bloom where you are planted

I love this beautiful quote by Mary Engelbreit.

Making the most of where you are, right here and right now, is an important part of loving your life.

Being planted also means that we can’t help but give up some control. It’s impossible to plan certain aspects of who we are or where we are. We start life to parents chosen for us, and throughout our days, we go through circumstances and events, made especially for us to either enjoy or to suffer through, all for our personal growth. It’s a beautiful thing.

I will try my best to be thankful for everything that helps me to grow.

It might just take me a lifetime to bloom.


chocolate chip cookie joy

photo 1

Every now and then I’ll surprise my family with a batch of chocolate chip cookies. It’s a rare treat, but by the look in his eyes, you would think my little guy never saw a cookie in his life!

When catering, I would always make larger cookies, to provide a generous serving. My chocolate chip cookies were getting so generous, that I wondered how big they would be in the hands of a child.

Here’s how these photos happened: “Hey Buddy. Can you come over and take a picture with one of these cookies?” I asked. “SURE Mom,” said my six year old. “OK. Here’s the deal. All I’m asking is that you don’t bite it. I just want you to hold it and let me see your cute face.” “OK Mom.” He laughs. And you see what happens in the moments that followed.

I’m in love with the simple joy of a child and his cookie. My sweetheart does exactly what I asked. He doesn’t bite it. He smells it, loves it, licks it, holds it in his mouth, but doesn’t actually sink his teeth in. Of course, in the end, it was all his.

In the same set of photos, I found it impossible to crop out our dog, Peanut, looking up at me with a big smile on his face. I wasn’t going to give him a cookie, but he knew there was something fun going on.

photo 2

So one of these days soon, when it’s not expected,

make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and see what happens.

Below, I’m sharing the classic, nut-free, chocolate chip cookie recipe I make for my family. I created this with inspiration based on two great recipes. I take from both the Nestle Toll House recipe my mom used when I was a child, and one from Ghirardelli. Want to know a secret? The recipes posted from either company are almost identical so these ratios are tried and true. I’ve just switched it up a bit, to suit my tastes.

The trick to a truly delicious cookie is in the chocolate used.

The better the chocolate, the better the chocolate chip cookie.

Mili’s Sweets Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


2 1/4 cups unsifted, all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 eggs, extra large

1 cup bitter sweet chocolate chips

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

(For my nut-free friends, I recommend Enjoy Life or Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. I have also used Ghirardelli.)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

To make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, I recommend substituting the all purpose flour with the same amount of gluten-free, all purpose flour. I use Pamela’s Artisan Blend.

You’ll also want to add 4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 stick), also softened, to the recipe above.


Preheat your oven to 375.

Beat butter with both sugars until creamy. Then add eggs and vanilla.

Incorporate by using the metal paddle attachment with your standing mixer at low speed. Never use the optional plastic scraping attachment to mix cookies. (It will break.) If you want to mix it the old-school way, use a big bowl and do it all by hand.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients and save the chocolate for last.

Use an ungreased cookie sheet (or place a silpat onto your cookie sheet) and spoon on the dough. I use a large, heaping tablespoon but go with serving sizes that you are comfortable with. Give yourself some space, with no more than 8 cookies to be baked on the cookie sheet at a time.

I like my cookies crisp toward the outside and chewy toward the center. All chocolate chip cookie recipes will tell you to bake for 9-12 minutes. 10 minutes is the perfect time for my home oven.



photo 3

Andrea Spencer - October 30, 2013 - 4:11 pm

Yum!! My absolute favorite chocolate cookie EVER! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe! ….also, love the dazzled sparkle in your son’s eyes 🙂

como reconquistar - November 2, 2013 - 5:54 pm

Hey very nice TEXT! - November 2, 2013 - 9:25 pm

Thank you! 😀 - November 2, 2013 - 9:26 pm

Thanks Andrea! xox

Cheryl Correia - November 4, 2013 - 8:29 am

Such adorable photos of your son. I’m going to give these a try. Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies??!!?

Maria - January 25, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Thank you for sharing going to try baking them, they look delish 🙂 I have a question if I don’t have salted butter just unsalted do I need to adjust the salt? - January 25, 2014 - 7:39 pm

Hi Maria! Thanks for commenting. 😉 You know, I always use salted butter, even though most baking typically calls for unsalted. I think everything you make is a matter of your personal taste. I love the extra salt and find it extremely subtle, but I don’t think you need to adjust with additional salt. If you did, I wouldn’t add more than a 1/8 teaspoon. Take care and if you make these cookies, please have one for me! ;D xox

campfire cookies » Mili's Sweets - June 10, 2014 - 8:43 pm

[…] (For my chocolate chip cookie recipe, please go to my post, Chocolate Chip Cookie Joy.) […]

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