January Joiners, Join In!

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I’m taking the Blank Training Plan concept and applying it to other areas of my life. Soon, my fridge is going to be covered in sheets of paper with gold stars and check marks.  Something about this concept just really works and resonates with me.

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New goal sheet is for walking the puppers on long walks.  Of course, since we don’t have a fenced-in yard, we walk them daily, but as work gets crazier and the days get colder and darker, the walks have been getting shorter and shorter.  Also, sometimes the Husband thinks I’ve walked the dogs on their twice-daily long walk, and I think he did it – and then it just gets skipped entirely.  Earlier this week, I looked at James and said, “We’re going to do a blank training plan for YOU.”  So far, it’s working!

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Maggie:  The lights are on… but no one is home.

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So… I have a fun recipe for you!  But it needs some help.


This casserole was totally tasty,and I inhaled two portions, but it needs some tweaking.  Maybe someone can offer some suggestions?  I was going for a cheeseless casserole that is similar to my delicious Santa Fe Casserole, but this was a tad too dry.  Any ideas?


Cheeseless Bean and Pesto Casserole


Ingredients (for six servings):


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup pre-made pesto
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup white bean hummus (pre-made)
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 9 Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Stir thoroughly.
  • Pour into large greased casserole dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Slice and serve!


January Joiners, Join In!


Last year, I ran a special series on HTP in support of the January Joiners.  In the original post about January Joiners, I wrote:


A JJ is someone who signs up for a gym membership after setting a New Year’s Resolution to finally get in shape.  They flood the gym in masse from January to (usually) February, making it difficult to regular gym goers to get access to machines as easily they normally can in March or so.  As a former gym rat, I know that the JJ sweep can be annoying.

But here’s the thing:  Some January Joiners will actually stick around and change their lives for the healthier, and YOU can help.  Instead of being negative towards JJ, let’s be extra positive for them.



I profiled some January Joiners of 2011, as well as some people who had been JJ but stuck with their healthy habits.  You can read their stories here!


I’d love to do a similar feature this year… So, if you’re planning to be a JJ in 2012 and want to kick your booty into gear by publicly stating your goals, or if you were a JJ in 2011 and want to share how you stuck with your healthy habits all year long, send caitlinjboyle@gmail.com your story (about a paragraph), a link to your blog (if you have one), and a picture, and I’ll feature it on HTP!



  • CheezyK December 14, 2011, 8:23 pm

    First up the casserole – sounds delish! Personally I would probably add a touch of spice, either some dried chilli flakes or a hot sauce or salsa of some sort (and we don’t eat ‘shrooms so I’d be taking them out, but that’s just me).
    Secondly, I’m about to give the ‘gold stars and check marks’ a go myself. I’ve started blogging about my plans and goals in order to keep myself accountable but I think that having a visual check list will help me actually remember what I’m meant to do each day! Here’s hoping 🙂

  • Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots December 14, 2011, 8:23 pm

    It looks good! maybe put some vegetable broth in it next time?

  • Elise December 14, 2011, 8:32 pm

    I think you could moisten up the casserole by adding a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk, water, veggie broth, or even tomato puree (I think the flavor of the tomato would be nice with the pesto and white beans, but it would affect the color/appearance of the casserole)when you’re mixing all the other ingredients. You could also try using part vegetarian Worcestershire sauce mixed with one of the liquids mentioned above to deepen the flavor and compliment the mushrooms (I wouldn’t use all Worcestershire because it’s so salty).

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:54 am

      oh good idea. i didn’t know they madde veg worcestershire sauce!!!

      • Elise December 15, 2011, 10:30 pm

        Yep! I know Annie’s Naturals (the same people that make Cheddar Bunnies and salad dressing) makes a vegan Worcestershire sauce. They carry it at Whole Foods, at least in my neck of the woods.

        P.S. I’m glad to see you tried the tomato in tonight’s post and liked it 🙂

  • katie @ KatieDid December 14, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Sounds like a tasty concept for a casserole, I agree with the above comments- some broth would help because the rice probably soaked up any moisture that was going on in there. Plus does pesto have cheese in it? Or were you just going for no additional gooey cheese to hold it all together..

    • Caitlin December 14, 2011, 8:53 pm

      Oh hmm. I think this pesto does. Just trying not to add 2 cups of shredded cheese, ya know?

  • Ally December 14, 2011, 8:51 pm

    totally unrelated, but how is James doing in the guest room?

    • Caitlin December 14, 2011, 8:55 pm

      I was planning to do an update soon! So the hus and I read over all the comments on the post and decided to bring him BACK into the bedroom but make him a cave of blankets over his dog bed. He’s really been loving the cave! It took about three days for him to stop trying to jump back up in the night, but he figured it out and we are all a lot happier now!

      • Ally December 14, 2011, 8:58 pm

        Yay! That’s great– I’m happy you found a solution that works for you, and that James gets to sleep close to his family!

        • Caitlin December 14, 2011, 8:59 pm

          Me too! I learn so much from the comments and really take them to heart. The comments on that post were
          SOooOOoo helpful.

          • Charity December 14, 2011, 9:37 pm

            You must take pics of this cave!

          • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:54 am

            Ask and ye shall receive!!!

      • Jen December 14, 2011, 10:41 pm

        I was curious too! SO glad to hear that this story has a happy ending (for people and pups)! 🙂

        • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:54 am

          Me too 🙂

  • Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs December 14, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Add enchilada sauce!! I’ve been getting the Rick Bayless green sauce from Sunflower market and practically drinking it.

    • Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs December 14, 2011, 9:18 pm

      Scratch that I just reread the recipe and that would suck. Hahaha. Clearly it’s time for me to go to bed. Maybe something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar? Or almond milk 🙂 I’m going to stop leaving stupid comments now… Haha

      • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:55 am

        I dunno, I think everything tastes good in enchilada sauce!

  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) December 14, 2011, 8:59 pm

    I wish I was as on it as you are. I need to set up a plan like that to motivate the boys with helping out more. Don’t get me wrong, the help, but I want them to donthings without asking. I think your plan may work with a reward at the end since we all love a little reward. Dinner looks delicious Caitlin!

  • Samantha December 14, 2011, 9:02 pm

    In January 2010 I was a January Joiner. My mom was told by a doctor that she should start practicing yoga in order to offset stress. I researched some studios in my area, and decided that I would like to give it a try. I took my first gentle class on January 6, 2010, and I could barely sustain even a simple downward dog or boat pose for more than a few seconds. No matter how hard it was, I always left with an amazing feeling of euphoria that kept me coming back. Two years later (and 40lbs thinner!) I go to 5-7 yoga classes per week, am in a fantastic yoga teacher training program, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t believe how strong and flexible I am now. I would advise anyone who wants to change their health that finding a fun activity is the best motivation I’ve ever found. Also, it’s important to start where you are, and work up to your goals. I never thought I’d be able to get into a headstand or arm balance, but now I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, even if it takes a year or more. I don’t have a picture or a blog so I thought I’d put it in the comments!

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:55 am

      You are awesome Samantha!!!!

  • Jennifer December 14, 2011, 9:08 pm

    The eggs are drying it out. Sounds counterintuitive, but with rice and pasta dishes, eggs can firm things up too much. I’d decrease it to one egg, in addition to adding some veg stock, as previously suggested. Looks delish!

  • Sana December 14, 2011, 9:26 pm

    I think the new year is a great place to start and most people make SOME change in their lives!

  • Debbie December 14, 2011, 9:38 pm

    I have 2 doxies…it might look like no one is home, but their minds never stop!

  • Pam December 14, 2011, 10:05 pm

    I have made a similar recipe and it uses low fat sour cream mixed with rice and beans and veggies and then baked, and it is SOOOO good. So I would say try adding sour cream.

  • Katie December 14, 2011, 10:07 pm

    I work out fairly regularly throughout the year, and update me goals consistently. However, I LOVED the JJ topic last year. I tend to lose more weight in the first 4 months of the year, than I do during the summer/fall/winter. I do think it’d be great to do a “quarterly update” for JJ to see who is still sticking around…just a thought!

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:56 am

      Great suggestion, Katie!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing December 14, 2011, 10:08 pm

    The tracker for dog walking is such a good idea!!!! Love.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) December 14, 2011, 10:11 pm

    I love those charts! I’m doing something similar this month to make sure I drink enough water a day and to keep track of how many miles I move this month (I’m aiming for 100.) Seeing the chart can be a powerful motivator!

  • Dynamics December 14, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Have you seen this newer product?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGBaS9uCrQg
    I plan to using this as soon as I can find one. Do the dogs fetch? I have a long hallway and throw a toy a zillion times. Great exercise for both of use.

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:56 am

      That looks like something I would LOVE LOL!!!

      My dogs don’t fetch 🙁

  • Kim @ Wonderings December 14, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I’m not necessarily a January Joiner but a re-committer! It’s definitely a time to reflect and get started (again!).

  • Jen December 14, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Maybe adding vegetable broth to the rice would help make it less dry? I’m not sure how that would go with the other flavors in there (it tastes fine in the jambalaya I make, but there’s also an abundance of cayenne pepper haha), but whenever I want to make rice dishes a little more stew-like, I add broth.

  • Jocelyn December 14, 2011, 11:06 pm

    the italian-ish sauce i make for everything consists of: milk, egg white, hunk of herb laughing cow cheese (I know you said no cheese but this is just a little bit, is low cal, and high flavor) whisked together to make the ‘base.’ it sounds weird, i know, but the egg acts like a binder, making what tastes to me like creamy sauce.

    to that ‘base’ i then add my flavorings: pesto, squeeze of lemon, garlic, onion, s+p, nooch (if i feel i’m feelin frisky), the slightest bit of sweetener, etc.

    i put it over steamed veggies, pesto chicken, vegetarian casseroles, etc. delish!

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:57 am

      this sounds like an awesome sauce! I will have to try this. i love laughing cow. so tasty and creamy.

  • Laura (Starloz) December 14, 2011, 11:13 pm

    hot sauce, totally smoother it in hot sauce

  • Jamima @ Sweat Style December 14, 2011, 11:24 pm

    Charts are great and believe me, you’ll be doing more with your kiddos before you know it. 🙂 We have charts for everything, haha!

  • Khushboo December 14, 2011, 11:51 pm

    I like this positive spin on January Joiners..so true! We absolutely should motivate them to stick to their goals rather than wait for them to lose their streak!

  • Lorin December 14, 2011, 11:59 pm

    I think it would be cool if you could write about how those JJ’s improved since last year as well! 🙂

    • Lorin December 14, 2011, 11:59 pm

      The one’s your featured last year..

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu December 15, 2011, 12:09 am

    Does the casserole have to be dairy-free or just cheese less? I would add some Greek yogurt to fix the dry factor, but if you’re going no dairy, maybe just a drizzle of olive oil? I always get so annoyed by JJs, but it’s nice to be reminded to try to stay positive about it–negative nancys just make the gym less inviting to new comers and that’s not what they need!

  • Tiffany December 15, 2011, 1:43 am

    I think adding some lemon juice mixed with olive oil would brighten up the dish and make it moist…or you can try olive oil and balsamic, thats really delicious too! 🙂

    By the way your previous post was so cute!! You look great at 14 weeks!! 🙂

  • Kasia December 15, 2011, 2:03 am

    Last year when I started reading this blog I was a “January Joiner” – but now I’m a January Joiner that has lost 46 lbs! January Joiners FTW!

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:58 am

      DANNNNNG girl! You are awesome. Congrats!!!!

  • Kate December 15, 2011, 5:30 am

    I love this! I always try to smile and be supportive of new people in he gym, because I wish someone had done it for me. It would have saved a lot of stop/start health pushes if someone had smiled or encouraged me, rather than make me feel I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough to be there.

  • Amanda December 15, 2011, 7:31 am

    I like how you’re keeping track of walking the dogs : D

  • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon December 15, 2011, 8:09 am

    Maybe some diced tomatoes? They would add some moistness and pair well with the pesto!

  • Molly @ RDexposed December 15, 2011, 8:18 am

    Gold stars and charts totally work for me, too! That system abled me to kick the bad habit of biting my finger nails.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 15, 2011, 8:50 am

    I love the idea of encouraging people to workout, but I’ve never been a fan of the new years resolution, it’s just a way to put off your goals. If you want to change, start today!

  • Ann December 15, 2011, 9:06 am

    I add a can of diced tomatoes in juice to my version of the southwest casserole. You might also try adding in some of the beloved Mmmm sauce!

  • ali December 15, 2011, 9:07 am

    could do veggie broth, marinara sauce, salsa or nutritional yeast?

  • Meghan December 15, 2011, 9:10 am

    I LOVE checking things off a list, too!!
    I would cook the brown rice in some extra veggie broth so it’s a little more loose and runny and then combine with all other ingredients.

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat & Beers December 15, 2011, 9:10 am

    Yay – the pup is going to be so fit n’ happy. haha

    Thanks for re-sharing the note about JJs. I’m a gym rat, and I get totally bummed in January. I guess I could stand to be a bit more sunshine n’ smiles towards all the newbies.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 15, 2011, 9:33 am

    What a fun idea! As a fitness professional I LOVE it when people join in-no matter what the time! 🙂

    I sure love a good walk–so that is a fun idea!

  • Nena December 15, 2011, 9:52 am

    OMG, how crazy that you chose this topic. I’ve been feeling blue about my weight gain. I’ve been 136 lbs. for the past two years (I’m 5’5). Since finding my sweetheart and being extremely happy with my life I’ve gained 13 lbs. He’s in really great shape but has also put on a few lbs. I decided, though, not to wait for the new year. Yesterday, I joined the Y and started my first step/sculp class yesterday morning at 5a.m. It was so hard, but fun! I want to get back in my size 6’s comfortably! Here’s to starting early! 🙂

    To make it even better we are going to the gym Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays together! 🙂 Go team!

    • CaitlinHTP December 15, 2011, 9:58 am

      Go Team! 🙂 Good luck!

      • Nena December 15, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Thank you!

  • Allie Q (Fit Geek) December 15, 2011, 10:03 am

    I haven’t looked through the comments yet so I’m sure someone probably suggested this, but tomato sauce! I made a cheese-less frittata last night with tomato sauce and I didn’t miss the cheese at all.

  • Alyse December 15, 2011, 10:49 am

    At this time last year I remember reading a lot of JJ blog posts. I don’t belong to a gym because I am way too self concious at the moment and lack of fundulation. ANYWAY, I was surprised at how many bloggers were annoyed with JJ’s. As a shrinking violet I can understand how gym rats would turn off JJ’s by their attitudes. One blogger wrote about her disdain at someone walking on the treadmill instead of running and how she “rolled my eyes at the sight.”

    When you do your post maybe you could remind the gym rats that JJ’s are NOT an annoyance, they have to start somewhere, too. And that maybe a supportive word would help them stick around. 😉

    • Liz December 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

      I’m totally with you on this one! I’m one of the people who’s always shied away from the gym because of experience with gym rats who act like that….

  • Allison December 15, 2011, 11:08 am

    An incentive/ reward system works so well in my classroom! We use charts like you’re using and the students have so much fun charting their progress 😀 I totes should start them at home for personal stuff, too!

  • adie (all of the above) December 15, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I bet if you added some chopped tomatoes and maybe a little olive oil (and the lemon juice sounded good, too!), it would be really good! The pulp in the tomatoes should add enough water to help the dish from drying out. Beans are hard to work with! They dry out so easily when cooked. It sounds delicious though! I think I even have all the ingredients necessary to try it myself…. 🙂

  • Amber K December 15, 2011, 1:15 pm

    Technically I was a January Joiner in 2007 when I changed my life. Although I hadn’t made much progress until February when I joined SparkPeople, and didn’t kick it into high gear until I joined a gym that Spring. It just takes one little step to start the journey!

  • Kim December 15, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I’m a JJ (I suppose…) but for a different reason. Many gyms make a special no initiation fee offer in December/January, which is about the time that it’s snowy outside and difficult to run/bike. I take advantage of these offers so that I can exercise during the snowy months and then cancel my membership in Spring.

  • Meghan December 15, 2011, 4:29 pm

    I didn’t start my healthy habits in January, but shortly after I began working out and eating well, I decided I needed to find a gym that was a better fit for me. I joined my gym the beginning of January a couple of years ago and even though it was a bit crowded, the atmosphere was great and surprisingly the “regulars” were awesome about new people and always offered help with machines and information about classes, etc.

    When I have to wait for a treadmill/stairmaster/etc. during January I just remember that for every few people that join and quit that month, there is someone who is going to stick with it – so I never hesitate to give a few words of encouragement!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) December 16, 2011, 6:12 pm

    What about adding some unsweetened almond breeze and a bit of nutritional yeast?

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