Spring Inspired Pepperoni Recipes

Spring inspired parties and easy appetizers are my fave! This post is brought to you by Hormel Pepperoni. This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, all opinions are mine alone. #PepItUp
Spring Inspired Pepperoni Recipes

Happy spring, friends! I am so very excited to begin sharing spring inspired party ideas, entertaining tips and delish recipes with you, my online friends. I have a thing for spring parties and soft color palettes which inspires almost all things here on Melissa Creates. Grab the details for this spring inspired garland here and more spring inspired goodies here.

Some of my favorite recipes fall under the appetizer category and today I’m sharing not 1 but 3 appetizer pepperoni recipes! I’m not the only one who loves a simple pepperoni appetizer, right? Appetizers are the best. I can make an entire meal out of appetizers and totally skip the real dinner portion. Grab the spring inspired party display, pepperoni recipes and pinterest friendly recipe images to save for later below!

pepp display with bobs

pepperoni bob close up

pepperoni recipe

I like pretty food. These pepperoni kabobs fit under the pretty appetizer tag. To create these pepperoni kabobs you’ll need Hormel pepperoni, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh french bread. Dice up your bread and cheese then apply all three ingredients to food safe sticks. Crazy simple and super cute!

pepp cros

pepperoni croissant

Pepperoni and cheese crescent rolls- one of our favorite appetizers and weekend snacks! To create these delish snacks add 2-3 Hormel pepperoni pieces along with fresh mozzarella cheese into a rolled out crescent. Roll up the crescent and brush fresh garlic on top. You’ll want to make these for all of your gatherings I swear it. Grab the pinable image below so you don’t forget to bookmark these bad boys for upcoming spring soirees!

pepp salad display

pepperoni salad

pepperoni salad close up

pepproni

Salad in mason jars is a spring and summer party must! These limited edition blue mason jars are the best and are meant to be showcased during spring. My spring salads are super simple. Fresh romaine lettuce, fresh cheese, croutons and pepperoni’s complete my simple mason jar salad making it easy for extras to be refrigerated. Top it off with salad dressing of your choice, I prefer a basic oil blend.

pepperoni display

Now that you’re appetizer ready let’s chat about spring inspired party decor! Pastels are all the rage this time of the year and any time of the year in my opinion. A few inexpensive items to have on hand for spring entertaining include:

  • Floral fabric napkins
  • Teal or bright colored cutlery and serving ware
  • Seasonal decor that can be used multiple ways such as paper fans and the floral garland
  • White cake stands; they look fabulous against cheerful colors
  • Record player with your favorite records on hand (obviously this isn’t a mandatory item, but I strongly recommend owning one, wink)

Don’t forget to grab these Pinterest friendly images below to save for your upcoming spring parties. Happy spring entertaining, friends!

Pepperoni kabobs by Melissa Creates

pepperoni & cheese crescents by Melissa Creates

spring pepperoni display with record player

Happy spring entertaining, friends!

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NCAA® March Madness Party Ideas + Cherry Coke Cupcake Recipe

This post is brought to you by Coca-Cola and the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart. This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, all opinions are mine alone. #FinalFourPack Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA

NCAA® March Madness Party Ideas + Cherry Coke Cupcake Recipe

Hellllllo, basketball fans!

There’s this little shindig happening in the college basketball world, you might have heard of it. Last week I shared an NCAA® March Madness inspired snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe and this week I’m back with yet another NCAA® March Madness inspired party display and recipe! Yay for sporting tournaments that give us a reason to entertain guests, whip up new recipes and create stylish yet guy friendly displays.

Grab the NCAA® March Madness party ideas + cherry coke cupcake recipe details below!

 NCAA® March Madness party ideas + cherry coke cupcake recipemarch madness party display by Melissa Creates

Styling displays is my all time favorite thing to do when it comes to entertaining guests. Creating this NCAA® March Madness party display is easy and requires a few simple items to do so. Sweet treats is a must for any celebration. Creating a basic sweet recipe and adding basketball inspired decor or clever recipe name is all that’s required.

My go-to entertaining items for this basketball inspired party display included striped fabric, multiple sweets, Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart, popcorn treat bags and a basketball of course. Creating a spread that both the ladies and the guys will enjoy is achievable by keeping things simple. A gorgeous display doesn’t have to be an elaborate display. The guys will appreciate you hosting any type of basketball themed party and adding cherry coke cupcakes is the cherry on top of the soiree. See what I did there?

march madness party by Melissa Creates march madness party and cake recipe march madness sweets and recipes

Aside from the delish cherry coke cupcakes (recipe below) I added a little basketball pizzaz to a simple chocolate cake. To create this NCAA® March Madness inspired cake you’ll need chocolate cake, chocolate icing and orange round candy of your choice. I’m all about the ‘don’t cover the entire cake in icing’ look, especially when adding other items to the cake itself. This cake looks super fun, right? I’m eating a slice as we chat about basketball parties… I tell no lies.

march madness cake march madness party and cupcakes march madness cherry coke cupcakes coca cola final four at walmart

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at coke inspired sweets for some time now and my wish has came true. You’re totally going to love these cupcakes with cherry coke icing! Next time you’re doing your shopping be on lookout for the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart. The in-store display can most likely be located in the front of the store and available for either 4/$5 or 3/$5 in certain areas of the country. Before heading to Walmart for these cool basketball cans be sure to check out the recipe ingredients below or hit the recipe print button. I would totally go ahead and hit the print button.

march madness party by Melissa Creates

Happy basketball tournament celebrating, friends! If you’re hosting an NCAA® March Madness inspired party I would love to hear all about it and see photos too. Before you log off check out the giveaway happening below.

Cherry Coke Cupcakes
Recipe type: Sweets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 24
 

A basic cupcake recipe with a delish cream cheese cherry coke frosting.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp cherry coke
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix

Instructions
  1. Prepare vanilla cake mix as directed then begin to prep the icing.
  2. Combine room temperature butter and cream cheese
  3. Add in cherry coke
  4. Slowly add in powdered sugar
  5. Ice cupcakes and enjoy!

 

march madness final four party by Melissa Creates Where to find Coca-Cola:
Twitter@CokeZero & @CocaCola  / Pinterest: Here & Here / Instagram: Here & Here / Facebook Here & Here

Coca Cola #FinalFourPack Walmart Sweepstakes – $1,000 in Prizing

No Bake M&M Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bites

This post is brought to you by M&M’s®. This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, all opinions are mine alone. #MMsCarrotCake 

No Bake M&M Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bites

Because I can’t share enough sweets in one day…

Earlier today I shared the best cookie recipe ever and now I’m sharing the best cheesecake bite recipe ever! I started a diet post baby last week and then I baked all weekend. Oops. Sometimes you just need some yummy sweet treats, right?

There’s this little thing called Easter right around the corner and this recipe is one to get on the Easter entertaining books! If you’re a fan of cheesecake these no bake M&M® Carrot Cake cheesecake bites will quickly become your best friend. Grab the printable recipe below!

Easter cheesecake bites by Melissa Createscheesecake bites

No Bake M&M Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Sweets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 10
 

Ingredients
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup of cool whip
  • ½ cup of graham cracker crust
  • ¼ cup of crushed M&M® Carrot Cake candies

Instructions
  1. Combine softened cream cheese and cool whip.
  2. Place in the freezer for one hour to harden.
  3. Crush ¼ cup of M&M® Carrot Cake.
  4. Combine crushed M&M’s® and graham cracker crust.
  5. Roll cream cheese mixture into bite size balls.
  6. Coat the bite size balls in graham crackers and crush M&M® mixture.
  7. Place in refrigerator and keep cool until serving.
  8. Enjoy!

 

cheesecake bites easter mm at walmart

Next time you visit your local Walmart and you’re near the Easter goodies be on the lookout for the new M&M® Carrot Cake sweets and M&M® seasonal options! Speaking from experience it’s hard to just buy one bag and not fill the cart with Easter goodies. wink.

Happy no bake baking, friends.

cheesecake bites by Melissa CreatesI appreciate your support for brands that help make this blog possible. 

Basketball Party Snack Station and Slam Dunk Cookie Recipe

This post is brought to you by Cheez-It. This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, all opinions are mine alone. #BigGameSnacks 
basketball treats

Sports and sporting tournaments is something we enjoy in this house. As a gal who enjoys entertaining guests and creating fun displays I am pumped to share my basketball tournament inspired display! I don’t get to showcase sporting soiree’s often so this is kind of a big deal. Wink.

I wanted to create a minimal display that both the guys and gals will appreciate. Sticking with general color palettes this basketball themed snack station is complete with orange drinks, orange salty snack bites, slam dunk cookies, basketball tournament lingo (which the guys and fans will appreciate) and an interactive handmade tournament bracket poster board. I pretty much have you covered in all ways. You’re welcome.

Grab all the details and delish recipe below!

basketball party snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe basketball party snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe basketball elite 8basketball final 4

Speaking of tournaments and contests, there’s a most valuable cheese contest happening here. You can vote for your favorite flavors from the six popular Cheez-It flavors and play games for a chance to win $10,000! I could totally use $10k and I’m sure you wouldn’t pass it up.

Now let’s chat about the most delish cookies I’ve ever made.. I Introduce you to Slam Dunk Cookies. A cookie filled with chocolate chips and caramel. Yep. Chocolate chips overload with caramel sauce. Boom! My house smelled like a bakery after these yummy cookies came out of the oven. The husband told me these are the best cookies I’ve ever made. Winning. You can grab the recipe below. It’s the perfect sweet treat that pairs with slightly salty treats.

slam dunk cookies by Melissa Creates slam dunk cookies by Melissa Creates slam dunk cookie recipe by Melissa Creates

5.0 from 1 reviews

Slam Dunk Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 12
 

Ingredients
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c brown Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • 1 can of caramel sauce
  • 6-8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Combine sugars and egg.
  2. Add in vanilla, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. Slowly mix in flour (you might not need the full 2 cups, add at your discretion).
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Heat oven to 350 and spray baking sheet lightly with butter spray or line with baking paper.
  6. Roll the dough into balls and place on baking sheet.
  7. Create small holes in the top of each dough ball and fill with caramel sauce.
  8. Cover the hole with an extra piece of cookie dough.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool and serve!

 

basketball party snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe

To add a little extra pizzaz to my basketball inspired display I created a tournament board complete with West, East, Midwest and South conferences. This ‘big dance’ inspired tournament board is something you can spot online and simply print, but when you’re hosting a basketball themed party isn’t it better to have something jumbo size to actually use?! I have my colored markers on hand for guests to fill the board in as desired when picking teams they think will make it into the tournament.

To create a tournament board you’ll need markers, a ruler and a thick large size poster board. Your basketball loving party guests are sure to enjoy being part of this little project while they snack on treats!

Display at Walmart

When you head to your local Walmart to pick up your homemade tournament board supplies be sure to grab some of the new Cheez-It snack flavors. These delish treats are prefect for parties, sporting events, lunch boxes for the kids and more! The zesty cheddar ranch Cheez-It Grooves are out of this world, friends.

basketball party snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe basketball party snack station and slam dunk cookie recipe

Happy entertaining and basketball tournament celebrating!

I appreciate your support for brands that help make this blog possible.

5 Tips That Will Help You Improve Your Food Photography

While I take maternity leave I’m blessed to have some of my favorite ladies guest post. Enjoy these photography tips from Carrie of A Sweet Spot Home.
cherries_1

Hello, new friends! I’m so pleased to be filling in for my sweet friend, Melissa while she enjoys some time with her precious new addition. Today, I’m going to share 5 tips that will help you improve your food photography. Surprisingly enough, food photography is considered one of the more difficult aspects of photography, (which always surprises me…the food doesn’t move, shouldn’t it be easy to photograph?) so don’t be surprised if you don’t immediately get the results you want. Just keep at it and practice, practice, practice. If you take 20 photos and only find one keeper, don’t fret…we’ve all been there!

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1. Don’t always stay in the same place when photographing your dish.
Sure, sometimes front and center is exactly where you want to be, but that’s not always going to give you an interesting image. Oftentimes, viewing the image from an unusual angle is going to make your dish really pop. So, get down low, go up high, move from side to side, do whatever you have to do to find an interesting composition for your image.

brownie_cookies_4
2. Natural light, natural light, natural light
I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m going to emphasize it again. Always use natural light when photographing food. Set yourself up right in front of a big window or glass door and let our friend the sun light your image for you. Trust me on this, I’ve used artificial light with softboxes, etc. and while you can definitely still get a good image, it’s never going to be the same as natural light. If shadows are a problem, use a reflector or a piece of white foam core to bounce the light a bit. Experiment until you get the look you like.

pizzelle_cookies_4
3. Pay attention to the different “colors” of light.
It sounds weird, but it’s very true. Light at different times of the day will reflect differently on your dish. Mid-morning or late afternoon sun will look very different than if you try and photograph your dish in the middle of the afternoon. All times of day have their pluses and minuses, so keep an eye on the area that you’ll use for photographing your images and see when the light is most appealing to you. That’s when you’ll want to take your photos.

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4. If your dish is a bland color, bring in color through well placed props or backgrounds.
Some foods are just hard to photograph. Fruits and vegetables can be really simple because of their gorgeous colors and unique shapes. Other dishes, aren’t quite so colorful and can present a problem for a photographer. For example, this Butterbeer Italian Soda that I shared on my blog a while back. The drink is delicious, the color of it though…pretty dull. So, to give the image a bit more interest, I added a Gryffindor scarf from my closet, placed the drink on an interesting plate, and added a straw with some pattern. None of the colors I used are over the top crazy, but it gave the image a little something more than if I’d only placed the glass on a table and snapped a picture.

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5. Keep it simple.
This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Sure, some people are able to pull off elaborately styled food photos with a little bit of this and that everywhere, but that is extremely difficult to pull off. If you’re not willing to spend hours carefully placing each piece of food and each prop in just the right place and ensuring that the light is exactly as it needs to be, I suggest keeping it simple. A few well placed props will provide interest to the image, while still keeping your focus on the food, which is exactly what you want.

I hope I’ve given you some tips that you can use to help improve your own photography. Please remember, you don’t have to have the best camera on the market in order to take great food photos. By following these tips, you will improve your skills and suddenly, the camera you own will seem a lot more powerful than it was before. Good luck!

Where to find Carrie

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

Simple Gift Basket for New Moms

This post is brought to you by Softsoap. This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, all opinions are mine alone. #FoamSensations 

simple gift basket for new moms

This new momma is still settling into the mom world. Prior to baby I was given tons of advice, most unsolicited of course, wink. Everyone has a different birth story, pregnancy and overall experience. My experience was one of blessings and the scariest moments any mother could ever experience. With all of that said I wish when all the advice was rolling in someone would have shared that support from friends and family is what will get you through.

When we arrived home after our 9 day hospital stay we were greeted to a clean house (thanks mom) and freshly cut yard (thanks dad). Walking into a clean home that you don’t have to stress over is one amazing feeling. Days after being home a friend had a yummy meal delivered to our home (thanks Kori) and it was such a blessing! When taking care of a new baby meals aren’t always nutritious… I was about to have my 3rd bowl of cereal when a warm meal arrived at our door. One of our other dear friends sent fresh flowers (thanks Carmen). When you are in the house for days having something nice to spruce up the place goes a long way! My mom stayed with us for a few days and made sure we had an extra hand of help and meals round the clock. Aside from mom I wasn’t game for visitors, but support in other means was needed.

simple new mom gift set

congrats mom soft soap gift basket

Doing something simple for the new parents goes much further than one could ever imagine! If you have friends/family expecting offering your support, a meal or care package is ideal.

In partnership with Softsoap, I created a simple gift basket for new moms! This gift basket can be left at the new parents front door, dropped off at the hospital or even sent via mail (whatever mom wants). So what’s in my simple new mom gift basket?

  • A sweet treat. Cinnamon rolls pair perfectly with coffee, but any sweet treat that mom can easily snack on is appreciated.
  • A new coffee mug. Sipping coffee is something most new moms do multiple times a day! I’m prepping for cup 3 this moment. wink.
  • Magazines. Those moments when baby is sleeping take advantage of the down time or when dad is watching baby head to the tub with your magazines for a nice soak. You have to have a little mom time here and there.
  • Softsoap liquid foaming hand wash. Clean hands are a must! The whipped cocoa butter & jasmine and white cotton foaming hand soaps can be placed in the bathroom close to baby’s room. Be sure guests take advantage of the foaming hand soap too! The citrus bliss Softsoap should be placed in the kitchen, this way you have all your rooms covered!
  • Fresh flowers. Sending flowers is well received by all and when your in the house for days looking up at stunning seasonal flowers simply feels good.

congrats momma gift set gift tag

So the next time you head to your local Walmart be sure to grab a few items for the new mom. She’ll love you for the thoughtful gift. Remember to drop and go too! New parents have lots going on and don’t always prefer company those first few weeks. Your gift will speak volumes and you can come back for a cuddle visit another time.

softsoap

simple new mom gift basket

I appreciate your support for brands that help make this blog possible.