2010 Copyright Joy Kettler Gurgevich
J   Y of FOOD & YOGA
Joy Kettler Gurgevich - Behavioral Nutrition
 From Pantry to Plate:  Simple Cooking
When diet 
is wrong, 
medicine is
of no use.
When diet
 is correct, 
medicine is 
of no need. 

~ancient Ayurvedic proverb
5215 N. Sabino Canyon Road 
Tucson, AZ 85750
I hear…I forget
I see… and I remember
I do…and I understand
Ancient Chinese Proverb

It’s one thing to have all the good foods in the kitchen, it’s another thing to know how to put them together to make an easy, quick, delicious meal. If you are new to the kitchen, learn how to steam, how to do a stir fry, and how to bake.  

Take a beginning cooking class at a community education center, find a cooking show on cable TV, or browse through a few instructional cook books at your local bookstore some afternoon.  And, remember, healthy foods and healthy cooking can be very simple.  
If you are new to cooking and your cooking tools are limited, here are the basics:  
  • a wok or a fry pan (cast iron pans are inexpensive and indestructible)
  • a 1 ½ quart or 2 quart pot with lid  
  • a stainless steel  steaming basket which fits inside your  pot with a lid
  • an oven proof baking dish
  • an enameled cast-iron pot with lid, 2 ½ qt. size
  • four nesting bowls
  • a good knife, spatula, and a few wooden spoons 
  • a cutting board
  • a blender
  • a hot-air popcorn popper

Joy's Mix and Match Vegetarian Dishes 

  • Grains:  brown rice, quinoa, kamut, barley, kasha, etc.
  • Herbs:   oregano, basil, dill, tarragon, curry, cumin, chili powder,  thyme, dill, rosemary or any favorite herb
  • Vegetables:  broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onion, sweet pepper, spinach, kale, mushroom, like, corn, potato, asparagus, snow peas, etc.
  • Beans/Legumes:  navy, kidney, black, garbanzo/chickpea, lima, lentil, pinto, adzuki, etc.
  • Nuts/Seeds: sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc.


Select a grain (pre-cooked*see directions below), several herbs of choice, as many vegetables as you like, beans (canned/pre-cooked, and drained), and one or two types of nuts and seeds.  In a medium hot skillet (preferably cast-iron) heat up 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (an additional drizzle of sesame oil is delicious), add herbs and allow to lightly bubble in the oil for a minute, add sliced/chopped vegetables and cook until tender crisp, add beans, nuts, seeds, and cooked grain.  Season to taste with salt or gomasio if desired.  Serve.

*Pre-cook a grain: This first step is optional: toast the dry grain in a dry/unoiled cast-iron fry pan for a few minutes on med/high until slightly browned and aromatic.

Transfer to a pot with lid containing approximately twice the water volume of the grain and cook until done…times vary, usually 45 minutes – 1 hour
If not pre-toasting the grain, measure the dry grain into the pan and add approximately twice the amount of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and continue simmering until grain is soft.  The time varies with different grains.  Usually it takes about 45 minutes.

  “No matter where I take my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.”
Pennsylvania Dutch saying