Breaking Out of the Rut

in All Posts

Two things:



  • A reader named Michele sent me the following e-mail: “I’m moving from Ohio to Little Rock, AR next week for my new job.  I’d love to form a relay team for the Little Rock Marathon on Sunday, March 7, 2010.  Runners or walkers welcome.  I’ll be walking.  The legs are between 5.3 and 7.2 mile.” If you’re in Little Rock and would like to meet with Michele and do the marathon, e-mail me ( and I’ll put you in touch with her!


On to lunch…


The Husband said today that unless we start coming up with “new and exciting” vegetarian meals, he’s going to crack under the pressure and start eating meat again (or go crazy).  To get us out of a rut, we hit up Costco for some new yummy ingredients.


A to-die for cheesy melt:


Instead the burrito was canned artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.  With strawberries and blueberries on the side.


I think this counts as “new and exciting”!


The only problem with this melt was that it was very greasy – I need to press the olive oil out of the artichoke hearts next time. 


I’ve got to get some writing done, and then I’m meeting Megan for a walk.  All this tapering is driving me crazy – I want to do a LONG RUN.  Guess I’ll get my wish on Sunday!  🙂



  • Madeline @ greensandjeans January 6, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Your wrap looks so tasty! To get out of my food rut recently I’ve been checking out cookbooks from the library and utilizing I love that I can plug in the ingredients I have and out pops great recipe ideas!

    • megan January 6, 2010, 4:11 pm

      cookbooks from the library – that’s such a good idea! I don’t know why I never thought about doing that before!

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers January 6, 2010, 2:08 pm

    oooh artichoke hearts definitely count as exciting. i gotta get me some o’ those bad boys.

  • Ben January 6, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Let him eat meat! I should start a website to support his carnivorous instincts. I am on the bandwagon to see him go back to meat. haha. The wrap does look good though.

    • Caitlin January 6, 2010, 2:11 pm

      I don’t stop him from eating meat, trust me. It’s his own decision.

  • Evan Thomas January 6, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Enjoy the rested legs when you have them! lol

  • Heather @ The Joyful Kitchen January 6, 2010, 2:10 pm

    that looks phenomenal…LOVE artichokes 🙂 You’ll definitely get your wish this weekend, and i’ll be cheerin’ y’all on the whole way 🙂

  • Amanda January 6, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Oh, that burrito looks so tasty! Must try it!

    You can also buy artichokes that have been marinated in brine, without oil. I find that I actually prefer them.

  • Ameena January 6, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Artichokes are so great! Now I want to have some. 🙂

  • Erin January 6, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Looks good — I’ve definitely fallen into the veggie rut lately and need to spice things up. 😀

  • Casey @Spicy&Sweet January 6, 2010, 2:13 pm

    That looks fabulous! Definitely counts as new and exciting 🙂

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion January 6, 2010, 2:14 pm

    That looks yummy! I am sure that you will come up with new and fun alternatives for him 🙂

    You sure do have a long run planned this weekend! YAY, you are going to rock it girlie!

  • Anne January 6, 2010, 2:15 pm

    That wrap looks delightful! You can buy artichokes in water (usually in cans) and sundried tomatoes in bags (without oil) if the oil is annoying you 🙂 Hmmmm new and exciting lunch options….I love baby spinach topped with tons of blue cheese, pecans and sliced beets (canned are ok for this 🙂 – add some homemade dressing and whole wheat baguette – so good and filled with protein!

  • Carolyn January 6, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I almost bought those artichoke hearts at Costco, but it’s such a LARGE jar. I thought that was something I had better go smaller on. But, I so badly want to recreate my pizza from the Mellow Mushroom with artichoke hearts, jalapenos, and pepperoni.

  • Tonyne @ The Unlikely Success Story January 6, 2010, 2:17 pm

    That looks yummy! 🙂 Best of luck on your marathon Sunday! I’m doing my 2nd 5k on Saturday in the FREEZING cold. 🙂

  • Molly @vegandorm January 6, 2010, 2:18 pm

    a great way to get out of a rut is to invest in a vegan or vegetarian cookbook and make a recipe every couple days.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) January 6, 2010, 2:22 pm

    OMG that melt = amazing! I love both artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes! Try adding roasted peppers too!

  • Katie January 6, 2010, 2:23 pm

    That looks awesome! I love artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes.. WHY have I never thought to combine them into a melt?! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen (Running With Cake) January 6, 2010, 2:25 pm

    The cheesy melt looks great! Very Mediterranean!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite January 6, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Artichokes and sundried tomatoes sounds like a great combo… and a great way to get out of a rut!

  • Britt - Runnerbelle January 6, 2010, 2:26 pm

    ah you’ve got the “taper twitch” your legs are just so antsy for a good run!

  • Lisa January 6, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Prefontaine is also available on Hulu – or at least it was when I checked last weekend.

  • Matt January 6, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Save your energy for this weekend! 26.2 is a long ways!

  • emily January 6, 2010, 2:32 pm

    Mmmn, that does look delicious! I never make quesadillas at home but they always look so amazing.

    *Exciting Suggestions* – bean burgers, coconut crusted tofu, peanut noodles with veggies, salad with blue cheese, candied nuts, and dried fruit, loaded veggie nachoes….I would also suggest buying “Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.”

  • Mary @ Fit this girl January 6, 2010, 2:32 pm

    Sundried tomatoes are one of my favorite foods!! Also, roasted red peppers! You can save a ton of money and roast them at home-over a gas stove top if you have it. Very good! Good luck this weekend!!! It’s a long time coming for you and you are SO well prepared, I can’t wait to read the recap! Yay!!

  • Janessa ( January 6, 2010, 2:34 pm

    God, meal ruts are so easy to get into. I seem to always fall into the burrito/pasta/salad rut.

    Do you have Gardein products available in your area? We have a few here in Portland. They’re meatless, healthy, and incredibly tasty. Good alternatives to super processed ‘fake meats’.

    I’ve only tried a handful, but the pulled ‘pork’ and 7 grain ‘chicken’ tenders were oh-my-god-amazing.

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 6, 2010, 2:40 pm

    yeah i’m bad about getting in ruts too . . . my meal plan for this week and next is quite exciting though!

  • Kim January 6, 2010, 2:42 pm

    Hey Caitlin, my sister is a longtime vegan and swears by this cookbook by Didi Emmons ( Even though now she cooks intuitively, she still always comes back to this cookbook. Maybe you can check it out!

  • Heather January 6, 2010, 2:43 pm

    The taper week before the marathon is terrible. I’m dreading it b/c you feel like you should be actively doing something . Not to mention, your body starts to crave the endurance. It’s all worth it on race day though! Your legs will be thanking you for the rest b/c once you hit miles 22-26 your legs hurt so badly, but you keep running b/c you don’t know what else to do. So exciting!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 6, 2010, 2:46 pm

    We’ve been doing a Vegan challenge for the month of January, and it has definitely forced us out of our comfort zone and gotten us cooking some really interesting recipes. Maybe challenge yourself in some vegetarian way?

  • Cyclist Kate January 6, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I agree that it’s a great idea to invest in a couple of veggie cookbooks and just commit to making a new recipe at least every week (I also end up with great leftovers this way!). My very favorite is Vegan with a Vengeance…the recipes are all very doable and SO delicious! It’s a great starter book. For me, aside from emotionally committing to vegetarian, I needed to make the practical commitment–cooking yummy food for myself so I would be satisfied and not tempted by non vegetarian foods (I realized at one point that it wasn’t the meat I was craving as much as the variety of tastes and textures, which I was able to satisfy by cooking yummy things).

    Good luck!

  • MelissaNibbles January 6, 2010, 2:47 pm

    Yum! I make artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms served over whole wheat pasta with a sprinkle of feta on top. You and the husband should try that 🙂

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) January 6, 2010, 2:49 pm

    Your melt looks delicious! There’s a ton of cookbooks that have recipes that are creative & easy. ED&BV is a favorite 🙂

  • Hallie January 6, 2010, 2:52 pm

    Try the artichokes and the sun-dried tomatoes in a tomato sauce…it’s So good! My boyfriend added it to his homemade sauce, but you could add it to store-bought as well. I know what you mean about ruts though…it’s really hard to stray away from the tried-and-true favorites! I need to pull some inspiration from the zillions of food blogs I read or something.

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) January 6, 2010, 3:06 pm

    that melt looks to.die.for such a yummy combo!

  • skinnyrunner January 6, 2010, 3:09 pm

    mmmnn, that burrito looks delicious! i love artichoke hearts.

  • RhodeyGirl January 6, 2010, 3:24 pm

    I buy canned artichoke hearts. They are packed in water and therefore aren’t greasy. My dad swears they don’t taste as good as the ones packed in oil, but I disagree!

    How about making a healthy lasagna type dish? With or without lasagna noodles? I have made many variations of it, and by using ricotta cheese it keeps PB and I satisfied.

  • kiki January 6, 2010, 3:24 pm

    Hi!I only wanted to say that i love your blog!I read it everyday and it’s a great inspiration for me.
    I also wanted to ask an advice about tofu..
    have you any yummy and easy recipes with it?can you actually eat it without rice or pasta?any advice?

    ps:sorry for my english,but i’m an italian student,so..

  • Leah @ L4L January 6, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Fun and exciting vegetarian dishes? Why not try your hand at cooking indian food now that you know you like it? Try bhindi masala, daal, channa, aloo gobi.

    This week, I made miso soup and gomen wat which are exciting vegetarian dishes!

  • Laura Georgina January 6, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Have you checked out the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks? They’re full of delicious vegetarian dishes from all around the world, have accessible ingredients, and have great design to boot. I also just bought a cookbook called “Tropical Vegan Food” and it’s full of amazing dishes that I can’t wait to try. I was in a bit of a rut too, and this cookbook has me all fired up to get cooking again….

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love January 6, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Great wrap!

  • Jenna January 6, 2010, 4:09 pm

    I’d say that is a new exciting lunch!!

  • megan January 6, 2010, 4:15 pm

    definitely try my tortellini vegetable soup I just posted! so good! another thing I’ve always wanted to try is some sort of broccoli cheese bread…it just looks and sounds so good! and pressed sandwiches with roasted red peppers and cheese (and whatever else you want) – yum! i always roast mine under the broiler in the oven, just turn them as they blacken

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 6, 2010, 4:31 pm

    That quesadilla lunch (burrito? quesadilla?) looks great! I love me some artichoke hearts. Have you ever made any Dreena Burton recipes? I’m in LOVE with her cookbooks!

  • Shelly January 6, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Full disclosure, I’m not a vegetarian, but I almost never eat meat until dinner.
    I have a pretty tasty vegetarian concoction for lunch this week- black beans and brown rice with chopped tomato, green onions, and bbq sauce. (It would also be good with sprouts, avocado, and red onions added to it, but I was working with what I had on hand.) I find that beans and rice bowls are so versatile- I also like white beans with Kale, white beans with green chiles and cumin (for white bean chili), baked beans with green onion, tomato and sprouts, black beans with tomato, onion and salsa. Or you can go really delux with black beans and do sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms, tomato, green onions, avocado, cilantro, greek yogurt, etc…. Yum!
    Here are some of my favorite meatless recipes that I’ve found online as well. They’re all pretty easy because I am a lazy cook. 🙂

    Pasta with butternut squash sauce:

    Chickpea and Kale Stir Fry (You seriously should try this- it’s insanely good and ridiculously simple):

    Spaghetti with Kale (I have a bit of a Kale obsession):

    Butternut squash with Kale (ditto with butternut squash):

    Roasted tomatoes and onions with white beans and basil over toast (the perfect comfort food):

    Eggs baked in tomatoes (Be sure to leave the top of the tomato off or, in my experience, the eggs won’t get done. It also seems to take mine a bit longer to cook than the recipe suggests, but I love this with toast for an easy dinner. I add a little goat cheese to the top of my eggs in this recipe too):

    • Shelly January 6, 2010, 6:27 pm

      Oops! The butternut squash with goat cheese (that I acidentally wrote as butternut squash with Kale- double oops!)apparently calls for chicken. I make it without chicken and usually use vermouth instead of the chicken broth (I use less liquid too). Vermouth pairs really well with flavors like butter, squash, and sage, FYI.

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances January 6, 2010, 4:43 pm

    I don’t have any good recipes to share as I am not a vegetarian, but I LOVED the trailer for Spirit of the Marathon! It was so inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing it. I’m thrilled it’s on Hulu for freee! 🙂

  • Gracie January 6, 2010, 4:44 pm

    Hey Caitlin! I was just checking out the site for the FitBloggin conference and noticed that you’d be there! Since I’m from the Philadelphia area, I’m looking into it as being my first conference as a blogger (kind of nervous, to be honest. No idea what to expect!). Have you been to this conference before? How was it??

    • Caitlin January 6, 2010, 4:46 pm

      i’ve never been to FB but i’m actually speaking this year. i thin it’s going to be a really good event – you should go! you can definitely find people to room with, too. i know a lot of bloggers who are going and everyone is really open and friendly. you should come 🙂 we can hang out.

  • Stephanie January 6, 2010, 5:05 pm

    I know you’re not a vegan (and neither am I), but I find I LOVE the recipes at Vegan Yum Yum ( My favourite (that I’ve made) is the Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok Steamed Collards and Quinoa.
    Another good one I want to try:
    The Morels in the gnocchi taste like meat, so that may help any cravings your husband is having.

  • Freya @ January 6, 2010, 5:08 pm

    Oooh artichoke hearts! I have a can of them lingering, I need to dig them out! Do you have any recommendations on the best way to have them? I’ve never tried them before…!
    Ahh I love the feeling when I’m craving a long run, then when you get out there, you feel like you could go on forever and feel so powerful, it’s fabulous! Imagine how you’ll feel by Sunday, you’ll be itching to get out there!! Have a great evening 🙂

    • Caitlin January 6, 2010, 5:56 pm

      i don’t know what to do with them, really 🙂 watch and find out LOL i’ve never bought them before.

  • Chrysta January 6, 2010, 5:13 pm

    AWESOME combo! i love artichoke hearts and paired with some amazing sun dried tomatoes too! I gotta try it. Have a good one!

  • Angie McGovern January 6, 2010, 5:40 pm

    You should try these “burgers” from Rachael Ray. They are yummy and filling. My decidedly carnivorous husband loves them.

  • Allison K January 6, 2010, 6:55 pm

    artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatos? Yum. Seriously.

  • Leah January 6, 2010, 6:59 pm

    I love artichoke hearts. I should really use them more. That meal looks delicious!

  • Jenny January 6, 2010, 7:09 pm

    Artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes are two of the most delicious, flavorful meal additions. Sorry they were greasy though!

  • Angela (The Lady Loves to Eat) January 6, 2010, 7:51 pm

    Holy yum that sound freaking amazing!

  • Jessie January 6, 2010, 8:19 pm

    Loove the blog!! I was wondering if you could give me some insight on a possible hamstring strain that I think I have. I have not been to the dr’s but when I stretch my left leg, the part of the muscle that meets the base of my butt hurts. I usually stretch atleast twice a day so Im thinking it may be from not warming up enough. It does not hurt while ellipticaling, just stretching. I recently cut out a ton of cardio due to too much weight loss and was focusing much more on ST to gain weight, especially lower body for muscle mass.
    I know you have a very busy life, but was wondering what you think I should do? I know rest, but it’s so hard for me to do so – I’m a very active person and am used to doing activity everyday.
    Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it!


    • Caitlin January 6, 2010, 8:23 pm

      hi jessie 🙂

      the answer is rest, i’m sorry! all athletes get some injuries that require rest – just try doing stuff that doesnt involve your hamstrings. you probably just pulled a muscle and require a week or so off. maybe you could use the rowing machine at your gym?

      megan did a post about her hamstring injury a while back, maybe it will help you

      • Jessie January 6, 2010, 9:40 pm

        Thank you so much for the link =)

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 6, 2010, 8:40 pm

    I LOVE artichoke hearts! Make a veggie pizza with them on a big wrap – so good.

  • Nicole January 6, 2010, 9:12 pm

    You’re so funny–you were saying you couldn’t wait to get back to running shorter runs and now you’re excited for a long run. We’ll see how you feel after Sunday…lol

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place January 6, 2010, 9:21 pm

    artichoke hearts are my favorite! They are sort of “meaty” and hearty so maybe they will kill his urge for meat? Have you tried steaming whole artichokes and eating the leaves with a lemon butter sauce? That is also a fav of mine.

  • Whole Body Love January 6, 2010, 9:44 pm

    I just watched Spirit Of A Marathon! Thanks so much for linking it. I really enjoyed it!

  • Jolene ( January 6, 2010, 10:35 pm

    I tried 10 new and exciting vegetarian recipes in October. You can find them here if you are interested:

    Some of them were FANTASTIC, and so full of flavour. I didn’t miss the meat at all – and I am NOT a vegetarian.

  • Tina January 7, 2010, 12:56 am

    The taper from my first marathon was AWFUL! I had the itch so bad to run. The second one, not so much. I enjoyed laying around and “resting” my legs… and it showed by taking off 18 1/2 minutes from last time. I have to say I have been itching for another marathon but think the hubby might ring my neck and the sitter might fire me for overwork if I did that. Marinated artichockes from Costco are the bomb. I throw them in salads,sandwiches, quiches, or on the side of the plate with dinner. I do throw them in a strainer for awhile before eating them though.

  • Jennifer January 7, 2010, 8:41 am

    We just made this recipe with polenta and really enjoyed it. We eat meat, but focus more on fruits and vegetables and eat vegetarian meals 3-4 times per week (I do a little more than my husband). Anyhow, here is the link:

    Hope you guys can get some variety in your diet!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat January 7, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Poor husband, I totally know the feeling! Glad you all nipped that in the bud 😉

  • Denise January 7, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Those two are must haves in my fridge! Do you eat laughing cow cheese? Anyhoo, try the sun dried tomatoes on a cracker with a smidge of cheese! GREAT snach!

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