In My Kitchen: A Show And Tell

(Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles and Bok Choy)

Cooking has never been my strong suit, and I certainly never expected the kitchen to be the place I’d be spending a lot of time in. But oh, how things change! While I still don’t consider myself a really good cook, the more I practice cooking, the better I get! (No duh!)

Perhaps because I’m so motivated to feed my family as healthy as much as possible, and perhaps because I’m also drawn to do my part in saving the world by making conscious choices in the kitchen (albeit in very small baby step ways), I’ve made peace with my inner chef and have made it my mission to be the best cook I can possibly be. And love the whole dang process while I am at it!

So I’ve been making my time in the kitchen as fun and creative and purposeful as I can make it. Whatever motivates me, whatever gives me delight, I try to do a lot of. And one of those things is taking pictures of whatever it is I created. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, having some sort of evidence that I made something here, in the kitchen, the last place on earth I associated with happiness of any kind.

And today, I just wanted to share the fruit of my labors. In hopes that I will keep going, and well, that I will keep getting better at this. And perhaps to encourage and inspire you too (if you are anything like me and needing that extra boost in the kitchen!)

A show and tell, if you will.

Here we go:

This is my version of a Peanut Butter Fudge, which consists of only 3 ingredients: Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter and Honey. It’s one of my go-to desserts when I’m having the craving for something sweet without the sugar.

Ooh. This is one of my favorite summer salads. Tomato-Watermelon Salad. So yummy and refreshing. I got this recipe from Jaden at the Steamy Kitchen, one of my favorite food bloggers.

And this is what I make when I am pressed for time and creativity. Something pasta-ish. I normally don’t eat gluten-y stuff but I do have some in the pantry for those 15-minute dinner crunches. This one is the Spinach-Linguine from Trader Joes topped with LOTS of Parmesan, Chicken and of course, Zucchini (which I’m really getting tired of eating but we still keep getting more in our garden!)

Ooooh. Here’s another favorite of mine from Jaden at Steamy Kitchen. Sweet and Sour Chicken except I paired it with Quinoa instead of the usual rice. YUMMINESS. I learned from her how to cook stir-fry correctly. This particular recipe was actuall posted on Simply Recipes, another go to blog for me.

This was my first raw soup – a puree of zucchini and avocado with some spices and I forget what else I added. I can’t remember now where I got the recipe from but one of my favorite Raw Foodie bloggers is Ani Phyo. Not that I am a Raw Foodie, because I like to eat meat and cooked stuff. But I do try to include raw veggies in my diet whenever I can.

Here’s another stir-fry dish using sweet yam noodles. The soup is miso with some sprouted tofu. I’ve been cooking more Asian-inspired dishes lately, as my way to eating more authentically and savoring all that stuff I grew up with. My hubby is not in love with Filipino dishes so stir-fry is a good compromise!

Oh yes, snacks for the little one! I try to keep it simple. Almost always have some finger-foods in the form of veggies and rice crackers. When I’m inspired, I’ll make the crackers myself but those inspired moments don’t come very often. And she loves coconut water so I indulge her every now and then. I wish I could buy her a fresh one from the guy pushing a cart full of whole coconuts on the streets, but I’m here and not there (Philippines) so coconut water in a box will do.

What do you do when you have absolutely no idea what to make for dinner? A casserole (or a soup!) It’s easy to put together ingredients that you happen to have in the fridge (and hide vegetables too!) This one is a combo of rice and swiss chard and mushrooms and chicken and some homemade creamy cheesy sauce to top it all off.


I love whipping this up for lunch. So quick and easy. Basically, any leftover meat I have with whatever veggies I have and some quick homemade dressing. Grain-free, super healthy and fast! Can’t go wrong with that! (Ok, corn is technically a grain, but it’s more of a sprinkle than a main ingredient!)


My version of Chicken Tikka Masala, on a bed of cabbage and salad. Hmmmm. Seeing this picture makes me want to cook some more of that again. YUM!

And the picture up on the very top is my Pad Thai version with Kelp noodles, which I’m in love with as a substitute for gluten-free/grain-free noodles.

Whew. I feel really inspired now after seeing all the pictures I’ve taken in the last few weeks of being in the kitchen. What about you? What inspires you to cook in the kitchen?

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  1. says

    I read food porn and then get all excited about trying new combinations of flavours. There was a habanero/cherry/pomegranate sauce recently, f.ex. Sometimes I have a run of photo-worthy food, and sometimes I’m all over the whatthef casseroles and Friday soups! There’s a very high chance – unless it gets rave reviews – that any given dish will never appear in my kitchen again.
    I have a 3-ingredient fudge recipe too, sans peanuts – coconut milk, cacao and honey – but I can never resist tinkering with spices and orange rind and such. The trouble is portion control!

  2. Amber says

    Wow. This is you NOT being a good cook? I think I AM a pretty good cook and I would not have thought up most of this. Very pretty. And yummy looking. And inspiring- headed to the kitchen now! 😉

  3. Vina Barham says

    @Lauren, Hmmm. I haven’t explored with spices and such in my desserts. Will have to do that! Thanks for the idea! And yes, try the watermelon tomato salad. it’s yummy as it looks!

  4. Vina Barham says

    @Amber, Well, truth be told, these are the dishes that made the cut! :) Who wants to think of all those that didn’t quite pass the test? Thanks for the encouragement and so very happy you’ve been inspired. :)

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