Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fortune favors the prepared

That quote is attributed to Dr. Louis Pasteur, circa 1854, where he supposedly said something along the lines of, "When it comes to observation, chance favors the prepared mind" during a lecture at a French university.

I remember it much better as stated by Edna Mode in The Incredibles:

Edna: I didn't know the baby's powers so I covered the basics.
Helen: Jack-Jack doesn't have any powers.
Edna: No? Well, he'll look fabulous anyway.

Edna: [on Jack-Jack's suit] I cut it a little roomy for the free movement, the fabric is comfortable for sensitive skin... [a sheet of flame erupts in front of the suit]
Edna: And it can also withstand a temperature of over 1000 degrees. Completely bulletproof... [four heavy machine guns appear and open fire on the suit, without effect]
Edna: And machine washable, darling. That's a new feature.
Helen: What on earth do you think the baby will be doing?
Edna: Well, I am sure I don't know, darling. Luck favors the prepared.

So true! I've discovered that in order to avoid future exchanges like this:

Edna: [to Mr. Incredible] My God, you've gotten fat.

...fortune favors me having a prepared fridge.

Joining my now-permanent stash of minted jicama in my fridge this week:

Quinoa Tabbouleh - Taco Style

Utterly refreshing and oh-so-good-for you tabbouleh salad...

Creole Lentil Soup with Andouille and Shrimp

...and a killer Creole lentil soup with andouille sausage and shrimp.

With any luck, I'll be able to fit into my Supersuit in no time.


by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: a few hours to cool and chill
This is an incredibly versatile salad, perfect for the summer.  Bursting with lemon and fresh herbs, you can use whatever grain you like, and all kinds of fresh vegetables.  The salad will keep for days in the fridge, and I love it spooned into lettuce leaves and eaten like a taco, with or without a spoonful of hummus, or stuffed into crisp baby bell peppers as a snack.  I've even happily scarfed it down for breakfast. It is also an excellent side dish for grilled flank steak or lamb at your next barbecue.

  • 1 cup dried quinoa, bulgar wheat, Israeli cous cous or other hearty grain
  • Juice from 2 or 3 lemons
  • 3 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c. of olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About a cup and a half of chopped fresh herbs - Italian parsley, mint, and scallions for sure, but you can add basil, tarragon, or cilantro, too.
  • About 4 cups of chopped colorful fresh vegetables - ripe tomatoes and cucumbers for sure, but bell peppers are awesome to add, too.
  • 1 c. raw cauliflower couscous (instructions at this link), optional, but extra healthy if you have it
Cauliflower Couscous


Cook grain according to package instructions.

While that's cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in large bowl. Add about a teaspoon of kosher salt and a healthy grind of fresh black pepper, then stir in about a cup of the herb mixture. Wrap the rest of the herbs in paper towels and store them in a plastic bag or tub in the fridge.

While the grain is still warm, add to the bowl with the dressing, stir well, and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the fridge and chill for an additional hour at least. This way, the grain will soak up all those wonderful flavors, making your salad extra tasty.

You can chop up the veggies in the meantime, and store those in the fridge, too.

Just before serving, stir all the veggies, and the cauliflower couscous, if you have some, into the salad, along with the rest of the fresh herbs. 

Taste for seasoning, and enjoy!

Creole Lentil Soup with Andouille & Shrimp

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

A variation on my beloved gumbo recipe, minus the chicken, plus a healthy dose of lentils.  I've been known to toss in a handful of kale, too, when I have it.  Full of spice and hearty flavors, this is definitely the kind of soup that you can make a meal of, and feel satisfied for hours.

  • 1 12 oz. package Andouille sausage (4 small links), cut into slices
  • a splash of olive oil
  • 1 lb. package frozen cut okra, or 1 lb. fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 c. onions, chopped
  • 2 c. bell peppers, assorted colors, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. creole seasoning (if you have it) or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you don't), divided
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, preferably Trader Joe's Diced and Fire Roasted, loosely drained so some juice remains
  • 1 1 lb. package Trader Joe's pre-cooked lentils, or 1 c. dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 lb. rock shrimp/langostino tails (Trader Joe's has them), or regular shrimp
  • 2 Tbs. Italian parsley, for garnish

In a large pot, saute the sausage over medium heat until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. 

Add a splash of olive oil to the pot. Add the okra and cook over medium heat until slightly soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add another 2 Tbs. of olive oil to the pot, then stir in the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes, then stir in the cumin, 1/2 of the creole seasoning/cayenne, pepper and salt. Everything should smell amazing right now.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their juices, lentils and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.  As that simmers, prepare the shrimp.

Toss the rock shrimp with the rest of the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. In a saucepan, melt 1 Tbs. butter. Saute the shrimp in the butter until pink. Add the shrimp and any juices in the saucepan to the soup.

When the lentils are cooked through, and the soup tastes fantastic, add the sausage back into the pot, and stir in the parsley. Allow to heat through, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve.

The soup gets even better with age, and the recipe makes plenty so you should definitely have at least a bowlful to enjoy the next day.


  1. Hi, I'm a friend and personal trainer of Jan Weiss. She told me about your site and what great stories you tell. I have a "healthful eating" website myself. I subscribed to your site a while ago. I love the idea of Cauliflower couscous. I just bought a head today and this is a "must try"! :)

    1. Welcome to the blog! So nice of you to stop by. Good to find another source of healthy ideas, too! Thanks.