Food for Thought: Apples, Pumpkins, and all That Fall Brings


Summer is, by far, my favorite season.  I cannot get enough of the warm sunshine, days at the beach, cookouts with friends, and the abundance of fresh foods.  Although we are all either working, taking classes, or on co-op, there is something about summer that is just so relaxing.  But let’s not harp on the season that has ended, it is time to embrace all that fall brings (including the 60 degree weather)!

The month of September is not only a transition from summer to fall, but also a time of transition at Northeastern.  Students are returning from co-op, and some are leaving to study abroad.  A number of students are moving into new apartments, while others are moving into their first ever residence hall.  Administrators are welcoming the freshman class and planning programs for the entire Northeastern community.  It seems like the relaxing environment has quickly vanished, and our fast-paced lives are back.  No matter the transition, whether it’s nerve-wracking or exciting, a new season brings new flavors!

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My favorite flavors of fall, and maybe even of the entire year, are undoubtedly apple and pumpkin.  I’m hungry even just thinking about them!  With both, you can bake and cook so many unique, yummy treats.  Apples and pumpkin are perfect ingredients in many delicious desserts, but can be incorporated into many meals as well.  My absolute favorite way to indulge in these flavors is through an afternoon pick-me-up beverage, usually from Starbucks—I usually stick to apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte.

I think my favorite part of these two fall flavors, though, is the fact that we are fortunate to live in New England where we can take part in picking our own apples and pumpkins.  There are many farms and orchards in Massachusetts where you can pick both apples and pumpkins, and also enjoy a hayride, fresh apple cider donuts, and much more.  This week, my sister and I are spending my niece’s first birthday at a farm in my hometown, and I am so looking forward to it! My niece, Madelyn, will be able to reach for her own apples, go on her first hayride, and even pet some animals at the farm.

With every season, there is a beginning and end, and flavors come and go. Although I’ll be disappointed the day Starbucks is no longer serving fall-flavored beverages, I know the transition from fall to winter will bring the enjoyment of new flavors, just as every transition brings excitement and a fresh outlook. Since fall has just begun, here are two recipes—one apple and one pumpkin—that you can make in your residence hall, apartment, or office. All you need is a ceramic mug and a microwave!  Enjoy!

Single Serving Apple Crisp

What you’ll need:

1 small apple
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. oats
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter


  1. Thinly slice the apple and place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1/2 tbsp. flour, and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon.
  3. Coat the apples with the dry ingredients and place in a small baking dish.
  4. Mix together the rest of the dry ingredients and the butter; put on top of the apples.
  5. Microwave for 60-90 seconds.

apple crisp

Pumpkin Coffee Cake in a Mug

What you’ll need:


1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. canned pumpkin
A few drops of vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground cloves


1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon


  1. In a mug soften 1 tbsp of butter in microwave, about 5 seconds. You don’t want it melted, just soft.  Stir in 2 tbsp of sugar and mix until well incorporated. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla (just a tiny bit, we’re talking drops), flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt and cloves; stirring until just combined.  Use the back of your spoon to smooth it out in the bottom of the mug.
  2. Want streusel? Of course you do! In a separate, small bowl, combine 1 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of flour, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.  Use your fingers to to pinch the butter and mix it in with the other ingredients.  When it starts to look like lumpy sand (appetizing, eh?) and all ingredients are combined, pour on top of cake batter in mug.
  3. Cook in the microwave for 50-80 seconds depending on your microwave.  At 1 minute, my microwave cooks it perfectly.  It will look just barely set on top.  You don’t want to overcook it and things tend to get ugly fast in the microwave.  I suggest cooking it 50 seconds, and then in 10 second intervals checking after each interval until done.  Eat while it’s still warm.  Once it cools off, it tends to loose some of it’s magic!

Bon Appétit,


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