A look back: September 2020

I'm constantly wondering how this space will evolve and maybe one day eventually end.
social medias have taken over because its faster, more to the point and honestly easier to engage with people on. 

who reads blogs still anyways? I'm not even a real blogger.

but still I always find myself wanting to capture, reflect and share parts of my little life. I'm a Virgo who likes words too. I enjoy instagram and do not use facebook but even that hasn't very enjoyable for me lately. . I usually over think these blog posts and would never even dream to use iPhone 11 photos. but 2020 has been rough for everyone so I am going with the casual approach because I can’t think of the last time I picked up my DSLR.

I have two recipes I want share but right now I thought I'd go with a September (mostly food) photo recap.. birth month wasn't the worst even though yes, we are still very much in the weirds (pandemic).



THE  cheesiest, smoothest mashed potatoes, one beautifully poached egg  + toasted baguette slices were out of this world. the crispy potatoes are a must, trust me.



Egg Sammie. 

my peanutella + PB n’ J cookies travelled (frozen) to a different state but of course I needed to do a taste test bake. delish, and peanut butter cookies aren’t even in the top five for me.


A LOT of avocado toast this month.

surprise doughnut delivery from my favorite person..


thai tea brûlée slush from Tea Maison



Chinatown adventures. what’s your favorite treat at 85°? I ADORE their egg tarts but I always pick up something new with each visit.


special birthday delivery from a special friend who understands my deep love for cookies + Christina Tosi. 

day/night lewks.


throughly obsessed with the short rib fried rice fried from Le Thai.

downtown (mild) shenanigans.

coffee + cake (buttermilk blueberry lemon breakfast cake. recipe coming!)

kale caesar salad with salmon + homemade sourdough croutons. SUPER yum and definitely would repeat this first time meal. I used Shutterbean’s recipes as a guideline for the Caesar salad dressing & croutons.


told you.



What a trip to the Korean grocery store looks like. I love Asian snacks everything.

homemade monggo with chicharron + shrimp. one of my Filipino favorites! I’m so happy to have an adaptable recipe that is so super easy to make. doesn’t even take long to cook and keeps extremely well in the fridge for leftovers.

work is easier with cookies.

mr mama’s breakfast outing. happy birthday Sam.

furry friend round up!

super cute lunch date at Sweet Honey Dessert + a quick pit stop to Tea Maison.


lobster balls (and other snack use) from Easy Life.


breakfast fried rice. the best way to use leftover rice! garlic, bacon, egg + green onion. staple in my house.


chicken salad for easy workday lunches. deboned a hatch green chile rotisserie chicken from Sprouts added mayo, salt n’ spice, diced red onion + lemon juice.


last September I had a wedge salad at Flemings, changed my life and never looked back. I think I ate like 6 wedge salads this past month.
iceberg lettuce + halved cherry tomatoes + crispy bacon + blue cheese crumbles + sliced red onion + blue cheese dressing. pro tip, salt and a splash of red wine vinegar on the sliced onions.

September 2020 was challenging, like how I said earlier this whole year has been. I guess I don’t need to really remind anyone of that. we’ve all been experiencing our own battles and a couple of shared ones. stress & anxiety might be running high but this is my reminder to stop and have some conscious gratitude for the positive moments in life. it can be alarmingly easy to lose yourself when things are harder but there is a ton love when you pay attention. 

maybe that’s what this space is going to be for, a reminder to pay attention. 

be kind to yourself, god knows I’m trying.

- rita 




last sunday was mother's day, i'm lucky enough to have a wonderful mama that i got to spend the day with! also beyond grateful to have many amazing mothers in my life. i know "holidays" of any kind can stir up extra feelings, not all of which are warm and fuzzy, this particular mother's day fell on my dad's birthday which made it bittersweet. for me, father's day will be a struggle, it's like having a lump in your throat that won't go away which makes everything a bit harder. on these days, when you feel badly remember to be good to yourself. do things that you love, whether that's going out with a friend for a meal or perhaps staying home with netflix, indulging in postmates and putting on a nice smelling face mask. 


we ate outside, a table of only women.


my sister made this kiddo and then this kiddo made whipped cream because i asked berry nicely.


mama requested mimosas & waffles, so guava mimosas and brown butter buttermilk waffles is what i made.


bunches of berries, bacon, turkey sausage, beef bulgogi (we are asian? it made an appearance.. i have no actual real reason for it being apart of brunch), cheesy scrambled eggs, and waffles joined us at our table.


i think i have made uuhh, between 40-50 different waffle recipes and have yet to find my PERFECT one. 

with this waffle recipe i used dry buttermilk for the first time and was very happy with the way they turned out. i usually always buy real buttermilk, use it for A recipe, then the rest usually ends up going to waste and i'm left with a broken heart. i figure finding a way to minimize heartache is always the best approach to most things in life.

christina tosi helped transform the way my brain thinks about dried, powdered and other dehydrated ingredients being used in baked goods. since reading both of her cookbooks i have noticed it has slightly changed how i approach creating or adjusting a recipe i'd like to make and i'm happy for the influence.

life is hard, eat more waffles and hug people that make your heart feel bueno bueno



breakfast surprise!


this morning i planned on grabbing a latte and stopping by pinkbox doughnuts to indulge in some doughy goodness. it's my off day.. so i figured ya know, treat YO self. staring into their double glass case filled with oh SO many options i over heard chatter of cronuts..

i perked up right away since my foodie feeds have been buzzing about cronuts for i don't know.. forevs. but sadly there has been no reliable sources in Vegas to get my hands on any. leave it to pinkbox to pull through and surprise a lady! if you missed my last post about them, i truly have a deep love for this special little doughnut shop.

Cronut (3 of 3)

what i thought?

SUPER rich, flaky edges and you really should eat it while its still nice and warm. they do deflate a little and it sort of reminds me of a krispy kreme glazed doughnut to be honest.. just a smidge but better. you really have to try them for yourself. there was a 5 min wait time for them but it was worth it to have them hot and fresh. yum!

this also came home with me too. stolen from my instagram feed! find me @ritabakes to keep up with my daily eats & b.s. if you're curious about my shenanigans.

i have quite a ferocious instagram habit. being able to quickly capture little moments of your life, precious. i'm forever trying to be better at snapping more of just what's on my plate.



Cronut (2 of 3)

recipe box: cornbread pancakes

Corn cakes
can i tell you how painfully difficult it can be to fill the space between these pictures with words?! it is like, super dang hard you guys. but you know what? we're going to get through this you and i, just like last time.

but it really shouldn't be difficult, right?! it's just pancakes. we should be able to chat freely now and especially about pancakes.

pancakes aren't difficult, they're pancakes!

Corn cakes (1 of 1)

these flapjacks are my spin on a good ol' fashion corn pancake. maybe in your house you call them johnnycakes or perhaps hoecakes?

in my house we called them - oh wait that's right we never ate corn pancakes or cornbread in my mom's asian flavored kitchen. thank goodness for being grown because in MY kitchen i sure do and boy, do i love a good hunk of cornbread.

i have actually only ever eaten corn pancakes once and that was at Magnolia Cafe (austin, tx) leave it to those austinite foodies to capture my heart with pancakes and corn. having such a fondness for cornbread, even kind of straight terrible cornbread (no shame), it sort of blew my mind that i could order it for breakfast.

since i spend most of my time out here on the west coast, corn pancakes are just not something you see on most breakfast menus. so anytime i find myself in the south or midwest i always remember to keep an eye out for them.

Corn cakes (1 of 1)-2single serving size..maybe if you're superman.

a few months ago while i was visiting the biff in kansas city we stopped into Cracker Barrel for our mandatory meal, closest one to vegas is a two hour drive so of course it was on the list. while she graciously picked up the tab she also picked me up a box of corn muffin from the Old Country Store. as my best friend she understands but doesn't share my cornbread love but that's what friendship is.

friendship means getting to eat all the cornbread because the other person doesn't care for it, duh.

Corn cakes (3 of 3)

one weekend morning when i was having a tough time figuring out what was for breakfast i kept wandering back to the corn muffin mix sitting on my pantry shelf. let me tell you indecisiveness is a no joke situation when you are hungry and looking for a partner in crime for your morning coffee. but after much debate with myself I'd come to the decision that cornbread muffins just wouldn't cut it for breakfast, well at least not that particular early morning.

cornbread pancakes however was a definite yes.

make it extra yummy by browning some butter.

grab some buttermilk, a couple eggs...brown sugar.

Corn cakes (1 of 3)

i started using coconut oil to make my pancakes and love the extra subtle flavor it adds. i strongly encourage you to make the swap seriously you won't regret it.

these lovelies came out exactly the way i wanted and needed them to and hope they might be a fit for your breakfast needs too.

i'm sure maple syrup would be just as good but since these aren't regular flapjacks let's get creative.

generous slice of good butter, dollop of orange marmalade, a drizzle of honey and breakfast is served.





Cornbread Pancakes

Print Friendly and PDF



  • dry ingredients

    • 1 cup cracker barrel corn muffin mix
    • 1 cup self rising flour
    • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 4 Tbsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • wet ingredients

    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup brown butter, cooled
    •   coconut oil for cooking.




    1. whisk dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, set aside.
    2. in a medium mixing bowl whisk eggs with the buttermilk, add the vanilla. lastly whisk in the cooled brown butter.
    3. create a well within the dry ingredients and pour all of the wet mixture inside. whisk together until just incorporated, you should have a few streaks of flour, set aside for 10 mins.
    4. on a griddle or in a frying pan over medium heat, use a small portion of coconut oil to grease the pan and drop 2 - 3 tablespoons of cornbread pancake batter. after 2 mins, flip your corn cake and finish on the other side for a 1 1/2 mins.

the Foodcourt: Pinkbox Doughnuts


we're friends here, right? i can talk honestly, share my thoughts.. no harsh judging or stern finger pointing? phew, good.

because i think i have a problem.

a big-round-hole-in-the-middle kind of problem. sometimes my problem is baked, but most times it's deep fried. yeasty doughy and often dipped, glazed, and sugared.

seriously you guys, i just dough nut know what to do.


Pinkbox doughnuts is a greatly welcomed new little business. i have always been envious of great doughnut cities like seattle, nyc, la, and portland because i felt like vegas lacked a little in that department.

now don't get me wrong there are some solid options for the more "traditional" doughnuts but i wanted creativity and interesting flavor combinations. i wanted bacon on my maple bar, dammit!

but in december of 2012, i got my wish.

Pinkbox (1 of 3)

of course their boxes are pink.. how could they not be?

Pinkbox 2

my order:

1. campfire s'mores 2. chocolate glazed 3. sweet potato cake 4. cinnamon spice cake 5. the fat elvis 6. apple pie fritter

i think you might have a problem now too. right!?

and to think that these are just a few of the flavor options. their menu is growing fast and it seems that every time i pop in there is a new irresistible must try. it's terrrrible! but at least we both have this problem, we're in it together now.

worst part? located less than 5 mins away from where i live. how dare they!

convenient and creatively tasty. yikes! i'm probably going to need to join some sort of a group now. see you there.

Pinkbox (2 of 3)

everyone should try the sweet potato cake, certainly one of my favorites. although on my last visit their newest addition was a coconut cream filled bar and oh my was it heavenly.

happy to call this my neighborhood doughnut shop and i can't wait to take my biff into Pinkbox the next time she is in town! when her and i get together we make doughnuts disappear. we're magical like that.

with moderation and whole lot of cardio hopefully me and my issues can come to an understanding.




recipe box: blueberry scones with lemon glaze

Blueberry Scones (11 of 12)
even though the weather in Vegas still says summer, my brain (and taste buds) are fully ready to jump into fall. i can't wait for long sleeves, warm cable knit knee highs, blankets, soup, and all the holiday fun getting ready to happen again.

i have a whole list of fall cooking & baking ideas that are meant for making chilly days cozy and am looking forward to sharing them!

since breakfast is the first and my most favorite meal of the day it's great place to start off my fall foods.

let's prepare to get sconed and grab our ingredients!

Blueberry Scones (2 of 12)taking a closer look.

Blueberry Scones (1 of 12)

Print Friendly and PDF

blueberry scones

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold + cut in chunks

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

in a large bowl mix all of your dry ingredients together. flour, baking powder, sugar, & salt.

Blueberry Scone collage

1. with 2 knives or a pastry blender cut the butter into the dry ingredients to coat the pieces with flour. the mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

2. fold the blueberries into the batter. take care not the mash the blueberries to avoid color bleed into the dough.

3. make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. fold everything together just to incorporate.

Blueberry scone collage2

preheat oven to 375. press dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. place scones on an un greased cookie sheet or a baking stone and brush the top with a little heavy cream. bake for 15 - 20 minutes until beautifully browned. 

while the scones bake away you can get your lemon glaze ready

..shall we?

Blueberry Scones (7 of 12)

lemon glaze

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups powder sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 lemon zest finely grated

1-2 tablespoons of water

Blueberry Scones (8 of 12)

the easiest way to do this is in a large microwave proof bowl, whisk powder sugar + lemon juice then heat until dissolved. whisk in the butter + lemon zest and re heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. use a little extra water if your glaze feels too thick.

Blueberry Scones (10 of 12)

when the scones have comepletly cooled cut into triangle pieces. finish by drizzling the lemon glaze over the tops.. be as generous as you'd like!

Blueberry Scones (12 of 12)

here's wishing you spend many fall mornings getting sconed with some coffee!




*this recipe was adapted from Tyler Florence*

recipe box: carrot cake pancakes

a handful of my favorite bloggers really gave me extra motivation to be proactive in creating RitabakeZ, one of which is favorite foodie  Joy the baker, maybe you have heard of her? she recently released a cookbook filled with a 100 simple and comforting recipes like chocolate bourbon spiked banana bread, peach cobbler muffins and how to make the best cup of hot chocolate! but as soon as i saw her carrot cake pancakes i knew it had to be the first recipe to try. because seriously..cake, for breakfast? i am all about awesome ladies who can find me interesting ways to make it okay for me to eat CAKE for breakfast. did i mention she also has a recipe for oatmeal cookie pancakes too? cake and cookies for breakfast?! madness! but oh so good.


you do not even understand how delicious these were! this is how you are going to want to start your day.

Carrot (3 of 3)

Carrot (1 of 3)

thanks for an amazing breakfast Joy, this definitely will not be the last time we cook together.




recipe makes 12 to 16 small pancakes

Print Friendly and PDF

for the pancakes:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

generous pinch of ground ginger (i used 1/4 of a teaspoon)

1 egg

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups finely grated carrots

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts & raisins (optional)

3 tablespoons butter or nonstick cooking spray


for the cream cheese spread:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

dash of ground cinnamon


    to make pancakes; in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and if so desired, nuts and raisins.

    in a small bowl whisk together egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. stir in the carrots.

    pour the buttermilk mixture, all at once, into the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. let rest for 5 minutes while you make the cream cheese spread.

    to make cream cheese spread; in a small bowl, whisk the cream cheese until soft and pliable and no lumps remain. whisk in powdered sugar, milk, vanill, and cinnamon. set aside to top the pancakes.

    over medium heat in a greased skillet. spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into the hot pan and cook flipping once, until pancakes are golden brown on either side.