pear and apple tartlets

Holiday entertaining and desserts have been on my mind for a while now. I love making our traditional treats and trying new things. Most of all, I want what I serve to be lovely and delicious. This simple recipe does the trick.

Below I’m sharing how to prepare both pear and apple tartlets. I love the taste of this dessert since it’s not overly sweet and tastes very fresh.

Puff pastry is an extremely versatile medium. So many ideas and inspirations can be found on Pinterest and online, but this particular way to work with it, will give you wonderful results every time. It’s also simple and great for beginners and has definitely built confidence in my little chefs/kids.

Here’s what you’ll need:

sheets of puff pastry – They can be found in your local grocery store’s freezer isle.

freshly sliced apples and pears – Try to slice them with the same width, so that they can cook evenly.

one egg

crystalized sugar

Here’s what you’ll do:

Mind you, there will be instructions on your puff pastry packaging and I recommend you follow them.

The first thing you’ll want to do take the sheets out of the freezer, to thaw at room temperature. About 20 minutes ought to do the trick. Pre-heat your oven. My home oven is at 400 for this recipe.

On a flat surface, lightly dust with flour and roll out your sheet using very little pressure.

Cut your pastry. For more precise portions, you can use a square cookie cutter.

Place a silpat or piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and space out your cut pieces. I fit 8 of these onto my standard-sized cookie sheet.

Next, place your slices of apples or pears onto the cut puff pastry. It’s more pleasing to the eye to use odd numbers. It looks even better on the table if the pastries have a varied number of fruit, so I recommend making some with one slice, some with three slices and some with five slices.

Take your egg, and make an egg wash, to brush over each pastry, only after your fruit as been placed. To make an egg wash, use the egg white and whisk it in a bowl. I use a silicone kitchen brush to apply the wash.

Finally sprinkle crystalized sugar over the top. I prefer this sugar since it’s prettier and adds the right texture. This will be the only sweetener for your pastries.

Bake in your oven for 20 minutes. Again, please keep in mind that this is the perfect time for my home oven to get the pastry to bake to a golden brown. I recommend that you start watching your oven after about 15 minutes.

These patries should be made on the same day that you will serve them. One package will yield about 16 servings.

Serving suggestion:

If you want to take this desserts over the top, allow them to completely cool and drizzle caramel over the top. Caramel makes just about everything better.


pretty cupcake details

There was a lot of love in the details for these wedding reception cupcakes, with the theme of roses and pearls, with colors of cream, black and gold.

I made each cupcake flavor stand out with it’s own decor. The menu included Lemonade, Classic Chocolate, Red Velvet, Strawberry, Vanilla Velvet and Perfectly Pineapple – all crowd pleasers, with a good selection for a group of 100 or more.

The wedding cake was the smallest two-tiered version I make, a 4″ and a 6″, perfect for the cake cutting ceremony, and for the tradition of saving the top for the first anniversary.

I set the cupcakes using black and white plating, on black table cloths and a touch of tulle at the center. I was given small rose arrangements and pearls to place on either side of the cake. I loved the gold frames used to label the cupcake menu and how the details on the cupcakes brought the theme together.


“free” granola bars

chocolate-cherry granola bar recipe via
These bake-free, nut-free, gluten-free and (refined) sugar-free granola bars are a favorite at my house.
Give it a try, if you have 5 minutes prep time and 30 minutes to place in the fridge.
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via
It’s fun to get the kids involved, so I let them choose the items they’d like to use for their snack. With the recipe below, we need 3 1/4 cup of dry ingredients, so I let them mix and match. This recipe is my Chocolate-Cherry version.
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via
Mili’s Sweets “Free” Granola Bars
Combine the following dry ingredients in a bowl:
(I use organic when possible.)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup golden flaxseeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup “Enjoy Life” (Mega Chunks) brand chocolate chips, chopped
Pour the following wet ingredients into your bowl and combine:
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
4 tablespoons honey
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via
Place a Silpat matt, liner or parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Add your mixed ingredients and flatten down. You can try using a rolling pin, to get your desired height and flatness. (Of course, this is the kids’ favorite part.)
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via
After it’s chilled and set, invert your cookie sheet onto a cutting board and cut the bars as you wish. As you can see, Momma uses a big knife, so the kiddos have to stand back as I prepare the portions.
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via
Wrap the bars individually and keep them in the fridge. They will stay fresh for up to two weeks.
This recipe yields at least 10 bars and you’ll have scraps left to enjoy as well.
free-granola bars: gluten,grain,nut-free, recipe via

super scientific 7th birthday

One of my son’s best friends celebrated his 7th birthday with a super-scientific theme.

I was thrilled to cater the desserts and style the dessert table for such a sweetheart.

Before I got started on the desserts or decorating, I chose a color-story of gray and white, with pop colors in bright yellow, blue, orange and neon green.

With all of the love put into making a cake, I always like to have it as the centerpiece of a dessert table. This 6″ cake was made to blow out the candles, and for the family to enjoy that evening. I hand-cut fondant to make beakers, test tubes and bubbles. At the top, I used lollipop sticks and white gum balls to represent molecules.

super scientific birthday cake by Mili

When setting the table, I used a gray/silver table cloth that matched the cake, along with white and clear glass plating for the cupcakes. I placed the cupcake menu in the foreground so the kids could know exactly what flavors were offered.

The very best part of the table were the glass cylinders, filled with water, and colored with the same food coloring I used for decorating the cake. Just before the kids came in to enjoy dessert, I placed dry ice pieces into the water, for an awesome bubbling (and super-scientific) effect.

The kids absolutely loved it!


Caroline Thomason - November 22, 2013 - 7:32 am

I am a Lab Analyst by profession and the nerd in me absolutely loved this theme! - November 22, 2013 - 7:40 am

Thanks for your comment Caroline! Take care! 😀

welcome to my first post

Whether you are a lifelong friend or just started following on facebook, I want to thank you, and hope you can take a moment to read a little more about me and how I came to be here.

This feels like a small but wonderful, personal success. I love the idea of redefining success to include the ability to stay true to myself, to give my best and to try my best each day. This blog is an opportunity to share this definition of the “sweetest life,” that in reality, is all about love.

When I was a little girl, visiting relatives in my great big Italian family, the first thing our hosts would do is take us to their garden, to share how things were coming along. If anything was ripe or ready to pick, it would be enjoyed on the spot. If fresh bread or pretzels were made, they would be shared as well. I grew up understanding: we give what we love and we love what we give. 

I’m going to think of this space as my little garden, where at anytime you are welcome to stop by and enjoy what I have to share.



Jen Johnson - October 25, 2013 - 8:12 pm

I love it! What a wonderful opening! I can’t wait to read your posts and go along this journey with you. Much love and success to you my friend! xoxox - October 25, 2013 - 8:48 pm

Love you Jen! Thank you! xox

Rosanne Garrisi Adams - October 25, 2013 - 11:05 pm

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this wonderful passion of yours. 🙂 - October 25, 2013 - 11:14 pm

Thank you so much Rosanne! xox

Glenny Ricca - October 26, 2013 - 4:50 am

Beautiful introduction…how will anyone resist visiting and staying a while! - October 26, 2013 - 8:55 am

Oh Glenny! I’m so happy you are here. It’s a start. . . xoxox

Caroline Thomason - November 22, 2013 - 7:38 am

Love your drive and passion. I started following you on Facebook and now I will continue here. I enjoy your pics of all your sweets and the beautiful table arrangements. I must say I will try some of your recipes. I’m definitely an amateur but it’s fun to try. Keep up the great work! - November 22, 2013 - 7:52 am

Thank you Caroline! I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment. It’s so nice to know that what I’m sharing is enjoyed. I feel like I’m still transitioning and in the infant-phase of blogging but I’ll keep at it! xox