recipe box

recipe box : petite lemon cookies


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. 


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. 


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 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!




Print Friendly and PDF

Petite Lemon Cookies


  • 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


  • 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.

recipe box : brown butter mochiko cake


if i'm home on a lazy sunday, this happens most often around 4 or 5pm, more than likely i am in yoga pants and have probably been hanging out with netflix for more than a few hours. deep down i know i should be planning dinner but why lie to myself I have dessert brain and the cake fever can set it in suspiciously fast.

i find myself needing cake like i mean r e a l l y NEED it. 

doesn't have to be a whole dang cake but come on.. we are making a whole cake because that's what we do here. on the general i'm not picky about my sunday cake. i'll settle for a slice of whatever and most definitely a cupcake would do. chocolate buttermilk ? dare i mention red velvet.. that's not still a thing right? (for me it always will be a thing) carrot cake.. yep, that could be good. 

all cakes welcome.

i'll look through my pantry to see what i have to work with.. flours, powders, sugars. peek in the fridge.. sticks of butter? any leftover buttermilk? i hope i have an egg or two. cocoa powder? oh, chocolate chips.. i could melt those. hrm.. ideas.

when i find a box of sweet rice flour tucked away my go-to is this mochiko cake recipe. my mom has been making a version of this cake ever since i was little so to me it tastes like home but this isn't my mama's recipe.

brown butter will be the secret, not so secret weapon.


mochiko- that's a fun word. if you think it might have something to do with mochi you wouldn't be wrong.

this sweet rice flour is used in a multitude of filipino, thai and other asian desserts. a unique squishy texture since sweet rice is a sticky glutinous rice you'll usually find it has a nice chew to it.


although it is sort of deceiving, sweet (glutinous) rice flour is actually, ahem.. GLUTEN FREE! it really refers to that lovely chewy texture i was talking about.

tricky tricky.

wheat and i still get a long but it's good to have a few recipes to count on for friends and family that are intolerant to the gluten.

let's get started!


first thing we need to do is brown that butter and give it a chance to cool. grab a small light metal colored pan or pot and brown baby brown over low heat. you'll hear crackles and pops, once you see brown golden flecks and your kitchen smells like heaven you'll know it's ready.

you could also go the christina tosi method and brown butter in the microwave. if you have ever burned your butter on the stove top you should give this method a try. it is almost impossible to burn butter using a microwave so the odds will forever be in your favor.


let's gather the dry ingredients.




while the butter is browning, whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.


transfer the brown butter into the mixer bowl and let cool.

pure magic right there. heart eyes so hard!

sugah sugah.

once the butter has cooled, mix in the sugar. 

it should still have a coarse yet creamy consistency. warning the smell will be super intoxicating. 


crack a couple eggs and mix together.


scrape down the mixing bowl when necessary.


i like to add the eggs in batches, it incorporates more consistently together this way.

lots of eggs in this cake recipe!



mix thoroughly.


don't forget the vanilla extract (splurge on the good stuff to boost the flavor, you won't regret it)



now to alternate between wet and dry ingredients.


you want to start with the dry ingredients.


mix for a short time.


then slowly add the coconut milk.




keep working back and forth between the two until you've used up both sets of materials.


make sure to finish with the dry ingredients.


prepare your baking dish. i used an old casserole dish that belongs to my mom but you can use a pyrex or just a regular 9x13 cake sheet. seriously though..bouncy cake is around the corner.



 pour the mochiko cake batter into the prepared baking dish, make sure to get it ALL!


pop the cake into a preheated 350° oven and set a timer for 60 minutes.


we'll leave the dirty dishes for the cleaning fairies.

where's that cake?!


oh, there you are.


hello beautiful.


spongy, dense with a slight chew.


this is such a great lowkey sunday cake. super easy, minimal but with a slightly elevated flavor and texture combination. let's not forget that this is also accidentally gluten free, fear not my gluten intolerant folks.

i hope this cake goes good with your netflix weekend, happy eating!




Print Friendly and PDF

brown butter mochiko cake

sweet sticky rice flour cake.



    • 1 (16oz) box mochiko sweet rice flour
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 C butter, browned
    • 2 C sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 (13.5oz) can of coconut milk


    1. brown the butter, set aside & let cool.
  • dry ingredients - medium bowl

    1. combine mochiko flour, salt, baking powder and set aside.
  • mixer bowl using the paddle attachment

    1. mix the cooled brown butter with sugar until fully incorporated (2-3 minutes)
    2. add the eggs in batches, scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
    3. mix in the vanilla extract.
    4. start incorporating a little of the dry ingredients, next add a little coconut milk, alternate between these two and finish with the dry ingredients.
    5. mix until the streaks of flour are gone.
    6. pour cake batter into a prepared baking dish and bake in a preheated 350° oven for an hour.

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)

Print Friendly and PDF

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: citrus bundt cake

Orange bundt
most hopes come with the best intentions. it starts with a dream or idea that you can't shake off and you decide you must have it. the longer you think about it the more you want it and so you make a plan. put pencil to paper and start jotting down notes and building the pathway to what you want that keeps itching at you. even though it scares you, you put yourself in motion and start gathering what you need. preparing. with each action you trustingly get closer and closer to bringing that dream of yours to fruition.

Orange bundt (3 of 11)

baking absolutely like that. particularly to me and i'm sure to some of you out there too.

just a tasty idea itching to be brought to life at the back of your brain.

Orange bundt (4 of 11)

for me there is always a strategy, a list of ingredients, the proper preparations and precautions.

everything in there places please.

Orange bundt (5 of 11)
its a dream so you went an extra step, always trying to make it that much more special.

you can make sugar more special.. use a fork to mix it with citrus zest - ooh la la. for this bundt cake i went for the hat-trick and used orange, lemon AND lime. whoa.. i know. being bold is necessary though.

Orange bundt (6 of 11)

see magical?

Orange bundt (7 of 11)
sometimes the most important is laying out the proper groundwork ..its totally the most important part. remember this part.

grease, flour and prep every nook of your pan. not kidding, do it right.

Orange bundt (8 of 11)

your work is done, you've put in the effort and you're almost at that finish line that you've been envisioning.

Orange bundt (9 of 11)
and then you fall flat on your face..

Orange bundt (10 of 11)
sometimes things turn out ugly and get messy - all your hard work feels wasted and you can't help but feel defeated.

the only thing left to do is scrape together the pieces of yourself and try again. find a new method, take a moment and learn from what happened.

but there are also always new dreams to dream too.

life isn't always pretty but it's worth a try every time. when you expect something to go one way and it doesn't that's when you have to remember that the crumbs are just as scrumptious as the whole cake.



Orange bundt (11 of 11)


Citrus Bundt Cake

Print Friendly and PDF




    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 5 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • dry ingredients

    • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
    • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • infused sugars

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 tbsp orange zest
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1/2 tbsp lime zest



  • in 2 separate small bowls

    1. using a fork mix together lime & lemon zest into first cup of sugar until it becomes extremely fragrant. repeat process with second cup of sugar and the orange zest.
  • in a kitchen aid stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. blend olive oil with both infused sugars. add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. add orange juice and continue to mix for 4 mins. slowly add dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  • preheat oven to 375

    1. greasing the bundt pan is super important, make sure to get in every nook and cranny. a little extra flour to help do the job.
    2. bake for 1 hour to an hour and 15 mins. clean toothpick test!



recipe box: olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Carrotcake 1st

I know its not quite yet fall but for me it so totally is.

my birthday is september 1st and as far as i'm concerned its now time to shift the brain into fall mode. which just so happens to my absolute favorite season.

best temperature, best clothing options, and another change of the food season. food sure as hell have seasons.

one of the simple things that helps me kick start fall is getting to enjoy the return of the pumpkin spice lattes! i know its silly, but its the little things that really count. granted it still is a little warm outside, like low 90s warm but that's not going to stop me from ordering my pumpkin spice latte every damn birthday. and thanks to my starbucks gold card that latte is usually free. sigh, i love september-so good. this most recent birthday i was especially lucky with an overcast rainy morning, thanks for help setting the mood.

but before we go getting full pumpkin crazy, because i get it.. i'm a little early excited. i thought we could ease in to this amazing season with a spiced carrot cake. that's it ..we're just slowly dipping our toes in.

change is best served with cake.

Carrotcake (1 of 16)

caution juicing can lead to dessert:

juicing is wonderful and its something i think i'm still fairly new to but really want to be better at. the only problem is they don't mention the part where when you juice for too long you may have pastry daydreams. like a real giant case of the cake crazies. you think you're totally fine enjoying your yummy fresh juice cocktails feeling all healthy and then bam! it just happens. full on carb hallucination.

for me it happened when i was cleaning out my juicer after making a generous amount of pressed carrot juice and there was all this leftover carrot pulp and what? all this orange goodness was just going to go in the trash?

uh hell no, that's going in a CAKE!

and that's when i started gathering ingredients.

Carrotcake 2nd

i opted to switch things up and use olive oil for slight flavor change. apple sauce helps keep the cake moist.

Carrotcake 3rd

sifting together your dry ingredients keeps things lighter. these spices are really going to remind you of the holidays ..but just a little. baby steps.

image from

most carrot cakes have raisins and walnuts, but we're not doing that. this just isn't that kind of cake. instead we're using sweet coconut shreds and dried cranberries with the perfect amount of tartness.

because this carrot pulp came from my juicer, i did add 1/3 cup of juice back in to increase the moisture level a tad. with grating carrots you wouldn't need to do this step.

Carrotcake (5 of 16)

action shot.

Carrotcake (6 of 16)

properly preparing your cake pans is super important. don't let all of your work and promising batter go to waste because of an under greased pan. i used parchment paper but enough butter/crisco with a generous sprinkling flour should usually do the trick.

Carrotcake (7 of 16)

be fair and even.

Carrotcake (10 of 16)

clean toothpick ready from the oven and now the cakes need to relax and cool.

meanwhile we start the frosting.

Carrotcake 5th

i have been trying to think of a reason to explain why brown butter? but i just keep thinking always.. always brown butter. when in doubt brown butter it out. it seriously is a flavor secret weapon and now you all know if you didn't before. and also know that i'm going to keep talking about it too.

i have made a lot of different frosting but this one easily makes my top 3 favorite, it's goood.

Carrotcake (11 of 16)

once you have removed the fully cooled cakes flip them so that you have a nice flat surface when you begin frosting.

Carrotcake 6th

with a two layer cake i stick with a 60/40 frosting ratio, using most of the frosting on the bottom cake and mid section. then finish with the remaining on the second cake, remember flat side up!

Carrotcake (13 of 16)

fully frosted.

Carrotcake (14 of 16)

and just like that you have cake.

Carrotcake (16 of 16)

i hope you feel a little better about saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

should you be juicing and daydream of cake, know you are not alone. it happens.





Print Friendly and PDF


olive oil carrot cake

olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Active Time
40 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 15 mins



    • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup apple sauce
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup shredded coconut
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • in a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients, set aside

    • 1 cup all purpose flour sifted with,
    • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 1 tsp all spice
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • for the frosting

    • 1/2 cup brown butter, cooled
    • 1/2 butter, softened
    • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 16oz packages powder sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract



  • for the carrot cake batter

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. use both brown & white sugar mix with olive oil and mix together on medium speed for 3 mins, scrape down sides. add eggs and vanilla extract and continue to blend together for 3-5 mins. add shredded carrots in batches until fully incorporated. with mixer on lowest setting add dry ingredients slowly until a few white streaks remain, add apple sauce. with a spatula by hand fold in shredded coconut and dried cranberries.
  • for the brown butter cream cheese frosting

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. with the mixer on medium to high speed blend together brown butter, butter and cream cheese. scrape down sides when necessary and mix for 2 mins and add vanilla extract. continue mixer until fully incorporated about another 3 mins. with the mixer on low slowly add powder sugar in small batches. as you add more sugar frosting consistency will become much firmer.
  • for cakes

  • preheat oven to 350°

    1. in two 8" round cake pans prepare for baking by greasing pans with butter. next line with circular cutouts of parchment paper and sprinkle with a tsp of all purpose flour, remove excess flour if needed.
    2. separate cake batter evenly between two prepared round cake pans. bake for 37-42 mins, until you can insert a toothpick and remove clean.
    3. once both cakes have completely cooled frost the layered cake using the brown butter cream cheese frosting.

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.

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.




Print Friendly and PDF




    • 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: 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: 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 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!

Print Friendly and PDF


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)




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.