Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Dinner

The Story:

This year so many people have assisted Briz and I in raising our princesses, we wanted to show appreciation to three who left their marks on our family. Ladybug's two teachers have put in the extra time to find how much to push without pushing too hard. She loves going to school and misses Miss Valerie during the holidays.

I have been Little Mother's teacher this year, but Aunty Melody worked with her countless Wednesday mornings for a couple of hours so I could get a break. She was able to coach, teach and cajole where I as the mother had lost my influence.

We invited these teachers and a guest to our home for an Appreciation Dinner. In preparation, Ladybug and Little Mother pondered what they loved about these women then wrote it in tribute. They also helped make a tile for each teacher as an appreciation take home.

Each child sat by their teacher/guest. They were responsible for their guest's comfort. They offered appetizers, filled water glasses, and carried over each dish for their guest. Between dinner and dessert, each child stood and gave their tribute. After the meal was over, the girls couldn't resist a little showing off from the tree or the swing set for their teachers.

"I'll bet my teacher wants to come again for breakfast!"
"That was so fun! I thought you were going to take care of the whole thing. When I found out I had to take care of them I was a little worried. But I did just fine. I escorted them to the table and did everything I was supposed to."
"Miss Valerie is my best teacher ever. She even taught me how to hold my fork so I don't eat like a barbarian."

The Decorations:
Vases filled with limes and topped with flowers (we raided an abandoned yard for their wild roses.)
Napkins tied with jute and stuffed with a wild rose
Plaques for each teacher on a stand
Miniature potted shrubs ... they last all summer and look Mediterranean and cute.
Solid Red and Red and white tablecloths
Pitchers of ice water filled with sliced strawberries, limes or cucumbers

The Food:
Sweet Grilled Chicken
Cucumber Mouse Cups
Pink Blush Salad
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Rosemary Boule
Italian Cream Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Animal Crackers for the kids

The Recipes:

Sweet Grilled Chicken
The kids asked for seconds of this! That is exciting.
12 ounces 7-UP
12 ounces Zesty Italian Dressing
Chicken Breasts for 10-12 (I used 3 breasts pounded)

1. Pound out you chicken. No one likes a thick dry piece of cardboard. Place your breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound away!

2. Mix 7-up and dressing. Place all in a covered container or gallon zip lock bag. marinate a few hours or even better, overnight.

3. Grill 6-7 minutes or till done.

Cucumber Mouse Cups
easy and elegant

3 cucumbers
4 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
salt and pepper
bacon pieces

Peel cucumbers and slice in 3/4" slices.
With a melon baller, scoop out center of cucumber making a cup. Whip cream cheese and blue cheese till creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the cucumber "cup" with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with bacon pieces and garnish with chives.

Italian Cream Cupcakes

This has been my favorite birthday cake for years... with the substitution of hazelnuts from Cuisine At Home, it becomes to die for delicious!

Whisk Together:
3 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Cream: Add
2 cups sugar
3 sticks butter, softened
6 eggs separated
2 T hazelnut syrup
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Beat; Fold In:
Reserved egg whites
1-2 cups coconut, toasted
1 cup hazelnuts, skinned chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two muffin pans with paper liners and coat with nonstick spray. (This way you can get huge tops to cover with icing and they will pop out easily).

Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

Cream sugar and butter on medium speed until white and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It really does get white and fluffy. This means that air cells have formed in the mixture. Add yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in syrup and vanilla until incorporated. Mix 1/2 the dry ingredients into butter mixture followed by the buttermilk, then remaining dry ingredients; blend just until incorporated.
Mix nuts with 1 T flour. This keeps them from all sinking to the bottom.
Beat whites to stiff peaks in a bowl with a mixer on high speed; fold into batter with coconut and hazelnuts. Fill liners to top with batter and bake until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. (25 minutes) Cool cupcakes in the pan for 20 minutes, transfer to a rack, when cool, frost with icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 T hazelnut syrup
2 T heavy cream, milk or buttermilk
1/2 lb. powdered sugar

Whip cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl. Add syrup and cream. Beat in sugar until creamy.

Garnish with coconut and hazelnuts. I've always been partial to a strawberry on top.


  1. What a wonderful tribute for the teachers of your daughters. Your talents and grace never ceases to amaze me, Midori!!

  2. me too! If cami hadteachers I would try it- I guess I'll just have to try the decor and food instead. yummy!

  3. Those cupcakes look awesome! all looks awesome but I think we need to make the cupcakes!

  4. Hi! Thank you for visiting my blog today! It looks to me like you've added lots of romance to your life already...and I love your menu and table setting! Beautiful!! Gracious hospitality is always so much fun!! Hugs! Debbie : D