one minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via milissweets.comOrange Berry Bliss is my go-to smoothie. It only takes a minute to make. It tastes amazing and is an awesome pick-me-up at breakfast or at snack time.

Years ago, there was a smoothie shop that made “orange berry blitz.” It was my favorite smoothie. Then they took it off their menu! I knew I could figure out how to make my own version. I’ve decided I love my version more. My whole family loves it. It might be even be a better nutrition-choice than the shop-version, since there is no added sugar or dairy, (which tend to hurt my stomach). Another ‘best-part’ is, it passes the straw-stand up test: you know a smoothie has a good consistency and has the right thickness, when a straw holds up in the cup.

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via

You won’t need many ingredients to make this smoothie, but you will need a blender. Let’s do this!

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via

Mili’s Sweets Orange Berry Bliss Smoothie Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

a blender

4 cups frozen berries (I use a mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.)

1 and 1/2 cups orange juice (Of course, fresh-squeezed is awesome, but I typically have store-bought in my fridge.)

1 cup filtered water (See my note below for an option with the water, making it a “Vitamin-Blast” smoothie.)

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via

Here’s what you’ll do:

In a blender, add the 4 cups berries. Add the orange juice and water.

Put the top on the blender. Select “on” and “high” and blend for about 5 seconds. Turn off the machine.

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via

Take the top off and with a spoon, move some of the crushed fruit to the side, allowing the majority of the liquid to move to the bottom of the blender.

You’re almost there.

Put the top back on, select the high setting, and watch for the smoothie-vortex.

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via milissweets.comIt will take just under a minute for the smoothie-vortex (hole in the center) to form. Once you see it, your smoothie blending is complete. Stop the machine when you see it. The vortex will end with air coming upward, making a “plop” sound at the top.

Pour and enjoy!

Option during cold-season: “VITAMIN BLAST” your smoothie!

It’s cold season and I like to pump up the family with a little extra vitamin C. If you’d like to do this too, simply add one or two Vitamin C “fizzy drink supplements” into the water. I buy Emergen-C brand in the Super Orange flavor. You can’t taste it in the smoothie and you can’t go wrong with 1,ooo mg per packet! Anything your body can’t use or doesn’t absorb, gets flushed out so there’s no such thing as having too much.

one-minute smoothie: orange-berry bliss, recipe via

My kids are old enough to use glasses instead of plastic cups, so I took down some cute cups that they think are special. Straws are a must too.

I love the way little ones hold onto the stems of glasses. It’s fun to watch the details that come naturally to kids, without us boring grown ups telling them the proper way. The proper way can take all the fun out of it! Besides, we’re at home! We’ll save the proper way for restaurants and visits. For today, the kid-way is the proper way.


love your work

love your work

What are you working on right now?

I don’t mean your 9-5 job, or the bills you have to pay. It won’t be on your to-do list.

What do you consider your life’s work?

The best part about your life’s work is that you are in control. It’s totally up to you to choose what you want to work on and when you want to work on it. Your work and goals will change as your life changes.

It’s good to take a moment and reflect on the things you want to place above distractions in your life. Ultimately, your work rewards you for being you.

There’s no doubt, that I will always be a work in progress. I never want to stop learning or trying to make the most of every day that I’m given.

My children, my family, my faith and my craft, centered around celebrating life via dessert, will always be a part of my life’s work.

Lately, I’m working on saying yes more often. Some of my yes-moments are saying yes when my kids ask to play in the mud, saying yes to help when I see a homeless person, saying yes to make desserts for charity, or saying yes to help at my children’s school.

Love your work.

Yes. I have a lot of work to do.


Toya - October 25, 2013 - 8:58 pm

Thanks for the reminder, these are words that I needed to hear!xoxo - October 25, 2013 - 9:14 pm

You are awesome Toya and you should be proud of your life’s work. You give so much. I love you. xox

E - November 6, 2013 - 7:58 pm

My twin beat me to it! Just what I needed to hear, too! xoxoxo - November 6, 2013 - 8:17 pm

Love you E! xoxox

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 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!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

first holy communion post via

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

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

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




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 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