Surprise, Surprise

in All Posts

These pretty flowers are bloomin’ all over what I thought was a simple, boring bush hidden in a back corner of my yard.  Surprise, surprise!

IMG_9118 IMG_9122

Another fun surprise was seeing this article in the Charlotte Observer about Operation Beautiful and the Operation Beautiful book!  I forgot it was coming out today until my landlord texted me to check the paper. 


Great article, slightly embarrassing photo. 


I am a very happy person.  I just don’t normally express it on the outside with that much enthusiasm!


So, if you’re a new reader coming over to check out HTP after reading the Observer article, welcome!  My name is Caitlin.  You can learn more about me on my About page.  I’m a former couch-potato turned race junkie, and I also love to blog simple, short recipes


I don’t know about you, but I feel positively overwhelmed when I open a cook book and see recipes for something that should be simple, like spaghetti, with 15 ingredients and 20 steps.  I toss in the proverbial towel… and then I eat a peanut butter sandwich. 


One meal that I can really get behind is the casserole.  Mix everything together, scrape into a glass dish, and bake?  Hallelujah. 


Easy as… casserole.  But you know what’s even better?  A single serving casserole.


Goat Cheese and Bean Single Serving Casserole



  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw broccoli
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tahini butter (an egg might work, too)
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 2 tablespoons tightly packed fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Pour into single serving casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.


Simple.  Delicious. All mine.  What more could you possibly want from a casserole?


A juicy peach was the perfect complement.


Back to work!  Must… finish… project.



  • Sarah @ w30 August 25, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Oh my gosh that looks so good! I think I now have dinner planned…

    Great pick, by the way! Congrats on the article! 🙂

    P.S. I totally thought about that “ladybox” comment when I saw the flowers.

    • Sarah @ w30 August 25, 2011, 2:22 pm

      Arg, I meant “great pic” not “great pick” (edit, Sarah!)

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas August 25, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I hate long recipes by the time they’re done I am no longer hungry because I have already eaten something else! lol

    • Sarah @ w30 August 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Me too! I may or may not have a habit of eating tortilla chips while browsing recipes…

      • Baking N Books August 25, 2011, 7:16 pm

        Me three. Except then I still eat the meal – so double trouble…not good.

        That recipe looks great – thanks!

  • Meaghan (My Spoonful Of Inspiration) August 25, 2011, 2:28 pm

    I love the photo- it’s so fun and colorful! 🙂

  • Nicole (Mrs. Muffins) August 25, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I thought this was another lady post as well, lol! Anyways, congrats on the article! I think there should be MORE smiling faces like yours in the news. Not that I want to turn a blind eye to the heartache in the world, but stories like the OB story are uplifting and encourage others to go out and make their own happiness. Anyways, I also get discouraged with long ingredients lists. Especially when I don’t own half the ingredients! Lol!

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) August 25, 2011, 2:49 pm

    That picture is a mix of very funny, but cute!

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed August 25, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I know I’ve said it before, but Operation Beautiful is such a wonderful idea/movement. Just wonderful.

  • Bari August 25, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Congratulations on the newspaper article – that’s great (and I found your blog through a tweet about it, so BONUS!). I’m with you on the long recipes, too – they drive me nuts. Some of my favorites are 5 ingredients or less.

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt August 25, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Congrats, Caitlin! I love the picture. Very enthusiastic. 😉

  • Krista August 25, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Looks like you have a Rose of Sharon bush out back! I used to have a gorgeous one at my old house….

    That pic of you is great, Caitlin!!!

  • Katie August 25, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Those are Rose of Sharon flowers!! So pretty 🙂

    • Reenie August 26, 2011, 12:19 am

      Y’all beat me to it!!! Pretty bushes they are:)

      I think that’s a really cute pic of you with all the sticky notes. 🙂

  • Laura @ My Reason to Tri August 25, 2011, 2:58 pm

    i saw that in the paper today..woot, woot!!!! you are awesome!

  • katie @ KatieDid August 25, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Congrats Caitlin, I love the picture I think its fun!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 25, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I don’t know why but the pit of a peach totally grosses me out!

    Congrats, btw!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 25, 2011, 3:06 pm

    what a great dinner idea! I’ve already copy and pasted the recipe into my google docs recipe folder! I’ll have to try it out!

  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat August 25, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Congrats on the article, and the photo isn’t so bad! 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 25, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I am SO the same way. I hate HATE long recipes!

    Congrats on your article–go YOU!

  • Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) August 25, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I thought this post was going to be about lady-parts, since you struts with pictures of flowers 🙂

    there’s something so satisfying about being able to eat thewholething of something, need to start making dishes like that for myself!

  • Sweet and Savvy August 25, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Congrats on the article! 🙂 Is there a way to read it online?

  • Gina August 25, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Congrats on the article and all that you do! I love that the Observer featured you, but I had to laugh when I saw they put your story next to ‘how to get rid of cleavage wrinkles’! Crazy irony.

    • CaitlinHTP August 25, 2011, 3:21 pm

      Uhh, me too. Ridiculous. Small steps?

      • DadHTP August 25, 2011, 6:23 pm

        uhhhh….cleavage wrinkles? Oh good – a whole new pointless criteria. Relax, ladies – by the time you’re my age it’s ALL wrinkled. But still fun.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 25, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I also totally though this was going to be a ‘ladybox’ post too LOL! Congrats on the article Caitlin – you’re kind of a big deal! 🙂

  • emily August 25, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I think the photo looks adorable! Though I’m not sure someone who saw it would beleive you were cutting back on coffee… 😀

  • Trish August 25, 2011, 3:38 pm

    I love the photo! You look adorable and so pretty and so happy! 🙂 I think it’s great to show so much enthusiasm for loving ourselves as we are. YAY! And congrats!

  • Katie G. August 25, 2011, 3:42 pm

    i feel the same way about recipes. when i see a new recipe with too many ingrdients, i usually shut down and move on. i try to stick with recipes with 7 ingredients or less, ha. i need to make more cassaroles, they are great to prepare ahead of time

  • Katie G. August 25, 2011, 3:42 pm

    i feel the same way about recipes. when i see a new recipe with too many ingrdients, i usually shut down and move on. i try to stick with recipes with 7 ingredients or less, ha. i need to make more cassaroles, they are great to prepare ahead of time

  • Nicole @ August 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Congrats Caitlin! What a great article. I bought your book recently and its so inspiring! Reading your blog has made me want to go back and add up all my races! I’ve just been keeping track of my half marathons and triathlons to date! I’ve got some adding to do!

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness August 25, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Aaaah, that is SO cool, congratulations on being featured in the newpaper, that’s amazing, and it looks like a big article…yay! and I love your picture…you do look very happy, lol! 🙂 that casserole looks scrumptious…I love single serving recipes so much, please keep ’em coming! <3 xyx

  • Alaina August 25, 2011, 4:13 pm

    I love that picture! Congrats on the article. 🙂

    Single serving anything is the best for dinner. Quality over quantity!

  • Kerry August 25, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Looks like a clematis! Pretty!

  • Mama Pea August 25, 2011, 4:34 pm

    I think the pic is awesome. I think it needs to be turned into a mural at your local bowling alley.

  • Moni'sMeals August 25, 2011, 4:40 pm

    How exciting!! yay! you are on a roll chicka! Congrats and I love the photo.

    Great meal casserole idea too that you got going on here too. 🙂

  • Amanda August 25, 2011, 4:49 pm

    That pic makes you the Giada De Laurentis of the blog world….. in a good way : D

    mmmmm casserole…. might have to make that one, I love goat cheese.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul August 25, 2011, 5:03 pm

    oOOoo love that picture Caitlin! It’s so bright and colorful. Congratulations on the article~

  • Hillary August 25, 2011, 5:08 pm

    I think that photo is absolutely adorable. A little enthusiasm never hurt anyone!

  • Danielle August 25, 2011, 5:15 pm

    Congrats on the article, Caitlin! And, how can you not help but smile when you look at that photo? So don’t be embarrassed by it at all!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 25, 2011, 5:17 pm

    Congrats on the article! I hear ya on the complicated recipes. If it has more than 10 ingredients I usually lose interest.

  • jen@foodfamilyfitness August 25, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Congrats on the article!! I like the picture 🙂

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 25, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Yum! I’ll totally dig into a single serving casserole. That’s sooo much easier than the big thing.

    Congratulations on the article!!! That’s awesome!

  • Molly @ RDexposed August 25, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Congrats! You are inspiring to so many girls!

  • Jessi @ Quirky Cookery August 25, 2011, 5:59 pm

    Aww, that’s so awesome! And I happen to love the picture. <3

  • Kiran @ August 25, 2011, 6:01 pm

    Congrats on the article! And that photo is super cool 🙂 Love it!

  • Allison August 25, 2011, 6:08 pm

    Congrats on the article in the paper! The picture of you surrounded by all of the OB sticky notes is fabulous- happy, perky, and beautiful!

  • Brittney August 25, 2011, 6:22 pm

    That picture is adorable! lol. I finally saw my first Operation Beautiful post stuck to a drink machine at USC Upstate when I went to visit a friend- made my day!!! And single serving casseroles are the best… but leftovers when you’re tired is a mega win so I usually make more 😛

  • Sophie @ threetimesf August 25, 2011, 6:37 pm

    All I think about now when you post flower photos is that ladybox comment you tweeted about!
    Congrats on the great article – I love operation beatiful!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 25, 2011, 7:47 pm

    haha what an awesome pic!!! 🙂

  • Amanda @ The Beauty Notebooks August 25, 2011, 7:59 pm

    I read the article on the newspaper’s web site, and it turned out wonderfully. The picture is really fun, too, and I love all of the bright colors!

    Are you going to the bachelorette party still? The county below my grandparents’ in Delaware just declared an evacuation, and they might be next. So I hope you stay safe this weekend!

  • Army Amy* August 25, 2011, 8:00 pm

    Yes! Long recipes are a total cooking turn off! Give me simple, flavorful over long and complicated any day!*

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 25, 2011, 8:14 pm

    I love that single serving casserole idea! Since I just cook for myself, I hate making huge casseroles because I get so bored of eating it for a week in a row. 😛

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey August 25, 2011, 8:38 pm

    Love the single serve casserole! Makes me hungry for a snack!!

  • Christine @ BookishlyB August 25, 2011, 8:45 pm

    I totally agree with you about the ingredients. It’s just my husband and I and I hate buying tons of extra/new things that I’m not sure if I’ll use again before they go bad.

  • Amy August 25, 2011, 8:47 pm

    that pic is SO cute!! congrats on the article!

  • Jen August 25, 2011, 11:41 pm

    Just read the article & all I can say is…WOW. SO awe-inspiring! You truly are a beautiful person. And, by the way, the picture is adorable!

  • Sam August 26, 2011, 6:54 am

    Haha I think it is an adorable picture! I really like the new side picture too! This single serving bean casserole sounds RIGHT up my alley!

  • Alett August 26, 2011, 7:55 am

    Agreed the picture is so cute!

    What a wonderful surprise to start the day and weekend : )

    btw -> I had GOTR coaches’ training last night – fun! fun! Cannot wait to start.

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) August 26, 2011, 10:49 am

    I think it’s a great picture! I need a small casserole dish…

  • Amber K August 26, 2011, 1:41 pm

    What a fun combination! I need to buy some small casserole dishes.

    So exciting about the article too. And of course you look like a goofball in the picture, but that’s what’s so epic about it!

  • Nicole August 29, 2011, 2:12 pm

    LOVE the pic! Question about the recipe…I am not really a red kidney bean fan…what about using white beans???

    • Caitlin August 29, 2011, 2:23 pm

      i think you could definitely use any type of bean!

  • Dominique August 29, 2011, 10:46 pm

    I just made your Goat Cheese and Bean Casserole and it was delicious! I used thyme instead of parsley as that’s what was in the fridge and a 9 o’clock trip to the market was not happening. It’s so good. I love the goat cheese. I forgot to season with salt & pepper but it’s still great. Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point