Teacher Appreciation Muffin

teacher appreciation muffin 2Last week my school held its annual Field Day and served bananas as part of the mid-morning snack to the students. Guess how many teachers and staff have leftover bananas at home? My family does not eat that many bananas, so it was time to bake. I made a batch of Ina Garten’s Banana Crunch Muffins and bagged them up as little sirsees for my children’s teachers. We are close to the end of the year; we have testing next week, and teachers need a little appreciation gift when it gets close to the final weeks of school. (Alert: Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8 this year.)

banana nut muffins

These muffins taste the best fresh out of the oven, but they are still mighty delicious the next day. Ina Garten’s Recipe includes whole milk, granola, coconut, and walnuts. I used buttermilk in place of the whole milk and replaced the walnuts with pecans because it saved me a trip to the grocery store.

teacher appreciation breakfast muffin

The muffins are baked in cupcake liners, but after the muffins cooled, I placed each muffin inside a Specialty Wilton Cupcake Liner that has tall, scalloped sides. The large liner protects the muffin inside the clear bag. I tied the bags with curly ribbon and added gift enclosure cards with a handwritten label. We arrived at school early and put the treats on each teacher’s desk for a breakfast surprise.

teacher appreciation gift

Teacher Appreciation Dos and Don’ts

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

I spend way too much time analyzing what makes a good teacher gift, but I see it on both sides since I am a teacher and a parent with school aged children. Are teacher appreciation gifts required? NO. Do many families choose to give their teachers holiday gifts, teacher appreciation gifts, and end of year gifts? YES. Are you required to spend a lot of money? NO. Are teachers thankful for all small gifts and kind gestures from parents and students. YES. But, a cutesy, punny note does not a good teacher gift make.

In my experience, the best gifts for teachers are ones that show consideration for the teacher’s day at school. Remember, teachers have very little free time during the day to run out of the building to grab lunch or pick up some little item at the drug store. We can barely get to the water fountain that is in the school building. Here are a few guidelines and ideas that I believe make good teacher gifts. Based on the comments I get on my Crappy Teacher Gifts Pinterest Board, not everyone agrees with my good/bad teacher gift criteria. So, as a little disclaimer, these suggestions are TheRoomMom’s opinion and may not apply to every teacher or parent.

favorite books bookmark

Gifts that help a teacher remember a specific class are special. For the past several years, I sent an e-mail to the parents in my children’s classes asking for a favorite book name of a book read during the school year. I compiled the list into columns on a Word document and added a class picture. I used the list to make a Favorite Books Bookmark for the teacher and one for each student. Teachers need many bookmarks in the classroom for all of our teacher manuals and read aloud books. The bookmark creates an age appropriate book list for the group. I have also seen or used other ideas that would help teachers clip or mark classroom materials…

mason jar soup labels

Food based gifts can work well too. It is difficult to have food delivered or leave the building to grab a sandwich during the school day. Yes, teachers love chocolate, but if I have not packed a lunch (or eaten breakfast), I would rather have something with a little more substance. The nice thing about food gifts is they can often be made in bulk if you would like to give a gift to multiple teachers. Not only can you bring food items for during the school day, but I think all working families love to have low prep meals for when you get home. This year, I sent Mason Jar Soup Mixes to teachers, and I have also organized a Freezable Meal delivery for my children’s teachers during teacher appreciation week. Here are other food based gifts I have made or am thinking about making…

 

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

My favorite gifts are the ones that help a teacher with school day emergencies. These gifts include items that are great to have on hand for those little unexpected events. I have two versions– Teacher Emergency Kit 2012 and Teacher Emergency Kit 2013. You might also consider these kit ideas…

gift card wallet giveaway

And finally, you can never go wrong by giving a gift card. Chances are, you do not know your child’s teacher that well outside of the classroom, so a gift card covers a lot of bases. If several families want to contribute, you can pool resources into one gift card. Or, if you are giving a gift by yourself, there are so many gift cards that work well in small increments. Last year, I sewed little Gift Card Wallets, but I also found some non-sewing ideas that included thoughtful student notes…

As a wrap-up, I would just like to say again that families are not obligated to go to great lengths to give teacher gifts. It is always well received to write a note, send an e-mail, or simply say, “thank you” in person if you appreciate the work your child’s teacher has done during the school year.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher Appreciation Idea with a Twist

rosemary bread teacher gift

In my last post, I shared a banana bread recipe baked in mini loaf pans that I wrapped up to give as teacher appreciation gifts. Most people have a family banana bread recipe, so it is not that new and exciting. I was thinking it might be a nice twist to bake a breakfast bread recipe that may not be as widely recognized. I pulled out a recipe I have for Rosemary-Olive Oil Bread because I needed a few more teacher sirsees this week. This is a savory bread, and a slice tastes REALLY good toasted.

rosemary bread sliced

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pam or Crisco
  • standard loaf pan (8″x 4″) or 3 mini loaf pans (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray or grease the pan with Crisco.
  • In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, pine nuts, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and lemon zest.

rosemary bread dry ingredients

  • In another bowl, blend the eggs, apple juice, and olive oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

rosemary bread dry and wet ingredients

  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth the surface.

rosemary bread pan

  • Bake 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

rosemary bread baked

Notes

  • The pine nuts can be replaced with chopped walnuts or pecans. You can also use a combination of nuts if you only have a 1/4 cup of pine nuts and need to add a few pecans to make 1/2 cup. This combination has been tested and approved.
  • 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 rosemary bread is baked through.
  • Wrap with parchment paper and have kids decorate with stickers to give as gifts.
  • These work well as a teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, or housewarming present.

rosemary bread cooling

Teacher Appreciation Idea

banana bread teacher gift

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.

ripe bananas

Ingredients

  • 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″)

banana bread sliced

Directions

  • 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.

banana bread dry ingredients

  • In a separate bowl, combine mashed banana, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir until just moist.

banana bread combining ingredients

  • 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.

banana bread mini pans

Notes

  • 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.

banana bread cookedYou 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?

Bottoms Up

teacher gift iced tea kit

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I am sharing some insider information about the teacher world. Teachers have limited access to water or other beverages during the day. There are water fountains, faucets, and other drink sources at the school, but teachers just can’t get to them. Here is what happens. During the school day, teachers can’t leave the students unattended. Ever. One year, I taught in the 10th row of trailers at a growing high school and needed a 15 minute window to make it into the building and back for access to water.

iced tea kit contents

With that in mind, I picked up some double insulated cups with lids and straws I happened to see at the Dollar Store. I filled the cup with ingredients for a fruit iced tea mix and a $5 Starbucks gift card then tied Citrus Tea Labels to the cup with the recipe for the iced tea. The tea contents will probably be tossed, but the Starbucks card and insulated cup will be enjoyed. Every teacher I know needs/wants/uses a water bottle of some kind. The double insulated Tervis tumbler style are the best because they don’t sweat all over the papers on the teacher’s desk and keep drinks colder longer.

iced tea kit contents close

If you are working on an end of year teacher gift or a teacher appreciation gift of some kind, the cup is low cost and teacher approved. If you happen to know that your child’s teacher is addicted to Diet Coke or Dunkin Donuts coffee, those are good appreciation beverage gifts too.

I know you might be tempted by cutesy notes attached to 2-liter bottles of A&W Root Beer or Mountain Dew that you may have seen on Pinterest but do not give in to the dark side. A 2-liter bottle is impractical and goes flat before a teacher could drink it. And besides, A&W root beer or Mountain Dew?? Who drinks that? Unless you have heard straight from the source that these are soft drinks of choice, DO NOT purchase.