bows and glitter

bows and glitter - aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

This is a party from my archives. For the longest time, and most every day my daughter would want to wear a bow on the side of her hair. She has always loved them. However, her love for glitter was a brief phase, and I’m glad we captured it with her 9th birthday party.

We decided on having the main colors of aqua and hot pink, with lots of colorful glitter, sparkle and large bows.

bows and glitter - aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com
To provide an activity all of the kids would enjoy, the theme was “Sweet Genius.” There were three rounds: cake, cupcakes and candy. It wasn’t a competition, but the kids could showcase their sweet creations.

Each child had their own little work station with their own frosted mini cake, their own cupcake, plate for decorating candy, piping bag and apron. I was there to help and give pointers and offered suggestions for how to use the candy. It was fun and easy, especially since I had already been a school art docent for most of them. Their main decoration was candy. And they knew exactly what to do as soon as they saw all of it! I loved how excited they were to work with it, and to nibble on it while they worked.

bows and glitter - candy for aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

All of the kids were so sweet to complement one another’s work. I was honestly really impressed with their dedication to their projects! Most of the children took their time and had a real vision for what they wanted to create. The best part was, they took home their little aprons and all of their beautiful creations.

bows and glitter - "sweet genius" aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

The bow and sparkle cake was the centerpiece of her dessert table. I placed it on a foam tier that I covered with a wide ribbon, to provide a more dramatic effect. The bow on top was giant, just the way my daughter liked them. The glitter on the cake itself was edible luster and disco dust. I enjoyed the time spent to paint the accent pieces.

bows and glitter - cake for aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

I tried to bring the main colors of aqua and hot pink into the cake itself, so I made a marbling effect with touches of food coloring. It looked nice against the white, Vanilla Bean Velvet cake. My sweet girl appreciates every little attention to detail, just like her momma.

bows and glitter - inside cake for aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

I like to have clean, nice and bright images of the dessert tables that I set. If it’s for my own children’s party, I’ll try to take photos of the dessert table set up at home, if I know in advance that the lighting won’t be great at the party location. It’s better to remember all of my love and work this way.

bows and glitter - aqua and hot pink birthday party via milissweets.com

I don’t think my daughter will ever love glitter as much as she did when she was turning 9 and that’s totally OK with me. It’s good to enjoy things while they last.

xox

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com
Once you make whipped cream from scratch, there’s no going back. It’s an absolute dream!

I’m sharing my recipe for one of the best and simplest things you’ll make with a standing mixer, and it will take less than 2 minutes to complete.

Whipped cream was the first thing I tried to make when I received a standing mixer as a wedding gift. (My 4.5 quart Kitchen Aid is still going strong after 11 years of heavy use. I even used it in this post.)

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com

Here’s what I use whipped cream for: waffles, pancakes, parfaits, zabaglione, cupcakes and cakes. The list goes on and on. My family especially loves it with fresh-cut strawberries. While strawberries are in peak-season, I’ll probably make whipped cream once a week for my sweethearts. If you are not a fan of strawberries or have an allergy, simply substitute with other fresh fruits or berries.

If you’d like to make this stack, please link to my recipe, Simple Saturday Pancakes. 

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com

It’s a nice touch to add a drizzling of ganache to top your whipped cream, but honestly, the whipped cream will be the star. I absolutely love chocolate, but I have to be in the mood for it. With whipped cream, it’s a different story – there’s no mood required.

Mili’s Sweets Dreamy Whipped Cream

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer. (I prefer the thickness and richness of Horizon Organic,  over other brands that I’ve tried.)

Use the whisk attachment to stir the ingredients inside the bowl, helping to dissolve the sugar, for about 10 seconds.

Attach the bowl and whisk to the standing mixer and gradually increase the mixing speed to 10, or the highest level. Use a stopwatch to time one minute and 20 seconds. It’s done! You now have dreamy whipped cream, and it took about the same time would take (for me) to unwrap a prepackaged-version.

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com
Here’s how I make parfaits, using the whipped cream:

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com
First I prep a bunch of beautiful strawberries. Make sure that they are washed thoroughly. I remove the tops and cut lengthwise, between 3-5 times, depending on the size of the berry.

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com

I use small pedestal-style ice cream bowls, and place berry slices at the bottom. Next, I pipe on whipped cream, place more strawberries and pipe more whipped cream on the top. Depending on who it’s for, I might add a spoonful of fresh ganache or simply place fresh strawberries at the top, without the chocolate. Either way, my family is thrilled. I love how much they love it!

dreamy whipped cream & strawberries - recipe via milissweets.com

xox

kitchen-countertop birthday “party”

kitchen-countertop birthday "party" via milissweets.com

It was my husband’s birthday yesterday, and he had to arrive home late from a business trip. The kids and I weren’t going to postpone a celebration for him just because it was a school night.

The kids treated their dad to a fun, handmade, kitchen-countertop “party,” that lasted about 20 minutes, before they finally went to bed. It was perfect and he was overjoyed!

kitchen-countertop birthday "party" via milissweets.com

Before school and after their homework was done this week, the kids spent time at their art table, to make gifts and party decorations. Our son made a sweet bowling-themed canvas and our daughter made a hopeful-heart board, with a note in each one, sharing what she wanted for her dad to enjoy this year. Besides the love of his kids, their art was by far the most awesome gift their dad would receive.

kitchen-countertop birthday "party" via milissweets.com

They made the little sign for his cake and I hot-glued the pieces to a paper straw. He blew out a candle to a vanilla cake, soaked in fresh pineapple sauce, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

kitchen-countertop birthday "party" via milissweets.com

Every day when my husband comes home from work, he is greeted at the door as if he were a rock star. I’m not kidding – there is chanting, yelling, hugging and kissing. Truth be told, he’s the most popular person in the house and in the kids’ whole world. How could he not be? He is so funny, loving and “the best dad ever.”

And when he comes home from a trip that has him away for more than one night, the kids always hang a handmade, “Welcome Home Daddy” sign on the kitchen island. They wanted to be sure that he knew he was missed, so the welcome sign was at the birthday “party” too.

kitchen-countertop birthday "party" via milissweets.com

When the kids came home from school, they decorated the space and made up games with the blown-up balloons. I was a good momma and had them take a little rest so that they wouldn’t be completely exhausted at school the next day. It was totally worth it! It’s good to go show how much we love one another and to make time to enjoy the little things.

xox

 

Tiffany-inspired shower

Tiffany-inspired shower: simple and small baby shower via milissweets.com

What makes a baby shower special, is simply celebrating with family and friends. It’s about getting together and being filled with joy, hope and of course, there has to be dessert.

Tiffany was going to be surprised about having a boy or a girl, so her friend and host came up with the idea of having neutral-themed, Tiffany-inspired desserts for their small gathering.

Tiffany-inspired shower: simple and small baby shower via milissweets.com

The centerpiece for the dessert area, to go with the theme, was a cake inspired by a gift from Tiffany & Co.

Mom and dad planned to cut into the cake after the baby arrived on the following day. (The timing didn’t work out exactly as planned, but they still enjoyed the cake.)

Tiffany-inspired shower: simple and small baby shower via milissweets.com

The guests enjoyed Caramel Apple and Peaches & Cream cupcakes, along with Snickerdoodle cookie pops.

I made simple and cute labeling, to go with the color theme.

Here’s a view of the peach cobbler cupcakes, right out of the oven and before being topped with vanilla butter cream. I can’t wait until peaches are back in season!

xox

peach cupcakes - under the buttercream by Mili

 

 

 

lemon meringue pie

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

My daughter and I couldn’t wait to make lemon meringue pie for my brother’s family visit last weekend. Her Uncle Mark loves all things lemon, and this spring-time favorite is one of the best ways to enjoy such a bright and delicious flavor.

There’s nothing as delightful as a giant heap of fluffy, torched vanilla meringue on top of the from-scratch lemon curd/pie filling. I’ll show you my easy way to make this topping.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

The highlight is my recipe to make the lemon pie filling – a citrus-based custard, also referred to as “curd.” This treat is wonderful for many other desserts too, such as spreads for scones, filling for cupcakes and cakes, for the main portion of lemon bars, etc. I also used this recipe as a topping in my recipe posted for gluten-free lemon and poppy seed cakes

lemon curd - recipes via milissweets.com

Mili’s Sweets Lemon Curd (Lemon Pie Filling) Recipe* 

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup of salted butter (two sticks), softened

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of two large lemons

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

* Switch up your dessert with other citrus fruits. You can substitute the lemon for either oranges or limes, to make orange curd/pie filling or lime curd/pie filling. 

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

Tools: saucepan, handheld whisk, grater, standing mixer with paddle attachment

Here’s what you’ll do:

NOTES: Before we get started, there are a few things to consider before preparing this recipe. A) AMOUNT NEEDED: To fill a pie, you’ll need to double the ingredients in the curd recipe above. If you’re not making a pie, and just want the curd, you can skip past the section for how to prepare the pie crust. B) TIME: Make sure you plan for plenty of time before the pie is served, since the curd/pie filling will need to set in the refrigerator, for at least three hours. C) DECIDE ON TEXTURE: If you love lemon skin, you’ll like a larger grate for the zest. If the texture of the larger lemon pieces doesn’t suit your tastes, use a fine grater tool, to produce a smaller lemon zest.  The fineness of the grater will only effect the texture, not the flavor.

If you are making a lemon meringue pie, you’ll need to first prepare the crust and allow it to cool, before you prepare the filling. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

My daughter did most all of the work for this dessert so we went beginner-level and used a roll-out crust. She made a fork design around the edge and used the extra egg whites from the curd recipe, to brush on an egg wash over the dough. Finally, she placed ceramic pie weights to the bottom of the crust, so that it would bake without mis-shaping or rising from the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely and remove the pie weights before preparing the curd/pie filling.

Now to prepare the curd/pie filling: In a standing mixer, with a paddle attachment or scraping paddle attachment, on medium-speed, cream the softened butter until it completely covers the bottom of the mixing bowl.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

Next, mix in all of the lemon zest. Add the sugar and salt. Mix until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until all are incorporated. Mix in the juice last.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan at medium heat. Use a whisk to constantly stir the ingredients. Use a timer to keep your time of 10 minutes. In 6-7 minutes, you’ll notice that it will start to bubble. It will also be turning a more golden-yellow color. At that point, lower the heat to medium-low and continue whisking. By the end of the 10 minutes your arm might be a little sore but it will be worth it.  Once the 10 minutes are up, remove the pan from heat.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com
If you are making a pie, pour the mixture directly into the prepared pie crust. Seal the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours. If you are not using the curd for a pie, pour it into a bowl, use plastic wrap to seal, and refrigerate.

Once the filling has cooled and set, it’s time to prepare the lusciously-fluffy, light-and-dreamy vanilla meringue! (I can’t find enough adjectives to express how much I love it!)

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

Mili’s Sweets Vanilla Meringue Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tatar

fluffy  vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.comphoto 1

Here’s what you’ll do:

NOTE: For the amount of meringue used to cover the pie I made in this post, double the ingredients in my vanilla meringue recipe above.

Put all ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer. With the whisk attachment in your hand, combine all of the ingredients. Then attach the bowl and whisk attachment. Whisk on the highest speed, until the meringue comes out fluffy, and it sticks to the top of your whisk. This will take about 5 minutes.

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com
I love the perfect-imperfection of a large mound of meringue on top of the pie. It’s beautiful and allows for the torch to make a nice contrast. Of course, you can always pipe the meringue, using a bag and star-tip, if you want it to look cleaner or of you have a specific design in mind.

To recreate the topping in the style I’ve shown, simply plop all of the meringue onto the middle of the pie. Use a spatula to press and move the meringue into place. Once the filling  is covered and you’re ready to serve the pie, you can torch it.

There was a time, long ago, when I was afraid of my kitchen torch. After a little practice and a lot of passion for the end result, I find that it’s actually fun to and easy use.

I hope you enjoy this springtime treat. If you do make my recipe(s), please let me know how it goes!

xox, Mili

lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and vanilla meringue - recipes via milissweets.com

(This torching photo was taken by my daughter while I worked with it. Kids can do most anything to help and even cook on their own in the kitchen, but I will never recommend that a child have a kitchen torch in their hand. This is a serious and dangerous piece of equipment.)