photography

recipe box : petite lemon cookies

Lemon

i haven't always been a fan of lemony desserts.

lemon cookies, squares, tarts and cakes definitely did not make an appearance in my filipino mom's kitchen growing up. in fact the only real memories i have were seeing rows and rows of plated lemon meringue pie at the dessert bar in casino buffets. when you're a kid in vegas everything at a dessert bar is spectacular but i always ended up with something chocolaty or creating a very overloaded ice cream sundae making sure to use ALL available toppings, including the whipped cream! you can't forget the whipped cream.

in recent years though, i have come to truly enjoy lemon baked goods. i'm delightfully surprised that i grew into this newly acquired taste but it has a lot to do with how lucky i have been to have tasted properly prepared citrus desserts that were created with a lot of careful and deliberate thought. 

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this recipe, however, does not require a whole lot of thought. it's a pretty reliable straight forward type of cookie. no games!

i realize i often gravitate towards creating (and eating) baked goods that are more on the sturdy side and even though they are petite these babies are no exception. a cookie that'd hold up well if you packed them to go along for a picnic or my personal favorite.. sneaking them into a movie.

a little secret trick i learned, now i do this as often as possible when working with any citrus fruit, is to combine the sugar in the recipe with the zest. in this case, its lemon zest but doing this small extra step is really beneficial to the overall finished product and allows for a more full bodied flavor. 

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i can't wait to keep finding things that make me change my mind about a preconceived preference or way of thinking i have had. its refreshing to know you can always learn new things, you can always change your mind..you can always continue to grow. that's kind of some of the best parts about life. if you think something is permanent, it's not or at least it doesn't have to be if you allow yourself to keep an open mind. 

i love recipe sharing, if there are any links or personal favs of some lemony baked goods that make your heart feel good.. hmu

until then..

happy eating!

xo

rita

 

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Petite Lemon Cookies


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS

  • in a medium bowl

    1. sift together the flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda
  • in a small bowl

    1. combine the lemon zest with the sugar. using a fork, press the lemon zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant and changes color.
  • in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. mix butter and lemon sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
    2. add eggs, lemon juice, and both extracts, mix for 4-5 minutes on medium to high speed until light and fluffy.
    3. slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 separate increments, mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  • using a small ice cream scoop

    1. (i use a 1.6" wide sized scoop)
    2. scoop cookie dough into small balls, place them onto a parchment lined cooking sheet and slightly press down on each dough ball. make sure to leave about an inch of space between each dough ball.
  • in preheated 350° oven

    1. bake for 12-14 minutes, the centers should still be soft when you remove the cookies from the oven.

the Foodcourt : Pambiche

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pambiche! i love saying that word. pambiche, pambiche! over and over, on straight repeat.

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i stumbled upon this adorable cuban restaurant on my last day in portland, it was a superb send off lunch, a warm friendly tummy goodbye. 

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the most perfect cuban mocha, oh my. 

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the house sauces, cuban ketchup and hot sauce. 

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rabo encendido

“oxtail on fire”. a classic cuban favorite that will have you bone gnawing and finger licking! tender oxtail slowly braised in a spicy (not picante) creole wine sauce. served with white rice. it is also gluten free, pretty neat.

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pan con lechón

the original cuban sandwich! adobo roasted pork braised with creole gravy and red onions and served on a toasted cuban roll. served with a side of tostones.

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outside dining meant getting to enjoy your food while watching portland's quirkiness go by on the street next to you.

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it was a beautiful meal! on a glorious overcast day, eating outside was a really great choice.

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i'm not very familiar with cuban cuisine so this was some delicious homework.

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i decided to go with the oxtails because it's one of my favorite cuts of meat (perhaps in a tie with beef shanks). it's usually slow-cooked in a stew, braised or featured in a soup and cooked well it is simply divine!   

this dish was prepared phenomenally, the meat was extremely tender and falling off the bone. the savory sauce was rich, flavorful, perfect with the white rice. highly recommend this dish and i'm highly excited to try more cuban food. 

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don't mind me, i'm just going to be thinking about this mocha and dreaming about those oxtails.. 

i believe i have a few more yummy portland eats to share! however it is very difficult to peep the photos because i get SO hangry and a little nostalgic, that city is filled with an endless amount of delicious goodness.

xo

rita

 

 

 


winter is here.

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both feet firmly planted into winter.

confession... i'm not a huge nature person. what can i say? i think being a city living introvert makes me a little jaded in regards towards the outdoors. i often tend to forget that not too far away from the sparkling vegas lights there are some very beautiful all-natural views. it can be quite magical spending time up in the mount charleston area, especially during winter when you're lucky enough to get to play in the snow.

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burnt cold. 

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the road so far.

i know there are a good amount of people that suffer from seasonal affective disorder and get a mean case of the winter blues. for some reason i really enjoy winter and am the total opposite. i feel calm and peaceful. everything seems paused and it some how gives me the sense of having extra time. 

i adore lighting a candle, enjoying a huge cup of coffee and editing photos while being all cozied up in my home. every once in awhile a needy cat will require some cuddles & warmth but in winter extra cuddles of all varieties are basically a necessity.

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the bro to my ladybro.

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i think the mountains look the most beautiful with a powdering of snow.

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the higher up, the fatter the flakes and all of a sudden i was 5 years old again.

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such peacefulness in the stillness. 

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ghost...? 

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trees lose their leaves every year and still they stand tall and wait for better days to come.

highly anticipating what this new year will bring, cannot wait to find out what adventures and lessons are to come. 

i am going to keep trying to find the happy in every day and on the toughest ones i am going to remember to be kind to myself. we rarely have a choice over what kind of obstacles we are given in life or when people let us down but we do get to decide how we are going to handle ourselves when these situations occur. 

the best anyone can do is keep trying to try. 

xo

rita

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the Foodcourt : salt & straw

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unlimited samples is extremely problematic. 

ESPECIALLY when they are handcrafted teeny (beautiful) spoons of delicious ice cream.

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i remember watching a program on viceland and it featured an amazing human making a bone marrow, smoked cherry flavored ice cream. whaaa?! i didn't quite understand why i wanted to try it so much.. i mean i have watched enough iron chef episodes to know not everything tastes good as an ice cream. (i'm talking to you morimoto!) BUT for some reason watching him make and explain this insane flavor of ice cream as well as his process had me completely mesmerized. i was about it! i wanted to go to there, i wanted to say hello and explore all of the beautiful ice cream ASAP

basically ever since then salt & straw was added to my must visit list for portland. 

i have a fantasy foodie list for many cities, its a little fun thing to do and who knows if i'll ever go but if i do then i'll have some places to start with.

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if i walk into an ice cream shop and the first thing i smell are freshly made waffle cones.. i know they mean business. truly, the real deal.

*waffle cone scented heaven*

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that wonderful waffle cone smell does nothing to help narrow things down with the flavor decision. the menu was nutter butters AND it changes seasonally because of course it does.

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okay reminder on that bit about unlimited samples. 

they will literally let you try every single flavor they have if that is what your heart so truly desires. i have MAD food indecision so i was basically that person and tried super hard not to annoy the kind lady who graciously was spooning me sample after sample. i was very appreciative of her, she was my ice cream angel.

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i decided on not deciding and went with a 50/50 split between the sea salt with caramel ribbons and cinnamon snickerdoodle. 

zero regrets.

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portland, i fkn love you. 

xo

rita

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tis the season!

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oh hello there,

i'm back! as in.. I finally have a new laptop! as in.. I managed to restore my photo editing software to said new laptop!

let's not dwell on the part where I lost a little over 2 years of photos.. no, no must not continue to keep doing that. instead let's celebrate new beginnings and possibilities with a blog post!

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there isn't much hope for a white christmas in Vegas so the holiday feels can feel a little far a way but there are a few things around town that can help change that. the ethel m chocolate factory is a season must that is high up on the list. with the combination of Christmas lights and the smell of chocolate in the air it is easy to get the spirits stirring.

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hello my name is ruby, I work at a chocolate factory.

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even though it was pretty late in the evening I was really excited to get a chance to see people still working. it was like I could almost hear marc summers' voice in my head when I walked along the glass separating all of us from their chocolatey assembly line. not to mention how hardcore I was spying on their work tables I was incredibly curious to see what was going on there.

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after all that work, there they are..!

dark chocolate anything for me pleeease.

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I do not know the owner of this butt, I apologize if this is your butt.

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I do know this one though.

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 check out that smile. lines for days? no sweat.

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my wallace loves.

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supposedly she is the oldest sibling..suspicous. 


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the. best. cocoa.

this is the kind of hot cocoa that you don't mind waiting for.

not to mention how necessary it is before you walk the cactus garden. Vegas may not get much or any snow but it is a desert and it can get extremely cold.. says the person who is cold all the time.. I know, I know.

trust me, rookie move if you skip the cocoa. 

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bundle up to the fullest, cocoa in hand, and you're ready!

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famiglia.

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the holidays remind us to make the time.


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i feel like this year has been pretty rough for a lot of people. speaking from personal experience it really has been for me. i thought for sure this whole year not one good thing actually happened but i realized that wasn't true.

i'm truly grateful for all the people who have been so supportive and empathetic towards me. i couldn't imagine this year playing out as it did without these lovely batch of humans whom i've been lucky to have at my side.

sometimes you have to remind yourself of what matters after you've had crap experiences. sure let yourself wallow, feel your feels but then remember what matters and keep pushing forward.

i remembered i still had this space. i have my family and friends. i have me. 

merry christmas and have a happy new years, i hope you appreciate all the things we tend to forget about and that you take the time to be kind to yourself.

xo

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caitlin

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something a little different..i know i know.

you have this lovely lady to blame, meet caitlin. 

caitlin reached out to me about taking photos to help build up her portfolio and have a little experience in front of a camera. she is super into make up, special effects is where she has a ton of fun. so how could i say no? she is my niece after all, that is what family is for.

just like that it sparked an interest and this whole new venture for me.

caitlinwallacea majority of my photography is obviously food based with a few deviations here and there.

photos of people especially isn't something i'm familiar with at all but i decided to change that with a ton of solo research. lighting seemed to be the most important aspect but really... that is true for photography in general.

i stumbled onto a few blog posts that talked about ring lights and even found a few helpful ones that showed you how to make your own. i really liked what i saw, so many really great end result photos these lights were able to produce. since all of my lighting is homemade i figured this would be a really fun project and a great additional tool for future use.

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caitlin nerds out about the tv show face off on syfy but i mean... obvs? if you haven't ever caught an episode it really stretches the limits of what you are capable of doing with make up. it's also so neat to see how all of these ghoulish creatures from movies and tv get brought to life by a person with an endless imagination and an amazing crafty skill set.

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the first rule of fight club is..

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zombies are some of her favorite.

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flesh on fleek.

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she is pretty cool, i'm happy we share dna.

you can keep up with caitlin on her instagram and see what other rad things she is doing with her make up. hopefully i'll be able to share more of her work in this space as well.

i'm excited to get a lot more use from the ring light and continue learning about this new area of photography. also always looking for volunteers! so don't be afraid to speak up.

see you soon, xo

rita

 

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