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.
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.
What’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.
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.
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.
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!
Recently, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone loved their little favors and I loved that they had a personal touch.
I 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!
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!
It’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.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.As 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.This 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 extractHere’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.Once 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, Mili
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.
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.
The cupcake menu was custom made, with the use of wood planks, handwritten labels and a stamping accent.
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.