Mango Salsa Guacamole

During our graduate class “Professional Communications” (a.k.a. Speech Class), I did a demonstration speech on how to make peanut-butter-filled-chocolate-cookies (I called it “Kate’s Kitchen” or some other clever slogan).

During our graduate class last Thursday (8 hours a day, 5 days a week… we find ways to entertain ourselves, like random conversations), we were talking about what we ate on the 4th, and I mentioned my mango salsa guacamole invention that was devoured before the fireworks even had a chance to get started. The conversation quickly turned to a second, more relaxed episode of “Kate’s Kitchen.” (More relaxed because I wouldn’t be graded for this demonstration : )).

So we made it happen on Friday. Everyone brought in a few ingredients and I demonstrated how to make my “invention” (in quotes because a quick Google search reveals there are many other Mango Guac recipes out there!). Yum!

Here’s the recipe just in case you’re wanting to try it out yourself.

What’s that you say? You’re hesitant about cutting mangos? Trust me, this recipe is worth cutting the mango. See here for a tutorial that makes oh-so-much sense for cutting those slippery mangos.

Mango Salsa Guacamole

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T. fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ t. nutmeg
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 small avocadoes, halved, seeded, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mash together above ingredients for a guacamole base, either with a fork or a masher. Add salt and pepper as desired.

    • 2 cups fresh mango chunks
    • 1 cup fresh sweet corn or canned corn
    • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
    • ½ cup onions, diced

Gently stir chunky ingredients into the guacamole base. Serve immediately or chill for up to 3 hours before serving.


  • Juicing Limes: Microwave the lime for 10-15 seconds, then squeeze lime before cutting. Cut the lime over a bowl to catch all the juice. (Thanks to Rosa Acostaruiz for this tip!)
  • If you are not serving the guacamole immediately, stir in all chunky ingredients except the tomatoes. Leave the tomatoes as a top layer for the guacamole. The tomato juice will cover the guac and maintain the fresh green color a few hours longer. Right before serving, stir in the tomatoes. (Tip from Blanca Ramos)
  • Another method for keeping guac freshly green is to place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole, like this: 

Mango Salsa Inspiration:

Guacamole Recipe Inspiration: from the many Costa Rican chefs I had the privilege to learn from : )  (Blanca Ramos, Judit Cabezas Ramos, & Tricia Wegman Contreras)


Summertime = Time for Creativity!

I grew to love painting “for fun” instead of “for homework” during my time in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, all my paintings were too large to bring back on the plane — although I seriously considered the idea (Imagine an already overloaded traveller begging the flight attendant to please let this ginormous framed canvas to be her “carry-on”… yeah, I didn’t think that would go over so well either!). I ended up selling about 8 pieces before moving back.

That was a year ago.

Let’s be honest: The whole process of reverse culture shock (becoming acclimated to one’s native country again) takes a lot longer than anyone wants to admit. I think my process took about 8 months, and in some ways, is still happening even today.

That said, I’m finally beginning to feel like my artistic self again. Here’s several pieces of creative evidence:

I saw this idea online somewhere and knew I had to try it. I bought an already-painted-on canvas at a thrift store and used masking tape to craft letters on top of the painting. I chose my favorite quote from La casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (an amazing Cuban-American author), and fit the whole quote on the canvas. Then I painted over the tape, let it dry, and peeled all the tape off. Wa-laah! I might go back and add more to it, but this is what it looks like for now.

I also saw this idea online somewhere… probably or something. While I’m not Martha Stewart, I was able to figure out this recipe. All I did was mix up a white cake mix, separate it into three mixing bowls, add different color to each bowl, and bake each layer separately. I didn’t have enough circle cake pans, so I turned to pie tins as well. Each layer cooled for about 15 minutes before I iced them all into one cake. Easy peasy.

This is my current work-in-progress. It is acrylic paints and a collage of paper, leaves, bark, film negatives, and beads. It’s not quite finished yet, so stay tuned for a finished version.

 I continued the collage up the side of the canvas. All about the little details.

Here’s a close up of the lower collage:

This tree collage took a lot longer than I thought it would, but little by little, it made its way toward completion. My favorite is the gold paper running through the whole tree — both branches and roots. I was reflecting on a particular verse in Romans that reminds us that we (the tree) are not all that there is to us — that the roots (Jesus) are what really anchor us throughout life. To me, Jesus is the gold that shines throughout the entire tree, causing the leaves to grow.

I’m definitely enjoying my creative summer… can you tell? : )


I’m sure you can relate — sometimes life just feels… daily. When someone asks me if I’ve done anything fun lately, I don’t know what to say, especially considering my sense of fun for three years was whizzing through trees harnessed to a cable or being spit at for laughs at the school talent show. It’s not that life now is boring at all; it’s just that life is pretty routine these days.

Daily now means teaching about Ancient Rome and acting out a Republic with my students — complete with toga costumes and speeches from our class-nominated senators. Students love being the plebeians because they get to vote which senators will become consuls (like the president : )).

Daily now means leaving school around 3:30 to go to a 4:15 work out class at the Elgin Center before driving to masters class at 5:30. After lots of intellectual educational conversation, I drive home at 9:30 to make my lunch for the next day and fall into bed.

Daily now means going to Bible study on Friday nights — I alternate between a Spanish and an English study. I enjoy the challenge of the Spanish and the friendships with the Latina women while also enjoying ”easy” English conversation the opposite Fridays.

Daily also means cooking for all the roommates every Thursday night. I made this this evening and it was fabulous. Definitely a must-try for you too 🙂

So it’s taken me a while to embrace the ”normalness” of life now. What it boils down to is trusting God that He is working big time no matter if I’m ”home” in the U.S. or living as a foreigner.

I think you know you’re in the right lifestyle when even though life is daily, you have a sense of purpose and a deep-down enjoyment of the daily routine.

(Still anxiously awaiting the arrival of my cheap-o camera… : ))