17 Autumn Desserts to Welcome the Season!

I just love fall. The cool crisp air. The gorgeous vibrant colors. And of course, most of all, the wonderful, aromatic flavors of autumn ingredients. Pumpkins, winter squash apples, cinnamon, caramel and spice! There’s nothing better than that. This collection of 17 Autumn Desserts is proof of my love for baking treats with these ingredients.

17 Autumn Desserts



Pumpkins are for more than Decorating!

1) This Caramel Pumpkin Cake is one of those that quickly jumped to the top [Read more…]


Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cake

While pumpkin is generally the preferred flavor of fall, apple is my true favorite. I love going apple picking. And the farm’s warm caramel apples? They’re my true mark of fall. This is my favorite fall treat, in cake form.


Even though this is made in the slow cooker, and slow cooker dishes aren’t notoriously pretty, this is a company-worthy dessert. As long as you grease the crock really well, it’ll pop out in one piece and you’ll be able to slice it like an oven-baked cake.

The caramel sauce permeates the whole cake before settling at the bottom. The apples are also heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the crock, too. The result is, when you turn the cake out, you have a nice layer of caramel, lots of apple pieces and then a soft, moist caramel cake.

Ready to get cooking? Here’s what you’ll need:



Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cake
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  1. Grease the crock of the slow cooker very well.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, apple pie filling and water until well combined. Spread evenly in the crock.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together butter, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk until well combined. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and then pour over the cake mix in the crock.
  4. Cook on high for 2 - 3 hours, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Turn off, remove lid and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Run a knife along the edge of the crock to loosen the cake. Invert the crock over a serving platter and let the cake drop out. Spoon any remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cake.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.



10 Graduation Party Menus Plus Desserts and Snacks!

It’s that time of year when our graduates take the stage with caps and gowns and march off to get their diplomas and take on the world! Graduating is a great milestone and it’s something that should be celebrated.

But planning a graduation party menu can feel a bit overwhelming. Feeding a crowd can be a lot of work, and picking a menu that pleases everyone isn’t always easy. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Whether you are looking for a casual feast in the backyard, a pizza party, or a special sit down family dinner after your Grad gets home, these ten menu ideas will inspire you with some fun ideas and make planning your meal easy and fun. There’s plenty of different kinds of meals to fit all kinds of personalities and preferences, and I must say that they all have me drooling.

Don’t forget to read to the bottom for all the dessert and cookie ideas! Instead of adding one idea to each menu, you can pick your guest of honor’s favorite…or make it a dessert bar and serve a few!

Easy and Casual BBQ Feast

Super easy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork in the slow cooker, or any other easy slow cooker BBQ sandwich for that matter!

The pork can be made ahead of time and frozen, then heated in the crockpot.  The baked beans cook in the crockpot and are easy to put together.  The only thing that will have to be done the day of the party is tossing the dressing on the Asian Broccoli Salad.

Pair this with favorite sides like these:



asian broccoli salad done

Asian Broccoli Salad

Add desserts and probably potato chips and perhaps some cut fruit!

Grill Out

Get out the grill and make it a backyard party!  Serve any of these and your crowd will be raving.

And when you pair these smoky meats with some classic sides, you have the makings of a winning combination!

Plus, you can get more backyard barbecue side dish ideas in this post here!

Nice Family Dinner

If you are thinking a nice sit-down dinner at home after the ceremony is the way to go, these recipes are mouthwatering and so easy!

italian seasoned salt pork tenderloin done

To make this meal easy and special, pair the tenderloin or chicken with:

Enchilada Buffet

Make a buffet of a couple big pans of different kinds of Enchiladas and let everyone serve themselves!

Some of our family favorites include:

white enchiladas

enchiladas with chili-tomato sauce

Serve these with fresh things like:

Need more side dish inspiration? Check out this post about what to serve with Enchiladas!

Build-Your-Own Fajitas or Tacos

Cook up meat in your crock pot or instant pot. Set out the meat, grilled veggies and a plethora of favorite toppings and let everyone build their own fajita or taco!

You could also grill up some chicken breasts in advance or buy a few rotisserie chickens and have them all prepped and ready to go for the big day to make one of these tasty options.

Serve them up with:

Teens Party Menu

Convert this snackadium into a teen’s dream meal! Both of these strombolis were part of a meal I made for super bowl, but with a few little tweaks it’ll be a great “main course” for your graduate and his or her friends.

Keep it simple and add a variety of chips and dips, chilled drinks and cookies and candy.  Anything they can grab, munch and head back out to dance or talk with friends.

Sandwich and Salads Buffet

Make up some easy sandwich trays that your crowd can pick and choose from!

  • Get a bag King’s Hawaiian rolls or other small buns to make a plate of small ham sandwiches and a bag of croissant rolls for Chicken Salad Sandwiches. You can get Virginia Brand ham in the deli section and have it shaved.
  • We love this easy Peach Chutney Chicken salad for sandwiches. So delicious and moist!

Serve these with a plate of assorted cheese slices, mayonnaise and mustard and almost homemade pickle slices.


Round out your menu with an easy pasta salad, a veggie tray with dip and some chips.


Pizza Party

Whip up a bunch of homemade pizza and make a party out of it! You can make this easy dough in advance, and even make super easy awesome pizza sauce. Or buy your favorite premade crust and sauce and top the pizzas in any way you like. Here’s a few of our favorite pizza combos.

Serve this with a veggie tray with ranch dip, and a fresh fruit tray and fruit dip and some favorite chilled drinks.  I love root beer floats as a dessert option with pizza!

Spaghetti Feast

Cook up a bunch of pasta and serve it with one of these easy and delicious homemade sauces and meatballs! These meatballs are freezer friendly so you can make up a big batch in advance and they are absolutely delicious!

Round out the menu with garlic toast and an easy salad! Here are a couple more side dish ideas, too.

Brats or Dogs Your Way

Cook up a bunch of dogs and brats on the grill or stove top and let your people go to town topping them however they like.

You can serve this with:

Add a bowl of chilled melon balls or just an easy plate of watermelon slices and cantaloupe chunks.


Want to have a few snack foods on hand for easy munching? Here are a couple of our favorite snack mixes and other snack ideas that are really easy to make!

Dessert Ideas

Clearly no celebration is complete without dessert! Or better yet – desserts! Make one or more of these and your graduate will feel like the party is complete.


peanut butter fluff pie done

lemon cheesecake dessert slice

tuxedo bars done 2

blue velvet cupcakes 2

School color cupcakesBlue Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet, Green Velvet, Orange Velvet, Purple Velvet

Here’s a handy tip on how to cut cake to feed a crowd!


Narrowing down your favorite recipes to include in your menu is sure to be easier than choosing a college major these days. Especially since any of them will leave you at the top of the class when it comes to a graduation party!

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Toasted Apple and Brie Sandwiches on Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This simple sandwich proved to be one of the best meals I’ve had all year.  Thin slices of Granny Smith apple and brie, tucked inside cinnamon swirl bread then toasted.  Divine!

This idea is not my own, but I can’t remember where I first saw it.  It’s been quite a while, maybe even a year ago.  [Read more…]

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

I’m pretty sure my family eats more pancakes than the average household.  We rarely ever have them for breakfast.  My kids know if Jim is out of town, we’re probably having pancakes for dinner.  Or if I need a super-quick meal, pancakes it is.

I served this stack for lunch after church, with ham and a fruit salad.  I dressed up the whole wheat pancake recipe with apples, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.  Delicious appley goodness on an October afternoon.

Grab a few common pantry ingredients and you’re all set:

[Read more…]