Monthly Mystery Munchies #29: Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese and Buttermilk Glaze

Whoop whoop! Back in the land of the living! (Although I am often zombie-esque, so I’m not really sure how accurate that statement is, but it’s all relative.) To make a long story short, I had an accident which resulted in a few surgeries and bed-rest for six weeks. After two months, I rejoined society. This annoying and frustrating situation threw a spanner in the works of, well, everything. However, I was totally ready to go ahead with Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme: Cinnamon. Anything with cinnamon. Now, you might say “oh, that’s so easy”, but it was actually quite tricky. The very first idea that popped into my mind was cinnabuns. I mean, yassss.

Google was my trusty friend, but I was daunted by the recipes I found online, until I found Once Upon A Chef’s cinnamon bun recipe. “Let’s just try it and see what happens”, I thought. And so I made it, and it was amazing AF. Jenn Segal, food guru from Once Upon A chef, tried a few recipes before perfecting this one. And perfect it is! I’ve adjusted the frosting by increasing the portions and adding vanilla, which I am permanently ‘sessing over. I am also obsessed with cinnamon. I’ve had a love affair with it for years. I put it in everything. Like, everything. It goes into my smoothies, I sprinkle it over my All Bran and bananas every morning, I put it in curries and chilli dishes… Any opportunity and I’m down.

Baking is something I haven’t done for quite some time. The price of butter has skyrocked in South Africa. FML. No, seriously, it saddens me. Baking is something that’s an instant mood enhancer, and I’m not just talking about the finished product. In fact, I think I enjoy the actual process and preparation more than the reward that comes out of the oven! Okay, maybe not more, but definitely on par.

Cinnabuns. Cinnamon buns. Cinfully delicious. Crisp, not too sweet, and the icing melts, literally melts, in your mouth. It’s like little fairies moonwalking over your tongue. I am so amped to see Ann’s creation. She always pushes the boat out. She’s a serious foodie and her recipes are beyond impressive, inventive, imaginative and delicious. Please visit her site for the most amazing food, adventures, humour and more.

It’s important to note that these portions have to be measured precisely.

Cinnamon buns

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For the buns:
7 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon + ½teaspoon salt
3 cups spooned flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ cups buttermilk

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temp
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1¼ cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making it Happen:

In a 9-inch cake tin, place a piece of tin foil at the bottom, covering the sides too. Preheat your oven to 220°C (440°F).

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon salt salt in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand.

In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining dry ingredients together. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter and buttermilk and stir using a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed, 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Sprinkle flour over a work surface, transfer the dough and knead until it’s smooth, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Sprinkle more flour on your surface, lightly dusting it. Form a rectangle with the dough, then roll it into a 9 inch x 12 inch rectangle with your rolling pin. Dust the rolling pin lightly with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Brush the dough with a tablespoon of butter and evenly spoon the brown sugar mixture over it, pressing it down firmly with your hands. Roll the dough into a tight log, pinching to seal it. (You might need to use a tiny bit of water to help seal the seam.)

Turn the log over so that the seam is at the bottom and slice into 9 pieces. Place the buns in the cake tin, flat side down, and brush with the remaining butter. Bake for 23 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Using the foil overhang, transfer the buns to a wire rack. Allow to rest for five minutes, then separate the buns (you might need to use a knife.)

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix the buttermilk, cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar, and drizzle over the buns.

Serve warm, or refrigerate and reheat later. (15 – 20 seconds in your microwave.)  


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Monthly Mystery Munchies #18: Bloody Good Tomato Soup


Double, double, toil and trouble! This month, my Best Blogging Friend, Ann (Grubbs n Critters) and I decided to do a Halloween meal. But who knew there were so many options? A spidery cake was really appealing, but because I suck like a Cullen at decorating, I did a spicy tomato soup, complete with freaky eyeballs.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

This reminds me of a scene in the Addams Family, where Gomez and Mortitia are looking at baby Pugsley in the crib. Gomez: He has my father’s eyes. Morticia: Gomez, take those out of his mouth. Hashtag DEAD! In honour of one of my favourite movies, I added ‘eyes’ to the soup.

This was all a bit of fun, the soup ‘decorating’. (You can see what I mean when I say decorating ain’t my forte!) This recipe is totally amazeballs when served under normal, non-Halloween circumstances. Simply blitz all ingredients, slice the prosciutto and mozzarella, chop up the parsley, add some halved olives and a few dollops of sour cream, and you’re good to go! But if you want to vibe it up, here’s my unfortunate attempt:


My dearest Ann’s bewitching kitchen treat this month is the friendliest ghost, Casper’s Pannekoek (pancakes). It’s a hit with kiddies and adults alike, so please check this ghoulicious delight out!

Bloody Good Tomato Soup

  • Difficulty: dead easy
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2 yellow onions
2 red onions
1 tbsp minced garlic
1kg large tomatoes
2 red and 2 green bullet chillies
1 red, yellow & green pepper
1 x tin 400g whole peeled tomatoes
240g tomato puree
1 cup veg or chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 pieces prosciutto
6 mozzarella balls
Sour cream
Italian parsley

Making It Happen:

Heat the olive oil and add chopped onions and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the chillies and peppers. Fry until soft and the onions are translucent.

Chop the fresh tomatoes and, with the canned tomatoes, add them to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomato puree and vegetable (or chicken) stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to your liking. Blitz in a food processor until smooth. Pour into bowls, then carve a hole in the mozzarella balls, place the olives in each hole, then wrap in prosciutto. Place in the soup and add a dollop of sour cream.

Alternatively, if you want a more normal-looking soup,blitz all ingredients, slice the prosciutto and mozzarella, chop up the parsley, add some halved olives and a few dollops of sour cream, and you’re good to go! Dunzo. It’s dead easy!


Words Crush Wednesday: Charlotte Brontë Edition & Dragon’s Loyalty Award


Today is Words Crush Wednesday and a few weeks ago, Lisa nominated me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, given to loyal fans/commenters. Thank you so much, Lisa! I decided to parlay the two (I never get to use that word!) and give a quote about enthusiasm, because the people I’m nominating have it in spades and it’s evident in their every blog post.

Here’s the deal for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

  1. Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  2. Pass the award on to other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  3. Give 7 facts about yourself.

Here’s some stuff about me:

  1. I can read upside down. This comes in handy when I’m chilling like a bat.
  2. I taught myself how to cook. Thanks, Google!
  3. If I don’t read in bed every night, I feel noticeably less calm the next day.
  4. I laugh a lot (mainly at myself). In my opinion and experience, a good sense of humour is one of the most important tools for getting through the tough times, and enjoying the good times. What is a good time without laughter? Well, that and wine.
  5. I don’t know what ‘cold-pressed’ means. Don’t judge, but do leave the answer in the comments section.
  6. I get really amused (and moderately annoyed) when people use the word ‘irregardless’. No. Just no. I’d like to say that I won’t judge you if you do this but um…
  7. I usually enjoy the process of cooking slightly more than eating the results, especially when I’m trying out a new recipe. The same can’t be said for baking which is why it only happens once a month, sometimes twice a month, but my husband wouldn’t know this because I’m really good at cleaning up.

I’m nominating these very awesome people, who have wonderful, admirable enthusiasm for what they blog, and thus inspire me every day:


Credit: Google Images/


Words Crush Wednesday – Mark Twain Edition

When pondering this week’s Words Crush Wednesday there was one thing that repeatedly crept into my mind: bravery and courage. There are various types – physical, emotional, often both, and what made me keep coming back to this theme was something absolutely extraordinary that happened in Jeffreys Bay over the weekend. Jeffreys Bay, or J-Bay, is a small town in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Famed for its incredible beauty and equally impressive waves, the annual J-Bay Open is a surfing competition that attracts the best of the best on an international level.

While taking to the waves, pro surfer Mick Fanning experienced something that can only be described as miraculous. He beat up a great white shark. No, really, it happened, and it was caught on live TV. The shark approached him and as it was about to attack, he hit it in the back. Like a boss. He escaped without a single scratch or tooth mark. Incredible. This is a very obvious and literal interpretation of bravery and courage, but you don’t have to literally fight one of the world’s greatest predators in order to be brave and confront danger fearlessly, or to be courageous and take on an overwhelming task whilst feeling fearful. It’s often understated, thus it goes unnoticed. There is courage within all of us, whether we’re aware of it or not. Single parents are deeply courageous, firefighters running into a burning building, brave. There is a firefighter within all of us, but sometimes we need a gentle, or in the case of Mick Fanning, massive reminder that you don’t have to be a Goliath in order to beat up a shark.

As a side note: the shark is reportedly still in shock after being beaten up by an Aussie and is receiving counselling, but is believed to make a full recovery.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain

Mick Fanning

Image courtesy of

Words Crush Wednesday – Nelson Mandela Love Wins Edition

This is huge. Huuuge. The United States of America has finally legalised same-sex marriage unilaterally. It’s been met with some opposition, but mainly celebration as all Americans are now able to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation. This is probably the only time I’ll say this on my blog: for once, South Africa was way ahead of the States, legalising same-sex marriage back in 2006.

The thing is that America is a superpower and the world at large tends to significantly take notice of what they do. Being South African, it seems we have a higher tolerance for diversity, having so many vastly different and recognised religions, races, languages, you name it. I know what it’s like to be in a minority group. Here, in my beautiful country, I am part of one because of the colour of my skin. However, I can gladly say that I don’t know what it’s like to not be accepted just because this is how I was born. You see, it’s not your fault that you’re different and don’t fit into the neat mould of what’s commonly accepted as ‘normal’. No one wants to be different, to the extent where there are laws preventing them from fulfilling their basic human rights. It’s not the same as having multiple piercings and dying your hair every colour of the rainbow. Sure, that’s different in relation to the norm, but there are no laws against what colour your hair should be, how you dress, the music you listen to. Perhaps if this fits you, you’re considered quirky but certainly not abominable.

I can’t imagine someone telling me that my desire to commit to the person I love is wrong. That I can’t achieve that because, shudder, what will people think and the Bible says such and such about it. What exactly is the issue with same-sex marriage that freaks people out so badly? Here’s my confusion – if it’s immoral for two people in a relationship to live together in the carnal way because that’s living in sin, but they’re not allowed to get married because that’s also sinful, then what are they supposed to do? How exactly do they solve their dilemma? If it’s so wrong, so morally repugnant, and the reasoning is because in Leviticus verse whatever, it says so, then why isn’t divorce illegal? There is such hypocrisy about it. Whether it’s a dude marrying another dude, or two women, or two heterosexual people, live and let live.

I am deeply appreciative of the tolerance we South Africans have for people who are different to us. We can’t escape it, it’s all around us, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tata Madiba was all about acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness. He was the living embodiment of what he preached. He led by example and actioned his words – no empty promises, no hot air because it sounded good. We would all do well to learn from a man who was punished and tortured for what he believed in, that he dared to take a stand against those persecuting him for the colour of his skin and because he wanted equal rights for all. That brings me to this week’s Words Crush Wednesday. One love, people, one love.

Gay Pride Flag 1

Photo credit of flag: Google Images/ Words: Eat, Play, Clove

Words Crush Wednesday – Captain Jack Sparrow Edition

Really? We’re quoting Jack Sparrow now? He of the many layers of guyliner, beaded hair, perpetual swaying and too-much-wine shlurring? It seems so.

We all have problems, every single one of us. Show me a person with no problems and I’ll show you my cellulite-free thighs. When it comes to problems, challenges, dilemmas, whatever you want to call them, there is a very clear dichotomy: those who focus on the solution and those who dwell on the problem. Yes, it’s easy, and, to a degree, normal, to get caught up in a problem, especially when it’s overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. But then, after however much time you need to process it, you face it. You explore possible solutions and employ one. Even if it’s difficult, even if it’s something you’re scared of, uncomfortable with, or daunted by. There are too many people in this world, however, who obsess over the problem. They become enveloped by the magnitude of it, or, quite simply, enjoy the drama.

Let me be clear – everyone has different coping mechanisms, that is not what I’m referring to here. That you practice said skills is the point. Lately there have been too many people around me who thrive on the histrionics of the problem and have no desire whatsoever to solve it or even attempt to identify a solution. If you approach it as something that has a solution, not just something that’s a never-ending pit of despair and complication, you are halfway there already. I’m not in the habit of quoting pirates, funny that, but this is exceptionally valid and right on point which makes it this week’s Words Crush Wednesday:

Jack Sparrow

Words Crush Wednesday – Princess Diana Edition

I went to the store for a couple of items to make cupcakes. I ran in, grabbed the icing sugar and milk and went to the express till. In front of me was an elderly gentleman, smartly dressed but his clothes were old and tired, some seams were loose, there was a hole in his jersey, but still he’d tried. He was clearly shopping for one – one tomato, one onion, one apple, two bread rolls, half a litre of milk. My heart broke. He reminded me of my Gramps. No one should be alone at that age. He had a chocolate and a Coke, and when the till attendant rang up his items, his face dropped and he had to put the sweet stuff back. She deducted the items from his total and he just made it with barely a cent to spare. Off he went, walking slowly and carefully. It took less than 10 seconds to ring up my few items but all the while I was watching him navigate his way through the busy supermarket. It’s cold. It’s raining. I couldn’t resist. I added his items to mine and ran after him. At first he was confused when I called him and touched his arm. Then I gave him his chocolate and cooldrink. His eyes welled up. To me, it’s so insignificant, I walk into a grocery store, grab whatever I need and sometimes throw in some treats without giving it a second thought. I have enough money for it, I’ve never had to put any items back. It dawned on me that a lot of people aren’t in that position, especially in South Africa where poverty is an overwhelming crisis. So how could I not brighten his day? At first he resisted but then I explained that he had to accept them because I don’t eat raisins, which the chocolate contained, nor do I drink fizzy drinks. To me, it’s no biggie, but to him, it was a special moment. He thanked me profusely but the feeling I got seeing his face light up was quite possibly better, warmer, than his. One doesn’t have to buy someone something. It can be a smile, carrying someone’s heavy packets or simply acknowledging other people. After all, isn’t that what we all want? To be recognised, to be treated as important human beings? It takes such a small act to have a profound impact on another. That’s why I decided to use this week’s Words Crush Wednesday quote. Be kind to others, for the reward is often greater than the simple act carried out.

Photo credit: Women's Quotes for Success

Photo credit: Women’s Quotes for Success

Words Crush Wednesday – Pema Chödrön Edition

Have you ever wondered why the same thing keeps happening to you over and over? As if it’s on an annoying loop and you can’t find the pause button. I fully believe there is a lesson to be learnt in everything, good and bad, and it is up to you to see and receive that lesson. This quote, simple yet profound, deeply resonated within me which is why it’s this week’s Words Crush Wednesday. If you can’t understand why you keep finding yourself in the same situation, this might help:


Pema Chodron 3


Words Crush Wednesday – Alice In Wonderland Edition

I’m having this kind of day. I needed to see this. I needed to be reminded not to let myself think that anything is impossible. We all have days like today when, for whatever reason, things are overwhelming and start to get you down. Always remember there’s nothing you can’t do, as long as you believe you can do it. Here is this week’s Words Crush Wednesday: