How To Welcome New Neighbors

Three families have moved onto my street in the past 3 weeks. I'm the self-appointed social director/welcome-wagon-lady for my 'hood, so I've been busy!

There is nothing more lonely than moving into a new neighborhood without a proper welcome. It might seem old-fashioned to show up on their doorstep with a tray of cookies...but it is a lovely, meaningful gesture that will go far in making your new neighbors feel welcome. And you never know what sort of friendship you might grow in the future.

I like to make something they can eat for breakfast (it's so hard waking up to face your kitchen the morning after a move!) and put together a little care package to drop off once the moving truck pulls away. Banana Chip Muffins, freshly ground coffee, and a neighborhood directory with my name highlighted. It doesn't have to be fancy, a paper lunch bag will do in a pinch.

I love to put the message "Welcome Home" on the package to help them begin to feel, well, at home! This recipe for Big Banana Muffins is lovely. The muffins are moist and tender. The recipe calls for BIG muffins, but I filled regular cupcake papers and it made 1 dozen.

Big Banana Muffins
Rose Levy Beranbaum - The Bread Bible

* 1 very ripe banana, peeled and lightly mashed (½ cup; 4 ounces; 113.5 grams)
* 1/4 cup sour cream (about 1/4 cup; 60 grams)
* 1 large egg (3 tablespoons; 1.75 ounces; 50 grams (weighed without shell))
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 grams)
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup plus scant 3/4 cup bleached cake flour or bleached all purpose flour (3.5 ounces; 100 grams)
* 6 tablespoons sugar, preferably turbinado (2.6 ounces; 75 grams)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2.4 grams)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2.5 grams)
* 1/4 teasoon salt (1.7 grams)
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2.5 ounces; 71 grams)

* 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped medium fine (1.75 ounces; 50 grams)

Oven Temperature: 350°F

1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F 20 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the middle level.

2. Mix the batter. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and process until blended.

In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed (#2 if using a Kitchen Aid, with the paddle attachment) for about 1 minute, until well mixed. Add the butter and half the banana mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium (#4 KitchenAid) or high if using a hand-held electric mixer and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining banana mixture in two parts, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition or until well mixed. On low speed, beat in the walnuts.

3. Fill the muffin containers. Spoon or pipe the batter into the muffin containers, filling them three-quarters full. Pour a little water into the unfilled muffin cup to prevent uneven baking.

4. Bake the muffins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly in the center.

5. Cool the muffins. Remove the muffins from the oven and unmold them at once onto a wire rack. Turn top side up and cool until just warm or room temperature.


  1. What a nice gift! Those muffins look great!

  2. SUCH a great idea. What a good neighbor you are. :) This coming from someone who has moved 5 times. It means a great deal.

  3. I foresee a boom in home sales in your neighbor hood if word gets out that you bring over those muffins! Too sweet :)

  4. What a lovely thing to do. I don't have many neighbors since I'm out in the country...however a few years back, two older sisters who live on the estate behind me, asked if I wanted some flower bulbs from their mother's garden(she had just passed away) which they were removing because of it being too much work to maintain. I transplanted hundreds of her bulbs into out gardens. Now every spring when they are all in bloom I make up a basket of scones, homemade jam and tea. I put together a bouquet of flowers from their Mom's bulbs and put this on their doorstep with a pretty note telling them to enjoy their tea party with their Mom. I think they really like this and it makes me feel sooooo good!

    Janet xox

  5. Mmmm, these look tasty! I am usually the cookie girl, but I love the idea of muffins! Only thing I need now is a new neighbor.....

  6. your the best neighbor I've ever known...can i move next door:)

  7. What a great idea! That is so sweet and thoughtful! I wish you were in my neighborhood!

  8. Thanks for the suggestion. I have a new neighbor that I need to welcome ;o)

  9. i want to move into your neighborhood!

  10. When we moved in one neighbor brought us a pie, one brought us cookies and another brought us fresh tomatoes from her garden. I don't know if they were just being really nice or were just really happy to see the other family leave. There had been problems. But I didn't care. I still thought it was very sweet.

  11. That is so sweet of you! I'm sure I'l do that eventually. Right now our neighborhood is only a year old, so everyone is a new neighbor.

  12. This is a really cool idea! I wish someone had done that for me when I moved, but I live in an apartment complex so people are constantly coming and going. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. i like this idea a lot. what a great neighbor you are :)

  14. What a lovely idea!! I am terrible with names and still dont know our neighbour on the rights name!! Is very embarrassing when he yells "Hi, Angela" I'm like "hi....you"!!!

  15. You're the BEST!! I need to appoint myself in charge of putting together a new directory....remind me to do that when the kiddos go back to school!

  16. How nice! It would have been nice if someone in our neighborhood would have done that when we moved in about 9 months ago.

  17. The muffins look great! I love that idea. :)

  18. I have to say - it is very nice for you to welcome the new neighbors. It's tough moving into a new neighborhood and I'm sure that helps a ton with breaking the ice.

  19. I'm like you--love to give new neighbors something for breakfast! I made a Blueberry Muffin cake (from The Cake Mix Doctor) for some new neighbors just this week. I love your idea of adding the "Welcome Home" sentiment to the gift! That's a great idea. And we don't have a neighborhood directory, but I could easily prepare a sheet with names and phone numbers of the people on our block. Thanks for the inspiration!


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