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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups: Homemade Holiday Inspiration and more

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups: Homemade Holiday Inspiration

One of the best traditions during the Holiday season is baking Christmas cookies. Our family loves it, and I’m guessing yours does too. We have tried some amazing chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years and these Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups are an easy chocolate chip recipe and look amazing to impress your guest!

Day 2 of our 100 Days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration continues! Each day we are inspiring you with  recipes, decorating ideas, crafts, homemade gift ideas and much more!

Salted CaramelChocolate Chip Cookie Cups | 100 Days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration on

You will never believe what these amazing cookies start with – refrigerated cookie dough. Yes, they are that easy! Just 5 ingredients and you have these amazing little gems!

Thanks to Katerina from Diethood for sharing these with us for our 100 Days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration!

Grab the recipe by clicking the link below…

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

100 days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fall is my favorite season to bake! With all the delicious flavors to enjoy – pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, caramel and more – how can you wrong? These Caramel Apple Cupcakes start with a doctored cake mix, then stuffed with apples, and topped with a Caramel Frosting, a sprinkle of walnuts and drizzle with caramel these cupcakes are the perfect Fall treat.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

Happy Cupcake Tuesday! I’m so excited you are here! Looking for a cupcake recipe? Be sure to check out the Cupcake Heaven page, there are over 250 cupcake recipes and decorating ideas!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

There’s nothing quite like caramel and apple combination for Fall. One of our favorite family activities in the Fall is to visit the apple orchard and pick a big bag. Next to Christmas, this is my favorite time of year to bake.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

There are many different ways to fill a cupcake. We learned how to core and fill cupcakes during Cupcake Boot Camp. After the center was removed I filled the cupcakes with chopped Fried Apples.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

A big dollop of Caramel Frosting, then walnuts and drizzle of caramel finishes off the cupcakes.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

Caramel Apple Cupcakes :: Recipe on

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 18-24 cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

The perfect Fall treat. Recipe from


  • 1 yellow or butter flavor cake mix
  • 1 small box instant butterscotch pudding
  • 1 cup buttermilk (splash of vinegar in a measuring cup, fill with milk, let set a couple minutes)
  • 4 eggs, room temp
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 packet Duncan Hines Frosting Creations - Caramel Flavor
  • Filling
  • Use this Fried Apples Recipe or Apple Pie Filling
  • Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Salted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tablespoons very cold milk
  • 8-9 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel topping
  • Topping
  • Walnuts, chopped roughly, if desired
  • Caramel Topping, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and add cupcake pan with liners
  2. Mix all ingredients until smooth, divide batter into cupcake liners
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  4. Let cool completely
  5. Frosting
  6. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butters and shortening until smooth, about 3-5 minutes
  7. Add vanilla and cream together
  8. Gradually add 4-5 cups of powdered sugar
  9. Alternating with a couple tablespoons of milk
  10. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, alternating with more milk until desired consistency
  11. Mix in caramel topping until smooth
  12. Assembly
  13. Core cupcake and fill with apples
  14. Frost cupcakes, add walnuts and drizzle of caramel topping if desired
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Cozy up to Fall on Desserts, Decorating, Crafts, Recipes and DIY

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Christmas Mantel: Homemade Holiday Inspiration

It’s here! The 100 Days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration has begun! We had such a great response last year, and all of you asked for us to run the series again, so here we are. Can you believe how close the holidays are? Well never fear my friend, we are here to help you prepare for the best holiday season ever!

The 100 Days of Homemade Holiday Inspiration will have recipes, decorating ideas, crafts, homemade gift ideas and much more! We are kicking off the series with one of my all time favorite Christmas Mantels. I absolutely adore decorating for the holidays, especially with vintage style Christmas decorations and this Mantel is no different! 

Christmas Mantel | Red and White Themed on

Our Mantel is one of my favorite spots in our home. It’s actually quite massive, taking up one whole wall, which sometimes can be difficult when you are decorating. But I simply love it!

Christmas Mantel decorated in Red and White | Details on

I love how the Red Ornament Garland makes a bold statement. And the red and white decorations are simple yet gorgeous! Learn how to decorate your home, click on the link below…

Christmas Mantel

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Fruit & Cheese Kabobs

During the school year it can be challenging to ensure the kids are getting the nutrition they need, especially after school. That time from when they get home to when dinner is on the table can be a time when the snack monster takes over and they will eat anything in sight. I’ve long since quit trying to count the number of times the boys sneaked a bag of chips or a box of snack crackers out of the kitchen and ate them only to be full when dinner time came.

We learned long ago that kids will eat whatever is most convenient at the time, if they can just grab and go they will eat healthy and tasty selections. Now they will still ocassionally pick chips and salty snacks some of the time but they will surprise you more often than not and grab a handful of nuts or fruit and our sons just love to snack on cheese. But even as teenagers they still like to have their food cut up for them so we still will make some Fruit & Cheese Kabobs when we are heading out to the beach or the park. It makes it so much more convenient to eat and is a great way to supplement their diet and give them a variety of choices.

There really isn’t a standard recipe for these, we’ll change them up depending on what we have in the refrigerator and what fruit is in season. We even switch out the types of cheese depending on what we have a taste for that day. Our everyday standby is Colby & Monterey Jack paired with a Medium Cheddar. And when we are feeling a little adventurous we’ll throw on some Jalapeno Jack. That is when Doug or the boys haven’t eaten the Kraft cheese the night before, which is fine, because at least I know they are at least snacking on something that is good and nutritious.

Did you know that Kraft cheese is Target’s Weekly WOW Deal the week of 9/14 thru 9/20 buy any 5 Kraft Cheese products for $10. So make sure to stop by your local Target and pick up your favorite variety of Kraft Cheeses for snacking and meals for the family.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

Visit your local Target to take advantage of the Weekly Wow promotion featuring Kraft Cheese products! From 9/14 through 9/20, buy any 5 Kraft Cheese products for $10.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Making a Natural Difference

Do you love nature? I know I do, so much that I intentionally designed my office and my desk so I can enjoy the trees and wildlife right outside my many windows. However too many times we as a community get wrapped up in our everyday existence to fully appreciate the beauty of what nature provides and take advantage of the lands for our own financial benefit. This was the case at the beginning of the 20th century but fortunately we had a great President who realized that if left unprotected many of the beauties of our nation would be ruined and future generations would not know or have the chance to enjoy them.President Theodore Roosevelt was this president and between 1901 and 1909 through executive actions he set in motion the events that would eventually lead to the founding of the National Park Service in 1916.

Make a Natural Difference

Fast forward to today and we now have 58 National Parks scattered throughout the nation which are accessible to every citizen in the nation. We are very fortunate to have one virtually right out our back door, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. With it so conveniently locate within a few miles of our home we still don’t get the opportunity to visit and explore as often as we like so when we were asked to partner up with Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association for their Make a Natural Difference Campaign to draw attention to our National Parks we were thrilled and knew exactly where we would want to take our readers on a visual tour. The shoreline of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore stretches for 15 miles along the southern tip of Lake Michigan. I love it for the beach where on the weekends there are families with young children, teenagers and adults enjoying the sights and sounds of the vast lake. But perhaps my favorite time to visit is during the week when all the crowds have gone and if I choose I can be completely alone with no distractions except for the occasional butterfly.


Doug loves to spend his time at the Dunes exploring, with his background in plant and soil sciences I’ll often find him capturing photos of the native plants and flowers and searching for the evidence of how the dunes were formed centuries ago after the retreat of the glaciers that formed the lake and surrounding terrain.

Flowers along Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

When we visit the beach after the crowds have left one of our favorite pastimes is to look at the sand castles and other items that families and their children have left behind and imagine what they might have been doing. On this visit we found several sand castles like this one…

Sand Castle Fort

And this stockpile of skipping stones just begging to be thrown.

Skipping Stones

All these photographs are a great way to reminise about our trips to the parks and enjoy their beauties long after we have left. Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association wants to give you the opportunity to do the same by giving you the chance to win a Sony Digital SLR Camera and 18-135mm Lens. Simply enter the contest here.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Now all this beauty doesn’t happen without the careful stewardship of individuals like you and me. We all can make our parks better every time we visit them, whether it’s the National Park nearest you or even a State Park or one of the many local parks in your town. Our hometown has taken a renewed interest in the city parks and with the help of volunteers has made them more attractive to families to enjoy. We even went as far as to get involved with the construction of a playground for the town, Doug used his skills to help construct the structure and I of course was in charge of providing the food for 100 plus volunteers over the span of the 4 days it took to build.

We also recently finished up the giveaway sponsored by Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association and would like to congratulate Shelly P. on winning the $100 Shutterfly Gift Card and a selection of Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Products and stirrer. I’m sure she will put it to good use.

What have you done to make a Natural Difference for your local parks? Join in the conversation below in the comments!

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