Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: 5 Things We're Falling For This Autumn

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PUMPKIN CHAI PIE LOLLIPOPS Vanessa Volkman Blue Ribbon Cooking School Cooking Channel Allpurpose Flour, Sugar, Unsalted Butter, Vegetable Shortening, Cream Cheese, Eggs, Pumpkin Puree, Cinnamon, Allspice, Ginger, Cardamom, Ground Cloves, Kosher Salt, Anise, Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper, Popsicle Sticks

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

After months of balancing beach time and blasting air conditioning, summer is ending. Now that you've scrambled to cook all the best warm-weather produce and fired up the grill a final few times, let's give a (slightly less) warm welcome to the greatest season of all: fall.

Now, we understand that fall may not be  everyone's favorite time of year, but it does have some of the best foods and flavors (two words: pumpkin spice) plus cardigan-wearing-temperature weather. Just try to go apple picking while surrounded by colorful falling leaves without grinning from ear to ear. Here are five things we're excited about this autumn, including finally giving that Dutch oven some lovin'.

1. Apple Picking (and Eating)

Once you pick a few bushels of apples at the local farm, you can make your own caramel apples or check out our  best apple recipes to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

2. Warm, Bubbly Casseroles

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Your oven misses you, so try out some  easy casserole recipes like Sunny Anderson's cheesy mushroom and broccoli bake. Pro tip: Adding cheese will make anything taste better.

3. Pumpkin Spice Everything

After you have a few Pumpkin Spice Lattes, try using our  DIY Pumpkin Spice recipe for Pumpkin Sticky Buns with Pecan Bourbon Caramel Goodness or other fun  pumpkin pie transformations.

Bonus: Watch how to pumpkin-fy your cocktails:
4. Breaking Out the Dutch Oven

Frame 240,Giada De Laurentii's Beef and Butternut Squash Stew for Apres Ski as seen on Food Network's Everyday Italian

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Your Dutch oven is ready for its close-up. Fill it with  delicious fall recipes like this Beef and Butternut Squash Stew or decadent short ribs. When you braise for days, you’ll get plenty of praise.

5. Kicking Off the Holidays

The first two major holidays of the end of the year are Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pore over spooky Halloween recipes and ideas like how to make a pumpkin cake or a Jack-o’-Lantern cheese ball before your Monster Mash, and then start gathering  Thanksgiving turkey and side dish recipes as the countdown to football days and tryptophan nights begins.

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