mango avocodo corn salsa

I wrote this at the end of the summer – but posting now because summer is around the corner.  I think we are all in the mood for warmth and sunshine, summer salads and grilled meats, and easy gatherings.

Summer is just about over and it got cool here really fast!  But I this week (here) it’s supposed to get up to 78 degrees so you have a moment to squeeze this in with end of summer tomatoes, ripe avocado and sweet summer corn.  I served this on simple oven broiled cod and it was so good.  Silly good.  I ate it the next day on top of arugula and leftover fish.  I know most people don’t like leftover fish – especially cold, but for some reason I can do it.  A little Maldon Sea salt, fresh lime juice and olive oil and I was content.  This would be great in a taco or with tortilla chips – or even added to a store bought salsa to spruce it up.  Enjoy.  

Like anything you make – adapt to your liking.  You can change all the amounts below – I prefer more mango than avocado – but you may prefer it the other way.  Most recipes like this have added chopped red onion which is delicious – but it just doesn’t agree with me sadly.  But go for it if you can!

Oh, and please remember to look at notes on cilantro to learn how to properly clean.  


  • 1 cup frozen or 2-3 ears of cooked fresh corn 
  • 2 -3 mangos, peeled and diced 
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/4 cup cleaned, chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes – if using bigger tomatoes squish out the seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • sea salt
  • red onion (optional)


  • Defrost corn and cook as instructed.  With frozen corn though, I prefer to pour it into boiling water and cook for 2-5 m or so (sometimes undercooked corn – esp previously frozen is a bit better in these types of salads – adding more of a bite and texture rather than a mushy kernel). But you can do what you prefer and to your taste.  Remove corn from stove and quickly drain and run continuous cold water on the corn to immediately stop the cooking.  
  • If using fresh corn, place corn in a pot that has about an inch of boiling water on the bottom.  Add the ears and simmer, covered for about 6-7 minutes.  Again, I prefer this a tad undercooked as well.  Remove ears (tongs are easiest) and place under running cold water to stop the cooking.  Once cool, cut kernels off of cob with a serrated knife.  
  • Wash, peel and dice mango
  • Wash, peel, pit and dice avocado
  • Wash cilantro – remember to look that up!   Chop.
  • Chop tomatoes and onions if you are using.
  • Add olive oil, rice vinegar, lime and salt.  Taste and re season as you like –  I happen to love lime so I will always add a bit extra!
  • Soon I will post on the basics of chopping the above – but in the meantime just google if you need some immediate instruction.

caramel apple jam

Thanks mom for sending me this recipe!

MMMMmmmm….so delicious and warm and soothing and inviting.  Funny for a “jam” to be all that but it is!  Caramel, vanilla, and apples delightfully and simply combined.  Warm this up and pour over some vanilla ice cream and you have a winner.  Equally good on the savory side if you serve as a sweet side relish for pork or chicken.  Alison Roman, the creator of this apple jam, also suggests ice cream (like me) – but topped with crushed Nilla wafers.  And I say, sounds great, but make home made vanilla wafers (coming next)  and add a little whipped cream.

Use a variety of apples, makes for a more interesting outcome because different apples break down differently and this will provide texture and fun!

apple jam (from Bon Appetite Oct 24th):

Original recipe and write up are here.

1 cup sugar
3 pounds apples, use a variety if you can, peeled, cored and cubed about 3/4 inch thick.
1/2 vanilla bean (scraped)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
cinnamon stick or powder
kosher salt

Place 3 tablespoons water in a large saucepan.  Add the sugar and mix.  Heat on medium high and boil – and continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes.  It will turn a dark amber color – but be careful as it all happens very fast, and it is HOT.  Seriously hot.

Add the apples and the vanilla seeds and bean to the pot and cook on medium heat.  The caramel may seize up at the start (because the apples cool it down) but soon it will dissolve again.  Add a 1/2 cinnamon stick (if you don’t have a stick, wait and add some ground cinnamon to taste at the end.)

Continue to cook for about 20-25 m, stirring occasionally until some of the apples are translucent and some still have their shape, and most of the liquid is dissolved.  You can keep cooking btw, if you like your apples super soft, or remove them earlier if you like them super chunky.

Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt.  Store in a glass jar or container for up to a month in fridge.


cinnamon apple cake

“This is the best thing you’ve made in a long time mom” Sylvie said last night as she indulged in her second nibble of the evening.  She said she needed more, but we both agreed that the cake would be here today (and it is) and to just stop (which is hard).   Everyone agreed btw, Rob, Jason, Melissa, and Andy and well, Greg isn’t here! 🙁 but I know he would have loved this.   Cinnamon and apples are so welcome at the moment – leaves are turning, the air is cooler, and a good moist flavorful cake is necessary.

I used firm apples from the orchard – but if you don’t have good apples where you are (and I’m sorry for you!) then use Granny Smith since they hold up so well in baked desserts and their tartness is diminished when baking (and sugaring!)

Oh, and I doubled the recipe since I had a good feeling about it.  Glad I did!  It makes one 9×5 loaf or 2 if you double it!

cinnamon apple cake (verrry slightly modified and  from Allrecipes):

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (remember to look at baking tips to perfect your flour measurement)
1 3/4  teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 apples peeled and chopped fairly small
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt

Remember to pull the butter, eggs, and milk to come to room temp.  Peel and chop apples.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 9×5 loaf pan – and/or place parchment on the bottom for easiest release.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

With the paddle attachment of your electric mixer, beat butter and white sugar until lighter and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix thoroughly after each addition.  Add and mix in vanilla extract.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed butter and stir.  Add the milk and fold together until nicely combined.

Scoop half of the batter into the prepped pan.  Add about 1/2 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, then about half of the apples, pushing them slightly into the batter.  Follow with remaining batter, apples and finally brown sugar/cinnamon and spread with a pallet knife or back of a spoon.

Place in oven and bake until cake springs back slightly when touched.  When a toothpick comes out JUST clean.  And well, when you think it is done.  Try not to over bake.  If you do, simply serve with ice cream and whipped cream (you should anyway!)

Allrecipes said 30-40 m – but mine took 40-50.  So check yourself.  This is an important skill to figure out.

Let cool in pan, then invert onto rack.  Serve warm, cool, the next day and enjoy –





pumpkin cupcakes

It was an impromptu gathering and I happen to have some chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer but as usual wanted a non-chocolate option.  It was 5:30 and friends were coming at 6:30 – so it had to be fast and easy.  Ina Garten to the rescue.  These were so easy, so yummy, and perfect for a chilly November night.  When asked for a little bite Chrissi said “No Karen you cannot have even one bite!  These are unbelievably good!”  They then argued which was better – the one with maple icing and heath bar crunchies or just plain with chocolate chips.  I happen to like them both – but the iced ones were so pretty and the heath bar added pizazz and fun.  Of course if you are concerned with nut allergies, skip it.  These would also be great with the addition of fresh cranberries.  Yowza – the sour pop of them combined with the sweet icing and crisp crunchies – well, my mouth is watering right now!

pumpkin spice cupcakes (from Ina Garten’s Foolproof Recipes):

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 extra large eggs (room temp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
chocolate chips if desired


1/2 cup coarsely chopped heath bars
6 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
pinch kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or brush top of a muffin pan (this will prevent tops from sticking) and then line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and the vegetable oil.

Add the dry to the wet and mix until just combined.

Add chocolate chips if you like at this point.  And then you can skip the icing.

Scoop the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 min – until a toothpick comes out just clean.

Cool completely.  Then spread with the icing (below) and top with the chopped heath bars.  Enjoy!

maple frosting

With the paddle attachment of your mixer (or hand held beaters) – cream the chream cheese, butter, syrup, vanilla and salt on medium speed until very smooth.  Turn the mixer to low – and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

pumpkin-banana bread (healthier)

This is good – a great seasonal bread and another alternative when you have some browning bananas hanging out on your counter.  When I read this recipe I thought I finally found something Greg would happily eat in the morning before school.  I made several different loaves – some with semisweet chocolate, some with milk, and some with white and pecans.  I thought white would be right up Greg’s alley and well, it was – except that he said, “the bread is too sweet and you know I don’t like nuts and oh, that ginger is strong.”  Rob, Sylvie, Andy and I also thought too sweet – esp the ones with milk and white chocolate but we really liked everything else.  And we all mangaged to eat it.  So back to the recipe I went – again, primarily to feed my lean son and added only half of the brown sugar and none of the white sugar and I skipped some of the spices that seemed to offend his ridiculously delicate senses.  I took out the pecans and well, he liked it!   A lot.  But just “not for breakfast!”  Oye.  Oh well… I liked it too – it is a great snacking cake and I would def add nuts if your family likes them.  I like the sweetness of milk and white (high quality!!) chips – but I do have that serious sweet tooth.  Rob of course like the semi sweet and would have preferred bittersweet. Play around with it – I’m thinking cranberries or dried cherries too.

Enjoy –

pumpkin-banana bread (original recipe from Sara-Jane bedwell  and here is the link.

2 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup all purpose, one cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt plus a pinch (kosher if you have)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (feel free to add some ginger and a little bit of nutmeg)
chocolate chips to your taste
pecans too if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray or butter an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans, or mini/reg muffin tins).
Mix together the mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, and eggs in a large bowl.  Or beat with an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (beat up the bananas first).
Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture and beat until just moist. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until done (toothpick comes out just clean)
My mini muffins took 18 minutes and my mini loaves took 33.  If using just one loaf pan I imagine you should check after 45 m – but will likely take close to an hour.  Just keep checking.
Hope you like!

pumpkin waffles

After about two years of eating the same healthy pancakes, Andy finally tired of them.  Eager to find him a new healthy breakfast, I perused many books and eventually found these scrumptious waffles.  Filled with good things like flax-seed, pumpkin, eggs, milk, and ground walnuts (that you don’t even taste) – these keep Andy running and running and running.  What’s nice about these is they have really good flavor – the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg make it feel like a holiday treat – and the walnut and eggs add some good protein.  Andy is not a nut lover so I put the nuts in a processor and finely ground them – making them undetectable.  Of course if you have nut allergies – just leave them out.  The waffles are tender and tasty and with the addition of chocolate chips (always a must here) you don’t need any syrup on them – however a little drizzle of pure maple syrup happens to be delicious.

pumpkin waffles (slightly adapted from No Whine With Dinner by Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex):

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup walnuts (finely chopped – or like me in the food processor to almost a flour)
2 tablespoons flax seed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or slightly less)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use 1/4 if using reg table salt)
3/4 cup low fat milk (I used 1 percent)
3/4 cup canned 100 percent pure pumpkin
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract chocolate chips (optional)
pure maple syrup (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat the waffle iron.  Chop or grind the nuts.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, ground nuts, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

Pour the dry into the wet and whisk gently until combined. Likely oil or coat the waffle iron and cook as your waffle iron directs.  As mentioned, we add a small handful of chocolate chips. Serve with added walnuts on top – banana and a dash of syrup or 10x if you like! Enjoy –

simple pumpkin cookies

Light and airy — this simple pumpkin cookie was an easy hit.  Jason was coming over and I needed a non-chocolate sweet for him.  I looked through my To Bake file and decided to try these cookies.  Sylvie loved the cake-like consistency.  And said, “blogworthy mom.”  Andy exclaimed – “so good!” and Jason mmm…ed and mmmm…ed.  I know I have another pumpkin cookie on the blog – but hey – another is fun too!  The sweet glaze was perfect drizzled on top.  Oh, and perfect to make with your kids.  Enjoy –

simple pumpkin cookies (from the Very Best Baking):

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Libby’s Pure Pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

glaze –
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment – or butter or grease pans.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat sugar and butter with paddle attachment of mixer until well blended.

Beat in pumpkin puree, the egg and the vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm.  Cookies will be soft though.

Once cool, drizzle glaze over cookies.

pumpkin choc chip muffins (healthier side)

We all just LOVED these muffins!  So did Sylvie’s new camp friend Kate who came by to meet us — oh, and her mom and her sister too!  Verrry successful.  I froze a bunch of these to save for another day, but throughout the day (and next day) Andy continually defrosted them one by one.  Once defrosted he heats for 5 seconds enjoying the gooeyness of the chocolate with the fresh pumpkin flavor.  He especially loves it when I bake things that are on the moderately healthier side because he thinks he can chow.  I try to dissuade him from overeating but he smiles his sweet smile and well, it is a loosing battle.  I know it is not the season for pumpkin loving, but I had a can of puree that won’t make it to the winter and well – these really are good anytime of year.  Enjoy them!

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins:

I found these on The Very Best Baking Recipes and followed the directions to the T. So I’m just going to send you the link to make my life easier. 🙂

pumpkin muffins (click on that and you will be redirected)


remember the gingerbread pudding cake for this Thanksgiving…

Don’t forget this gooey gingerbread pudding – always a good go to this holiday.  My sis in law Kathy now makes this for us each Thanksgiving…and with great success!!

Other good ideas, gingerbread cookies, apple cake bars, caramel shorties, gingerbread and white choc chunk brownies, banana toffee cake, orange cake, and cranberry apple crisp.  Oh, and of course my last post that is just under this.

There are so many more though…so look through the recipe index and also at the 20 crowd pleasers to date post packed with all time favorites regardless of the season!

Enjoy your holiday!!