Food and Drink Feed

You don't need to spend money on diet programs like Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers

By Mike Thayer

Why spend money on diet programs like Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, when you can do pretty much all that they offer yourself and far cheaper?

Those weight loss programs, while they do offer some measure of success in losing weight, remember that they're in the diet business to make money. 

Think about it, diet programs like Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, etc., are about adding something to your diet.  They want you to include them in your daily regimen and that means spending money with them. 

You don't need to do that to lose weight.

A good weight loss plan is about the elimination of some foods, not the addition of them.  Y0u shouldn't have to spend extra money to lose weight.  

Don't buy a bunch of overpriced meals, eliminate a few things from your regular grocery list instead.   Scratch off the egg waffles and syrup from your list.  Don't purchase a bunch of protein bars you wouldn't normally buy, pick up an extra carton of eggs instead.   Don't take money out of your wallet/purse to buy any of those diet shakes that really don't hold you between meals, pick up some lunch meat instead.

"But Mike," you say, "I don't cook, I need those packaged meals to stay on a diet."

No you don't.  If you can convince yourself that buying a bunch of over-priced cardboard boxes is a good weight loss plan, then you can convince yourself that making a few simple adjustments at the grocery store and in the kitchen is an even BETTER weight loss plan.

Forget the Lean Cuisine, ditch the Slim Fast, focus on making a smarter grocery list.   You'll not only lose weight, you'll spend far less money doing it.

Carb-Check Diet

 


Bachelor on the Cheap: Beef Pot Pie

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Beef Pot PieBachelor food, go-to food when you don't really feel like cooking, don't feel like getting into the vehicle and driving to a restaurant......  So what do you do?  Pull out a Banquet pot pie.

Really?  Do you have to?  Heck no!  I mean, don't get me wrong, those things are OK in a pinch.  But c'mon, it's not like they've got a huge YUM factor going for them.  They're, 'eh'....   You eat one, you're not hungry anymore, that's pretty much it.

Let me clue you in on something you can make easy peasy, something VERY affordable, something WAY better than a Banquet brand pot pie......

All you need is a can of Campbell's Vegetable Beef Soup and a container of Pillsbury Cresent Rolls.

In 20 minutes, you've got DELICIOUS Beef Pot Pie!


Grilling on a budget

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Here's a great recipe if you're on a tight grocery budget, costing less than $10 to prepare.  

And tight budget or not, this is just a flat out great grilled hot dog recipe!

Mike's HamDawgs
Stuffed hot dawgs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham or luncheon meat
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 package of all beef hot dogs
  • 8 to 10 slices of bacon
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)

Mike's HamDawgsDirections:

Mix the first six or seven ingredients.  Slit the hot dogs, cutting them almost end-to-end and about ¾ the way through.  Stuff with the ham mixture.  Wrap the stuffed hot dogs with bacon and secure with tooth picks on each end.  Grill over hot coals, giving them ¼ turns and brushing them with BBQ sauce (and optional BBQ/Louisiana Hot Sauce blend) until the bacon is crisp.  Serve in toasted garlic buttered hot dog buns.

For more great recipes made for the grill, go to www.grillinggoodeats.com


Is Taco Bell's 'Naked Chicken Chalupa' any good?

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Yes, yes it is!

In fact, it's quite tasty!

Taco Bell's heavy advertising for this new menu item worked, it lured me in.  I was intrigued on how a 'chicken shell' would measure up, so for dinner the other night, off to Taco Bell I went after work.

Naked Chicken ChalupaMy Naked Chicken Chalupa order was served up fast and fresh.  I honestly didn't really know what to expect with that first bite, how the chicken would play with the lettuce, tomato and cheese......   It was pleasantly, crunchy delicious!  The marinated, all white meat chicken was flavorful, juicy and did I mention, crunchy delicious?  The avocado ranch dressing is a perfect compliment to the 'taco'.    Taco Bell has done this one right, the 'shell' is indeed savory, it's a perfect blend of crunch and tender chicken with each bite.

I went with the $5 box with my order, which consisted of a Naked Chicken Chalupa, a Crunchy Taco, a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco and a medium drink.  After eating the Naked Chicken Chalupa, the Crunchy Taco and even the Doritos Locos Taco failed to measure up, I was wanting more Naked Chicken Chalupa!

If you're curious about Taco Bell's Naked Chicken Chalupa, go satisfy that curiosity and that hunger at lunch today.

The Chalupa gets a fast food Coralville Courier rating of 5 stars!

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Bachelor on the Cheap: Why you should have a membership to a wholesale club

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I've heard a lot of people say, "I can't afford to be a member of a wholesale club."

Hogwash.

I would argue that you can't afford NOT to be a member.

Sure, you have to pay a membership fee, but you really do make up for that annual fee payment through savings the club offers.

The nation's top two wholesale club outlets are Sam's Club and Costco, with annual base memberships costing $45 and $55 respectively.

Yes, you'll save far more than that over the course of a year.

I've held a membership at both Sam's and Costco.  They are both very similar, although Costco tends to play more to the organic loving crowd when it comes to groceries.  I currently have a membership with Costco, but strictly for proximity reasons.  Costco is closer to where I live.  The savings at either club, is essentially the same.  They are able to provide you savings as a result of buying large volumes of product.

Ground BeefReason #1 to have a club membership:  You save BIG on groceries.  Yes, you'll have to buy in bulk, which may not sound like a good thing for a bachelor or for somebody who doesn't do a lot of cooking, but there's no need to burden yourself to restrictions like that.  Think outside the box.  If you don't cook, you still save BIG on snacks and prepared/ready-to-eat foods.  If you don't have a lot of refrigerator or freezer space, you can still save big on items that aren't perishable.

Here's a savings example, ground beef.  The days of getting good ground beef for $2.99 a pound are fast becoming a thing of the past.  When the mainstream grocery store puts ground beef on sale, yes, it's for $2.99 a pound, but the sale is infrequent, for just one perhaps two days and it's usually for the lowest grade ground beef they have.  It might be for a 70/30 (70% meat, 30% fat) grind - YUCK, too much fat, A LOT of shrinkage and grease.  The mainstream grocery store may offer a sale on an 80/20 grind and that's decent, but know that an 80/20 grind is great for burgers, but it's not a good grind for all-purpose applications.  An 80/20 grind still has too much fat for things like casseroles and one-dish meals.   What you need is a good all-purpose grind that's  good for a number of dishes, for casseroles, one-dish meals and simple comfort foods like meatloaf.

Costco, where I shop, offers an 88/12 grind at just $3.19 a pound.  That's not a sale price, that's an every day price.  How much is a similar grind at a mainstream grocery store you ask?  $3.99 and up.  Buy a five pound package and you save $4 at Costco vs. buying the same thing at the mainstream grocery store.   And surely, you've got room in the freezer for that!  Today I bought a package of ground beef weighing almost 6 pounds.  I portioned it out into six freezer bags and now I have ground beef to make meals with over the next few weeks.

ChickenI also bought 7.25 pounds of boneless chicken thighs for just $1.89 a pound, as well 5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder cut country rib style for just $2.29 a pound.  Each of those meats are about 20 to 30 cents a pound cheaper than the normal every day price at a typical grocery store.  We're talking a savings of around $3 for that same 12+ pounds of meat!

PorkSo to sum, for three types of meat; beef, chicken and pork, I saved around $7 shopping at Costco over buying the same thing at a mainstream grocery store.  Sure, you might see that kind of savings IF a mainstream grocery store has a sale, but if you're not a sale shopper, the point is mute and even if you do pay attention to the sales, how often do they really happen to make it worth your while, vs. low prices at Costco, every day?

And here's another way to look at it, especially for those of you who don't want to or don't like to cook: 

I spent $75 today at Costco on meats.   I've got over two weeks worth of entree items to work with in my freezer now.  That same $75, buys you maybe 10-12 meals at fast food joints.  What makes more sense, three meals a day, that's breakfast, lunch and dinner for better than two weeks for $75......   Or up to 12 dinners for the same amount?

Reason #2 to have a club membership:  You'll save big on gas!  The price for gas typically runs at least 10 cents a gallon cheaper at Sam's Club or Costco than it does at the typical convenience store.  And even if you have one of those loyalty cards at that mainstream grocery store that also sells gas, you'll still save 5 cents or more per gallon!  Being a club member means a savings of between $1 to $2 per tank fill up.   That may not sound like much depending on how much you drive, but think about it over the course of a year.....  How about an extra $50 - $100 bucks to do something fun with?

Reason #3 to have a club membership:  Both Sam's Club and Costco sell so much more than groceries and gas.  They offer furniture, office supplies, cleaning supplies, kitchen gadgets, home entertainment, clothes, outdoor fun, books and much more.  Like as for the groceries and gas, the clubs can pass on savings to you the customer, because of their volume buys in product.

Spend the $45 - $55 for a club membership, you'll get that back AND MORE in savings over the course of a year, EASY!  You'll probably realize that savings in the first three months.  Seriously.


Popcorn Shoppe

Popcorn Shoppe

Popcorn Shoppe, in North Liberty, IA, is the area's premier popcorn store serving all of Coralville, Iowa City and the surrounding areas since 2010. We have over 70 flavors of popcorn, including carmel corn, kettle corn, and custom mixes of popcorn. We also sell old fashioned candy, handmade fudge, salt water taffy, custom gift packages and more! Come visit Popcorn Shoppe in North Liberty for all your gourmet popcorn needs!

Popcorn Shoppe Display

We carry a large variety of candies that are sure to satisfy any craving!  Our stock changes regularly so be sure to stop in often!  We even stock hard-to-find, nostalgic candies, sure to bring back memories of your childhood!

We also carry a large variety of homemade scrumptious fudge.  We make several flavors sure to cure your sweet tooth!

Looking for that perfect gift?  Gift baskets and popcorn tins are a wonderful way to show someone you care!  We have a large collection of baskets and tins available.  Let us create something special for you!  Contact us for more details

Popcorn Shoppe
Located in Penn Landing
725 Pacha Parkway, Suite 4
North Liberty
PH: 319-665-2297

via www.popcornshoppecr.com


Americans Are Eating So Much Bacon That Reserves Are at a 50-Year Low | Fortune.com

U.S. bacon reserves have hit a 50 year low. The non-profit Ohio Pork Council said that demand for frozen pork belly, often made into bacon, has far outpaced supply, USA Today reports. “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting,” said Rich Deaton, the group's president.

With low reserve levels, prices have increased; the cost of pork belly rose by 20% in January, according to the council. Officials said that increased foreign demand might also be responsible, however, as hog farmers export around 26% of their total product according to the group.

via fortune.com


Carb-Check Diet: Eat any kind of fish you want, just not breaded or battered

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I used to look up carb counts on the internet or read the packaging for each and every food item I prepared and ate.    When putting something on the grill or in a frying pan for example, I would read the packaging or look on the internet for the serving size and carb count.  Writing those numbers down, I would then do some math to get a carb count total for all foods consumed at meal time.  That carb count research got tedious at times, but now I've got some great data to share!

You don't have to look up carb counts one-at-a-time, I've done all that work for you!

Find carb counts for meat, fish, dairy, veggies, fruits, right here on www.carbcheckdiet.com.

And if you don't see the carb count for a food you want to eat listed here, it's not listed for a reason - the carb count is too high, don't eat it!

Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of protein.  You can eat just about any kind of fish and not have to worry about blowing up your carb count.   Most shellfish by the very nature of their diet, tend to carry more carbs than fish.  The only real rule of thumb here, don't eat fish that's been breaded or battered.

Carb Count:  Fish & Shellfish

Item Serving Size Carb Count (in grams)
Anchovies, canned in oil 6 oz. 0
Bass, all varieties 6 oz. 0
Catfish, all varieties 6 oz. 0
Clams, canned or fresh 2 oz. 3
Cod 6 oz. 0
Crab 6 oz. 0
Crawfish 6 oz. 1
Eel 6 oz. 0
Flounder 6 oz. 0
Grouper 6 oz. 0
Halibut 6 oz. 0
Herring, cured 2 oz. 0
Herring, pickled 2 oz. 5.4
Lobster 6 oz. 1.8
Mackerel 6 oz. 0
Mahi-mahi 6 oz. 0
Mussels 2 oz. 4
Oysters 2 oz. 6
Perch 6 oz. 0
Salmon, canned, fresh, smoked 6 oz. 0
Sardines, canned, in oil 6 oz. 0
Sardines, canned in tomato sauce 6 oz. 0.8
Scallops 6 oz. 4
Shrimp 6 oz. 3
Squid 6 oz. 6.5
Tilapia 6 oz. 0
Trout, all varieties 6 oz. 0
Tuna, canned or fresh 6 oz. 0
Walleye 6 oz. 0

 

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U.S. Daily recommendation for carb intake is complete B.S. for most folks

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

According to our "Oh-so-wise" government, in order to maintain a healthy weight, the U.S. daily recommendation is to consume 225 - 325 grams of carbohydrates per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

If you're the typical American, that's horse manure.  If you're the typical American, consuming that many carbs will cause weight gain!

"So Mike," you ask......   "Define Typical American."

OK.

The typical American these days wakes up, gets ready for work, travels to work be it by car or mass transit.  Sitting at a desk makes up much of the day for many.  Standing on your feet performing light physical duties is what takes place for many others.  For most folks, regular exercise is not part of the routine, which is wake up, work, do something not really physically demanding after work, get some sleep, repeat.

That typical way of life does NOT require 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day to function.

Here's a simple, general rule of thumb.  If you work out regularly, you need all those carbs.   If you don't work out regularly, you flat out don't.  The government's recommended daily intake is pretty much garbage in the real world.

A sedentary lifestyle - desk jockey, no work out - your body only needs about 135 grams in carbs to maintain body weight....  Note I said 'maintain', not lose weight.   If you want to lose weight, that carb gram intake needs to be under 60 a day.

A moderate lifestyle - standing on the job, light physical activity - your body only needs about 180 grams in carbs to maintain weight.

So what does that mean in terms of food?  Cut back on the potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  And it's not that hard.

Consider the following:

A typical slice of bread/toast has 13 grams in carbs.  It takes two slices of bread to make a sandwich and most folks eat two pieces of toast with breakfast.  That's 26 carbs total.

A 1/2 cup of white rice comes with a carb price tag of 23 grams.

A cup of pasta as 35 grams of carbs.

A medium potato has 38 carbs.

Those are all typical serving sizes.  So follow me on this.....  You have two slices of toast/biscuit, croissant/bagle with breakfast, around 26 carbs.... Having a side of hash browns with that?  Add another 19 carbs.  Chinese stir fry and rice for lunch, 23 carbs and that doesn't count the carbs in the veggies that are part of the stir fry....  Some potato chips for an afternoon snack, let's say another 19 carbs.....  Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and you had two helpings along with some garlic bread....  Add another 96 carbs....    Total carb intake for the day?  A whopping 183 grams in carbs!  

For that sedentary lifestyle, you've gone over what your body ACTUALLY needs by about 50 carb grams.  Do that everyday and yes, you'll gain weight.

"But Mike," you say, "that 183 grams in carbs you laid out in a typical day is perfect for somebody with a moderate lifestyle right?"

Nope.

Let's dig a little deeper into those carb counts shall we?  Did you have cream and sugar with your morning coffee?  Add at least another 5 grams in carbs....  And how many cups did you have?  Most folks don't drink just one cup.  Did you put some ketchup on those hash rounds you had with breakfast?  Add another 5 carb grams.  That cheese on that sausage, egg, cheese croissant?  Add another gram.  How about those veggies in the stir fry for lunch?  Depending on the mix, that's another 10-20 carbs.  Did you drink a regular soda or two at some point during the day?  Add another 24 grams in carbs.  Did you have a salad with that spaghetti at dinner?  Add another 10 grams in carbs.  So how many MORE carb grams do we add to the total?  Another 55 - 65 grams in carbs.

Even for the moderate lifestyle, that's at least 238 carbs, 58 grams above what a moderate lifestyle kind of person 'needs' to maintain a healthy weight.  It's a recipe for weight gain, not 'maintain.'

So how do you cut back, without finding yourself hungry between meals?  It's easier than you think.  Eat one slice of toast, not two.  Knock off 13 grams in carbs.  Switch to heavy cream for your coffee (0 grams in carbs) instead of the coffee creamer, knock off 5 more carbs.  Ditch the soda, knock off 24 more grams in carbs.  Don't have that second helping of spaghetti, having a bigger salad instead, knock off 25 more grams in carbs.  Knock off total:  67 fewer carbs.  Doing little things like that, means a better looking you!  We can talk about why the heck you're eating bread, rice, chips and pasta all in one day - you shouldn't be - at a later time.....


Carb-Check Diet: Dairy products are fine in moderation

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I used to look up carb counts on the internet or read the packaging for each and every food item I prepared and ate.    When putting something on the grill or in a frying pan for example, I would read the packaging or look on the internet for the serving size and carb count.  Writing those numbers down, I would then do some math to get a carb count total for all foods consumed at meal time.  That carb count research got tedious at times, but now I've got some great data to share!

You don't have to look up carb counts one-at-a-time, I've done all that work for you!

Find carb counts for meat, fish, dairy, veggies, fruits, right here on www.carbcheckdiet.com.

And if you don't see the carb count for a food you want to eat listed here, it's not listed for a reason - the carb count is too high, don't eat it!

Milk, cheese, creams....  They're all excellent additions to meals you can prepare with the Carb-Check Diet, dairy products make for great snacks too!  Caution though, although many dairy products pack some pretty good protein, they have some carbs too, so moderation is key.  As a general rule of thumb, most cheeses that you can slice or shred, are under 1 gram of carbohydrate per ounce.

Carb Count:  Dairy & Eggs

Item Serving Size Carb Count (in grams)
Butter 1 Tablespoon 0
Cheese, American 1 slice 0.5
Cheese, Blue 1 oz. 0.7
Cheese, Cheddar 1 oz. 0.5
Cheese, Colby 1 oz. 0.7
Cheese, Feta 1 oz. 1.2
Cheese, Goat 1 oz. 0.6
Cheese, Monterey Jack 1 oz. 1.2
Cheese, Mozzarella 1 oz. 0.6
Cheese, Parmesan, Grated 1 Tablespoon 0
Cheese, Swiss 1 oz. 1.5
Cheese, Velveeta 1 oz. 3
Cheese Whiz 2 Tablespoons 4
Coffee Creamer 1 Tablespoon 5
Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup 5
Cream Cheese 2 Tablespoons 1.5
Cream, Heavy 1 Tablespoon 0
Eggs, Large 1 0.7
Half & Half 1 Tablespoon 0.3
Margarine 1 Tablespoon 0.1
Milk, Whole 1 cup 12
Milk, 2% 1 cup 12
Sour Cream 2 Tablespoons 1