cookies & cups

cookies & cups by Mili

I really love my work! One of the greatest gifts is the end result and having the ability to make my customers’ vision come to life. I feel honored every single time that Mili’s Sweets is chosen for celebrating any special occasion. Whether a customer buys one cupcake to celebrate the moment, or an entire spread for a party, I’m just as happy because they are appreciating the passion, planning, time and love that goes into every recipe and detail.

Today I had the honor of doing my friend a favor. I haven’t delivered or set a dessert table since I started offering my desserts exclusively at retail/MiaBella, several months ago. I really don’t do it anymore for others because I’m no longer licensed as a caterer and I simply cannot find the time to squeeze these kinds of services into my life. (I’m talking with one of my friends this week, who is a party and wedding planner and she might take up this role as a resource for my customers.)

When she reached out to me, to set the desserts she ordered for a day-after-her-son’s-wedding get together, I was all in! She is one of those people whom I met from another friend years ago and we have genuinely cared about one another since day one. She is incredible and such an inspiration. I have set many other parties and events for her and her family and have always loved every moment of working with her and for her.

cookies & cups by MiliWhat’s so cool about how I work with my customers now, is that they can just pre-order what they like. I can create customized menus and set up custom listings that they purchase strait from my pre order site at www.milissweetstogo.com. Customers save money by picking up at MiaBella. I’ve had weddings and birthdays and all kinds of celebrations and everyone is happy to make arrangements to come into the shop and pick up at their convenience.

cookies & cups by Mili

 

My sweet friend loves offering my cookies and cupcakes. For the gathering today, she chose cookies in Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Biscotti, Chocolate Chip and Double-Chocolate.

cookies & cups by Mili

And then there were cupcakes! I loved how they look – spread out so nicely on her square pedestals.

She chose Double Dutch, Red Velvet, Coconut Passion Fruit and Churro.

cookies & cups by Mili

A strange coincidence – a couple years after I started making sweets for her, it was learned that one of her grandchildren is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, just like my son. It’s like it was meant to be that I am able to bake for her!

xox

baby’s breath and big moments

 

first holy communion post via milissweets.comRecently, my sweet boy had his First Holy Communion. It was definitely one of those best, big-moments that we will never forget. There was so much joy in this day, that I could post a hundred photos of smiling faces. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the details for our small celebration at home.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

First thing we did was have photos taken for his announcement, that we mailed to family and friends. Corina Nielsen is my friend and also took photos of my daughter for her First Holy Communion, a few years back. She creates beautiful images and cares a lot about capturing the relevance of the moment. The images she took made for an incredibly special piece.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

I wanted to have photos of my little man with his suit, and some close-up details with his adorable lashes and holding his Rosary.

These images will always be precious to me.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

After the Mass, we had a great catered lunch, with some of our son’s favorite foods and of course there were cupcakes!

A couple of days before the party, my kids came with me to the flower shop (Franco’s in Encinitas) and we picked up bunches upon bunches of Baby’s Breath to fill the house.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

There is something so sweet and special about Baby’s Breath. It’s humble and small but when you look closely, the flowers are so beautiful and innocent-looking. I really don’t like them in arrangements with other flowers, but I love to see lots of them on their own. I also used the same flowers to decorate our home for our daughter’s First Holy Communion.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

I used gallon-sized Mason jars, a few blue vases, along with small glass vases and glass bottles and placed them all over the house with bunches of the flowers.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

Then there were the party favors. As part of my Italian heritage, Jordan Almonds are a must in every favor that has to do with a Holy Sacrament. As most of you know, since my sweet boy is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, they would not be an option.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

Instead, we placed assorted salt water taffy inside cream-colored boxes. We tied them up with cream and tan twine and I used a sharp brown colored pencil to write the thank you on a wooden tag.

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

Everyone loved their little favors and I loved that they had a personal touch.

first holy communion post via milissweets.comI love these photos of our youngest with our oldest – who was able to take a break from college to come down and enjoy this special day with it. It was such a blessing!

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

There were a lot of hugs and kisses and smiles on this day and everyone was all over the boy-of-honor. How could they resist?! For a moment, I did capture my love, all alone with one of my cupcakes. Being mom to this awesome kid is amazing!

first holy communion post via milissweets.comxox

first holy communion post via milissweets.com

 

 

 

sunbutter cookies: my favorite pb alternative

sunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.comIt’s awesome to enjoy mini-triumphs in the kitchen. This recipe is for sure, the very best peanut butter alternative cookie I’ve ever made or tasted. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t miss pb. Creating an alternative that is better than the original feels amazing, since my friends and family absolutely LOVE this cookie and my son is not missing out on a thing because of his severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts.sunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.com One of the reasons this cookie is so great is because it calls for superior ingredients. If you want to make better desserts, the quality of the ingredients used really does matter. Over the years, I’ve tried just about every nut-free spread I could get my hands on and was constantly disappointed. I was thrilled when I found SunButter brand products. Before having to deal with the family situation of removing nut products from our kitchen years ago, peanut butter was a loved staple. I admit to trying it since (while away from my son, of course) and it just wasn’t as good to my tastes anymore. I actually prefer the ingredients and overall taste of sunflower seed butter and one day, plan to make it on my own. SunButter brand comes in organic and sugar free. I can find the original, creamy version in most stores that I shop (even Target) so I tend to pick this variety up the most and is what I used for this recipe.sunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.comAs far as brown sugar goes, I’ve switched over to the brand, “Serious Food. . . Silly Prices,” dark brown sugar. I picked it up at my local Sprouts market, because it was beautiful and seemed worth a try. I wasn’t necessarily drawn to the basic packaging, it was the sugar crystals that were calling me. This sugar looks, feels and tastes out of this world, and is hard to compare to the options you’ll typically find at the store. I’m certain that switching over has helped to make my recipes for cookies and other desserts even better.sunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.comThis is a super simple recipe and one I make over and over again. Let’s put our ingredients together and make some yummy cookies! Mili’s Sweets Sunbutter Cookies Recipe Here’s what you’ll need: 3/4 cup salted butter, softened (one and 1/2 sticks) 3/4 cup cold, sunflower seed butter 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs (I use extra large.) 2 cups all purpose flour (For gluten-free cookies, substitute with artisan, all purpose gluten-free flour.) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extractsunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.comHere’s what you’ll do: If you want to bake the cookies right away, preheat your oven to 375. If you want cookie dough that is a little easier to handle, cover and refrigerate the dough after you make it, for about an hour, and then preheat your oven when you’re ready to enjoy fresh baked cookies. (It’s easier to make the fork-design when the dough is chilled, but it’s not going to change the overall taste, whether you bake the dough right away or not.) You can mix cookies the old-fashioed way (in a big bowl, with a wooden spoon) or allow a machine to do most of the work for you. I use a standing mixer and the standard metal, beater attachment to mix cookie dough. First place the softened butter, both the granulated and the brown sugars and sunflower seed butter in the bowl. Mix until creamy. Next, add eggs, one at a time. Next, mix in the dry ingredients until totally combined. You can add the pure vanilla extract last, or after the eggs are incorporated, whatever works best for you.sunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.comOnce you’re ready to bake, prepare the cookies 6-8-up on a cookie sheet. I make rounds and flatten them, before placing the fork design. Make a simple box of two vertical and two horizontal impressions. From there, sprinkle each one with a liberal amount of granulated sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet after one minute. Allow to cool and enjoy. I hope you make this recipe, whether you are staying away from peanuts or not! If you do, please let me know how it goes! A couple side notes: When a cut apple is out, the oxygen creates a brownish tone to the fruit. The same thing will naturally happen with sunflower seeds that have been cut or made into a butter that is mixed into recipes. The tone is a greenish hue. This is natural, making the food still edible, just like the apple. To avoid it, completely cover and seal the batter when it’s not in use. As most of you know, this blog is a joy of mine.

I take personal time to write my stories and recipes because I love to write and share in this format. All of the recipes I share are like little personal treasures. Each one of them are really made and enjoyed in my kitchen at home. I do not get paid to highlight or use specific products. I just want you to know what I use, for the best results. If I was being sponsored for a specific product, I’d let my readers know. I only share what is in my pantry and what I prefer to use, since when I choose one product over another, it’s because it’s a tried and true, personal choice, and not because any outside source has swayed me. I will always keep it real!

Thanks for being here! Take care. xox, Milisunbutter cookies, best alternative to pb, recipe via milissweets.com

natural in July, wedding dessert table

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I attended, styled, set and catered this dessert table for a family wedding.

It was such a beautiful day – outdoors and on the beach. This fantastic couple, Rachel and Raul, whom my husband and I love, are so great. They are very active and spend their spare time surfing and mountain climbing. They wanted to bring their love for natural elements into the dessert table, so I added the use of wood planks and burlap.

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

Succulents graced their wedding cake and were also placed in their white and green floral arrangements, both accented with burlap ribbon. I loved the use of green as a natural color element and the use of yellow as an accent.

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

The cupcake menu was custom made, with the use of wood planks, handwritten labels and a stamping accent.

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

The best part of this day was being a part of this memory and spending time with family. It felt amazing to know that they really enjoyed my work.

xox

natural in July, wedding dessert table via milissweets.com - wood, burlap, floral, cupcakes, succulent wedding cake

 

sweet, summertime drinks

sweet, summertime drinks: peach-nectar iced tea and strawberry lemonade - recipe via milissweets.com

It’s nice and hot, and time to make some sweet, summertime drinks that your friends and family will love.

Of the two, the strawberry-lemonade was the first to go. It’s fun, super easy and real.

It’s not necessary to buy the concentrated version since this takes maybe a few more moments to prepare and tastes so much better. You’re going to love serving this!

Making a sugar-rimmed glass, takes it over the top and I’ll show you the best way to do that too.

sweet, summertime drinks: strawberry lemonade - recipe via milissweets.com

Real Strawberry Lemonade Recipe by Mili’s Sweets

Here’s what you’ll need: 

6 lemons, organic is best

2 quarts filtered water

2 cups whole strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

ice

slices of a lemon as garnish

tools: pitcher, small sieve, juicing device, knife for cutting fruit

sweet, summertime drinks: strawberry lemonade - recipe via milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

Measure two quarts of filtered water. I use a standard pitcher and fill to the top, since I know that all standard sized pitchers hold 2 quarts (8 cups).

First thing to do is prepare your strawberries. Fresh or frozen, whole strawberries will be used. I prefer to use frozen since I always have them on-hand. My family loves strawberries, but for some reason, we have a hard time keeping them nice in our fridge. If they are not eaten within a day, they start going bad. When I know they that all of them won’t be eaten, I’ll clean them, and freeze them in a plastic storage bag, to use for drinks and sauces.

If you are using fresh, just wash them, remove the stems and set aside in a bowl. Cover them with water from the 2 quarts you have reserved. If you are using frozen, cover with water from the 2 quarts you reserved and microwave for one and a half, to two minutes. Set aside. You want them to be soft and for their natural juices to seep into the bowl.

Next, it’s time to squeeze the juice of the lemons into a sieve, to leave out the seeds. Have you ever noticed how many seeds are in organic lemons, or lemons you receive from someone’s tree, versus the ones you’ll pick up at Costoc? There’s something comforting about the seeds. It reminds me of the fruits from my Nonna’s garden.

Mix in the half cup of sugar.

Add what you have left of the reserved, filtered water.

Next, smash the strawberries, one at at time, so that they come apart, or flatten. Place them into your serving container.

Pour in the juice from the strawberry bowl.

Add slices of one lemon, as garnish.

Put ice into the pitcher or into individual cups, as desired.

Enjoy!

sweet, summertime drinks: strawberry lemonade with sugar-dipped rim - recipe via milissweets.com

It’s really fun to have a sugar-simmed glass with this drink. Here’s the easiest way to do it.

How to make a sugar-rimmed glass:

Take two shallow plates. One with water, the other with granulated sugar. First dip the rim of the cup in water and then the sugar. You can do this about an hour in advance, if you are planning a party.

sweet summertime drinks: easy way to make sugar-rimmed glasses, via milissweets.comLet’s talk peaches! If you’ve been following my recipe posts this summer, you’ve noticed how many ways I’ve been using peaches, while the fruits have been in season. I managed to freeze some extra peach nectar from the recipes I’ve made.

To add to the long list of treats I’ve been making with peaches as the star ingredients, (peach cobbler, peach baked alaska, peach-brulee french toast, peach reduction/syrup, canning cooked peaches, etc.) I’d thought I’d add something refreshing, with no need to turn on the oven: peach-nectar iced tea. I think you’re going to like this one too! It’s geared for adults, since tea typically has caffeine, but you can brew any tea you wish.

sweet, summertime drinks: peach-nectar iced tea, recipe via milissweets.com

Peach-Nectar Iced Tea by Mili’s Sweets 

Here’s what you’ll need:

4 quarts filtered water (16 cups)

4 tea bags (I used Lipton cold-brew.)

12 oz. prepared peach nectar, or all-natural peach juice concentrate

2 fresh peaches, sliced

ice

sweet, summertime drinks: peach-nectar iced tea, recipe via milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

Take out the frozen peach nectar. It will be the sweetener for the tea. Allow it to soften and scoop it into the bottom of the container for dispensing the drink. The nectar is made when peaches are cooked in water and sugar. I reserve it and whatever is not used is frozen, for the exact recipe, please see my peach cobbler recipe.

Next, brew the tea. I brewed the tea, two bags at a time, with my 2-quart pitcher. Fill the standard sized pitcher with filtered water (8 cups) and place in two bags of tea. Remove them after 3 minutes. Pour it over the peach nectar. Then, brew two more bags the same way and pour that into your large serving container.

Stir to dissolve the frozen nectar.

Prepare two peaches by making slices around the pit. Add the peach slices to the tea.

You can add ice to the container, or have it on the side, for guests to add their own portions.

A little side-note:

I’m a bit of a crazy person and it’s all right. I think as parents, we all have things that we avoid, and I have a thing against high fructose corn syrup. I just don’t like it. I know that I have corn syrup in my pantry, since it works best for making caramel/candy, but for every-day, packaged products from the store, I don’t let it happen. If my kids want something from the store, it’s always understood that we have to look at the ingredients to first see a) that it does not contain nut products and b) that it does not have HFCS.

I have found that there are a lot of choices for frozen, all natural juice concentrates that do not contain HFCS, but I’m not sure that a frozen lemonade concentrate exists in a store, without it. So, if we’re going to make sweet/treat drinks like the ones I’ve posted, they will be made from scratch. No one is complaining! I think you’ll find that these are fun, simple crowd pleasers, for a hot summer day or anytime.

xox

 

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