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The teachers breakfast, held in the week before school is out for Christmas, is among my all time favorite events to organize. It seems like such a small way to give back and to honor all they do for our kids, as I spend the school year, and to be honest, probably most of the summer, in appreciation for, and sending silent prayers of thanks to, our teachers.
I love that so many of the parents are super excited to contribute, taking the time and making the effort to shop, prepare, bake and deliver their version of gratitude, which always results in a beautiful assortment of dishes, pastries, fruit and breads.
I made the Hot Curried Fruit Salad and the Blueberry Oatmeal Cheesecake Muffins this year, and provided the Orange Berry Coffee Cakes last year.


1 (14 ounce) can of peach slices
1 (14 ounce) can of sliced pears
1 (14 ounce) can of pineapple chunks
1 (14 ounce) can of cherries
3/4 cup maraschino cherries
3 to 4 bananas, peeled and cut into slices
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup melted butter

Heat oven to 350F.
Drain all fruit and place in a bowl. Mix together sugar, cornstarch and curry powder and add to fruit. Drizzle with butter and stir gently to combine. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
Bake for 40 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, November 2005


1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 350F.
Combine oats and buttermilk in a small bowl, let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and orange zest with a mixer, until blended, set aside. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Add egg and butter to oat mixtrue, stir until well blended. Add to dry ingredients, stir until just moistened. Gently stir in berries.
Spoon half the batter evenly into muffin cups lined with paper liners. Top each with a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture, cover with remaining batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Food and Family magazine, Fall 2012


2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 recipe orange glaze (below)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 15 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.
In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in ricotta, egg, orange peel, orange juice and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, just until combined. Fold in cranberries and ginger.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove, cool slightly. Spoon on glaze.

Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon shredded orange peel.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, November 2012