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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

I grew up going to school in Berkeley, California and every day my nanny would take me to a 50s style soft serve joint that served other diner type food like hamburgers, hot dogs and even corn dogs! Every child (well, almost all) love hot dogs, but why not make it fun and do it at home? I found this fabulous baked corn dog recipe that lightens up the calories, but still makes it delicious for your little one. Check it out!

Note: Be sure to buy ice-pop sticks if you don’t have them on hand. You can usually buy them at a craft store or even online at Amazon.com

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting sausages
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 precooked smoked chicken sausages (13 ounces total)
  • Ketchup and mustard, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Make a well in center; add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix just until combined.

2.    Insert an ice-pop stick into one end of each sausage, leaving a 1 1/2-inch handle. Dust with flour; tap off excess. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spoon batter to coat evenly. Place on sheet; bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using a spatula, reapply batter that has slipped onto sheet. Return to oven; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

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So there I was, it was 8pm on the night before my daughter’s last day of school before the winter break. I had signed up to collect money from the parents for gifts for the teachers and distribute it to our teachers. Before I went to bed I had cards to write for all 9 teachers (from the parents), figure out how much money to put in each envelope, plus, I wanted to give each of the teachers homemade cookies as a token of our appreciation.

I had baked up the cookies (sugar and chocolate chip), and then came the time to decorate the sugar cookies…

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post on how to frost. glaze and decorate you holiday cookies, go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=23048

 

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AT
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I have always secretly wanted to buy the lollipop cake pan you see on TV or at Bed Bath and Beyond and make really cute lollipop cake pops for guests as a cute dessert or for my nieces. I just read about this recipe and it’s perfect for family’s to make together without having to go out and buy a special lollipop cake pan! Kids will love rolling the cake ball and dipping them into the delicious icing. As a note to any last minute Christmas/Hannukah shoppers, this is a great idea as a holiday gift for the neighbors on your block. 🙂

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to:
http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=22991

 

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
WWW.LETOP-USA.COM!

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One of my favorite (and nostalgic) things about Christmas is waking up as a child (and still now when I go home to see my family) and having Christmas morning breakfasts.

Here is a delicious breakfast recipe that is sure to have your kids drooling and ready to eat before opening their stockings and Christmas gifts from ‘Ole Saint Nick!

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=22887

 

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AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

 

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Winter is here and it can be easy to order-in Chinese or want comfort foods. Why not have a festive bagel wreath pizza that also incorporates veggies for your kiddos?! I always think this is a fun recipe that gives you the taste of pizza, but is also healthy and sure to keep your kids’ energy high on a fun play date.

Makes: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 bagel half
Yield: 8 bagel halves
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 10-12 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 whole wheat bagels, split
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets, steamed
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 ounces roasted red sweet peppers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bagel halves, cut sides up, on prepared baking sheet. Spread each with 1 tablespoon pizza sauce. Top each with some of the cheese. Arrange broccoli and tomatoes on top of each to resemble a wreath.
  2. Cut peppers into long thin strips and shape each into a ribbon. Place on each bagel half.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese melts and cheese browns lightly.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM.

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Apple picking is a family favorite activity this time of year in New York – of course there are all types of ways to cook up apples, but here is a fun (and sweet) treat for your children that looks like an apple, but will satisfy their sweet tooth.

The designs on this page start as Vanilla Cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream — perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl).

The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide! How cute does Sami look in our Rabbitmoon sweater dress holding an apple? 

APPLE CUPCAKES

How-To
Lots of thick icing forms the rounded shape, and each gets a pretzel stem and a leaf cut from sour tape.

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Makes: 24 cupcakes
(perfect for the classroom!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.
  2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

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What better way to start your Friday than whipping up a batch of GIANT chocolate chip cookies for your loved ones and kiddos. It makes them a little extra fun being a larger size, plus they are so appealing to your little ones eyes (and especially cute in their small hands). 

Note: For each cookie, use a ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out and level dough before dropping onto the baking sheet.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes 16

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined; mix in vanilla.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just incorporated. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop 1/4-cup mounds of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, at least 4 inches apart and away from edges of pan. (You will fit about 4 cookies to a sheet; bake in two batches, using two baking sheets per batch.) Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and from top to bottom of oven halfway through.
  5. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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Okay forget the hamburgers, grilling outside, sweating to make patties small and cute for your little ones. We all know it is football season – yes, I stayed up until past midnight for the first Sunday night football last night and I’m exhausted today. I am sure your little ones will want to eat whatever daddy is eating while he watches his Monday night football. Here is an easy and delicious take on pizza (semi-from-scratch) that will satisfy the hunger in your kiddos and hubby! It’s packed with flavor, protein and is a hearty meal going into fall!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes (yay!)
Serves 4

Hamburger and Grape-Tomato Pizza 
Special note for the chef – To ensure even cooking, gently roll and stretch the dough to an even thickness. You don’t have to shape it into a precise rectangle — rounded corners are fine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated provolone cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one, upside down) with oil.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a 15-by-11-inch rectangle (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared sheet.
  3. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with provolone, tomatoes, and if desired, onion; scatter beef over top. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake until crust is golden, beef is cooked, and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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We will all be travelling in cars this weekend to various friends and families’ houses to celebrate Uncle Sam’s Birthday a.k.a. Fourth of July! These pudding cups are super easy to make, great to travel with and easy for kid to run and have fun with these in hand with their friends.  They are very patriotic and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup each red, white, and blue melting wafers
  • 1 pound cake (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared vanilla pudding
  • Whipped cream
  • Red, white, and blue sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place 12 foil cupcake liners on a baking sheet. Microwave red wafers in a bowl for 30-second intervals,
    stirring in between, until melted (about 2 minutes). Repeat with the white and blue wafers.
  2. To make a solid-colored cup: Using a 10 pastry brush, spread one color of melted wafers across bottom
    of foil cup, then brush the color up the cup’s sides. For a striped cup: Brush stripes of alternating colors across bottom of cup, continuing up the sides.
  3. Return finished cups to baking sheet and refrigerate until just set, about 3 minutes. Apply a second
    coat of melted wafers to each cup, matching its original color pattern, and return to refrigerator to set, 10 minutes.
  4. Cut pound cake crosswise into 12 1″-thick slices. With a cookie cutter, cut a 2 1/2″ round from each slice. In medium bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, and preserves.
  5. To assemble, carefully peel foil from chilled cups. Gently place 1 cake circle into bottom of each cup. Top each circle with 2 Tbs. pudding; divide fruit mix among cups. Decorate with dollops of whipped cream, and top with colored sprinkles.
recipe from www.parents.com

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I just returned from a wedding in Puerto Rico where much of the food was local fried plantains and sauce driven food – it made me think that we have our annual clambake this weekend in the Hamptons, and since that involves lobster and butter and hot dogs, I was trying to think of what other ways we could incorporate healthy cooking into our 4th of July family weekend.

Cooking healthy food for the 4th of July basically translates into reducing the sodium and sugar content, as well as the grams of saturated and trans-fats in your holiday meal. It also means adding vitamins and minerals by serving vegetable and fruit based dishes. Keep your traditional Independence Day recipes by making small changes to the portion size too!

Meat on the Grill
Place chicken and fish on the grill for healthier fare. The healthiest fish include salmon and trout because they contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart. Choose skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat. Replace hamburgers with turkey burgers or vegetarian burgers.

Our "Ship Ahoy!" Nautical Sunsuit Top & Check Panty would be a perfect outfit for your little girl on 4th of July

Replacing Chips and Soda
Replace the chips and soda in your Fourth of July meal with healthier options. Instead of store bought potato chips grill steak-cut French fries brushed with olive oil to use with dips, alongside fresh cut vegetables such as carrot and celery sticks. Instead of soda, serve fresh brewed lightly sweetened iced tea with fresh lemon. Take out your blender and mix up fresh fruit smoothies with strawberry’s, peaches and other summer fruits.

Dessert
I am always a fan of “homemade’ baked goods and everything organic from scractch! Bake your own all-natural desserts this Independence Day instead of purchasing commercial baked goods. Use whole grain flour to add fiber and vitamins. Bake with egg substitutes to reduce the cholesterol content. Banana bread, carrot cake, fruit cobblers and oatmeal raisin cookies represent desserts on the healthier side. Instead of ice cream serve sorbet and low-fat frozen yogurt. Throw some fruit kabobs on the grill made with pineapple and plums.

Reduce and it Still Tastes Good
To make healthy adjustments to your favorite recipes, start by simply reducing the portion size. Cut a pie into eight slices instead of six and make smaller hamburgers. Remove the salt from recipes or reduce the amount by half — except in baked goods. For pasta salad and dip recipes that call for mayonnaise and sour cream, use low-fat versions or substitute low-fat yogurt for half the amount called for to preserve the taste of the full-fat version.

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