Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Week Eleven - Handling Disappointment

Stay Positive!
I have been dieting, eating less, journaling my food, and seeing my scale go down, for a full 11 weeks now.  I was at 16 lbs. down last week.  This week I gained 3 pounds overnight! and I have not yet seen it drop back down.  Wow.  I was shocked because I felt like I was not changing "that much" in my routine.   Was it a delayed reaction from traveling recently?  Were my choices really that bad?  I guess they were.

Obviously, I have been letting old habits sneak back in.  In reality, I was not focusing.  I can't tell you what I was eating differently, because I was getting very lazy journaling my food choices.  I wasn't focusing on adding more activity, and most of all, I don't think I have been drinking enough water.  I KNOW that I have not been drinking enough water.  And then there is the vegetables.  The vegetables that I'm not eating.

So that's it.  I wasn't doing what I know I need to be doing.  The crazy thing is that I feel it ALL in my belly.  My belly was actually starting to feel flatter.  I've noticed in the past, and again this time, that as I lose weight, my stomach seems to go down first just under my breasts, and then slowly going down into my mid section and then finally my lower belly, at my hips.   It has been noticeable and I have been SO excited feeling the changes.

It's time to get excited again.
It's time to revisit what it is that I really want.
I will not give up.  "Winner never quit and quitters never win."

I know you've heard it said before, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." 
It's SO TRUE!  
I have already been feeling "thin", as I am experiencing my clothes fitting loser.  When I eat the right portion sizes, I leave the table feeling satisfied, not like I need to unbutton my pants. 

I am being told that a plateau is a part of weight loss. (I know that)  And that it is an important part of the weight-loss process.  Sometimes the scale isn’t moving simply because your body is adjusting to change.  Fat-loss never occurs in 30 days or anything magical. It’s a process.

Prevention.com reminds us to;
Stay Hydrated
Don't feel pressured to eat your entire plate
Go Meatless at least once a week
Eat Wholesome foods, eliminate processed foods
Cook at home
Use Smaller plates for portion control
Limit distractions during meals.
Curb your sweet tooth.
Eliminate refined cards - avoid breads, crackers, cereals, pasta, and baked goods.  Choose whole grains.
Limit alcohol - or cut it out completely. ~ (ya, I know)
Add Fiber - 25 grams per day in the form of 3 servings each of fruits and vegetables.
Start stepping - improve your health, boost your mood.
Get enough zzz's
Get intimate.  Getting it on more often can serve as an excellent cardio workout while boosting your mood and lowering stress.
Build a support network - a workout buddy.
Keep track of your progress. Every day, every week, every month.  Also write down your feelings, challenges, and setbacks.
Stock up on healthy snacks
Cathy and Michele - 2011
Focus on lean protein.
Consider high-intensity interval training
Meal Prep - Make a double batch for busy weeknights.
Avoid snacking at night
Sign up for a 5-K run/walk.
Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.
Combat stress.  meditate, walk, take a relaxing bath, listen to soothing music, exercise.
Bike to the office.
Don't sit still

"If you fall off the horse, get right back on it."

Remember, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."

Monday, October 14, 2019

Meatballs and Gravy

This recipe is tried and true!

I’m not going to pretend that I am Italian, because of every nationality that is mixed through my veins – Italian is about the single one that I am not. However, I love Italian food & tend to make some pretty great meals when I cook Italian food. This is something I am confident I can make well…enter Meatballs and Gravy. Now, since I am not Italian by birth (only by choice) I would not have known that the sauce is actually called gravy, when you put it on meatballs. Also, I found everything I need to make this wonderful recipe at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.

Meatballs and Gravy
For Meatballs:
1.5 lb of mild Italian sausage
1.5 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reduced fat)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

For “Gravy”
2 large cans Cento crushed tomatoes
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 small yellow or white onion
olive oil
1/2 diced roasted Italian red pepper
fresh basil – minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
pinch sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
couple dashes hot sauce
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp of lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Open a bottle of your favorite wine and consume while cooking.

3. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl. Once all the ingredients are blended together, you are going to form your balls. These are meant to be bigger than the kind you find in your spaghetti – since they are the main course. So you want them to fill up a good handful (why is this starting to sound dirty)…

Once you have all your meatballs formed, line them up on a cookie tray. Its really important not to crowd the tray so the meat cooks evenly. Once you have this step completed, put your meatballs in the oven – reduce the heat to 375 and cook for exactly 45 minutes. Reducing the heat allows for the outside to form a slight crunch, while the inside cooks perfectly.

4. Now we start on the sauce! Slice the onions & chop garlic & add to saucepan over medium heat with about 2 swirls of olive oil in the pan.
Once the onions have cooked and are translucent, add in the remaining ingredients for the sauce, starting with the crushed tomatos. After you have all the ingredients added & well incorporated, turn the heat to low & cover. The flavors will all blend together on a low simmer while the meatballs finish cooking.

5. When the meatballs are done you are going to take each one and add to your sauce, excuse me, gravy…. and roll around to make sure they are completely covered. Optional step is to place a slice of mozerella on each meatball (after its been rolled in the gravy) and cover again for just a minute to melt the cheese.

6. For the salad, I cheated and bought a bag of Ultimate Caesar Salad mix, but I am not kidding when I say, it was the BEST bag of salad I have ever bought. BECAUSE it has the shaved Parmesan cheese, the creamy dressing & this little spice mix to sprinkle on top that I had never seen before….
(PS, I always cut out the lettuce "ribs")

I topped my meatballs with some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Week 10 - Mindfulness

Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment.
Mindful eating is taking the time to stop and really focus on and enjoy your food.

I want to think of food more as sustenance, but eating for me has always been a source of gratification; it's a social activity; it's a reward.  It's a comfort to my thoughts and feelings.  It all comes into play where food is concerned.  I want a higher level of consciousness.  I want to continue to learn and have a greater understanding of how food affects my body.  I want to be aware and mindful with my choices.  

There is still no question in my mind that we each have the potential to achieve our goals by putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

We will Persevere. 
Losing weight is really hard to do, and many people fail many times before they succeed. I won't give up and don't you give up either.  Each day, commit to eating a little bit less, reducing our calorie intake. If we get off track, recommit the following day and just keep at it over time.

Last week I was in Washington state and Victoria, Canada.  As far as eating while on vacation, I did fair.  I still consumed too many high calorie beverages, but I tried to make really healthy food choices, choosing several seafood options and eating smaller portions. I enjoyed the occasional hot buttered roll.  I was also able to walk more than I do normally.   After returning home, my scale was exactly the same. Then two days after traveling home, my scale dropped another pound.    

Perhaps I could have consumed less calories while on vacation, but rather, I chose to indulge at times.  Without taking a backwards course, I am still committed to pursuing my weight loss goals.

Yesterday has passed and tomorrow has not yet arrived.  Today is what is important.  This moment in time.

Recommit, Decide.  No matter what, we are going to do this. Continue to pull your strategies together to prepare your path versus just going with the flow.  Refocusing on this decision will boost  motivation, trigger our imagination, and inspire us with new ideas.

The power of possibility.  Don't let time or resources dictate your choices. It is possible for me to walk 30 minutes each day.  Just do it.  Physical exertion always triggers a positive mental change for me. Exercise is the best medicine.  Don't sit so much.  While I'm on the phone, I can stand up and walk around. When watching TV, I can stand and pace during commercials. Instead of sitting at my makeup table, stand up. In general, I will strive to get on my feet every 30 minutes.
Take a look at what else you can do.

Envision. Have intention.  Mind over matter.  We can impact our life by what we believe is possible.  If you truly believe it is possible, you're half way there.  Never give up on what you want to achieve. "Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses. On your powers, instead of your problems." -- Paul J Meyer

Believe that you can.  The first person you have to convince is yourself.  When our choices demonstrate our commitments, we are able to access a deep well of confidence that is inside of us all.  Choose to face every event with a positive mental attitude.

Be proactive.  Tackle the unexpected twists and turns of life as they come, but don't let them impede on your focus.  "If you don't see, in your mind's eye, a picture of yourself winning - then you won't win; And not because you can't." -- Summer Sanders

Stay present to this moment.  Awareness itself will help us to consider what’s possible before aggravation can takeover and overturn our resolve.

"Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success".
Olympic National Park
- Swami Sivananda.
We attended the wedding of Hannah and Kyke Kutz

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park
The Falls we hiked to.

Lake Crescent

Michele and Cathy in Victoria, Canada

The Empress Hotel, Victoria

Finn's Seafood Restaurant, Victoria

Finn's Seafood Restaurant

We visited Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria

We visited Butchart Gardens, Canada

  Butchart Gardens

 Butchart Gardens

Breakfast at the Victoria Regency Hotel

Seafood Nachos at Nautical Nellies Restaurant

Monday, October 7, 2019

Classic Crock Pot Chuck Roast

Chuck Roast is on Sale this week at 7 Harter House locations. (Oct. 9-15, 2019) 
Just $3.99 lb. in a Family Pack.

"The dry soup mix and mushroom soup produce a great tasting gravy, the dry onion soup mix already has plenty of salt.  Just season the roast with black pepper and garlic powder.  This truly is one of my favorites!  ~Shelly

    • 1 (3 lb.) Harter House Beef Chuck Roast
    • 1 -2 teaspoon ground black pepper  
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted  
    • 1 (1 ounce) package Lipton dry onion soup mix
    • 1 medium onion (sliced or chopped)  
    • 4 large carrots, cut in large pieces
    • Button or Portabella mushrooms  
    • 6 -8 Small new potatoes, quartered
    • 2 stalks Celery, cut                                                 


  1. Season the roast with black pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Place meat in the Crock Pot
  3. Pour can mushroom soup on top of meat. Sprinkle Dry onion soup mix on top.  
  4. Add vegetables of choice, onions, fresh mushrooms, new potatoes, quartered, celery, and carrot chunks.
  5. Cook all day on low.  No additional liquid is needed.

Serve the roast with veggies, gravy. and hot buttered rolls.

My Favorite Chicken Fried Steak

This was always a favorite dinner at my house. 
And they are on sale this week. 
Comfort food for sure.

Tips for the Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

  • There is no need to deep fry. I shallow fry to golden perfection with a cup of oil – or less. I prefer to use vegetable oil.
  • A heavy skillet works best. I use my favorite cast iron skillet but any large, heavy bottomed skillet will work.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. Two at a time is the way to go. Preheat your oven to 225-250 F to keep it warm and crispy while you’re making the gravy.
  • Buttermilk keeps the steaks nice and tender and the TABASCO® Sauce adds loads of flavor without being overly spicy. I make mine with about 2 teaspoons but you can go up to 4 teaspoons if you want to up the ante. I like to keep it relatively calm and my family can add a couple of dashes on top if they like.
  • You’ll notice the baking soda and baking powder in the breading. This gives it a perfectly crispy coating that you won’t find in other recipes.
  • After breading the cube steaks, really press the flour in. You want the steaks to be completely coated with the breading.
  • Do not flip the steaks more than once. Wait until they are nice and golden brown before flipping. You don’t want to disturb that crunchy coating.

Don’t Forget the Gravy!

There are a few secrets to the best Chicken Fried Steak Gravy.
  1. Do NOT scrape the skillet. Leave all of that goodness in there. Simply remove the grease and add back in just enough to make the creamy gravy.
  2. Let the flour cook and brown before adding liquids. This builds up flavor and removes that raw flour taste.
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk AND cream (yes, I use a little cream in this gravy) This keeps lumps from forming and you end up with a smooth, creamy Chicken Fried Steak Gravy.
  4. Season at the end. My gravy usually doesn’t need any additional salt but I add LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.


  • 4 Harter House tenderized cube steaks (about 1/3 lb each)  On Sale this week
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsps TABASCO® Sauce (original)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Chicken Fried Steak Gravy

  • 4 tbsp grease
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 to 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk , TABASCO® Sauce, and eggs. Set aside.
  • Pat cube steaks dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season with one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes and pat dry again with paper towel.
  • Dredge the cube steaks in the flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dredge in the buttermilk-egg mixture, letting excess drip off, and then once again in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. 
  • Place breaded cube steaks on a sheet pan or metal rack and press any of the remaining flour mixture into the cube steaks making sure that the entire steak is completely coated. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 225 to 250 F.
  • Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. How much oil you need depends on the size of your skillet. You want it to be about 1/4-inch deep. We aren't deep frying the steaks, just shallow frying. 
  • Test the oil by dropping a bit of the breading into in. The oil should sizzle and bubble around the breading. Look for the oil to be glistening but not smoking - about 320-340 degrees F. Now we're ready to fry.
  • Place two steaks into the pan at a time and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not flip more than once or the breading will fall off. Do not fry more than two steaks or the pan will be too crowded and the breading will fall off. 
  • Remove steaks from pan and drain on paper towels. Place in preheated oven. Turn skillet heat to medium.

Chicken Fried Steak Gravy

  • Pour the remaining grease into a heat safe bowl or glass measuring cup (I used my Pyrex). Do NOT scrape the skillet clean. We want all of those bits of yumminess to remain in the skillet so they can flavor the gravy.
  • Add back in 4 tablespoons of the grease to the hot skillet.
  • Whisk in flour and continue whisking for two to three minutes or until nice and golden brown.
  • Combine the cream and milk and slowly drizzle in about 2 1/2 cups into the skillet, whisking constantly. It might look a little crazy right at the beginning, but it will all come together.
  • Continue whisking and bring the gravy to a simmer. Cook until the gravy is smooth and creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, add in a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Mine didn't need any salt but LOTS of pepper!)
  • Serve chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes and your favorite green veggies. ENJOY!
This recipe from; momontimeout.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Peanut Butter Bars with Salted Chocolate Ganache

This recipe looks good also!
It comes from Nancy at foodnetwork.com

It's an easy recipe to make and yields 16 squares.


Nonstick cooking spray, for baking dish
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1 cup creamy peanut butter 
Kosher salt 
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted 
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped into small pieces 
1 cup heavy cream 
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, optional


  1. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine the confectioners' sugar, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  3. Place the chocolate and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 1 minute and then whisk until completely melted and smooth.
  4. Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mixture and refrigerate until the chocolate is cooled and set, at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.
  5. Sprinkle evenly with the flaky sea salt. Cut into squares to serve.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

This recipe looks SO GOOD.
It comes from Michael at inspiredbycharm.com

Crunchy, creamy, smooth, and tart.

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts finely crushed (in food processor)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Concord grape jelly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, crushed peanuts, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix in melted butter and stir to combine. Mixture should resemble wet sand. Press into the bottom and about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust 12-15 minutes until it is set and just beginning to brown. Cool completely.
  3. Set the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter about 5 minutes or until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time; then add the vanilla. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Use a spatula to level the top. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until slightly puffed, set along the edges, and still a bit wobbly in the center. Let cool completely.
  5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the jelly until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Pour evenly over the cheesecake. Spread lightly with a spatula to create a thin, even layer.
  6. Refrigerate about 2 hours until the jelly is set. Cut into bars. Wipe off the knife between cuts to keep the edges of the bars clean. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Week Eight - Traveling and eating right

This week, I had comments from people that had not seen me in a while, and they asked if I had lost weight.  I am down 15 pounds in 8 weeks. As I mentioned before, my goal is to lose 60 pounds.  I am one quarter of the way there.  Amazing.  I do NOT want to stop the momentum.

Tomorrow, I am headed out of town for 8 days.
We will fly to Seattle and then we will be attending the wedding of one of my relatives.  After that, we plan to explore Victoria, British Columbia.

How does a person diet on vacation?
Should a person even try to follow a diet plan on vacation?

The answer is, "What do you want most of all?"

I have been successful and I have also been unsuccessful on vacations.
When I have given myself permission to splurge, I have had a harder time focusing upon returning home.

So, today, my plan is to continue making healthy choices and eating within my calorie range to the best of my ability.

I will have an opportunity to be more active, walking as we explore different areas.

It may be a little more difficult to eat in new restaurants, with new cuisines available.  And I don't want to deprive myself.  I will have an appetizer as a meal, or split a meal with someone.  I also know that I can ask to have something prepared differently, and restaurants are more accommodating than ever with special requests.  If I have to taste something, I can just have a bite from my mother's plate.
I will also eat VERY slow and really savor every bite.

If I can avoid alcohol, I will definitely make better food choices.  Certain situations just call out to me to enjoy a beverage along with a spectacular view.  This will really be my most difficult challenge.  Even before I leave town, I am on the fence, thinking "will I" or "won't I"?

 I will continue to drink my water.  I will FOCUS!   I will DECIDE ahead of time to skip the adult beverages.

I will make sure that I have a healthy snack available.  A piece of fruit, a protein bar or protein drink mix in case I am feeling hungry between meals.

Have you ever "hit the gym" at the hotel?  A lot of people do that, but I am not usually that person.  It IS an option to consider.  I will also have a girlfriend with me and she will always hit the gym on vacation.  She may influence me to go with her. 

I plan to make this vacation more about filling my days with activities rather than food. 
I have already made a lot of changes to my routines.
I can do this!
I am not going to stress about anything.  Just relax and enjoy the adventure.

And when I return, I will rejoice with another loss at the scale.

What do you want, most of all?

Delicious Italian Sausage

Do you love Italian Sausage?  I LOVE our Harter House Italian Sausage!
Our Harter House Homemade Italian Sausage is made from a recipe handed down in the Bettlach Family for generations. We sell a Hot, Mild & Sweet Italian Sausage at all six  HH locations.

Here are some super simple recipes for your family to enjoy!

Italian Sausage Sub

1 lb. Harter House Homemade Italian Sausage
Fresh Sub Rolls
2 Green and/or Red Sweet Bell Peppers
1 Medium Onion
Marinara Sauce
Salt, pepper, and garlic for taste

Cook sausage on medium heat in covered pan for the first 10 minutes. Turn sausage over, lower temperature to medium low and cover for and additional 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve on fresh sub rolls. With peppers and onions: 2 Green and/or Red Sweet Bell Peppers 1 Medium Onion In separate pan, cut onions and peppers into strips. Add 1/8” oil to pan and steam-cook until tender. Serve with sausage on fresh sub rolls. *When frying sausage you can cook with water, vegetable oil or olive oil. **To retain natural juices, do not pierce sausage.

Italian Sausage Bread
This looks delicious! This is an incredibly easy recipe. Make sure you use good pizza dough and fresh mozzarella. Just brown the sausage and drain on paper towel, spread on dough, layer with cheese and some fresh parsley (on a greased pan), roll it up into a loaf and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Serve sliced and warm from the oven with fresh marinara for dipping.

Hot Italian Sausage Skillet
Start with Harter House Fresh Hot Italian Sausage (Remove from casing & crumble/brown in a frying pan). When cooked, remove and drain sausage from pan, set aside. In same pan, fry cut potatoes until tender and brown. In a separate pan, fry your sliced onion & (red & yellow) peppers in a little olive oil until tender and brown. Add cooked potatoes and sausage to the onions and peppers and mix .
Serve in a generous bowl topped with a melted cheese on top!! (Can serve with scrambled eggs as well)

Italian Quesadillas
2 lbs. Harter House Italian Sausage
1 pkg. Large Flour Tortillas
2 Bell Peppers, Red and Green
1 Red Onion, diced
Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
Lemon Pepper
Grated Mozzerella/Provolone blend or Italian Blend Cheeses

Brown sausage in skillet. As sausage is browning, crumble with fork, approximately 20-25 minutes. Drain grease from sausage. Sauté bell peppers and onions. Brush each flour tortilla with olive oil on both sides and liberally sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and lemon pepper on both sides of the tortilla. While tortilla is searing in skillet add cheeses, sausage, peppers, and onions. Fold tortilla in half and turn over to brown for 20 seconds. Mango relish is a great compliment for the Quesadillas.

Crispy Skin Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

I will put this roast in the oven and enjoy the aroma ALL DAY LONG!

I grew up on this roast.  My family is German and Bohemian, and we always put Caraway Seed on it, and served it with sauerkraut, potato dumplings, and a brown gravy made from the roast drippings.  If you're interested, the recipe, Pork, Sauerkraut & Dumplings, is in our first Harter House Cookbook.

I bet, it’ll feed your entire family for a few days! 

It makes the best Pulled Pork and it's just plain delicious. 

There are 2 parts of the pork shoulder – the Picnic Roast (what we’re using) and Boston Butt (which comes from the upper part of the shoulder).

The Picnic roast will have meaty chunks of pork that we can literally pull apart with our fingers. It does take a little extra cooking time, and a little more patience  - and a really great value.

When you purchase a fresh picnic at Harter House, it is usually frozen. (Fresh meaning not cured, as in a ham) I have learned that if I put the roast in the oven frozen, at 350 degrees for 7-8 hours, it turns our perfect and the skin is ALWAYS crispy.

The following recipe comes from ruled.me  blog.
"This recipe cooks the roast from a thawed state, at a lower temperature, for a longer period of time.
Since I am a huge fan of the crispy skin, I have always cooked the roast from the frozen state to ensure the crispy skin."  ~Shelly
  • 8 lbs. Pork Shoulder (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
1. Completely wash and pat dry the pork. Leave on the counter-top for 2-3 hours to come to room temperature.


2. Once the pork has been dried and is coming to room temperature (after a few hours), preheat your oven to 250F. Mix together all of the spices in a bowl.


3. Starting skin side down, pat the salt rub all over the pork to completely cover it. Once the bottom is done, flip and place on a wire rack that’s sitting over a baking sheet covered in foil. Spread the rub on all sides and top of the pork.


4. Once your oven is preheated and pork rubbed, place into the oven and bake for anywhere between 8-10 hours. I did 10 hours for my 8 lb. roast, but if you have smaller sizes or bigger sizes, you will have to adjust accordingly. You essentially want the internal temperature to be about 190F.


5. Remove the pork from the oven and cover with foil. Allow the pork to rest for 15 total minutes. Preheat oven to 500F.


6. Once pork is rested and oven heated to  500 F, remove the foil tent from the pork and place into the oven. We will rotate the pork every 5 minutes to allow for even cooking of the skin (YAY CRACKLINS’). There may be smoke that comes out of your oven during this process due to the fat that dripped off during the roasting time. You can either open the window or remove this fat previous to putting into the oven.


7. Take the pork out of the oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing/digging in.


8. Serve up for family and friends alike – the pork should be completely tender, easily separating from the roast by pulling the meat off with your fingers.

Crispy Skin Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder That Pulls Apart With Your Fingers | Shared via www.ruled.me/

This makes a total of 20 (6 oz.) servings of Crispy Skin Pork Shoulder. 


Italian Sausage Rigatoni Bake

This casserole combines all of our favorite Italian flavors, 
but the fresh mozzarella really sets it apart!
Serve this with a warm Ciabatta Bread


  • 1 package (16 ounces) rigatoni
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1 pound sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cook rigatoni according to package directions; drain.
  • In a large skillet, cook sausage, mushrooms and pepper over medium-high heat until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up sausage into crumbles, 8-10 minutes; drain. Stir in marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese and cream. Add rigatoni and toss to coat.
  • In each of two greased 8-in. square baking dishes, layer one-fourth of the rigatoni mixture and one-fourth of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, until heated through and cheese is melted, 25-35 minutes. (Cover loosely with foil if tops brown too quickly.)

    Freeze option:
    Cool unbaked casseroles; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake casseroles as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Top 10 Tailgate Tips

Harter House makes it easier than ever for all you sports fans out there to enjoy the craziness that is Game Day!
There is nothing more American than a picnic or tailgate party. One of the best things about tailgating and summer picnics is getting out of the house and dining al fresco (outdoors). Whether it’s at the backyard picnic table, on the screened-in porch, on a tiny terrace for two, at a favorite park, in the parking lot at a baseball game or a football game, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy life.
1.Determine the menu. Start at Harter House Supermarkets and keep it simple. Do as much party planning and food preparation as possible ahead of your party. This will allow you to make the most of the weather and atmosphere -- enjoying a relaxing meal outdoors (al fresco) with family and friends.
It’s easier to make a lot of only a couple of foods, rather than a little of a lot of different foods.
A satisfying menu includes a crunchy appetizer (for people to eat while you’re getting other foods ready), meat or sandwiches, a side dish or two (such as potato, pasta or fruit salads because they are dressed beforehand) and a dessert.
Take both hot and cold drinks. If it’s chilly, a thermos of hot coffee or cocoa will be very welcome. Be sure to include hot beverage cups.
It’s the “little things” that can make all the difference. Keep the surprises coming throughout the party.

2.Gather the equipment you will need.
If you plan to grill meats or vegetables, make sure you take the grill, the charcoal or gas, tongs, etc.
If you plan to make frozen drinks, take your blender plus an appropriate power source. Consider purchasing a power inverter that converts 12-volt DC power from your car’s battery into 110/120-volt AC power for appliances.

3.Make a list and check it off.
Don’t forget to take a blanket, plenty of paper or plastic plates, napkins, plastic flatware, serving utensils, plastic cups and glasses and/or tumblers, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, condiments, clean-up cloths and trash bags.
Pack a first-aid kit with sunscreen, insect repellent, Band-Aids and wet wipes. Remember to include any necessary medications.
Don’t forget the radio/CD player.
Include a cover in case of rain and a flashlight if it gets dark.

4.Keep Cool: Take at least two insulated coolers.
One cooler should be filled with ice, water and plenty of other cold drinks.
The second cooler should be used to keep perishable foods like meats cold until cooking time. It’s also best to keep chilled pasta, potato or fruit salads cold until serving time in a cooler.
Travel with your cooler inside the air-conditioned car rather than packing it in the hot trunk.

5.If grilling meat, chicken or fish at the tailgate, add extra flavor by marinating the meat in the refrigerator before you go.
Use resealable plastic bags for easy transport and clean-up. (I recommend Ziploc brand bags.) Simply discard the bag after use. Keep marinated meats in the cooler until ready to cook.
Cook meat, fish and poultry thoroughly. See the following guidelines from the USDA on proper meat temperatures to ensure safety:
Poultry (170° F for white meat and 180° F for dark meat, juices should run clear)
Beef (145° F in the center)
Pork (160° F, with the center remaining slightly pink)
Ground Meat and Poultry (160° F, measured through the patty)
Never place grilled meat on a plate that has had raw meat on it.

6.Be safe. Food safety is extremely important.
As always, wash hands and work areas before preparing food.
Pack a jug of water, antibacterial soap and wet cloths for washing your hands before and after handling raw foods, such as chicken, beef, pork or fish.

7.Keep hot foods, hot! Keep cold foods, cold!
Keep hot foods in an insulated jug, a slow-cooker plugged into your car battery, or in an appropriate pan sitting on the hot grill. (See Tip #2 above.)
Use insulated heat-and-tote containers (such as Pyrex Portables) to transport hot or cold foods to the tailgate party. These will keep foods hot or cold for a few hours.
To keep foods cold while serving, place salads and desserts in a smaller container, then place the smaller container in a larger container. Fill the larger container with ice to surround the smaller one.
Remember that foods such as meats and dressed salads should not be left out for more that two hours or you run the risk of food poisoning.
Do not leave any leftover food out on the tailgate or picnic table. Put leftovers back in the cooler as soon as you're finished eating. Replenish the ice if it melts. Keep leftover food only if there is ice still in the cooler when you get home.

8.Take enough food to feed your group of friends and to share with your fellow tailgaters. Invite others over to taste your creations and share your favorite stories; it’s a great way to meet new friends. Remember that eating outdoors can make people extra-hungry.

9.Show your colors by using thematic plates, napkins, plastic flatware and decorations. Don’t forget the matching tablecloth. Baskets of fresh fruit make beautiful, edible centerpieces. Then have fun, fun, fabulous fun!

10.Clean up thoroughly after your tailgate party or picnic.
Take your trash home with you. Put out any hot coals, etc. from the grill. Leave the site as you found it. Be kind to your neighbors.

 Don’t forget to bring the chairs, burger or your tickets EVER again. Make sure to mark things off as you pack them up so you don’t show up to the tailgate without that crucial piece of tailgate equipment!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Week Seven - My Body is Changing

When was the last time you remember walking past a window and you caught a reflection of yourself in the glass?   What did you think?  Not too long ago I remember thinking, "Wow, I'm looking really fat!" 

I have been paying attention to the reflections lately. 
As I pass the front windows walking into work and also in the freezer aisle of the grocery store I can see my reflection.  This week I found myself thinking, "I'm looking better.  My stomach does not look as round.  Yay!"

Time passes really quickly, as we all know. And my progress has really amazed me in a relatively short period of time. Every single week something is changing in my body and I can see and feel it.

Week one I lost 4 lbs. - It felt good to see the scale go down.

Week two,  Just 1 more pound down,  but I was still determined to focus and make changes.  I noticed I was leaving the table not feeling stuffed.  I was still taking too many liberties with my choices and I wanted faster results.  So I focused on paying closer attention.
Week three, down 2 more pounds.  I'm choosing far fewer adult beverages.  I am making better food choices.  This week I noticed that my nice shorts are much more comfortable.  I remember thinking, I must have lost a full inch in my waist.
Week four -  My scale is down 9 pounds in four weeks,  I'm starting to really feel it in my clothes now.  My routines are getting a little easier.  I'm not fighting hunger and food cravings like I was before. 
Week five -  A Labor day party.  It's easy to get derailed.  I reminded myself that I've got this.  Keep going, don't give up.
Week six -  I got into a pair of jeans I hadn't worn in years.  And a favorite top is not puckering at the buttons.  I am getting into my old favorite clothes again.  I have so many sizes in my closet.  With every smaller size, I have cuter and better fitting choices.  Now I am really starting to get excited.
Week seven - This week!  I am now down 13.5 pounds.  I hop on the scale every morning, and more times than not it is again 1/2 pound down .  I tell myself that if I don't eat or drink this thing I'm craving, that the scale WILL go down tomorrow.  It is my motivation.  I think my face looks thinner too.  I did see a picture of myself this week that I didn't like, which only reminded me that I am not where I want to be.  Keep going!

My favorite dinner this week, (I had it twice) was 1 piece of 5 oz. Sole rolled with scallops & crabmeat stuffing, with some Santa Fe Style vegetables. Of course we sell it at Harter House. (Republic Road for sure)  I found the nutritional info for the sole and was actually surprised at the calorie count.  It is really rich and delicious.
Serving 1 piece -  Calories 250.  Calories from fat 110.
Total fat 12g,- Carbs 20g - Protein 16g

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is finding out what motivates you.I want to look good in fashionable clothes.

Don't think of this time as taking stuff away.  Rather, we are adding new and healthy habits that will enhance our life and make us healthier and stronger.

I will continue to recite daily positive affirmations.  It may seem corny, but I know it works. "I can do this!"

So remember:  You're a winner, and nothing is impossible.