slaw dressing, squash casserole, Mediterranean-style chicken dish, shrimp stir-fry and more as I really make it up as I go along. I look forward to comments, especially if you try my recipes and like them or if you find a way to make any one of them better, share that as well.

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Food Sharing versus Food Waste Composting

Neighborhood Food Compost Bin

Neighborhood Food Compost Bin

I am not a radical in the food world.  However, I do have strong opinions. This whole food composting, politically-correct idea is a bit off-putting for me. I know there are things that are appropriate to composting – rinds and peelings of fruit and vegetables, bones from the chicken or turkey (or beef and pork if you are into that), and some items that are not actual food.

That said, it is my belief that people waste too much of the food they could be sharing. It is hard to cook for just one, or two people.  Most recipes expect to feed a minimum of four people, if not more.  So when I start to create recipes, I calculate by and for two and almost always wind up with three or four.

Fortunately for me, there are many one person homes in my neighborhood.  These people love having a meal provided that eliminates them having to cook – whether immediately or within a couple of days. Most of my recipes work out to be good, healthy eating.  I am happy to be feeding a number of people during a month with the amounts that are over and above what my husband and I can eat.  It eliminates nights of “leftovers” as well.

I encourage people to “share” their meals rather than compost the left overs!

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Cornbread Muffins – made with real corn


Yummy muffins for a treat

Traditional cornbread muffins are made with cornmeal.  However, if you don’t have cornmeal on hand or prefer fresh corn, you can still make cornbread muffins. This recipe is easy to make and the results are delicious.  I’ve made them with whole wheat flour, but all purpose flour can certainly be substituted, though not as healthy.




  • 3      cups corn kernels. You can use fresh, canned or frozen. If using frozen, defrost first.
  • 2      cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3      cup sugar (or you can substitute honey or agave nectar)
  • 1      tablespoon baking powder
  • A      pinch or two of salt
  • 4      eggs, beaten
  • 2      cups milk
  • ½      cup vegetable oil

Makes: 24 cornbread muffins


Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tins with paper cups or grease lightly with olive oil and dust lightly with cornmeal. I prefer to use the paper muffin cups for easy clean up.  You can put the papers in the green recycling bin when you’re done.

Start by chopping up the corn until it looks something like this:

Chopped corn

Chopped corn

Note: You could use a food processor, but don’t create a puree…unless you want to hide the texture of the corn in the muffins. It’s actually quite delicious with little bits of corn in it, so I just chop it with a knife or food chopper on pulse. Set aside.

Now combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the beaten eggs, milk and vegetable oil. Stir until well combined.2-combined

 Then fold in the corn, until it’s evenly distributed.3-add-corn

Pour the batter evenly into 24 muffin tins. 4-pour


The finished product

Bake at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. They’re done when you gently press your finger on the top and the muffin springs back.


Cornbread muffins

Serve warm. Add a little butter, or honey, for an even more special treat.

You can also add cranberries for color and flavor into the ingredients.




Cranberry and pumpkin muffins

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