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April Fool’s Day is this weekend….There’s no chance of breaking the yolks when you cook up these eggs for April Fool’s Day with or for your kids or even to serve to daddy before work! That’s because they’re actually dried apricots — a tangy complement to the sweet marshmallow egg whites. I can’t resist a good practical joke – as everybody knows, there’s no business like monkey business.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 12 marshmallows
  • 2 dried whole apricots

DIRECTIONS:

1.     Place a piece of aluminum foil on a flat working surface and then grease the surface of the foil with 1 teaspoon of the butter.

2.     In a small saucepan, melt the second teaspoon of butter over low heat. As soon as it has melted, add the marshmallows to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-low. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are completely melted and have just started to bubble.

3.     Immediately remove the pan from the heat and spoon the melted marshmallow, in 2 separate blobs, onto the greased foil. You have to work fast, before the marshmallow begins to solidify again.
TIP: When spooning the melted marshmallow onto the greased foil, work quickly, using the back of the spoon to spread out the “egg white” a bit.

4.    Shape 2 dried whole apricots and gently press each one, rounded side up, into the center of a marshmallow blob.
TIP: To make a dried apricot look just like a dome-shaped egg yolk, use your thumbs to push the center of the fruit until it is concave.

5.     When the marshmallow has set enough to hold together, but before it stiffens too much, use a spatula to transfer the eggs to a breakfast plate.
TIP: Once the candy eggs have set, insert a plastic spatula beneath each one and, at the same time, use your fingers to gently peel the marshmallow from the foil.

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Adorable dipped strawberries decorated in a sports theme… just in time for a March Madness party or the upcoming Father’s Day. They look like something you would pay top dollar for from one of the large mail order companies but actually cost significantly less and are fun to make!

Making the sports themed strawberries is very easy and only requires five ingredients. To see step-by-step instructions and get the recipe, read below.

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full recipe go to:
http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=24529

 

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It can be hectic with your neighborhood friends and family over for dinner and to watch the upcoming Oscars this Sunday…so why not make this fun “make-ahead” popcorn recipe that both the adults and children will love? Plus it saves you time on the day of the Oscars to glam up yourself! Make it fun and have your little boy or girl get dressed up too by letting them take clothes from their closet and play “dress-up” for their favorite movie-character…and for the laid-back parent, maybe let your little girl put on a little lipstick and blush for a “special night” of fun! Enjoy the below recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 quarts plain popped popcorn

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make caramel: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup, stirring until melted and combined.
  2. Cover; cook 2 minutes to let steam wash down sides of pan.
  3. Remove lid; cook until mixture reaches 280 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt.
  5. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
  6. Slowly pour half the caramel over popcorn, stirring to break up clumps.
  7. Drizzle in remaining caramel; stir until cooled and no longer sticky.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Note: you can store the popcorn for up to 2 days in an air-tight container. I love a “make-ahead” recipe.

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As much as I am a big fan of only homemade bread, cupcakes, dessert, well…anything that goes in your mouth or your child’s mouth, I am a BIG sucker for funfetti. I saw this recipe and it looks AHHHH-MAAA-ZZZING. It is ridiculously easy to make, and your kids will be all smiles this morning over having sprinkles baked right into their slices.

Funfetti Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (18.25 oz) boxes Funfetti cake
  • Mix 
6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut or canola oil melted
  • 12 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl blend together the cake mix, eggs, oil, and bananas in a stand mixer for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour batter into three 5.25 x 9 x 2.75 loaf pans which have been sprayed with nonstick baking spray (the sort with flour added).
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
  6. Makes 3 large loaves.

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Here is a very, very sweet recipe that we know your kids will love and think is fun looking! For this Valentne’s Day we decided to make “windowpane heart” valentine’s cookies! If you don’t have time to make the sugar cookie dough, just buy some store made cookie doe that you can roll out and Jolly Ranchers. You will have a whole lotta lovin’ cookies in no time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • Hard candy for cookie center (try Jolly Ranchers)


To make the dough:

1.  Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the egg until evenly mixed, then blend in the vanilla extract and salt.

2.  With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the creamed ingredients, about one third at a time, until evenly blended. The dough may seem soft, but it will firm up when refrigerated.

3.  Divide the dough in half. Flatten each portion into a disk and seal in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.


To create the cookies:

1.  Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a sturdy baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet.

2.  Cut out the cookies with a large cookie cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the shapes to the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Remove the centers of the cookies with a smaller cookie cutter. (Save the centers to bake later.)

3.  Place a hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers) in the center of each heart and bake until the cookies start to brown lightly around the edges and the candy is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To prevent sticking, line your serving plate or tin with waxed paper and place additional waxed paper between layers. Makes 30.

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Tonight I am cooking for my fiance’s 90-year-old grandmother (Mama) and her boyfriend Marvin who is 95-years-old! Mama happens to be diabetic and said she couldn’t eat anything really with a lot of sugar. My father is also diabetic and tends to avoid desserts, but how could I not have dessert after dinner? It made me think about families with kids who have diabetes and how it might be hard to do “homemade” desserts without buying something that is tasty for a diabetic child. So, on my last-minute quest today, I found this fabulous recipe that I am sure any child or family member would love. Enjoy!

Most children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Children with type 1 diabetes do not make enough insulin and must receive insulin injections to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells to supply energy. To help manage blood sugar, children with diabetes should aim to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. Foods with carbohydrate include starch, fruit, milk and yogurt. Carbohydrate needs vary based on your child’s calorie needs and blood sugar goals.

APPLE DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Shell
  • 4 apples
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoon (45 mL) granulated sugar replacement or granulated fructose
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 mL) cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoon (20 mL) margarine
  • 1 egg white (slightly beaten)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Roll out pie dough and cut into 4 equal pieces.
  2. Peel and core apples and sprinkle them with lemon.
  3. Place 1 apple in center of each piece of dough.
  4. Combine sugar replacement and cinnamon in a bowl, sprinkling evenly into cavity of apples.
  5. Top each apple with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) margarine.
  6. Bring opposite ends of dough up over apple.
  7. Moisten slightly with water; seal securely.
  8. Brush with beaten egg white and place in shallow baking pan.
  9. Bake at 425 F (220 C) for 35 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
Serving Size: 1 dumpling
Yield: 4 dumplings
Exchanges: 2 bread, 1 fruit, 2 1/2 fat
Nutrition: 221 calories

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Sunday is the Super Bowl and you are most likely going to someone’s house to watch the game or you are throwing the party! Here is a fun recipe adults and kids love, and can be a great hostess gift or your “go-to” finger food for your soirees.

Panko-Crusted Chicken Bites with Apricot-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup apricot jam or preserves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

DIRECTIONS: 

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2.    Place flour in a large bowl and season very generously with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in another large bowl with 2 tablespoons water until well combined. Place the breadcrumbs in a third large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat. Stir in cheese and cayenne and mix well.

3.    Place chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and toss to coat. Working in 3 batches, shake off any excess flour from chicken pieces and transfer to egg mixture; stir to combine. Transfer coated chicken pieces with a slotted spoon to the breadcrumb mixture and toss until completely coated. Place the breaded chicken pieces on a rack-lined baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Repeat process until all the chicken is breaded. Bake until golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes.

4.    In a small bowl, stir the apricot jam, mustard, and thyme together until combined. Allow chicken to cool 10 minutes before serving with apricot mustard mixture.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…how to make your kiddo’s morning complete with sweet love? Are you feeling “soft-hearted” (ha ha)? Make hot cocoa for your little one this Valentine’s Day with cute heart marshmallows.

Reach for some marshmallows and transform them into confections of affection. Start by greasing a heart-shaped petit four cutter or aspic cutter with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut several marshmallows in half horizontally, and then press the cutter into the center of each one. Float the marshmallows and the cutouts on hot chocolate.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped or shaved semi-sweet chocolate

 DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate has melted (do not let boil).
  2. Pour into mugs, and serve.

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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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