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September 28th is Neighbor Day - a great day to share some healthy mini-muffins!

Share Your Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins on Neighbor Day!

by Katie Cullum

Who is your neighbor?  It could be the person or people that live close by, or it could be anyone you know!  

When strangers start acting like neighbors... communities are reinvigorated." --Ralph Nader
Fayetteville, in Northwest Arkansas, is home to the University of Arkansas.  It also has a Good Neighbor Program.  Searcy, like Fayetteville, has a university.  Here are some ideas that we could learn from Fayetteville's recommendations for being a good neighbor:

  • Get to know your neighbors!  It may feel a little awkward but it will probably pay off in time.  It's always a nice gesture to take a little something (like the muffins below) when you introduce yourself.... but with COVID and food allergies, it's also okay if you skip that.  If you don't feel comfortable knocking on the door, write a short note introducing yourself.  And, be friendly when you see your neighbors outside.  Sometimes just a wave can lead to a great friendship!
  • Be courteous and respectful.  You may live in a neighborhood where everyone is like you.  But chances are, there are differences in family situations, ages of kids, work situations, sleep schedules, pets, etc.  You may be up at the crack of dawn with your young children, so you go ahead and mow early.  But your neighbors may work late, and mowing early may not let them sleep as late as needed.  
  • Communication is key!  We just moved in May, and our next door neighbors have been a great source of information.  And we've shared what we've learned with others about trash pick-up, recycling, etc.  Ask questions and be open to communication.  If you're having guests for the holidays, let your neighbors know.  They may have ideas about parking - if they are gone, your guests can park in their driveway.  Or they may just remind you that parking in front of mailboxes = no mail!  
  • Lend a helping hand.  If you notice that your neighbor needs a little help, ask if you can help.  Or just do it!  Our new neighbor knew that we didn't have our weed-eater at the new house yet, so he did a little weed-eating for us.  If you have elderly neighbors that can't rake or manage ice patches, help them out.  Or get your kids to do some volunteer service (that will help in 4-H projects or in scholarship applications).  
  • Follow the rules.  Your neighborhood may have neighborhood covenants or HOA.  But there's also city or county regulations.  Know what you need to know - ask!  Check with your city codes or ask your HOA.  

This time of year, everyone is getting the fall decorations out!  And I've been in the kitchen cooking with pumpkin!  So I thought I'd share this Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffin recipe that I got from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. I made a few tweaks, of course!

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl - flour, quick oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice mixture.  You can use half whole wheat flour for more fiber.  If you like, you can also use a brown sugar sweetener. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own (see recipe below).  

Gather your wet ingredients together - egg, oil, milk, pumpkin.
child pouring oil into bowl
Young helpers love to pour and mix!
helper putting batter into pans
After mixing the wet  and dry ingredients, now it's time to put the batter into the muffin cups.  You can use mini muffins or regular muffins.  Be sure to use liners or spray the pans well.   
topping ingredients
The topping gives a little crunch, but it's not absolutely necessary. 
baked muffins in pan
After baking, let muffins cool in pan for a few minutes.  Then, take out of pan and cool on a rack.


muffins on a plate
Mini muffins or regular - good either way!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute brown sugar sweetener for all or part)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon melted margarine or butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix: make your own batch to keep on hand with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.  

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.  Spray mini-muffin tins with cooking spray or use mini-muffin liners.  You could also use regular-sized muffin tins and liners. Turn oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Break egg into a small bowl.  Wash hands with soap and water after cracking raw egg.  Add pumpkin, milk, and oil to egg.  Mix well.  
  4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Mix topping ingredients.  Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins.  Bake mini-muffins for 8 to 12 minutes or until evenly browned.  Bake regular-sized muffins for 15 to 18 minutes.  

Serving size: 1 mini muffin.

Calories 69; total fat 2.4g; saturated fat 0.4g; sodium 96mg; total carbohydrates 11g; total sugars 5g; protein 1.3g.


Be a good neighbor this week!