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 


recipe box: texas sticky ribs

Tx ribs

a few weeks ago i was invited to a party at an old friend's house and was excited to hear it would be a rib cook off. although i didn't participate there was so much to choose from with all the guests that did. i tried 3 different options and all were so good. my favorite tasted like there might be a hint of a curry powder and had just the right amount of sweet. maybe i tasted some honey? mm.

after some beers, ribs, and friendly people i left inspired to make some ribs of my own.

Tx ribs (1 of 10)

months ago i was gifted this texas spice rub medley by my brother in law who is currently working out in TX and thought it'd be the perfect time to use it.

i don't own a grill, and a man has YET to build me a meat smoker, so we're tackling these babies in the oven. did i mention how easy this is going to be? i don't like my bbq too craazy sweet and usually lean towards the tangy and smokey choices.

Tx ribs (3 of 10)

why texans are hilarious, season flavor break down:

good shit is a sweet n' salty seasoning, special shit is their all purpose, and aw shit is hot n' spicy.. of course.

Tx ribs (4 of 10)

i ended up using a bit of the special shit and some aw shit, i like it spicy. bring the heat skip the sweet!

Tx ribs (5 of 10)
Tx ribs (6 of 10)

line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. season the pork ribs generously starting with bone side up so you end with the meatier side on top, season as well.

Tx ribs (7 of 10)

grab a same sized piece of foil to cover and fold the ends to seal the ribs into a nice neat package. let them sit out for about 45 mins, getting all that flavor settled in, and then preheat the oven to 275. they will cook for an hour, need to be flipped then cook for an hour and a half, flip and finish the last 30 mins with the meatier side up.

Tx ribs (8 of 10)

once the ribs are in the oven gather the ingredients to make the bbq sauce. yes.. we are making our own. i didn't think i could either but we're doing this business.

in my kitchen most things get a little asian-ized.. it just happens, so some ingredients are not exactly traditional for a bbq sauce. creativity or otherwise known as trial and error.

Tx ribs ingredients

up close on the smaller items.

if you're thinking "holy crap, what the hell is tamarind powder?!" it's okay, we have some options if you don't have access to some schweirdie asian goods.

Tx ribs (10 of 10)

put all ingredients in a medium size sauce pan and simmer on low heat for about an hour. stir occasionally.

Tx ribs (1 of 1)

once it has had time to cool you're left with a rich, tangy and slightly spicy bbq sauce. this was a "i surprised myself" good recipe.. keeper for sure. a little effort makes a world of difference, tastes nothing like i've ever had in a bottle.

now to just wait for the ribs to finish their 3 hour stay in the oven, don't forget to flip!

Tx ribs (1 of 7

switch the oven to broil once you've removed the baking sheet. wait 30 mins to let cool then unwrap the foil package carefully and remove the top layer completly.

Tx ribs (2 of 7

using kitchen tongs flip the rack of ribs and smother with bbq sauce, flip meat side up and smother the top with more sauce.

Tx ribs (3 of 7)

place back into the oven's broiler for about 25 - 30 mins. keep an eye on them, take them out once a sticky glaze has formed from the sauce.

Tx ribs (4 of 7)

voila! they're finished.

Tx ribs (5 of 7)

sunday dinner consisted of fall off the bone sticky ribs, white bread and pickled okra. that's just how you have to do it.. some kind of pickle feels needed.

my take on a bit of texas was a success in my book and will be making again for sure. that bbq sauce could be delish on so many things too! oh the possibilities.

what'd you have for dinner?



Tx ribs (7 of 7)

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Texas Sticky Ribs




  • ribs

    • full rack baby back ribs
    • texas dry rub seasoning
  • sticky asian bbq sauce

    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup ponzu
    • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind powder (or 3 tablespoons lemon juice)
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
    • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder



  • ribs

    1. rinse ribs, pat dry.
    2. use foil lined baking sheet and coat both sides of the rack of ribs with dry rub. cover with second sheet of foil and fold edges to seal in to a package.
    3. cook in a preheated 275 degree oven for 3 hours. flip at least 2 times in the oven.
  • for the bbq sauce

    1. in a medium sauce pan on low heat mix all ingredients together and simmer for at least an hour stirring occasionally. set aside.
  • finishing in the broiler

    1. once the cooked ribs have cooled for 20-30 mins unwrap foil package and remove top layer. smother in bbq sauce and place back in the oven under the broiler for 30 mins until a sticky glaze forms.


enjoy with white bread and pickles!

recipe box: kangkong adobo

i've recently found myself more and more curious to the paleo way of eating and for 90 days decided to make most of my meals paleo friendly.

in doing my research i found that a lot of my regular go to meals were already paleo or could be with just a few adjustments. sadly i'd have to say goodbye for now to most carbs, more specifically the gluten variety, as well as pretty much all dairy but not for forever. oh god no! and surely once and a while wouldn't hurt..

i am by no means a paleo expert and am being flexible in my approach but 19 days in and i already feel a difference. whatever works for you, right?

i like to think of the recipes that i make for this blog as rewards because let's face it, there will most definitely be cake, cookies, maybe a pie. but duh.. moderation of course.

beauty in the balance.


this recipe is a popular filipino side dish and one that my filipino mom has been making for years. this garlicky savory veggie side also happens to be perfectly paleo. i love that so much, happy accidents.

kangkong, say it out loud.

come on, i know it's a little weird and funky sounding. have no fear this pretty common asian veggie is a type of swamp spinach and can be found in most asian grocery stores. if kangkong is not something you are able to find, feel free to sub with regular spinach (i do all the time!)

if you are not familiar with filipino food adobo is probably THE most popular style of cooking uh, anything. seafood, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables, there are so many varieties depending on what part of the country you are from. more importantly your style of adobo comes from whoever is teaching you! and i thankfully have had a few special ladies that have helped contribute to my adobo skills.

adobo will always have these 3 ingredients. soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. beyond that it's all about achieving your ideal taste.

Kangkong (1 of 10)

just like regular large leaf spinach, kangkong can hold a lot of dirt and thorough washing is needed.

if you are using spinach instead of kangkong for a time saver pick up a large container of baby spinach and skip the washing all together!

Kangkong (2 of 10)

once the kangkong has been dried, separate the leaf from the stalk.

the stalks are a little tougher and need a bit longer to cook, this way we can get started on them first.


this is what you'll need.

Kangkong (4 of 10)

over medium heat, add one tablespoon of e.v.o.o. and fry the sliced garlic to golden brown perfection.

Kangkong (5 of 10)

there we go. remove garlic and add another tablespoon of e.v.o.o. to your hot pan.

Kangkong (6 of 10)

over med/high heat add the kangkong stalks first and saute for 5 mins.

Kangkong (7 of 10)

add the leaves.

Kangkong (8 of 10)

once it begins to wilt, add vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. saute for another 5-7 mins and then toss in the fried sliced garlic.

Kangkong (9 of 10)

after another 3 mins, it's done.

Kangkong (10 of 10)

from my half filipino home kitchen, to yours.

happy eating.




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    • 1 lb kangkong, washed & seperated
    • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp fish sauce
    • 2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce



  • for kangkong

    1. thoroughly wash your kangkong to remove any dirt. once dry, separate the leaf from the stalk.
  • in a large saute pan

    1. over med/high heat, heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and fry sliced garlic until golden brown. remove from pan and set aside.
    2. add 2 more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pan to heat. add kangkong stalks and saute for 5 mins, next add the leaves.
    3. once the leaves begin to wilt add vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce and cook for another 5-7 mins.
    4. last, add the fried garlic from earlier back in, cook for 3 more mins.
    5. that's it, easy!

recipe box: a True Blood stake dinner

True blood dinner (4 of 8)

i couldn't think of a better way to kick start my second blog feature here at Rita Bakez, than with a bit of inspiration from a highly addictive tv show. every summer when the heat in Vegas reaches the point of unbearable it's time to start enjoying new delicious episodes of True Blood. if you are like me helplessly glued to your tv screen every sunday night you certainly shouldn't have an empty stomach, it just wouldn't be the proper thing to do. with each 'Recipe Box' post i'd like to use as an opportunity to share a meal with you, because that's how i was taught people got to know one and other. so with a heart full of southern hospitality i'd like to share my Makers Day meal with you,  Stakes & Garlic Fries with a boozy Sweet Tea!

True blood dinner (6 of 8)

could you tell i was a little excited for this show to return? this was premiere night dinner! confession? sometimes i get a little carried away..it happens. another thing you should know.. i kind of maybe watch a lot of tv...ssh. it's secret.

but seriously..back to the food!

for the steaks i chose new yorkers, they are usually my first choice but feel free to choose your favorite.

season them with salt, pepper, and a good amount of garlic powder at room temperature for at least 30 mins. while your steaks sit get started on the fries!

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4   russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick fries (i left the skins on)

6-8 cloves of garlic

10   tablespoons of olive oil

in a small frying pan on low heat, fully warm the minced garlic and olive oil. you don't want to really cook your garlic, we are just trying to infuse all that yummy garlic flavor into the oil. seat aside.

True blood dinner (1 of 8)

place the cut fries into a bowl with all of the minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of the garlic olive oil, we will be saving the rest of the oil for later. give the fries a good stir and shake so the garlic and oil can be evenly distributed. place plastic wrap over the bowl of fries and heat in the microwave on high for 4 mins.

while the fries heat away time to get started on the seasoning.

Merlottes Vamp proof seasoning

1/4   cup corn starch

1/2   teaspoon cayenne pepper

1        teaspoon dried rosemarry

1        teaspoon garlic powder

1        tablespoon salt

1/4   cup, chopped parsley

1/2   cup, shredded parmesan cheese. set aside for the baking process!

mix all ingredients (except for the parmesan!)  press with a fork to break up some of the rosemary. smells good, huh? 

ding! go check the microwave and pre heat the oven to 400F.

True blood dinner (2 of 8)

place the hot fries (be careful!) on a baking sheet, and brush the tops of the fries with half of the garlic infused olive oil we set aside.

with a small spoon, sprinkle half of vamp proof seasoning you made earlier try to coat as evenly as possible.

pop them in the oven for 10 mins, then remove fries and repeat the process after you flip them. after another 10 mins of time in the oven remove the baking sheet.

switch your oven to broil.

sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and place under the broiler for 5 mins.

True blood dinner (03 of 8)

let's get into this. 

while the fries were in the oven becoming amazing, i pan fried the steak.

if you'd rather grill, i'm all about it.

if you'd rather only eat these savory crispy oven fries, i'm all about that too.

True blood dinner (8 of 8)

dinner's up!

a southern dinner really can't be complete without a strong sweet tea, i stepped mine up with a lemon simple syrup and bourbon.

True blood dinner (04 of 8)

fill a mason with ice, add desired amount of bourbon and fill with sweet tea. i will be sharing my sweet tea recipe soon so stay tuned.

i hope you enjoyed the first taste in the 'Recipe Box' with a dinner straight off the Merlotte's menu.  

happy watchings Truebies

until next time

True blood dinner (7 of 8)