Picnic weather, barbecues, days at the beach — quick and easy desserts are nice to use and even with mixes they can taste better (and fresher) than store shelf items.

Triple Chocolate Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 package chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups water

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Beat on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Fold in the cup of chocolate chips. Pour into a well-greased 10-inch bundt pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing form pan to a wire rack.

ABC Muffins

3 eggs

3/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup honey

1 package yellow cake mix

1-1/2 cups wheat bran

2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a bowl, beat the eggs, oil, applesauce and honey. Mix cake mix, bran and cinnamon; add to egg mixture. Mix just until blended. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Pumpkin Walnut Squares

1 package yellow cake mix, divided

1/4 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

1 can (15 ounce) solid-packed pumpkin

1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Set aside 1/2 cup cake mix for filling. In a bowl, mix oil, 1 egg and remaining cake mix. Press into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup walnuts. In large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, reserved cake mix and remaining eggs. Pour over crust; sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. cut into squares. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Giant Spice Cookies

1 package spice cake mix

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup molasses

6 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, ginger and baking soda. Stir in water, molasses and vanilla and mix well. Roll into 10 balls. Place the balls 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a glass coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until the surface cracks and cookies are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Raspberry Brownie Dessert

1 package fudge brownie mix (13×9 inch pan size)

2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1 package instant white chocolate pudding mix

1 can (21 ounce) raspberry pie filling

Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions, using a greased 13×9 in baking pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup cream and pudding mix; stir for 2 minutes or until very thick. In a small bowl, beat remaining cream until stiff peaks form; fold into pudding. Carefully spread over brownies; top with the pie filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Our thought for the week: "A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." — Ronald Dahl