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Archive for April, 2011

Photo: Matt Sayles/AP

January Jones who plays Betty Draper on the hit TV drama Mad Men is going to be a mom in real life.

The star announced through her rep on Thursday that “she is expecting her first child this fall”.

Le Top Baby’s “Little Lamb” star and moon print footed one-piece coverall

While Jones, 33, hasn’t revealed any other details, a source close to her says, “She’s really looking forward to this new chapter in her life as a single mom.”

Jones is due back on the silver screen playing mutant telepath Emma Frost in the upcoming X-Men: First Class movie this summer.

Baby Jones would look adorable in Le Top Baby’s “Little Lamb” star and moon print footed one-piece coverall with wrap kimono styling.

Congratulations January on your bun in the oven!

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I have been told the best way to learn how to cook and bake is to “just go for it.”  So, in an effort to become more confident and familiar in the kitchen, I bought myself a cookbook and did just that.   

Recently I made a close-friend a tiramisu dessert for her birthday. After finishing the dessert, I realized I had gone a little overboard shopping for the ingredients. I had two options for the left over ingredients. The first option was to find a recipe and make something with the left over ingredients. The second was to pack everything up and hope to use the food before it went bad. Since I was in a ‘dessert-making’ mood I went with the first.

I started by looking online for desserts that included ladyfingers, heavy whipping cream, marsala, and/or dark rum. I didn’t find much of anything that had those ingredients except for tiramisu. So, I decided to be creative in the kitchen. 

I chose to make something with peanut butter and bananas and basically followed the tiramisu recipe by taking the core ingredient and recreated the textures with new components and flavors. I whipped the heavy whipping cream until it was light and fluffy, and then I threw in a little of the dark rum and some vanilla extract to bump up the flavor of the whipped mixture. Yummy!

When making tiramisu the mascarpone mixture is crucial to the texture of the dessert. Since I had already used all of my mascarpone I had to improvise… so instead I used cream cheese and peanut butter. Mascarpone is an Italian sweet cream cheese that is softer, sweeter, and smoother than traditional cream cheese. After a few taste tests, I realized my mixture wasn’t quite sweet or smooth enough. I wasn’t sure the best way to handle this dilemma, so I called my friend Susan – my go-to girl for baking advice. She quickly prescribed powdered sugar to my dessert. I was on my way! 

I folded the whipping cream mixture into the peanut butter cream cheese mixture. The two combined to make a light, rich, smooth and creamy mixture. Now it was time to assemble my dessert. I covered the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers, followed by a layer of sliced bananas, scooped and spread half of my peanut butter cream mixture, and topped it off with ground semi-sweet chocolate. I repeated the layers again and topped it off with a few banana slices I had left and a good layer of the ground chocolate.

It turned out delightful! I did have some things I would do different the next time around, such as using more bananas, but all in all it was a great success. I don’t have a name for it yet, but feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.

Good luck on your next in-the-kitchen adventure! Here is a “kid-friendly” tiramisu perfect for little hands. Follow this delicious tiramisu cupcake recipe! It makes for 18 – perfect for a party! 

Ingredients:

    • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
    • 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • Coffee-Marsala Syrup
    • Mascarpone Frosting
    • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Coffee-Marsala Syrup Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
  • 1 ounce marsala
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Mascarpone Frosting Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
  3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  5. To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

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I am moving in a few weeks and have been going through my clothing, gadgets, shoes, and more. While researching charities to donate my unneeded items to here in New York, it made me think that I am so fortunate that my mother and father taught me the importance of not just throw away things. Instead proactively go through your home a few times a year and give things to charity and those in need. I decided that I am going to donate to a local AIDS organization for families who have members with AIDS and that struggle.

Charity and the spirit of giving have been elevated to a new level in the past few years, following natural disasters like the earthquake in Japan, the war in Iraq, and terrorist attacks around the globe. Your child doesn’t have to be a Carnegie, a Ford, or a Rockefeller, to become a philanthropist.

Many parents are using the destruction delivered by these catastrophes as an opportunity to help children learn about charity and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need.

You can make a family donation – big or small – and involve your child by allowing them to pick out the charity, write the check and even prepare the envelope to mail it.  It is important to allow your children to witness turning pain and grief/loss into a time of extending love and compassion to those they don’t even know, whether it be in the United States or around the world. 

Here is how your family can help.

1.    Donate clothes like me!
Periodically go through your closets rooting out clothes you haven’t worn in a while, which can be given to the Salvation Army or Goodwill for distribution to the needy. I always say if you haven’t worn it in 6-9 months…someone more deserving needs those clothes. Encourage your children to do the same. Allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate. The value of this activity is diminished greatly if you go through their closets for them without their presence. For maximum benefit, get your children involved in choosing the appropriate items. Take your children with you when you drop the items off at the charitable destination.

2.    Help neighbors.
Regularly engage in a service-oriented project. Rake the leaves of an elderly couple. Bake cookies for a serviceman or servicewoman. If you have leftovers from when you go out to dinner, give them to a homeless person and teach your children that you just gave them a good meal.

3.    Make birthdays charitable.
Set up birthday parties as a time for giving to others. At your child’s first school-age birthday party, ask guests to bring a gift of a book (new or used) to be donated to a local charity. Talk to your son about the books he has and about children who have no books. Explain that one way to celebrate a birthday would be to give to those who have less. Involve the birthday boy in the decision of whether or not to give the books to a woman’s shelter, a doctor’s office, or some other appropriate organization. When you deliver the books with your son, record it on camera, and revisit that movie (or those pictures) on future birthdays.

4.    Give back to pets.
At regular intervals, buy dog or cat food and take it to the humane society. Allow your children to spend some time with the recipients of the gift.

5.    Deliver nutrition.
Build food baskets around the holidays and give to a needy family suggested by your church or school. Involve your children is selecting canned goods, fruit, and other treats to include. Decorate the gift package and deliver it together, as a family.

6.    Help elders.
Do things for the elderly that they have trouble doing for themselves. Pick up sticks in your neighbor’s yard after a big windstorm. Mow the grass for Grandma. Wash Grandpa’s car. Clean their windows in the spring. Help them plant flowers.

7.    Pitch in.
Get on a regular service schedule at your church or synagogue. Sign up for a time to mow the grass and trim the bushes. Take your turn ushering and allow your child to assist.

By implementing some of these ideas or others like them, you will be teaching your children that charity is not reserved only for emergencies. You will be helping them appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time when a catastrophic disaster occurs.

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Today’s photo of Darling, Timothy (4-months-old), was sent to us from one of our great Le Top  customers. Although we don’t know the back story on his scaly buddy, we thought the photo was too funny! Timothy seems perfectly comfortable next to this gigantic fish, maybe because he’s wearing a cozy Le Top “Toy Pony” sweater knit coverall – maybe not… Perhaps this spellbound sprout will be a Marine Biologist one day! No matter what he chooses it’s clear he’s no fish out of water. Congratulations to Timothy for being today’s Le Top Darling of the Day!

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It is soo rainy and muggy here in New York the past few days. It is unpleasant with the humidity, but even worse when you get stuck inside because of rain. Here is a fun (and cheap) rainy day activity for you and your little one.

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=17811

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No, I did not say that!

Mom, I know all about Mexico. I saw it in a Scooby Doo show.”

– Madison, age 7

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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Amy Graves/WireImage

The actor’s wife, Erin Ludwig, delivered daughter Mia Loren Ziering at 10:09 p.m. Monday, April 25 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She weighed in at 7 lbs., 6 oz.

A source told PEOPLE that “the baby girl’s name begins with ‘M’ in honor of Ian’s late mother Micki.”

The former Beverly Hills 90210 star couldn’t wait to share his thoughts with his fans about his new baby.

“Well, it’s official, I’m a dad!” he wrote on Facebook. “As I sit holding Mia, Erin sleeps the most beautiful sleep. My thoughts race with visions of a brighter future, only made possible by what happens today… or, last night! God bless us all.”

On Twitter he shared, “OMG life is about to change. Going baby shopping for the first time! Stroller, crib, yikes!”

We think he should make sure to pick up the Le Top “Flutterbye Butterfly” sleeveless one-piece romper for little Mia. It would be perfect for that Southern California weather.

Congratulations to the happy family!

Le Top "Flutterbye Butterfly" one-piece romper

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