Rather than throw away the two black bananas sitting on my counter, I baked banana bread. Teacher Appreciation Week is next week, so I used my mini loaf pans and wrapped up the loaves to bring as teacher thank you gifts for my children’s teachers. I always get hungry mid-morning at school and need a little breakfast-y bite. I thought my kids’ teachers might need a little snack too. The mini loaves are a good size for eating at school since they equal about two servings (and taste great with coffee). Teachers can share with a co-teacher or have a bite in the morning and finish the little banana loaf at lunch or at the end of the day.
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. regular oats (not instant)
1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Crisco or Pam
standard loaf pan (8″x 4″) or 3 mini loaf pans (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir in oats.
In a separate bowl, combine mashed banana, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir until just moist.
Pour batter into an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray or greased with Crisco. Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack about 15 minutes and then gently turn pan over to drop the loaf out of the pan. Serve warm or let cool completely on the wire rack and wrap in foil to store.
If using mini loaf pans, fill about halfway with batter. I get about 3 mini loaves per recipe. Reduce the cooking time for the mini size. After about 30 minutes, watch until the top is browned, then test the center to determine if the banana bread is baked through.
Wrap with parchment paper and have kids decorate with stickers if giving as gifts.
These work well as a teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, and housewarming present.
You know I love teacher gift ideas!
I have a few ideas in the hopper for Teacher Appreciation Week and end of the year, but I like to keep the pipeline stocked. Any other suggestions out there?
We are sending itty bitty cupcakes (recipe below) to my son’s class at school in honor of his birthday this year. As a teacher, I spend more time on the distribution side of class birthday treats, and I have some guidelines for any newbies to the school birthday treat circuit. Sending birthday treats for the class starts in nursery school, and the rules don’t change too much no matter how old you are.
If possible, let the teacher know ahead of time about the type of treat you will be sending and what day. It helps teachers plan for a special snack time and anticipate any food allergy alerts (always send nut-free items just in case).
Send enough for the whole class AND the teachers. Let me repeat– send enough for the teachers.
Send small treats. Rather than a whole donut for each child, send donut holes (two to three Munchkins per child). Rather than regular cupcakes, send mini versions.
Send items that are pre-cut, pre-packaged, or individually wrapped to make sharing the snack easier.
Don’t forget paper napkins, paper plates, and plastic utensils if needed.
You do not have to send an edible treat. Kids love fun pencils, Japanese erasers, crazy straws, stickers, etc.
In my experience, sending birthday treats begins to taper off around the 4th grade. By 5th and 6th grade, maybe a quarter of the students send in birthday snacks.
I love this recipe for Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes courtesy of Hello, Cupcake!. I like the frosting recipes in the Hello, Cupcake! book too, but I totally cheated this time and used the pre-made Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing in the squeeze cans with the decorative tips. I used gelatin shot cups to make the super mini size. I found the tiny cups in the paper product aisle at my grocery store.
1 box (18.25 oz) cake mix (French vanilla or yellow)
1 c. buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
vegetable oil (the amount on the box, usually 1/3 c. for yellow cakes)
4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Set out paper gelatin shot cups on a tray with a lip. The gelatin cups stand on their own, but they will also fit into mini muffin cups if you are worried about them tipping over. The recipe makes 24 regular sized cupcakes, so you should get ~48 mini cupcakes.
Follow the box instructions, putting all of the ingredients in a large bowl and using the buttermilk in place of the water specified, using the amount of vegetable oil that is called for, and adding the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, about 2 minutes longer.
Fill gelatin cups a little less than 2/3 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Since the puppy arrived at our house about a month ago, I have had a little extra time on my hands in the morning. After the 5:45 am wake up call, the puppy wants to play. By 6:15, the puppy wants to rest, and I am in the kitchen by myself. This morning I made these little Cinnamon Puffs for breakfast (recipe below). Unlike the pizza from a few nights ago, I baked these without the help of my children. Now, do not be fooled. Most mornings I sit at the kitchen table with an iced coffee and alternate looking at my US magazine and staring out of the window until someone else from my household arrives in the kitchen, and I can go lie down in my bed again. Anybody else gone above and beyond for a tasty breakfast treat lately?
1/3 c. shortening (Crisco)
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, melted (I never use all of this– start with 1/2 c. melted butter)
Beat the shortening and 1/2 c. sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add egg, beating well.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spoon batter into lightly greased miniature muffin pan cups. The batter should yield ~24 mini puffs. I can’t ever spoon evenly into the muffin pans, so I get ~20 puffs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Combine 1 c. sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.
Remove puffs from pans and dip in melted butter. Give the puff tops a good bath in the butter, so they soak up enough buttery goodness. Then, dredge in cinnamon mixture.
The puffs contain egg and milk (protein) and sugar (energy).
I found this snack idea on Pinterest, and it actually looked like the original picture when we finished making them! These little bites are easy and taste delicious. They have that perfect salty and sweet combination. We are eating them so fast, they may not make it to our neighborhood 4th of July party (which is the reason I made them in the first place).
The Ingredients: Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels (the ones that look like a tic tac toe board), Hershey Kisses, M&Ms (plain and/or peanut)
The Directions: Line up pretzels on a cookie sheet. Put one Hershey kiss on each pretzel. Bake at 275 degrees for ~3 minutes. Take out of the oven and immediately smush M&M into the top. Refrigerate to re-harden the Hershey kiss.
Variations: Whatever holiday, smush the coordinating colored M&M. Halloween– orange. Christmas– red and green. Valentine’s Day– pink, red, and white. St. Patrick’s Day– green. You get the idea.
** I had a student give me a bag of these little morsels at Christmas. He (and by “he” I mean the mom) made them to look like Rudolph. I know they used the mini traditional shaped pretzel and a red mini M&M for the nose. I ate them before I thought to pay attention to the construction. If anyone has made the reindeer version, please let me know the details!