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Happy Halloween!!!!!

Some Midwest views are worth it!

Fall!! Fall!! Fall!! My favorite time of year. To step outside and feel the cool breeze on the skin makes me feel alive. Tonight was the perfect evening to take a long "walk" along the river with the sun setting (if I am being realistic this was more exercise than enjoyment but it doesn't sound as peaceful as I want it to...). It is a beautiful setting with the different colors, the turning leaves and the reflections on the river. Sometimes these moments are the best when you can enjoy the peace and quiet and just BE!!!

In today's culture, there are moments we all need to stop and enjoy being who we are. I know that may sound crazy but I love it when the weather starts getting cooler. It helps me remember to be who I am and not to get caught up in the rest of society!

Along this same line, did you know it takes a pumpkin 4-5 months from planting to harvest. Plant in late spring and the harvest can be enjoyed in October right it time for the holiday. Something so enjoyable and an important part of the Fall is the perfect example of taking time and keeping things simple to get the end results.

So I hope every time you see a pumpkin just remember to stop and enjoy the falling leaves and the autumn sunset. This Halloween enjoy these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

3/4 C White Sugar

1 1/4 C Brown Sugar, packed

4 Eggs

2 C Pumpkin, fresh (or can)

2 C Unbleached Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Ginger, ground

1/4 Tsp Allspice, ground

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. In another bowl, combine white sugar, brown sugar, butter, and eggs and mix until well combined. Next add flour mixture until blended. Add in pumpkin and mix well. Fill each liner with batter about halfway full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

Salted Caramel Sauce

3/4 C White Sugar

4 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup

1 Stick Salted Butter

2 Tbsp Heavy Cream

1/8 Tsp Sea Salt

Put sugar and corn syrup in heavy large saucepan (it will expand so need to have room) over medium heat (about 2 minutes). Stir to combine until sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook until it turns a golden amber (about 5 minutes but keep an eye). Once amber color appears add cream (it will bubble up) and stir. Then add butter in pieces stirring until combined well. Add sea salt and remove from heat. Let cool until barely warm but still pourable. (Note: Can use this sauce for other desserts)

Cream Cheese Buttercream

2 pkg Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature

5 C Powdered Sugar

1 Tbsp Vanilla

In bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. On low speed, add a couple cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Then add the lukewarm caramel sauce (Be sure it is lukewarm... if too warm it will harden when added or melt the butter) then increase speed until combined well. Turn speed back down and slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar. On a higher speed, mix until combined and smooth. Place frosting in fridge for about 40 minutes before using. (You may need to run through mixer before you use to make smooth again.)

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