family desserts at the wedding

family desserts at the wedding, via

Several months ago, my friend asked if I’d cater and set the desserts for her son’s wedding. I said yes. Since Mili’s Sweets became a retail business almost a year ago, working as the bakery inside MiaBella, I have had to let go of the catering portion of my business so I just can’t do both and maintain a balanced life, but I work it out to say yes to close friends a couple of times a year.

Anna was helping to throw a big, beautiful reception at The Santaluz Club. I was so honored and excited to make everything she wished for come true, inside the tented area, placed just outside this gorgeous restaurant.

family desserts at the wedding, via

She ordered a tiered cake from Jenny Wenny (I made room for it on the tables. It’s not shown because I finished my work before it arrived.) and I filled in all of the blanks to feed the more than 200 guests and add to what her mother and sister in law were making for the wedding. There would be many, many, many (you get the point) Italian cookies, made by hand and at home by these two wonderful ladies. We really wanted to be respectful and honor them at the dessert tables, so besides catering, I also set everything with my own plating and labeled the items so that they can receive their due credit.

family desserts at the wedding, via

The cookies were lovely and I’m sure enjoyed by the family and friends in attendance! Many of them looked similar to cookies that I had as a child. Some of the cookies had almonds but I didn’t mind plating them since she is my friend sand I could clean all of my items at home.

Now for what I made. I filled my glass cylinders and apothecary jars with her items and some candy. One thing I made for the jars were chocolate-dipped pretzels.

family desserts at the wedding, via

The funny thing about this day and the whole situation of setting the tables, was that it was incredibly hot and humid in the tent and the chocolate did want to melt. I felt like I was melting! To top it off, I had to wait to set the tables since they were not prepared for me when I arrived, so that created a little unorganized situation that made the job take longer. No matter what, the job will always get done. Thankfully, I had my daughter with me to help.

family desserts at the wedding, via

The bride wanted cupcakes, but she wanted the frosting to be very low-profile and have a different look than my typical frosting technique, which is tall and generous. One you-tube video later, I figured out how to frost in a style that she preferred, and added a touch of edible pearls. On her menu were Italia, Perfectly Pineapple and Espresso Chip.

family desserts at the wedding, via

Alongside these cupcakes, I stacked the vanilla biscotti that I made and half-dipped into chocolate. I could eat one of these each and every day, if only my jeans would let me!

family desserts at the wedding, via

I added more chocolate to my menu of offerings since I knew that the treats that they would offer would not be chocolate. I also wanted to take care of any gluten free guests, so I offered decadent, flourless brownies. For my recipe, please see my post: heaven by flourless chocolate cake.

family desserts at the wedding, via

My very favorite item that I prepared for the wedding, were the cannoli. I am in love with this dessert! I think that they are so beautiful too. They are tedious and time consuming to make since the pizzelle on the iron press come out very hot and you can only roll them while they are hot. My finger tips were tender for a whole day after rolling this order. It was totally worth it and makes my baker-fingers even stronger!

family desserts at the wedding, via milissweets.comMy sweetheart of a daughter took the camera to snap some shots of the table while I organized our things to head home from our job of setting. She snapped this photo of me with the desserts. It was nice for my daughter to be behind the camera this time.

This was a lot of work but it was a wonderful feeling to be trusted by my friend to make it happen. I always feel so honored and grateful when I can accomplish my work.


Glenny - November 2, 2015 - 9:28 am

You are amazing

let’s get out there make something

This week has been pretty incredible, as I’ve witnessed many young girls and women around with some of the same struggles as I have had in the past, with perfection and courage. Some of us have an issue with making mistakes in front of peers. We don’t have the confidence to just go for what we want to do, even if it means we’ll fail or make mistakes the first few times or the first 100 times.

I want to share with my friends out there, what I am now telling my own daughter and anyone I run into. Just go for it! You have nothing to lose! Take a leap of faith and just have the courage to do it because you love it.

Love and passion for your work or anything you want to achieve will take you anywhere you want to go. If you have faith in the process, you have solid ground. Love really is the driving force behind good things. Without it, we’re just robots. Without it, there’s no point in what we’re doing here or anywhere.

Without love and passion, you aren’t going to care about having courage to do what you really want to do in life. By looking around at what everyone else is doing or looking like, you are only hurting yourself.

One of my many personal examples is making cakes. Oh my goodness, years ago, when I was a new, young mom, I wanted so badly to make beautiful and delicious cakes for my family. Guess what? I was terrible at it. However, my love and passion was not terrible. I had the courage and determination to just keep at it, because I really wanted to. It was for my own personal enrichment and joy to do it and my motivation was to give that joy to others. After too many attempts to count and a whole lot of good intentions later, a beautiful and delicious cake was finally made. The cherry on top, is that it’s not by anyone else’s standards but my own. It’s my gift to share. I really do believe each of us have very special gifts that we need to unwrap and discover. We just have to get out there and live in our own package.

A woman came up to me at the store just yesterday and said, “I’ve never seen a 25 pound bag of sugar! What are you making? Are you a baker?” That started a conversation. She said she has always wanted to start an event business of her own, but that she’s scared to go for it. I told her, what have you got to lose?! Have faith and just go for it! If she had enough faith to have seven beautiful children and drop them off to school every day, she can sure enough have the faith to just do what she wants to do on the side. You are in control to live your life and love your life. Take it one step at a time and then one day at a time. As long as there is love and passion in it, you’ll find joy and a good use of your time for just trying.

My daughter loves to swim. She is now on a swim team, which is a dream that we were finally able to make happen for her. When she was first on the block, learning to dive in, she just couldn’t get herself to take the plunge, literally and figuratively. I knew what she was feeling in her heart. She didn’t want to be judged in front of her peers for not doing it perfectly. Guess what?! You’re going to belly flop at first! You’ll just have to keep getting out and back into the water, if you want to fulfill your personal goals! Everyone who matters is cheering for you! Say a little prayer, give it to God and just go for it! TAKE THE PLUNGE!

With that, I’m leaving it to St. Teresa of Avila. She has so many awesome words of encouragement and inspiration and today is her Feast Day. Leave it to her to break it down for us: “One who makes no mistakes, makes nothing.”

Let’s all promise to get out there and make something!

get out there and make something

game-day popcorn buffet

Game-Day Popcorn Buffet, recipes via

Here’s an awesome snack idea for Game Day this football season: set up a party-style, popcorn buffet. I have four recipes to share to make it fun and super special, and you may want to save this idea for your parties in the future.

First, you need to know how to make perfectly popped popcorn on the stovetop. Do yourself a favor and make it from scratch. You’ll be glad you did. It’s kind of my philosophy when making all things. Like cake for example: a boxed recipe can still taste pretty good, but in all ways, it’s just not as good as making it from scratch.

perfectly popped, stove-top popcorn, recipes on

Mili’s Sweets Perfectly Popped Popcorn Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 tablespoons of canola oil or grape seed oil

1/3 cup corn kernels

Tools: stopwatch, pot, oven mit

Here’s what you’ll do:

For every 1/3 cup of kernels, use 3 tablespoons of oil. In my 10 quart pot, doubling this is the perfect amount, for an even distribution at the bottom. Therefore, I use 2/3 cup kernels and 6 tablespoons of oil.

Both oils are good and perfect for popcorn popping, since they burn nicely at high heat. I’ll explain how to work with each one.

how to make perfectly popped, stovetop popcorn, recipe on

First, measure your kernels and oil and place them in a cold pot. Move the ingredients around to completely and evenly cover the bottom.

Next, place the pot on the stovetop and set to medium-high heat. Set your stop watch to start. When 3 minutes are up (when using canola oil) you’re oil is ready. When 4 minutes are up (when using grape seed oil) your oil is ready, and at least one kernel will be popped.

At the moment you see a single kernel popped, (when the 3 or 4 minutes are up) cover the pot with a lid. Reset your stopwatch. Move the pot back and forth, over the medium-high heat. Once your stopwatch reads 3 minutes, remove it from the heat. You’re done.

There you have it! Perfectly-popped popcorn, with no burn, in 6 minutes. I love this recipe since it’s easy to remember with all of the 3s: 3 tablespoons of oil, 1/3 cup kernels, three minutes to heat, three minutes to pop. Perfect! xox

It’s always fun to offer a variety of flavors. Below are a few recipe ideas. I’m going to share how to make “Chocolate Caramel Pretzel,” “Caramel Corn,” “Cracked Pepper” and “Kids at the Movies.” Each flavor is great, but if your home is like mine, the caramel corn will be the first to disappear!

photoGame-Day Popcorn Buffet, recipes via

Mili’s Sweets Caramel Corn Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need: 

8 cups popped popcorn

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

10 standard sized marshmallows

kosher salt, to-taste

how to make caramel corn. Game Day Popcorn buffet recipes on

Here’s what you’ll do:

While stirring constantly, melt the butter and brown sugar in a non-stick pan, at medium heat.

Place the marshmallows and continue to stir. Allow the marshmallows to break down and melt.

Pour the mixture over the popped popcorn and mix with a spoon.

Place in a serving bowl, sprinkle with salt to taste and serve. This is a more sticky, pull-apart snack. It’s the only popcorn flavor recipe I’m sharing where a scooper can’t be used when serving.

This week in the shop, I came up with a very good use for caramel corn. My FunFriday cupcake flavor was Carnival Caramel Corn!

carnival caramel corn cupcake by Mili

Mili’s Sweets Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Popcorn Recipe 

Here’s what you’ll need:

8 cups popped popcorn

1 cup chocolate covered pretzels

1/4 cup prepared caramel (I sometimes use my homemade version. This time I used Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch Caramel Topping.)

kosher salt, to taste

how to make chocolate-caramel-pretzel popcorn. Game-Day Popcorn buffet recipes via

Here’s what you’ll do:

In a non-stick pan, on medium heat, place the caramel and heat until it simmers.

Pour the warm caramel on top of the pretzels and popcorn. Mix with a spoon. Some of the chocolate on the pretzels will melt onto the popcorn. That’s what you want! If you want the end-result to be more beautiful, remove the melted pretzels and replace with fresh ones. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.

Mili’s Sweets Cracked Pepper Popcorn Recipe

This is the easiest and the healthiest! Honestly, I can enjoy this popcorn, plain and unsalted. To but to kick up the flavor, I like adding freshly cracked pepper, using a pepper mill. Sprinkle kosher salt to taste, and you’re done. It’s super simple and amazingly delicious, especially when the popcorn is fresh and warm.

Mili’s Sweets Kids at the Movies Popcorn Recipe

This is all about my kids. Whenever we go to the movie theatre, our tradition is for the kids have a box-tray on their lap. I give a portion of popcorn and sprinkle onchocolate covered raisins and sour candies. They love the combination of sweet, salty, chocolatey and sour. It’s a no-brainer for kids of all ages.

game day popcorn buffet, recipes by Mili

So there you have it! I’m sure you can think of 100 other different flavor combinations for freshly-popped popcorn, but this is a nice start. I hope these easy-breezy recipes make for lots of fun at home.

Take care and enjoy.


a happy halloween » Mili's Sweets - October 29, 2014 - 10:21 am

[…] My husband and kids love candy corn, so I always make a point to have some in the house around fall. I couldn’t resist adding them into the desserts. One of their favorite treats at the dessert table were the candy corn popcorn balls. […]

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