God Rest Ye Merry Werewolves, and Ghosts and Vampires too. With muffins. We can’t forget the muffins.

Today I stopped by my friend (dare I say friend) Austin’s house to drop off muffins for his Grammy. She loves muffins, especially the ones I make. Austin and Grammy are Vampire Hunters, but they only go after the bad ones. I’m not a bad one. In fact I’ve had them help me out a time or two but that is a different post.

I know you might think it odd that I’m making muffins, being a Vampire and all, but I DO make the best muffins. I don’t eat them but I love the smell and I love the joy they bring. Just like my husband Teddy becomes the cookie baking king this time of year.

When Teddy was a child, a long long long time ago, he would make cookies with his mother and their cook. Now that he is a Vampire (since 1875) he still bakes cookies this time of year. Hey, we’re spreading the joy.

Next I stopped by my friend Adam’s house to drop off muffins for his 88 year old mother. She loves a good muffin. Aside from being a scary talented photographer, Adam is also a Werewolf. Sure were friends. Why not. You know all the peace on earth goodwill to all thing. Why shouldn’t we be friends.

While I was baking my kitchen filled with Ghosts who just wanted to smell the muffins as they came out of the oven. I put a few on the plate so they could sit next to it and bask in the goodness, imagining what it would be like to eat one. Always let Ghosts smell your cooking, and your coffee. That keeps them from throwing stuff around and haunting you in the middle of the night. Good cook are never bothered by Ghosts.

God rest ye merry Werewolves
Let no howling in the fray
Remember I made muffins
For now and Christmas Day
To save us all from growling
And that you won’t be a stray
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy
Vampires and joy
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Best Muffins You Have Ever Had

Juliette’s Recipe
Makes 10 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar (this is just regular white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (don’t be tempted to be overly healthy and use olive oil – do not use olive oil – use some sort of vegetable, canola, or corn oil)
  • 1 egg (chicken egg – do not be tempted to use an emu egg or a dragon egg, or fish eggs) If you want to go vegan or whatever substitute a 1/3 cup of smashed banana or apple sauce for the egg.
  • 1/3 cup milk. I’ve used almond milk and it works just fine.
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Topping (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add nutmeg too if you feel so inclined)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. In fact, seriously folks, don’t even bother with greasing the muffin tin, just use muffin/cupcake papers.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Don’t over mix – just make sure it is all mixed in nicely then STOP.
  3. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4.  Fill muffin cups a little bit over the top (nobody likes flat muffins), and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  5. Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup COLD butter (chopped up in squares), and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork (or your hands), and sprinkle over muffins before baking. You should end up with small peas sized bits of butter covered in flour/sugar mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

I usually fill 10 muffin cups.

Variations: If you don’t have blueberries, or don’t feel like blueberries chop up an apple (no peel) or pear (no peel), or add fresh cranberries. You can also add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and nuts if you feel like it. I’ve even made these with well drained finely chopped fresh nectarines and strawberries. Add anything you want (I don’t recommend meat or beans.) You can also use frozen berries but make sure they are room temperature and well drained. You may also exchange the lemon zest for orange zest.

Wishing you all comfort and joy,
And muffins!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Red Muffin Tin

Vampires, Party Favors, Family, Friends, Thanks, and a Recipe for Swiss Chard.

Vampires, Party Favors, Family, Friends, Thanks, and a Recipe for Swiss Chard.

Back in the 1880’s around the time of Jack the Ripper, my brother Valentine and I spent some time in London. We were in our 20’s out having fun and getting into more trouble than I want to mention tonight. There, in London, we met another young American Vampire, named Pleasant Van Dusen. Pleasant and I became lovers. He was handsome, cultivated, fashionable, sexy, and I hate to admit, but a bit more of an asshole than I needed. But at the time we worked well together, especially with the party scenes of both elegant Vampires and warm blooded folks.

We were young. We were Americans. We were full of too much joy and light for most Vampires we met there. Truly, we were, and of course the others, the English, and European Vampires found us extremely fascinating.

On cold November evening, dressed in our best formal party wear Pleasant and I attended a party that was promised to be spectacular. Upon entering the ball room of the beautiful mansion we were greeted with the sight of a low table about ten feet long, covered with all sorts of food. There were cakes, berries, apples, pastries full of cream and more fruit, chicken pies, tiny roasted potatoes, breads, and muffins of all kinds. Around the table sat at least two dozen small children, dressed in frilly fancy clothing, eating away without any adults saying no.

Of course not. The only adults in the room were Vampires, and the children were very warm blooded.

Pleasant and I looked at each other, then looked again at the children. This was not what we expected. The host and hostess greeted us with a giddy excitement that was unusual for English Vampires of the time. They had obtained two dozen children from different sources. It would be such a rare and wonderful night of feasting after the little darlings were done with their own party.

I have to say that by different sources I mean children of the poor, without parents, or with parents who were more than willing to sell their own children to well dressed, attractive people with a lot of money. These Vampires, I found later, had their sources. There was no shortage of children to be purchased – no questions asked.

Pleasant smiled and introduced me to his friends. They were lavish with their attention on me, especially after they realized that I was one of those rare Vampires who was born a Vampire, not made one after the fact.

To make a long story short, sort of, when the time came to pick a child and feast upon it’s young and delicate blood, I feigned illness. A blood bourne disease, no doubt from an opium user or some other drug, Pleasant explained to them. As we were ready to leave, coats in hand, the host handed us two bundles.

“One of each. A boy and a girl. Consider them party favors,” said our host.

In our carriage on the way home we discovered we had a skinny baby girl of about eight months, and a talkative boy who said he was four years old.

The boy said he lived in a house with his father and five or six women. He didn’t know which one was his mother. He said a pretty woman, with pretty clothes, who smelled like flowers, gave his father real money, then she took him to the party. Before the party a group of maids gave all of the children baths, then put them in clean fancy clothing. It had been great fun with more food than any of them had ever seen.

We arrived back at the house I was sharing with my brother Val.

We told our story to Val, who was both disgusted and amused.

“What are you going to do with the children? You know we can’t keep them,” said Val.

“I don’t know,” I told him.

Then Pleasant, in typical Pleasant fashion, said, “I don’t care what you do with them but you need to get rid of them as soon as possible.”

“Me?” I asked.

“Yes, you Juliette. I have to get something to eat before I starve to death. I’ll be back in a few hours.” And with that Pleasant Van Dusen left into the night in search of fresh blood, but not from children.

Val glared at the door. “Typical Pleasant. Of course he left those children with you.”

“Am I going to live you now? Are you going to be my new parents?” The boy called out.

“I think I know someone who might take them in. She doesn’t have children her own. God knows she and her husband have been trying. This might just be a blessing in disguise,” said Val.

“Are you her Vampire?” I asked my brother.

He smiled. “Yes, I am her Vampire. She owes me.”

Val and I gathered up the children. The boy said he was called Billy. The girl had no name. I held her tight against me. She was so warm, and smelled like a bit of heaven.

We dropped the children off at the home of Val’s friends, a lovely women called Lillian and her husband the Marquis of Lampeaus.

Val spoke to them while I kept the children quiet. He used his powers of persuasion to convince the childless couple  to keep the children as their own.

Like I said, I’m trying to keep this story short.

Right before dawn Pleasant came back into the house. He made love to me in my bed, his hair smelling cigar smoke, his breath of fresh blood. He brought me a bottle of Poet’s blood, the first I’d ever had.

Then he said, “Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We should celebrate, with Val and maybe a few other friends.”

And so we did.

And we continue to, but now I’m married to Teddy, and Pleasant Van Dusen is with someone who fortunately is not me.

Occasionally, like on Thanksgiving, we, Vampires eat things that are not blood, or things that go with blood. One of these is Swiss chard.

Way back in 2012, I shared a recipe for my Thanksgiving Swiss Chard. It is a good source of something green for your belly (and heart.)

Juliette’s Swiss Chard (Originally from Uncle Rico)

  • About a half pound of bacon (or more to taste, use whatever kind you want but a good thick cut pork bacon works best for me)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 cup) or balsamic vinegar (cranberry flavored is nice)
  • 1-4 table spoons fresh garlic chopped – to your own taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One onion – chopped sauted until translucent.
  • Hand full of roasted chopped walnuts.
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard, cut in 1 inch pieces. It is up to you if you include the stems (I don’t, some do). I also add in a hand full of flat leafed kale and sometimes some spinach.

Put some olive oil, a couple of table spoons of the stuff, in a large skillet and heat it up nice and hot. Throw in the garlic and chard and crumbled cooked bacon. Or you can forget crumbling and just cut the bacon into small pieces BEFORE you cook it.

Toss it all around until the chard starts to wilt a little. Throw in about a table spoon of butter, the onion, and a little bit of the bacon fat (optional). Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then drizzle with the lemon juice or vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Some people like to add some Tobasco sauce – that is up to you. Top with walnuts. Taste as you go to make it just how you like it. Simple and easy. That’s all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And yes, the children lived long happy lives with their new parents. They really did.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Vampire Roasts Pumpkin Seeds (an easy how-to with pictures)

Juliette Roasts Pumpkin Seeds (an easy how-to with pictures)

At my house, after we carve our Jack-o-Lanterns, we roast the pumpkin seeds.

Contrary to popular opinion Halloween isn’t great for Vampires due to the over abundance of sugar. I’m not kidding. We don’t handle it well. So it makes sense that pumpkin seeds are the perfect Halloween treat (other than fresh blood but that is a different post).

Some methods of roasting pumpkin seeds are full of steps. Well step no more. This isn’t the fox trot or Dancing With The Stars. It is just pumpkins seeds. It is EASY.

Juliette’s Way to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Clean seeds after removing them from your pumpkin. Just scoop them out with your hands or a spoon. Remove all the gunk. Rinse them off.
  2. Spray your baking stones or pans. I use either my thousand year old well used black and beaten pizza pan or a well seasoned stone (I used to have a Pampered Chef stone but somebody broke it). I have better pans that I use for other things – but the old ones seem to work better for this sort of thing.
  3. Heat oven to 300 degrees F
  4. For 3-4 cups of cleaned seeds mix in a couple table spoons of olive oil and season to taste. I use a lot of garlic and a touch of seasoned salt. And why yes, Vampires DO eat garlic. But mix up your flavors with herbs, chili powder or Tobasco sauce. Whatever floats your ghost.
  5. Spread seeds on pans (one layer) and bake for 25 – 60 minutes. It all depends on how wet your seeds are. Figure it out as you go along and check every 10 minutes or so. When seeds are dry and crisp take them out. Feel free to taste while you cook (the sign of a good cook). PLEASE keep checking so you don’t burn the seeds. They will be dry and crisp when ready. And I mean dry, not chewy like an apple, but dry like a potato chip.

This isn’t a recipe for the exacting anal cook but it always turns out wonderful pumpkin seeds for me.

Happy Halloween!

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Clean out your pumpkin.

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Carve it. Admire it. Smile because it is so happy and scary!

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Clean your seeds.

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Turn oven to 300 F.

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Season and mix.

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Put seeds in the oven.

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Go admire your Jack-o-Lanterns.

Nom nom nom! Seeds are ready and crunchy and yummy! And good for you!

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Happy Halloween!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Burning Question #28: Apple Pie

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Pie!

There are all sorts of pies. Everybody has a favorite.

This is the time of year when the new crops of apples are being harvested. So APPLE PIE is the subject of today’s feel good, non-offensive BURNING QUESTION.

There are some who say, “Actually, apple pie isn’t American.” Shut your pie hole. Nothing is more American than Apple Pie. That is like saying “BBQ isn’t American because the current breeds of cattle used for commercial use originally came from Scotland.”

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Yes, we all went to school with that kid. Our kids had to deal with them. We’ve worked with that guy. Dude, chill. It is just a saying. Now go get yourself a piece of apple pie with ice cream on it and feel good about yourself and the people around you (yes, this IS a parenting blog too.)

Apple pie is universal. Where there are apples there is pie.

Apple Pie.

Everybody loves pie. Even I, who has to say no to most pie (because I’m a Vampire) love pie, or at least the idea of pie.

I once made an apple pie with no recipe. It actually turned out really great. Woo Hoo. The key is to not make the apples too sweet. When in doubt go light on the sugar. The second key is to keep the shortening or butter in the crust COLD COLD COLD and don’t over mix it. That way it will turn out nice and flakey. And one more thing – ALWAYS use good crisp tart apples. Granny Smiths are good. Stay away from Fuji apples for pie. They’re great for eating but not so much for pie. However if you throw in a couple of Golden Delicious (not the red) it adds a nice naturally sweet flavor.

Juliette Trivia: I like to bake more than I like to eat what I bake. I’m not even tempted to eat it. I like giving it away.

Apple Trivia: Apples were first cultivated in Centeral Asia, but they have been cultivated in Asia and Europe for thousands of years. The European settlers brought apples to America (and Canada and Mexico.)  Wherever people go they bring their apples with them.

My children did not learn about Johnny Appleseed in school. When I told them about him they thought it was a weird story.

This week’s burning question will leave with all kind of warm and fuzzy fall fun. How do you like your apple pie?

 

 

Should Apple Pie be eaten plain, with cheddar cheese or with vanilla ice cream?

 

 

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Honey, don’t you need a pot holder? You can tell she is some sort of paranormal person, because otherwise her hand would be burning.

If you have more thoughts on pie let me know. Leave something nice (like pie) in the comment section. If apple isn’t your favorite tell me what is? Or do you prefer savory pie. Or are you feeling like math today and pi? Please share.

Check back next week for another BURNING QUESTION. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Useful Links (and I’m not just talking sausages)

25 Useful Links (and I’m not talking sausage)

  1. Do you want to suggest someone for a TED Talk or even suggest yourself? Click Here.
  2. Do you want to donate blood? Click Here.
  3. Do you like to read a fun Vampire Paranormal Romance Series? Click Here.
  4. Would you like to read a super cool Vampire series? Click Here.
  5. Do you want to read some GREAT NEW SCIENCE FICTION? Click Here.
  6. Do you want to find a great place to stay on your next road trip? Click Here.
  7. Do you want to visit or learn about a National Park? Click Here.
  8. Do you need a festive silver-plate serving pieces for the holidays? Click Here.
  9. Do you want to learn about a great art museum? Click Here.
  10. Do you need to identify a silver pattern? Click Here.
  11. Do you want to hear a song? Click Here.
  12. Do you want to learn about Bram Stoker? Click Here.
  13. Do you want to learn about corny Vampire films? Click Here.
  14. Do you want to read articles about writing? Click Here.
  15. Do you want a great easy cookie recipe? Click Here. 
  16. Do you want to read Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing? Click Here.
  17. Do you want to hear another song? Click Here.
  18. Do you want to learn how to knit? Click Here.
  19. Do you want to learn about Fun Goth Style? Click Here.
  20. Do you want to visit Florence, Italy? Click Here.
  21. Do you want to see a Teleporting Fat Guy? Click Here.
  22. Do you want to learn about classic movies and theater? Click Here.
  23. Do you want to read a sort-of-love story? Click Here.
  24. Do you want to read about a journey with a cat, a dog fight, and Vampires? Click Here.
  25. Do you want to learn how to make sausages? Click Here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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#NanoPoblano

 

Breakfast With Vampires (College Life)

My son Garrett and his roommate Randy (both college students in their 4th year) decided to be “normal” this morning.

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Hey, we’re Vampires. We do do well with carbs and sugar, and most food for that matter. So we’re creative. Everyone should be creative.

Happy October. Happy Parenting. Happy Vampires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman