Taste of Home: Sweet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream-cheese Glaze

It took me several tries to perfect this easy sweet cinnamon rolls recipe – a new addition to our family recipe book. I like this recipe because it is quite simple to make, and each time I make it, they always have turned out perfectly moist and fragrant and tasty.

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

These squishy spirals of buttery dough are incredibly delicious. And became one of our simple indulgence for afternoon snacks served with homemade passion ginger tea.

My family enjoys cinnamon rolls especially when it’s fresh and still warm from the oven. These pillow-y  rolls are just sweet enough, so if you don’t like too much sugar, this recipe is ideal for you.

So, raise your hand if you love cinnamon rolls! And happy journey into the cinnamon roll heaven.

sweet cinnamon rolls

What you will need for the cinnamon dough (for 12 cinnamon rolls):

  • 50 grams of salted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup of fresh milk
  • 1 fresh chicken egg
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pack of instant yeast
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

cinnamon dough

sweet cinnamon rolls

What you will need for the filling:

  • 5 grams of salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbsps of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder

What you will need for the glaze:

  • 50 grams of cream cheese
  • 10 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp of sweetened milk

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

sweet cinnamon rolls

How to make sweet cinnamon rolls:

  • Put the butter, milk and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add sugar, honey and yeast. Mix well.
  • Add flour. Mix well. Knead with your hand until the dough is not sticky anymore and no more leftover.
  • Form the dough into a big ball.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm area. Let it rise for an hour or until it doubles its size.
  • While the dough is still rising, prepare the filling. Put the brown sugar and cinnamon powder in a small bowl. Mix together.
  • Once the dough has risen well, flatten it into a rectangular shape.
  • Brush some melted butter and spread out the filling.
  • Roll the dough. Cut it in circular and arranged them in the baking pan. Then let it rise for another 30 minutes or until it has double its size.
  • Put it in a preheated oven and bake it for 20 min at 160⁰C.
  • Prepare the glaze. In another small bowl, put the cream cheese, butter and condensed milk. Mix it well.
  • Let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle the cream-cheese glaze.
  • Serve and enjoy!
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Indonesia: Kopi Luwak in Bali

Have you heard or tried Kopi Luwak?

On our way to explore the northern part of Bali, we visited Lumbung Sari, one of the Luwak coffee farms as part of the tour.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

As soon as we arrived at the area, a very friendly staff assisted us. He showed and explained to us how they prepare the coffee beans.

We have learned that in Southeast Asia, there are jungle cats called Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries. The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee for nourishment but it is only partly digested. The civet then pooped out the coffee beans. They collected the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process: roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you can buy from the coffee shop.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

We’ve also learned that it’s the most expensive coffee in the world probably because of its scarcity and experience value.

At first we were dead set on not drinking the coffee made from animal poop but we figured out “When in Bali…” So we decided to buy a cup of Luwak coffee (and shared it between me and husband).

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Our experience of drinking a Luwak coffee was really unique. It had a really distinctive aroma. In fact it was chocolatey, winey and had some sort of hazelnut tones. It was rich and delicious. It wasn’t gross or anything. It wasn’t strong and it had very little aftertaste.

They also offered a sample of various kinds of tea. And we got to meet a few of the Luwak too.

Civet “Luwak” is a nocturnal animal: sleeping the whole day long and very active and aggressive at night.

The view from the terrace over the Rainforest was gorgeous, tranquil and breezy. Great for photographs.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

It was certainly a pleasant stop. It was interesting seeing how the coffee was grown and ground into drinkable coffee. It was special and delightful, so combined with its really bizarre story – I think it’s worth a visit. Don’t miss out!

Taste of Home: DIY Family meal – succulent homeburger

Both my husband and I grew up with family dinners every night. So, we try to make it happen in our own family because we reckon it is the best way to connect and find out what’s going on with each other, and it creates memorable family meals.

On top of that, every week, we always have a night assigned for easy fun family meal – either we do a DIY family dinner or we order food for delivery. Thus, for tonight, we decided to make succulent homemade burgers with homemade buns and homemade patties and packed with fresh organic lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and herbs for extra flavor and Emmental cheese.

My customized homeburger – so juicy and tasty

homemade buns and homemade patties

I made the buns and my husband cooked the patties. In his burger recipe, he used minced pork and minced chicken to maintain the softness. He thinks that beef alone makes it too tough, chicken alone too dry and pork alone too fat.

We love juicy burger, but each of us has different opinions about what should be included. Plus, customizing our own burger makes everyone happy. It was certainly fun and we love the interactive dinner vibe. Overall, all of us enjoyed our delicious restaurant-style burgers.

Homeburger

What you need for buns:

  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (1 for the dough + 1 for the egg wash)
  • 1 pack instant yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

homemade buns

What you need for patties:

  • 500 grams minced chicken
  • 500 grams minced pork
  • 3 big onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of flour
  • red pepper, freshly crashed and to taste
  • cooking sunflower oil

homemade patty

What you need for homeburgers:

  • 1 big tomato, sliced
  • lettuce
  • Emmental cheese
  • ketchup
  • mayonnaise
  • Tartare sauce
  • Rouille sauce
  • Aioli sauce
  • Mustard

How to make buns:

  • In a mixing bowl, put in the butter, milk, sugar, egg, yeast and flour.
  • Mix well. Let it rest for 1 hour until the dough has risen well or double in size.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes softer and no more leftover.
  • Form it into small balls. Let it rest for 45 minutes until they double in size.
  • Prepare the egg wash in a separate small bowl. Whisk up 1 egg and 1 tsp of water.
  • Brush the surface of the bread.
  • Spread sesame seeds
  • Bake it in a preheated oven at 160⁰C for about 17 minutes.
  • Take it out from the oven and let it cool down for about 2 hours.

homemade buns

homemade buns

How to make patties:

  • Put the minced pork and minced chicken in a mixing bowl. Add soy sauce and flour. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Sautee the onions until it becomes caramelized.
  • Put in the onions into the meat mixture.
  • Form small balls. Flatten it.
  • Fry the patties in a high fire.
  • Put them on a paper towel to remove some oil and to let it cool down.

meat mixture for homemade patty

Putting together:

  • Assemble your burger your way until it reaches perfection.
  • Enjoy!

Homeburger

Taste of Home: Meat and cheese lover pizza

My family and I were craving for pizza, and since we had some leftover of chicken and pork patty (prepared by hubby), I decided to make meat and cheese lover pizza at home with pizza dough and pizza sauce completely made from scratch. We just love pizza, and we love the combination of how the pizza smells, looks and tastes.

homemade meat and cheese lover pizza

Homemade meat and cheese lover pizza

I always find it satisfying to make good pizza at home because it makes my family on cloud nine. With my go-to pizza recipe, I could make a good pizza with a good pizza crust – that’s soft inside and crispy outside.

My homemade pizza is not a junk food. It deliciously contains a lavish base of homemade tomato sauce prepared with the freshest organic vegetables and low-fat cheeses. It has an exquisite flavor and texture.

Making a really great meat and cheese lover pizza at home was a real treat, and all of us enjoyed our pizza night.

Homemade meat and cheese lover pizza

Ingredients for pizza dough:

  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup warm water to activate the yeast

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 big tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup of water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients for toppings:

  • cooked chicken and pork patty, sliced
  • 170 grams white button mushroom
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in striped
  • 250 grams chive and garlic cream cheese

How to make pizza crust:

  1. Activate the yeast. Put warm water in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp of white sugar. Stir. Add instant yeast. Mix together. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated.
  2. Add the wet ingredients into the yeast mixture. Mix together.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients into the mixture. Mix well.
  4. Knead for at least 5 minutes. Then form a ball.
  5. Cover the bowl with a dry cloth. Allow the dough to rest for an hour in a dry non-ventilated area. After an hour the dough will double in size.
  6. Flour your work surface, and put all the dough onto the surface.
  7. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough and form a circular shape.
  8. Pinch a shallow border
  9. Pre-bake the dough in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 160⁰C.

making pizza crust

How to make pizza sauce:

  1. Put olive oil in a frying pan. Put tomatoes. Mix. Add onion. Stir well.
  2. Add oregano and paprika. Mix well.
  3. Add iodized salt and freshly crashed red pepper. Mix together.
  4. Add water is necessary. Let it cook for about 5 min.

pizza sauce

Top it your way.

  1. Spread pizza sauce on the pizza crust.
  2. Put the meat.
  3. Spread the cooked mushroom.
  4. Add on the cream cheese.

Homemade meat and cheese lover pizza

Bake the pizza.

  • Shoved the pizza in the oven and baked it for 25 minutes at 160⁰C.
  • Et voila! Enjoy your pizza!

Homemade meat and cheese lover pizza

 

Indonesia: Rice Terraces in Tegalalang, Bali

It was a bright sunny morning, we woke up early to see a photogenic place in Bali – the rice terraces.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The rice terraces in Tegallalang is one of the cultural landscapes in Bali that was classified as a UNESCO world heritage site as it show cases Subak, a traditional, oldest and most complex Balinese irrigation systems and it demonstrates Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese core philosophy of life – harmony – which means harmonious relationship with nature, with other people, and with God.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

From our hotel in Kuta, we hired a car to venture in the emerald green interior of Bali. It was midday when we arrived there, and the sun was scorching hot. It left us two options since my husband and my son are so sensitive to the heat and humidity: either we buzz up in one of the restaurants/cafes and get a photo and enjoy the view from the top or we navigate the steps down to the valley and spend a little time exploring the rice terraces. We chose the latter option.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

We ambled through the rice fields up to the highest terrace for about an hour. We rested under the shades of the coconut trees, sipped some water, took some photos, savored the little summer breeze, and indulged ourselves in the scenic panoramic view. It was stunning but we had mixed emotions seeing it – happy because it seemed like we were strolling on a vast shimmering fields of gold and sad because some of the rice seeds were too ripe and no one harvested them – it made us think that it was just there to look good for tourists.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

As we walked down the stairs, there were heaps of swings for you to rent. The swing looks great though, wished I could get a unique Instagram shot but I didn’t have enough patience to wait for my turn to get on the swing.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The entire place is beautiful but they made it into a big industrial area for tourists. From the main entrance (where we parked our car), the street was packed with a plethora of rip-off restaurants, cafes and tourist shops. Nevertheless, if you like a gorgeous, unique and green view, I recommend this place for you.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Get there early in the morning to avoid the heat and to beat the massive flow of tourists.
  • There are many entrances down to the valley. I think it’s better to walk down the road from the car-park and then walk down the valley to the other side where they have a big swing tied to 2 palm trees.
  • It’s not suitable for disabled/unfit person.
  • Bring some water and a towel.

Philippines: Catching-up with high-school friends in Tandag

I am very lucky to have some really amazing and crazy bunch of friends around, who bring so much positivity and make my life wonderful and lively.

It’s been a while since we saw each other last; I’m grateful that they were able to squeeze in a little time off their busy schedules to make my short break in the Philippines worthwhile and I’m so glad I had the chance to catch-up with them.

…with my high-school friends through the years!

How did we catch-up?

  • I invited them to my sister’s wedding and to the house blessing of our new home.
  • Chaperoned our children (who happened to be classmates and friends) to their own catch-up time at VML Hotel.
  • Went for a sunset walk at the Riverside in Telaje.
  • Played badminton at ELG Badminton Center.
  • A coffee group date at Brew Central

…with my high-school friends at my sister’s wedding.

What did we talk about?

We talked about life in general – memories (loads of them and we laughed at them), work, family, food, fitness, travels, friends we have in common, etc – just a bit of everything. It was just pure fun and laughter. Everybody was cool, calm and casual, so there was a natural flow to conversation as if we were just talking a few weeks ago. And when one was talking, we were all ears!

…with my high-school friends through the years!

They were still the same guys then, even though I didn’t get to see many of high-school friends since it was December/Christmas break – in the Philippines, it’s a time of the year for so many family gatherings. I really missed them. It was so great to catch up with them after all these years! And I hope to see them again soon.

when we chaperoned our children…

Personally, I think when I met my high-school friends, emotions speak more than words. And when we met, we thought we were still in high-school and we wished to go back to those good old days when we were carefree and relaxed from the stresses of life. It’s like all that mattered was that we were together again.

…with Daryl.

…with Grace and Eowyn, her daughter.

Certainly, I reckon meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in years and being able to chat for hours is one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had. Cheers to 25 years of friendship and counting!

in the wilderness?

sunset walk at the Riverside.

…with Daryl and her love of her life.

How about you – how often do you meet your old friends?

 

 

Philippines: Breakfast at the beach in Tandag

Amongst the many things I love about my hometown is a wonderful beach breakfast or brunch at Mabua Beach in Tandag, where we only live 5 meters away from the sea.

Breakfast with family at Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

It was a beautiful day after Christmas, all of the big events in the family (my sister’s wedding, Christmas Eve celebration and house blessing of our new home) were over, so we decided to have breakfast at the beach.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

We brought all the leftovers from Christmas, plus mom’s cooked fresh tinolang isda (fish soup) with freshly harvested vegetables from her garden.

Everybody had good appetite. Everybody was delighted. Everybody savored the moment.

  • Got thrilled out by the unlimited karaoke on the beach. Don’t you know that it is part of the Filipino passions?

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Had fun with the big waves – swim through, dive under or ride over them.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Luxuriate in with one of my favorite books.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Got a kick out of a tranquil walk on the seashore.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Dug on the beach and buried up to your neck in the sand.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Wallowed in the luxury of tranquility and togetherness.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Certainly fun!

Mabua Beach in Tandag

How I love to smell and hear the warm early morning sea breeze, listen to the sound of the crashing waves, watch the sun glorious rising hues, and bask in the stunning view of the sea. It was so warm, relaxed and breathtaking!