devonly randomonium

Sugar-coated effery and shenanigans.

Life’s a Drag

This is Chelsea Pearl. She rocked the show!

I went to Essence Beauty Mart the other day, and I ran into a gaggle of drag queens. So being the drag queen stan that I am, I started a conversation with them. After chatting, they invited me to their show that night. I was so excited.

I love a good queen. I am always impressed with the ones who have fabulous hair and over-the-top wardrobes. I’m also super impressed if they can beat the hell out of their faces (that means they have a great makeup game).

I went to their show that night, and I wasn’t disappointed. The outfits were glamorous, the hair was awesome and their faces were beat to death. I was so happy that I decided to go. It turned out to be a fun night.

As I drove home after the show, I started thinking about why I loved drag queens. I realized that my love for them went way beyond makeup and glitzy, glamorous costumes. I think that I’m like a drag queen in some ways. No, I don’t have to tuck my meat, or wear booty pads to make my booty pop. But I think I am just as sassy and funny as a queen.

I think what I admire the most about drag queens is their confidence. That’s where the difference between me and a drag queen comes in. I’m confident in my people skills, but I’m far from confident about my body. Don’t cry for me Argentina. I’m actually getting better. I’m not pleased with Baby Miguel (my gut), but I am loving my legs right now!

Anyway, most of the queens in the show were plus-sized. But when they got on stage, they worked it like they were supermodels. They weren’t tugging at their clothes to make sure their muffin tops weren’t showing. They weren’t pulling at their body shapers to make sure their rolls weren’t showing. They got up on stage and gave it their all. And that’s what I love about drag queens. I applaud their fearlessness. I also applaud the fact that they don’t care what others think of them.

Who would have thought that I would have an aha! moment after meeting some drag queens? This doesn’t mean I’m going to start wearing wigs, feather boas and sequin ball gowns every day. But I am going to be a little more fabulous than I already am, and work what I have.

 

Image Source: http://www.missshiningstar.com

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Current Fixations: Red Red Wine

I may be a big talker, but I’m not a big drinker.

When I do get my drank on, I tend to stick to the sweet or fruity drinks. Drinks like buttery nipples, margaritas, Japanese slippers, peach or raspberry lambics and Three Olives grape and Sprite. Not a mind-blowing selection by any means and that’s ok. My goals for going out are usually to listen to good music, dance and socialize. I’m not there to be the annoying drunk girl who falls down stairs, pukes everywhere, gives random BJs in the parking lot and professes her love for everyone in the bar.

Lately, I’ve been on a sweet red wine kick.

For years I believed that sweet reds didn’t exist. Well, I’ll take that back. I knew about the communion wine that we would pretend to be buzzed on as kids. But when I would go to restaurants and ask for one, servers would look at me like I was touched in the head. So I gave up hope and just stuck with my Moscato d’Asti .

Last month, a friend introduced me to a semi-sweet and a sweet red wine. Those wines were Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz and  Debonné Vineyard’s River Rouge. I’m not a wine connoisseur so don’t expect to read about acidity, aromas, structures or  textures. I will give you info from the label and my honest opinion.

Chalet Debonné River Rouge

Chalet Debonne River Rouge

Source: MidAmericanWine.org

Description: SEMI-SWEET RED WINE
Light red with classic grape flavors and aromas from predominately Native American grapes. 3% residual sugar.

I’ve never been to Debonné Vineyards, but I used to hear commercials for it on the old one-oh-seven-three, the waaaave. For those who don’t know, 107.3, aka The Wave, was a smooth jazz and R&B station. When I was in high school, I went through this David Sanborn-Boney James phase and I would listen to the waaaave a lot. They also had a great Brazilian jazz show called Sounds of Brazil that would come on Sundays at midnight…ok, rambling.

Back to the wine.

Anyway, I’ve heard that Debonné Vineyards has nice jazz concerts, so I might check the place out one day. As for the wine, I thought it was pretty darn good. It was smooth and not syrupy sweet. It also went well with the fruit and cheese we munched on that night. It’s only $8.49 on the Debonné website so you won’t break the bank if you decide to try it.

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

Source: CapeClassics.com

Description: This fresh, fruity, semi-sweet wine displays aromas and flavors of ripe blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with dark chocolate undertones. Refreshing and approachable with a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, it pairs equally well with meat dishes, cheeses, and desserts. Best served slightly chilled, Jam Jar offers luscious, fruity goodness in every sip!

Yup, that’s about right.

I guzzled this South African wine down with my Fourth of July feast. It went well with ribs, mac ‘n cheese and my red velvet cupcakes. I was surprised because my first encounter with a Shiraz was not a good one. I remember it being very acidic and bitter. It practically burned a hole through my chest.  Jam Jar was sweeter and much better. I’ll definitely be buying more of this one.

Both of these wines can be found at World Market.

In closing, I leave you with this:

Source: YouTube

Stay thirsty my friends. 🙂

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Nom, Nom, Nom: Red Velvet Cupcake Smackdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately I’ve been seeing red in my kitchen. For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with red velvet cupcake recipes. I tried the Buttah Queen’s (Paula Deen’s) recipe, and a recipe from the Joy of Baking (JOB). Now I thought that I would automatically like Paula’s recipe because she doesn’t hold back on the sugar and fat. I was wrong. I actually liked the JOB recipe better.

Here are the two recipes:

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

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Joy of Baking Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (35-40% butterfat content)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 – 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Even though the recipes are quite similar, I liked JOB’s better. The only thing I liked about the Buttah Queen’s recipe was the icing.

I need this mug in my life.

With Paula Deen’s recipe, the cupcakes were kind of greasy and reminded me more of a corn muffin or something. To me, the vegetable oil was a bad call. I think I would just use butter or way less oil if I ever use this recipe again. If you want to take a stab at it, I recommend baking these for 18 minutes instead of 20. If you go over 20, they might be dry and hard from all of the oil. I also recommend adding a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder instead of 1 teaspoon so you can actually taste the chocolate.

With JOB’s recipe, the cupcakes were lighter and fluffier. They didn’t taste greasy and they weren’t too sweet. I didn’t make the whipped cream, cream cheese icing for these because Paula Deen’s icing was almost orgasmic…no joke! C’mon, butter + cream cheese + powdered sugar = automatic win! But the whipped cream, cream cheese icing would work too if you want a much lighter icing. I also recommend baking these between 18-19 minutes. I baked them for 20 minutes, and even though they weren’t dry, they weren’t as moist as I wanted them to be.

Despite my criticisms, my friends enjoyed both versions. But I’m going to keep tweaking things until I get this recipe just right!

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Can You Really Forgive and Forget?

It’s no secret that I enjoy watching reality television shows. My life is fairly tame and normal, so of course  I want to see the foolishness that goes on in someone else’s life.  Most of the shows are scripted, cut and spliced for salaciousness. But who would want to watch an hour of someone working, washing clothes or paying bills? Not me. I’d rather create dryer lint art  instead.

Thanks to the big O’s channel, I have discovered yet another reality show. This show doesn’t have catfights or drunk Oompa-Loompas from Jersey, but it does have real people with very real problems. The show is called Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal.

Unfaithful Logo

 

Unfaithful features two couples that have dealt with infidelity in their marriages. The cheaters and their spouses tell their stories through confessional-style interviews. These interviews are also accompanied with re-enactments of the ordeal. Overall, I think Unfaithful is a solid show. What I don’t understand is why the couples always get back together. I don’t understand how you could love and trust someone again after they have violated you and your vows.  Sure the couples on the show have gone through counseling, but in the end, is that really enough?

I’ve had some pretty rotten things done to me over the years and it’s still hard for me to totally forget about some of those incidents. I try to do the Christian thing and turn the other cheek, but sometimes I feel like the offenders are getting off easy when I do this. I know what you’re thinking. If you were here, you’d probably tell me that being mad won’t make the situation better.  You’d also say that those people could care less about me sitting and stewing in my anger. Yes, you would be right. But I guess I would feel better if someone would find those people and punch them in their guts or smack them in the back of their heads because they are  shitty people. In other words, I want instant karma for those losers.

I’m not a bitter person, but I do have a super low tolerance for selfish people. These people don’t care about anyone but themselves. They also don’t have a problem trampling on others to get what they want. I’m sorry, but if had my own episode of Unfaithful  featuring the crappy people in my life, we would not  be holding hands and strolling in the park at the end. Instead, I would get them in a small room and light them up with a paintball gun.

 

 

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