devonly randomonium

Sugar-coated effery and shenanigans.

Nom, Nom, Nom: Blueberry Yogurt Cupcakes

If you don’t know by now, I love to bake.

It’s funny because when I was younger, I hated being in the kitchen. I didn’t have the patience to make pound cakes, sweet potato pies or truckloads of Christmas cookies. On the other hand, my sister loved it. She would sing cheerfully and hum while icing cookies or filling pies. All I wanted to do is go outside and find weird bugs or play video games.

As I got older, I started to appreciate baking. It was fun. It usually involved as Paula Deen would say, “buttah” and sugar, and it became a release after a stressful day. So now I try to bake whenever I can.

Alrighty then. Time for today’s recipe. This recipe comes from the May 2011 issue of O almighty’s magazine (The Oprah Magazine).  This Blueberry Yogurt Cupcake recipe was featured in an article called Cooking Up Friendships by Howie Kahn. Cooking Up Friendships is about a group of food bloggers, brought together by the recipes of food writer and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. You can read the full article here.

This recipe is a fruit-inspired twist on Dorie Greenspan’s French yogurt cake created by French Fridays with Dorie member Joel Brown.

Blueberry Yogurt Cupcake Recipe

Serves 12

blueberry yogurt cupcakes

Source: Oprah.com

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you’d prefer, omit and use another 1/2   cup all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
Grated zest of 2 lemons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup canola oil
1 package unflavored gelatin, bloomed according to directions
1 (16-ounce) can blueberry pie filling

Directions
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: About 45 minutes

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a cupcake tin and place it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, ground almonds (if using), baking powder, and salt.

Put 1 cup sugar and zest of 1 lemon in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar. Add 1/2 cup yogurt, eggs, and 1/4; tsp. vanilla and whisk until the mixture is well blended. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Fold in the oil. Pour batter into cupcake tin, filling cups about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes begin to come away from the sides of pan; they should be golden brown, and a thin knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a butter knife between the cupcakes and the sides of the pan. Turn out cupcakes and cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together 1/4; cup sugar, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups Greek yogurt, and gelatin. Spoon over cupcakes and chill. Top each with a spoonful of pie filling.

Adapted by Joel Brown from Dorie Greenspan’s French yogurt cake with marmalade glaze in Baking: From My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

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Current Fixations

Hey kids! Time for another exciting installment of Current Fixations.

This week, I’m reviewing two more stellar products. Those products are Clinique’s Quick Eyes Cream Shadow and Essie polishes. I’ve been using both of them faithfully and I am really pleased with the results.

Clinique’s Quick Eyes Cream Shadow

If you don’t know by now, I am a born again Clinique stan. Their Superbalm is always in my purse, I absolutely love their acne line and don’t get me started on the Chubby Stick! Ok, I need a moment to compose myself. I just got my pressure up thinking about all my great finds!

On Mother’s Day weekend, I stopped by the counter to stock up on my products and was introduced to yet another magical thing. That thing was Quick Eyes Cream Shadow.

Source: Clinique

Here is the product description:

Have a beautiful eye day, all day. Light, velvety cream glides on vibrant colour that wears up to 10 hours, stays beautifully crease-proof and colour true. In pearly shades from subtle to high-lustre. Ophthalmologist tested.

Here’s the deal.

I was looking for an eyeshadow primer because I was tired of my shadow creasing all of the time. For those who might not know what creasing is, creasing simply means that your shadow is building up in the folds of your eyelids. This can happen if you use a rich eye cream, put foundation on your eyelids or have oily skin. The shadow ends up mixing with the oils and looks streaky.

Anyhoo, the beauty advisor introduced me to Quick Eyes. She told me that it worked better than Clinique’s Touch Base for Eyes and lasts even longer. I was skeptical at first because in the store, the Cocoa Shimmer shade looked waaaaay too dark. But I let her put it on my lids and it blended in nicely. The beauty advisor then grabbed some shadow from the MAC counter and put it on top of the Quick Eyes shadow.  It looked great and held up well.

I use this on a regular basis under my shadow. Sometimes I’ll even  wear it alone for a natural look. It is easy to apply with the wand but I like to buff it in with a fluffy shadow brush like Sonia Kashuk’s Crease Shadow Brush. You don’t need a lot and I just use it on the lid.

Quick Eyes Cream Shadow comes in nine shades and costs $15.50 at Clinique.

Essie Polishes

 

Source: Essie

A long, long, long time ago when I was cracked out on Allure magazine, I decided to try Essie’s Ballet Slippers polish. Allure swore this was a great natural shade and because I took their word as the gospel truth, I bought some. I was über disappointed in it. It bubbled, it chipped and I was mad that I forked over my hard-earned cash for it.  So I decided to give Essie the cold shoulder.

Fast forward to May 14, 2011.

I strolled into Trade Secret in search of the latest OPI shades. I didn’t see anything that stood out so decided to leave before I started sympathy buying. On my way out of the store, I saw a display of Essie polishes. They were BOGO, so I decided to check them out. Two bottles for $8 was a good deal but I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to pull the trigger on the purchase. I talked to the sales associate and she said that she liked Essie better than OPI. She also said that Essie actually was formulated for natural nails and OPI worked better with acrylic nails. I don’t know how true that is, but I figured spending $8 wouldn’t destroy my American dream or anything.

I bought Escapades and Lacy not Racy. All I can say is that I love both shades and when used with Seche Vite, my manicures have lasted for at least two weeks.

No bubbling and no chipping so far. So I guess my bad experience was due to user error!

Essie has a wide range of colors and you can find it at Ulta, Walgreens, Tarjay and Rite Aid. Trade Secret in my hood (Summit Mall) probably won’t carry it anymore, but they’re getting China Glaze instead. That’s cool with me too!

Once again, I don’t get any moolah for plugging these products. I’m just giving my honest opinions and sharing them with you!

Smooches!

 

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My Mama’s Mama and My Daddy’s Daddy

When I was a kid, I swore that I would never be like my parents. I would usually make that vow after being whooped, cussed out or grounded for the umpteenth time.

But now, it’s kind of scary because I find myself acting more and more like my parents. I can be stubborn just like my dad, but I also have his quick wit. I have my mom’s work ethic and her protective gene. Having the protective gene means that I’m always trying to look out for those close to me.

Lately, I’ve been spending more time with my grandparents. Because of this, I now understand why my ‘rents act the way they do.

Theresa Sr., also known as Grandmother, is my mama’s mama. She is 93-years-old, about five feet tall and super sassy. Back in January, I started visiting my grandmother on the weekends to keep her company. She’s on  a walker but she never stops moving. She worked as a housekeeper back in the day, so she is meticulous when it comes to keeping her house neat and clean.  She is also meticulous about pretty much everything else as well. I’m serious. She insists that her Neapolitan ice cream is scooped evenly, one flavor at a time!

After spending one weekend with my grandmother, I didn’t think that I was going to make it through too many more. I had a hard time understanding why it took 20 minutes to pick out a hat for church. I also didn’t understand why you need to turn down your bed at 4:30 p.m. when your bedtime is at 8:00 p.m. And we’re not even going to talk about the pooting situation. But I guess when you’re her age, you just don’t care anymore!

My grandmother has a habit of examining what I have on and insisting that I get it for her. The first week, she asked if I could take her to the MAC counter so she could get some makeup. I would, but I know good and well that she is not going to pay MAC prices. She won’t. She almost passed out when I told her that her Revlon Age Defying makeup costs $12 at CVS!

Another week, she looked at me and said, “What kind of bras do you wear? I need to get some because I want my breasts to sit up like yours.” Woooow! Mind-blowing isn’t it? All I could do was laugh and talk her down.

My grandmother and I have had our ups and downs, but I think I understand her a little bit better now. I can also see where my mom, Theresa 2.0, gets her mannerisms.

Clifford Sr., or Papa, is my daddy’s daddy.

Papa is 84-years-old and in good shape for his age. He’s now pretty much unstoppable thanks to Lasik surgery. (He’ll tell you that too.) Papa can drive at night, he still hangs out with his buddies and he likes to sit in his armchair and watch court shows. To him, life is pretty darn good.

My sister and I try to take Papa out to lunch once a month.  It gives us a chance to catch up with him and listen to his latest criticisms.

He likes to talk about how things have changed since he was growing up. It drives him nuts that “the young boys walk around with their pants sagging off their butts.” He also says that he feels bad for us because most of the men out there aren’t about anything. He says, “Men don’t realize that women can do things now. They don’t really need men anymore. Women are going to work and the men are staying at home with the kids. And the men don’t know what to do.”

Another thing that Papa doesn’t understand is why young black men are obsessed with becoming professional athletes. “All these boys think that they are going to play pro ball. But if they get hurt and don’t make it, what are they going to do ? You’d think they would go to school and get an eduction but they don’t want to do that,” he said the other day.

He makes a lot of valid points in his rants, but it always cracks me up when he closes them  out with, “Well, I’m just an old man so what do I know?” He knows a lot and we always enjoy listening to what he has to say.

And thanks to us, he now has an appreciation for the Cracker Barrel.

This post is dedicated to my friend Dana Little-Chambers. Dana has asked me to write a post about my grandparents for months now. So Dana, I hope you enjoy this one!

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Pass the Heineken and Mind Your Business

There’s something that bugs me more than Auto-Tune or Lil Wayne. That something is judgmental people.

I did some digging on the tubes and found a couple of definitions for judgmental. One definition was, “having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.” Another definition from the always amusing Urban Dictionary really struck a nerve. Judgmental was defined as, “a way of making ones self feel better, by hurting others. Usually caused by closed mindedness, and a lack of manners.”

That second definition is what bugs me about the Jugdey McJudgersons of the world. They are the ones who will analyze a person within minutes of meeting them. They will tear down they way a person talks, the way a person dresses, a person’s ethnic background or even their sexual orientation. I’ve been around some Judgeys  and as soon as they start spitting their poison, my skin starts to crawl.  I also start to wonder what their true motivations are. The common denominator usually is the fact that these individuals don’t have lives or  are secretly jealous of those they judge.

I have a pretty diverse circle of friends. Some of my friends are pretty wild, while others are very low-key.  They come from different backgrounds and some do things that I might not always agree with. But do I condemn them to hell or stop being their friend just because of that? No, I don’t. I accept and love my friends – flaws and all. And they accept me as well.

I know I crack jokes and make fun of people on my blog. But honestly, I know it’s not my job to tell people how to live their lives. Grown-ass people are going to do what they want to do. They are the ones who have to live with their decisions, not me. My job is to worry about myself and to avoid sticky situations.

Besides, Baby Jesus hasn’t come down and appointed me as head of the morality police. So until I start floating in the air and sporting a halo, I will be here trying to live the best life I possibly can.

In closing, I only have one thing to say to all of the Judgey McJudgersons out there. The next time you sneer and start unloading the insults, stop, shut your mouth, pass the Heineken and mind your business.

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