The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends Latest Post: Elevating Cake Mix

9 Way to Elevate Cake Mix | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

Don't run away screaming. Yes, homemade is usually best, but there are times and places for boxed cake mixes.

9 Way to Elevate Cake Mix | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

I'm sharing 9 ways to elevate cake mixes over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends today. Nine!

9 Way to Elevate Cake Mix | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

If you're having an intense cake craving by the end of the post...well, I've done my job.

Go see all 9 tips over at Ree's
(There's also a killer frosting recipe to go with!)

10 Desserts and Cookies to Try for Fall

Fall officially starts this Friday! Yay! Are you ready?!? I've been thinking about ALLLLLLL of the things I want to bake this season and thought you all might want a few ideas for your own fall baking.

10 Dessert and Decorated Cookies to Try for Fall |

Here we go:

pumpkin chocolate chip bars |

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars. I make these every year without fail. This post is from 2012, but we were making them for ages before this post. I think my sister calls me every year when she bakes them, too, and we commiserate over how we can't stop eating them and who wants to wear skinny jeans anyway. Oh, and this is a Kiddo in the Kitchen post. Hi, Jack!!!

pumpkins with succulents and roses, decorated cookies |

2. Pumpkin Cookies with Roses and Succulents. I hope the succulent trend stays around...along with everything pumpkin. Some of my favorite cookies to make are those with pieces you make ahead of time. This is one. Those succulents may look at a little tricky, but you can't mess them up. Who knows what all succulents *technically* look like anyway.

caramel honeycrisp apple bars |

3. Caramel Honeycrisp Apple Bars. Honeycrisp apples are the queens of the apple section. I do a little happy dance when they appear in my grocery store each year. I do a bigger happy dance when I make these bars. Caramel + Honeycrisp + pecans = deliciousness.

pumpkin cheesecake brownies |

4. Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies. Do I really need to say more? Pumpkin. Cheesecake. Brownies. (Make them!)

Sweet on Trader Joe's Sunday: Cocoa-Filled Pinwheel Cookies

Happy Sunday! Before we get to the review, I have to make a public service announcement:
Woo hoo!

I *only* bought 6 boxes of Pumpkin O's and the cashier said, "stocking up?" Thinking about how I bought enough boxes to last us through February last year, I was close to saying, "honey, you have no idea."

Trader Joe's Cocoa-Filled Pinwheel Cookies review

To the review...cookies! Trader Joe's has new cookies! Cocoa-Filled Pinwheel Cookies. A box of 9 cookies costs $1.79.

Popcorn-Packed Care Packages

When graduation season was upon us last year, there were so many kids we wanted to give gifts to. Jack's friends, of course, and kids he'd gone to school with for years. I had some students I'd worked with on the prom committee and other projects who I wanted to acknowledge with more than a card.

We decided that we'd give gift certificates for a college care package during their first semester. (Gosh, I hope they like sugar.) I printed up a little certificate that we put into cards. I gave my, as I like to call it,"text number" for the students to text me their college address once they got it.

This week, the first batch of packages went out. I'm anticipating that they'll all be a little different. For these, I packed the care packages with four goodies, and cushioned the boxes with bagged popcorn.

Treat #1: Decorated Cookies

how to pack a college care package

This round had the subtle-hints-for-college-students cookies that I blogged about earlier this week.

how to pack a college care package

To ship decorated cookies, I love using hard-sided document boxes. (They're typically white.) Look for a size that is approximately 8.5 x 11 x 2". You can fit two layers of decorated cookies in the box. Place a sheet of foam on the bottom, place one layer of cookies on top. Place another sheet of foam on top. If adding two layers, repeat.

Subtle-Hints-for-College-Students Cookies

college advice decorated cookies |

College care packages have begun! They're not just heading out to Jack, but to a few other college freshman we know. I remember how exciting it was to get mail and packages way, way, waaaaaaay back in my college days. I vividly recall treasuring letters from my younger cousin, Meg. They always made me feel connected to home and the "real world."

college advice decorated cookies |

Parents of college students, back me up here. We really try not to nag our kids once they're off the college. (Really, Jack. I'm trying.) Not to call and text to ask if they've remembered to wash their sheets, or to remind them of all of our good advice, like sitting up front in class.
No one said that cookies can't do the job.