Maple Apple Dump Cake

Yesterday, for many, marked the official end of summer. That must make today the official start of fall, then, right? The day when it’s acceptable to start posting all things pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider and all things autumn? I certainly hope so, because I have the perfect cake to get your autumn kicked off the right way!

The best part is that this cake requires so few ingredients… some cinnamon apple sauce, a can of apple pie filling, some Instant oats, a stick of butter, and the main feature– Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar cake mix. Oh, and if you accidentally pick up the Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar Cookie mix, well, it won’t work for this recipe, but it’s definitely worth getting anyway. Yum. Who doesn’t love all things maple brown sugar?

The thing I love about dump cake is that it’s so incredibly easy. But your standard dump cake is so summery, with it’s pineapples and cherries. This cake is just as easy, and perfection for fall. Start by pouring a cup of cinnamon applesauce in the bottom of your pan. If you’re wanting to just open and dump, you can use 2 of the 4-ounce individual cups.

Now, pour half a cup of plain instant oatmeal on top of the applesauce. Making a true dump-and-go cake? Just add about 3 (Quaker-sized– 1.51oz) packets of Instant Oatmeal. It’ll be a bit more than the measured-out recipe calls for, but it won’t negatively impact the cake at all. It’ll taste pretty much exactly the same.

Now, evenly dump your can of apple pie filling on top. If you have some on hand, you could even use your own canned apple pie filling, but I used some store-bought apple pie filling for ease.

Now, dump your cake mix on top. Hence the name… “dump cake.”

Chop up a stick of butter, spaced out. Anything under the butter or touching the apples will become a cake like texture, and anything dry is going to be more like a crumble topping… perfection!

Bake it at 350 for 30 minutes, until butter is melted and everything’s hot and bubbly.

Serve it hot with some ice cream for dessert, or eat it at breakfast (hey, it has apples, oatmeal, and applesauce. That counts as breakfast, right?), or even drizzle it with a little caramel or some maple syrup.

Everything about this is so perfect for kicking off autumn, from the smell, to the taste, to the warmth of it. It’s beyond delicious, and I know you’ll love it for any occasion or meal. You could take it for a church potluck, serve it for fall festivities, or, like my family, grab some spoons and enjoy it straight out of the pan during a family game night.

Hungry for more recipes to get your fall started right? Try my Tuscan Bean and Sausage Soup, or one of my absolute fall favorites, Better than Pumpkin Pie Dessert.

Happy Fall, Y’all!


Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Rolls

Oh, honey. I don’t even know where to begin with these breakfast rolls. They’re so simple. They’re so versatile. They’re perfect for breakfast or brunch or after dinner or anytime, and they’re just so refreshing and really, really simple to make. If you’re like me, you open your pantry door and you have a variety of cake mixes for “just in case.” You know the story– just in case someone in the church has a baby and you need to whip up a quick cake, or just in case you forgot it was someone’s birthday and you need to make something quickly, or just in case you see a to-die-for recipe using a cake mix on Pinterest.

Well, darlings… these simple Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Rolls are going to make use of that Lemon cake you have tucked in the back of your pantry, somewhere behind the Funfetti and Chocolate mixes. And trust me, you’ll be stocking up on Lemon cake mix after you try this, because it’s oh-so-yummy.


Pigs In a Blanket: 3 New Twists!

It seems like we have a ton of cool holidays that we celebrate… I mean, Easter, Fourth of July, Christmas, National Pigs in a Blanket Day….

…yes, you heard me right. It’s a thing. In fact, it’s coming up this week, April 24! Who doesn’t love pigs in a blanket? Well, except maybe the vegetarian/vegan crowd… Those delicious hot dogs, rolled up in a perfect Pillsbury crescent roll, baked until golden… just perfection right there!

So, I started off with some crescent rolls, and in honor of Pigs In a Blanket Day, I decided it’s time to get creative.

I like the Pillsbury ones because they always seem to bake perfectly every time. Save the package, because your baking instructions for each of these pigs in a blanket are right there on the package– you bake them just like you would crescent rolls by themselves.

First up, Piglets in Blankies! These are going to be the most similar to what you know and love about pigs in a blanket, just smaller and a little snazzier. These are adorable, and, while of course they’re great for dinner, these would also be a delicious appetizer for a big game, a great party snack, or an easy lunch.

Start by cutting your crescent rolls in half lengthwise. Because you’ll be using Lil Smokies instead of a full-length hot dog, you’ll want a smaller crescent roll, basically.

Spread your crescent roll with some honey barbecue (or your favorite barbecue sauce of choice), and then a drizzle of mustard. Even if you aren’t a mustard fan, I promise it adds an amazing tang that can’t be beat! Roll up your Lil Smokie in the crescent.

Get your finger just barely wet with water, wet the top of the crescent, then sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. In the same way that a Sesame Seed Bun just makes a burger better, these delicious piglets get an extra snappy beat from the sesame seeds on top. They’re just that extra cute touch that makes these even better.

Bake these according to the package directions on the crescent rolls, and serve.

Yum! And oh-so-cute!

Aren’t chili dogs just the best? I love them so much; in fact, I’m hard-pressed to eat a hot dog unless it’s in a pig in a blanket or a chili dog. This is the best of both worlds by being equally chili dog AND pig in a blanket, and since the chili was so nice and messy, I decided to call them Pigs in Muddy Blankets. What pig doesn’t love mud to cool off?

Now, I’ll just say it here. If you’d rather use your own homemade chili here, you absolutely can. To make it easier on myself, I decided to use a can of Hormel Chili with beans and meat.

Start by cutting your hotdog in half lengthwise. Not only will you get more pigs in a blanket using fewer dogs, but it’ll help keep the chili from squeezing out. Next to it, place a generous spoonful of chili.

Sprinkle with cheese. I used a cheddar and Monterrey jack blend. Roll the muddy blankets up and bake according to the crescent roll package directions.

Before you serve them, top them like you would any chili dog. I personally love diced onions and even more cheese!

Finally, I have to share my personal favorite, pigs in sombreros. Now, I might blow your mind just a little bit because, well… there’s no hot dog in this one. But that’s okay! They’re delicious nonetheless.

Instead, the traditional hot dog is replaced entirely by taco meat! So, start by browning some hamburger and seasoning it the way you would for tacos. I personally like to go easy and use the Old El Paso packet and just follow the directions on the back, because hey, easy!

Place a large spoonful of taco meat on the wide part of your crescent roll.

Then, add diced onions and your favorite taco blend, Mexican blend, or pepper jack cheese. I personally like Kraft’s Mexican Blend.

Now, form the sombrero. You wrap the two wide corners in towards the middle, overlapping a bit and covering the taco meat and cheese. Then, take the long point and wrap it up and over the overlapped part, tucking it under the top edge of the crescent roll.

It’ll form a cute little pocket like this! Bake it according to the crescent roll package directions until golden brown.

Before serving, deck out your pigs in sombreros with typical taco toppings– lettuce, tomato, sour cream, extra cheese, salsa, whatever you’d like!

There you have it! 3 delicious ways to try a new take on Pigs in a Blanket to celebrate Pigs in a Blanket Day this week!


Do you do Pigs in a Blanket a certain way at your house? What sides do you like with it? And which of the above three ways do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments below! Have a great Pigs in a Blanket Day!

Spring Product Round-Up: Walmart

I mentioned earlier how much I love seeing the new products in store, and checking out the influx of new stuff that comes with every season. At Walmart, I noticed that a lot of new products are coming in, and some of them aren’t just limited edition for spring! As always, it’s near-impossible for me to bring my DSLR into the store, so I apologize, but I just took cell phone pics for this post.

I started off in the food section, searching for a few hidden gems that are brand new.

While Krave cereal isn’t exactly new, this delicious S’more variety is. It might be a little cruel that the people who bring you Special K also bring you ooey-gooey Krave cereal, but they’re actually fairly close nutritionally, so I’m excited about having an occasional treat to enjoy. For the record, these actually taste surprisingly like S’mores!

While we’re on the topic of cereal, the folks at Hershey’s are doing a great job. This year, we’ve seen some delicious brand new Hershey’s cake mixes, frosting, pudding, and more… and now we’ve got Hershey’s Cookies’n’Creme cereal! They’re killin’ me here! Cookies’n’Creme is one of my favorites!

I love when a show about cooking helps me improve my skill in the kitchen, or at least fake it when I’m hosting a dinner party. First, it was Duff Gordon from Ace of Cakes, providing amazing Fondant, tools and accessories, and even cake mixes to the masses to allow you recreate a few techniques he demonstrated on his reality show during the scenes showing the inner workings of the bakery. It was a starter lesson of sorts, bringing easier cake decorating to the masses. After that, it was Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss, who introduced his own line of cake mixes and decorating helpers.

Now, Hell’s Kitchen has joined the lineup with a dessert that seems so complicated, but is now easier than ever to reproduce. Typically, when making a creme brulee, you’d need time, and a blowtorch. With a mix like this, you don’t bake it, you don’t torch it, you just prepare the mix and serve. I love that! Plus, it comes in coffee flavor AND vanilla flavor, meaning no matter which you prefer, you’ll have a delicious dessert that looks so much more impressive and difficult than it really was.

Also in the baking aisle, I found some fun new items from Pillsbury! Have you seen their line of Happy Birthday products! They come in amazing bright colors that make mixing at matching for any theme easy, plus they come with the sprinkles already, so no need to make two separate purchases for decorating.

They also have these great Mix-and-Match Neon cake mixes. While my store was sold out of all but yellow, the colors they’re making are so much fun– greens, blues, and oranges fill out the lineup! I love the idea of picking cake mixes and frostings to mix and match for any party’s color theme.

On the topic of colored cake mixes, I have to tell you about something really exciting! See, this product is extra special to me because it’s one of the special products I got a sneak peek at while I was at Duncan Hines last fall. I’ve had to keep it a secret all this time, but it’s finally on shelves! The one thing I was sad about was that the Blue Velvets were not in stock at my Walmart yet. I did find Blue Velvet from Duncan Hines at my local supermarket, though! These fun new Velvet mixes give you more selection when choosing a color and are SO moist and delicious. I’m glad I can stop keeping the secret now that they’re in stores!

Also, remember the limited edition Holiday Velvets that Duncan Hines released at Christmas time, giving you a Red Velvet and Green Velvet in each box? Well, they’ve made a really special Spring Velvet to celebrate this season! I love the pretty pink and yellow mixes, and can’t wait to use them. This is another Duncan Hines product I had to keep my lips zipped about, and I’m so glad that it’s released– I know I picked up several boxes as soon as I saw them in stores!

I’ve been a long-time buyer of Nestle Toll House Christmas colored chocolate pieces, the ones that come with Chocolate, then Green and Red pieces. If you remember, I used them to make this delicious Christmas Bark that was SO easy just a couple of years ago! Well, now I’m thrilled that I can make the same treat for Springtime using the new Spring colored chocolate pieces! I love the bright springy colors they chose!

After I conquered the baking aisle, I decided it was time to check out the Easter products! The first one kind of blew my mind– Carrot Cake M&Ms? I am so excited about the Carrot Cake flavor, and I can’t wait to taste them!

At Valentine’s Day, I was totally obsessed with the boxes of Jack Links instead of chocolates. I mean, what better gift for a guy (or meat-loving gal) than a box of jerky instead of chocolate? And who could resist the furry Sasquatch box? So when I saw them re-releasing the product for Easter, I was excited! I love the bunny ears. This would be great for an Easter basket!

As soon as the weather gets to about 50 degrees, I tend to swap my morning coffee for iced coffee or iced sweet tea. This swap means that I go from travel mug to tumbler. I love these fun, bright colored tumblers from Peeps! Plus, they’re filled with lots of mini peeps! Too cute! One in every color seems just about right for my daily tea habit!

On my way over to the non-food side of the store, I stumbled upon two more products that looked insanely good, both from Oreo. First off, Cookie Dough Oreos? As if Oreos weren’t good enough already, they’ve now crammed it with one of my favorite things in the world– cookie dough!

If you’re more of a Golden Oreos fan, check out these yummy Marshmallow Crispy versions of the Golden Oreos… Oh. My. Gosh. I want to eat the whole package! I had to escape the food side before I blew my diet completely.

The Easter section is always so fun because you get to see the newest egg decorating products, basket stuffers, and other fun Springtime gifts. But the thing that blew my mind were these awesome plastic eggs! According to the package, they dye and decorate JUST like real eggs, but without the actual egg. This is perfect for people with egg allergies, as well as people who want to hide dyed eggs without the risk of food poisoning or anything else. Plus, kids can dye and decorate without the wait of cooking or the risk of cracking a shell. I love the idea!

Spring also means great new Garden products, and I love the garden section for that reason! I found these amazing kitchen herbs from Buzzy, and I can’t wait to buy my own set for my windowsill. It comes with the tray, the pails, the seeds and dirt, and even those super-trendy slate labels! I love the look of slate and metal, so these fit my decor seamlessly, and allow me fresh herbs to use in cooking. Buzzy totally nailed this one!

For families with little garden enthusiasts, these Crayola pots are great for creating a first flower garden! Filled with seeds and supplies to plant beautiful flowers, these allow kids to get a taste of gardening with a BRIGHT pop of color! Definitely worth collecting one of each, especially if you’re a Crayola enthusiast like I am!


Are you loving the new spring products in stores right now? Did you see something great at Walmart that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Spring Product Round-Up: Target

One of my favorite parts of each new season is going shopping. Seriously, I’m obsessed with the new stuff that stores stock, from the delicious foods to the adorable decor. Ask anyone who knows me, and they know that, yeah, the post-holiday sales are great, but I’m happiest when the new holiday products come out. After Christmas, I get so stoked for Valentine’s Day, and after Valentine’s Day, I’m ready for all things spring and Easter.

I made sure to stop by my favorite stores to check out what was new. I started with Target. You’ll have to excuse the phone photos– I don’t usually carry my DSLR into a store when I’m shopping, so I thought phone photos would work just fine to show you what great things were in store!

I started in the One Spot, that little section in front that features goods priced from $1-$3, and is SO impossible to resist! I fell in love with several items over there, but my absolute favorite was the brightly colored watering cans! Can you imagine how adorable one of these would be filled with fresh flowers as a centerpiece at a spring banquet, or filled with baked goods to take to a neighbor as a sunny spring gift? I couldn’t pass it up and bought an orange one, but I know I want a blue one, too. They’re just too pretty!

Another find that I ALWAYS love in the One Spot is seasonal sprinkles! They’re only $1 per tub, and they look so adorable topping any treat. I always buy a variety of these every season. At only a dollar each, why wouldn’t you want them all?

Every season, my next favorite place to look when I’m at Target is at the new tableware! Each season, there’s a brand new theme,and I always want to collect the entire set. It’s reasonably priced (between $2 and $6 for the various pieces– from cups to divided plates to serving trays) and is so durable, dishwasher safe, and easy to care for. I have never been disappointed with a purchase from this section, and OMG. Target did not disappoint this season. The collection with cute phrases like “Lettuce Be Friends” is so garden fresh and fun that I know it’ll make adding seasonal color to our plates so much easier. I love the thought of prettying up these divided plates even more with some fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this season.

See? Way too adorable. I’m practically craving carrots now.

Every time I go to Target, I find myself in the seasonal department. I can’t seem to escape the store without a trip over there. And, to my luck, Easter and Spring products were already on the shelves. You can tell that we’re still not over the Fox trend, thanks to Ylvis singing “WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?!” ad nauseum, which means there are plenty of cute foxes to be found among the traditional bunnies and chicks at Easter this year. I love these cute character baskets. At only $3, they’re reasonably priced, and after Easter, they can be reused for storing socks or small toys year-round!

The same animal themes carried into these absolutely precious spring ornaments. They’re made to compliment adorable wooden trees that Target also had on the shelves, but they would also be great on a year-round tree if you keep one up like I do.

I’m a pretty big fan of things made into seasonal shapes, so Reese’s Eggs, Snickers Eggs, those are all fair game for me. This year, I noticed one I hadn’t seen before, either because it’s new or because I’m oblivious at times, and I’m SO stoked about it. Twix Eggs. Wow. Twix is easily one of my favorite candy bars in the world– that cookie! That caramel! That chocolate! The only question I have for Twix with these eggs is… did they come from the Left Factory or the Right Factory?

Pillsbury also had some great new product out. Last year, they developed a really nice spring line of cake mixes, cookie mixes, and frostings that were in really great flavors like Orange Cream, Pink Lemonade, and Key Lime. This year, Blue Raspberry joined the lineup from last year, and also had it’s very own cookie mix, cake mix, and frosting.

Oh yes. That amazing blue looks like it’ll be perfect in my spring baking!


Target definitely had some amazing stuff on the shelves this year, and I snatched up more than my fair share of it, so keep your eyes out and see what pops up on the blog this season. Product stock and pricing varies from store to store, so I can’t promise what’s available at my local Target will already be on the shelves at yours.


Found anything exciting at Target this season so far? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Caramel Apple Nut Cake

Apples. Caramel. Nuts. Streusel Topping. You literally cannot get more “fall” than this cake unless you served it inside of a pumpkin. Which I don’t recommend, because that’d be kind of weird. Anyway, this cake is like fall in… well, cake form. And it’s so good.

Start with some ingredients. Except not those tricky caramel bits. I bought them for another recipe and they somehow snuck into the picture! Sneaky, tricky caramel bits. Everything else in the photo, though, you need.

Grab your Pillsbury Caramel Apple Cake Mix and prepare it according to package directions, baking it in 2 greased 6-inch pans. Once it’s baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool before de-panning.

As you wait for it to cool, it’s time to prepare fillings.

The streusel topping starts with 1 cup of quick oats, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Add in 2 cups of diced apples, and then 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. Microwave the mixture for two minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, then set it aside.

In a separate bowl, empty one can of your favorite apple pie filling, then run a knife through it to cut the apples all into small chunks. Stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts.

Once your cake is cooled, de-pan it, then use your favorite cake leveling method to first trim off the top dome, and then cut each cake into 3 layers (so you’ll have 6 layers total). Try to keep the layers as even as possible. I prefer to use the Wilton Cake Leveler to get even, easy slices, but you can also use a serrated knife and turntable.

Place your first layer on your cake board on your cake plate or turntable.

Using any tip or a Ziploc with a cut corner, pipe Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Caramel Apple Frosting around the edge of the cake. I used this tip because I planned to use it for decorating later, but any will work. You’re just creating a barrier to keep the fillings from running amok.

On top of the first layer, spoon your pie filling and walnut mixture. Top with a second layer of cake.

On the second layer of cake, repeat the frosting swirl around the edge, but instead of the apple pie filling mixture, spoon on the streusel mixture. Top with the third layer of cake, repeating cake-pie filling-cake-streusel until all 6 layers have been placed.

The top layer of your cake should be the bottom of one of the cakes. This will create a very flat top for the cake decorating.

Before I decorate, I like to use the new Wilton Spray-N-Seal. It’s odorless, flavorless, and doesn’t change the texture of the cake. You spray it on the exterior of the cake, refrigerate the cake for 3 minutes, and then decorate as normal. It prevents crumbs from getting mixed into your frosting and creating a sloppy surface.

Apply a layer of the Caramel Apple Frosting, then decorate as you’d like. I decided to do some quick rosettes on the side for a cute, rustic, almost tree-trunk inspired appearance.

Pipe one layer of frosting around the top edge (or do beadwork or your preferred technique for finishing an edge), then top with a mound of leftover pie filling mixture. Finish with a generous sprinkle of streusel topping.

Mmm, check out that delicious close-up!

If you don’t want to do a layered cake, there are two other ways you can serve this cake recipe.

Trifle Method

Bake cake mix in a sheet or 8×10 pan, whichever you prefer. Dice cooled cake. Layer cake, pie filling, cake, streusel, cake, and frosting, until you’ve filled the trifle pan with all of your toppings. Serve by the spoonful, making sure each serving contains a bit of every layer.

Cupcake Method

Bake cupcakes using the Caramel Apple cake mix. When baked, hollow out the cupcake slightly using a knife, fill it with the pie filling mixture, then replace a flat piece of cake cut from the removed portion of cake. Then, frost with the Caramel Apple frosting and top with a generous sprinkling of the streusel mixture.

Whether you serve it as a mile-high 6 layer cake, a trifle, or a cupcake, your friends and family are sure to be delighted by this incredible fall treat!

Louisburg Apple Cider and Lost Trail Root Beer Doughnut Cookies

While at the Cider Mill in Louisburg, I couldn’t help but pick up their famous Lost Trail Rootbeer and Louisburg Apple Cider. But really, there are some amazing things you can do with those two drinks. Other than, you know, drinking them.

And that’s where doughnut cookies come in. They’re not doughnuts. But they’re also not totally cookies. They’re like… if doughnuts and cookies had a baby. A sweet, sweet, delicious baby.

The best part is the two different varieties, meaning there is a little something for everyone.

For the Apple Cider Doughnut Cookies….

For a richer taste, you may want to sub in the Maple flavor of Pillsbury Funfetti Lil Doughnuts, but I had the vanilla on hand. They’d both fit perfectly with apple, so it just depends on the flavor you’re looking for.

When you open the boxed mix, set aside the funfetti sprinkles and the glaze mix. You won’t need them for this recipe, so save them for another treat or discard them. The reserved glaze mix and sprinkles are PERFECT on pancakes or waffles!

Prepare the doughnut mix according to package directions, but instead of using water, substitute an equal amount of Louisburg Apple Cider! Basically, ditch the water, add the cider.

Dice up 1-2 small apples, then fold them into your doughnut dough.

Also prepare some cinnamon sugar. Most people have a specific preference for their cinnamon sugar ratio, so just prepare it however you like best. You’ll need enough to roll about 24 doughnuts.

Roll your doughnuts into balls. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, you can spray your hands with a slight mist of cooking spray, and they’ll be fine.

Then, roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place them on a greased baking sheet an inch or two apart. Bake according to package directions, but check them about 2 minutes before the package says they’re done. As oven temps and times may vary, these could finish a minute or two early, or they could finish right on time.

These are best served warm, fresh out of the oven, with a large glass of hot Louisburg Apple Cider!

The Lost Trail Root Beer Chocolate Cherry Doughnut Cookies are also easy!

Start with your Lost Trail Root Beer and Pillsbury Funfetti Chocolate Lil Doughnut Mix! You’ll also need 1 can of your favorite cherry pie filling.

Set the sprinkles aside– you won’t need them for this recipe, but can use them for a different project or discard them.

Start by preparing the mix according to package directions. However, instead of  the listed amount of water, use 4 Tablespoons Lost Trail Root Beer and 2 Tablespoons water.

Shape your dough into balls. Then, using a spoon or your thumb, press a slight dent into each doughnut cookie.

Fill each little dent with a cherry, then bake the doughnut cookies according to package directions. Check on them a few minutes before the end just to make sure you don’t overbake them.

While your doughnut cookies bake, prepare your glaze. For the listed milk content, substitute with half milk, half Lost Trail Root Beer. Once mixed, add a teaspoon full of the cherry pie filling (trying not to get any cherries in the glaze!)

When the doughnut cookies are done, allow them to cool for two minutes, then spoon glaze on each doughnut cookie.

Serve the doughnut cookies with ice cold Lost Trail Root Beer straight out of the bottle (or in a frosty mug!)

If you’re in the Kansas City area and can’t make it out to the mill, you should be able to find Louisburg Apple Cider and Lost Trail Root Beer at many local retailers. However, if you’re outside of the Kansas City Area, you can order online at http://www.louisburgcidermill.com or request a catalog. You can also substitute your favorite apple cider or root beer, but I prefer the taste of Louisburg Cider and Lost Trail Root Beer for my doughnut cookies!

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Which doughnut cookie do YOU think looks best?