Food and Drink Feed

Veggies are excellent prepared on the grill


  • Equal parts of cauliflower florets, baby carrots and baby portabella mushrooms (stems removed)
  • Tablespoon of olive oil
  • Pre-cooked bacon pieces (leftover from breakfast works great)
  • ¼ cup to 1/2 cup Kansas City style BBQ Sauce
  • A dash of seasoning salt
  • A hit of bourbon (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, drizzle the veggies with the olive oil and seasoning salt, toss lightly. Using a veggie tray over the coals, grill the cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms until the cauliflower and carrots are tender crisp and just start to caramelize. It doesn't take long over high heat.   Remove the grilled veggies and toss with the bacon pieces and the BBQ sauce in a serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!   Serving Option:  In a grill safe bowl over indirect heat, warm up the BBQ sauce and the bourbon, bringing it to a slow simmer, until it starts to bubble.  Do this in advance of grilling the veggies to let some of the alcohol cook out and NEVER pour alcohol into/onto anything over the hot coals!


Carb Check Diet - Day 1 Menu

By Mike Thayer

A good diet needs a good start, so start off your day with some solid protein!


  • 1/4 pound of pork sausage
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly scrambled
  • Two slices of American cheese

You can either brown up the sausage in patty form in one pan while you cook up the onion and eggs in another, top each with cheese.....  Or you can crumble up the sausage and combine it with the onion and eggs for a one skillet breakfast, topped with cheese.  It's up to you! 

This breakfast delivers about 28 grams of protein and less than 5 grams in carbs.  That's good body fuel!

Snack:  You get to eat between meals with this diet!  Pace it to about 3 hours between eats.  Did you have breakfast at 6am?  Have a snack at 9am.  Then there's lunch at 12pm, a snack at 3pm, dinner at 6pm.

  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ounces of Colby Jack cheese (2 slices)
  • a drizzle of olive oil

This snack delivers about 13 grams of protein and 5 grams in carbs.   So the cumulative total, the breakfast and this snack, is 41 grams of protein and 10 grams in carbs.


  • 6 ounce chicken breast
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons Ranch dressing

It's a dose of YUM!  With this lunch, your body receives 52 grams of delicious protein and just 9 grams in carbs.  The cumulative meal/snack total is now at 93 grams of protein and 19 grams in carbs.


  • Red Bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Ranch dressing

A nice tide-you-over-until-dinner snack, it provides you with about 2 grams in protein and 7 grams in carbs.  Cumulative Total:  95 protein grams and 26 carb grams.


  • 6 ounce boneless pork chop
  • 1 slice of bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, slightly wilted
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian dressing

This is another does of YUM!  This dinner provides your body with 59 grams of protein and 12 grams in carbs.  So what's your total for the day?  Your protein intake was 154 grams and your carb intake was 38 grams.

This was an excellent start on the diet and tasty too!


Bachelor on the Cheap: Taco Bell for Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

If you're into breakfast burritos, Taco Bell is the place to go.  Their 'grilled' breakfast burritos are only $1.

Taco Bell Breakfast BurritoTaco Bell offers three 'grilled' breakfast burritos:  Bacon & egg, sausage & egg and one they call 'Fiesta Potato.'  Oh, and when Taco Bell says, 'grilled', it really just means they put the burrito in a press, there's actually nothing grilled about them. 

When I first thought about ordering a breakfast burrito, I suspected they would be 'mini' in size considering the price, but I was pleasantly surprised when I received my order.  The burritos were good sized and generous with the ingredients, the nacho cheese complimented all three varieties well.  I enjoyed them all, but will say the sausage & egg burrito was the best, the Fiesta Potato I enjoyed the least (no breakfast meat).

The price tag for three breakfast burritos?  Just $3.23 after tax.  Breakfast doesn't get much cheaper than that and frankly, I should have ordered just two, didn't need the third.

The Taco Bell 'Grilled' Breakfast Burritos get 4 out of 5 Coralville Courier stars!  They don't get a 5th star because they're not really grilled.  The burritos were very tasty, the price was right and my order was served up quickly, hot and fresh.

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Carb Check Diet - Plan Your Menus

By Mike Thayer

Meal planning, especially when dieting, is like a game of checkers or chess - you need to be thinking a couple moves ahead.

Sure, there are times when you'll need to be impromptu, to adapt and overcome when life isn't going particularly right on a given day, but make no mistake, winging it and weight loss don't go together over the long term.

When you're making dinner, cook more than you'll need, then you'll have something to eat for lunch the next day.  When you're making a mid-morning snack, think ahead to what you'll snack on that afternoon and prep it right then and there.  Doing little things like that can help overcome whatever might interfere with your day....  You're already prepped and ready because you were thinking a couple moves ahead.

Another way to meal plan is to prep a bunch of meals for the coming week.  I love to grill, so on my days off from work, you'll probably find me lighting the charcoal, not for just one meal, but several.  I don't just grill a few things, I grill in big batches, why not, the charcoal is hot!  I'll grill up chicken done a couple of ways, some pork chops done in different marinades, a few burgers, perhaps some fish....  Some of that will go in the freezer as a base for future meals, some of that will go in the fridge for the upcoming week. 

A good way to keep variety in your diet is to just alternate your days with different proteins.  What do you feel like, beef, chicken, pork or fish?  Start off with what hits you first, then alternate, pairing proteins up with a complimentary veggie.  Grilled chicken and broccoli, pork chops and asparagus, steak and mushrooms, fish and green beans....   There, boom, four meals!

This isn't for everyone, but I have a white board in my kitchen, for menus and a grocery list.  The point here though, is to jot ideas down.

Look in the freezer, peak in the fridge, check out your pantry and see what you have.  Start writing it down in meal planning fashion, if you don't do this kind of thing already, you'll see how really easy it starts to flow - it's easier to craft a shopping list this way too!    It's thinking a few moves ahead - checkmate!


Carb Check Diet - Make Lunch Easy

By Mike Thayer

I only get a half-hour for lunch, so my food intake needs to be quick, easy and of course, delicious!

I typically eat straight protein for lunch, a chicken breast, or perhaps two thin cut pork chops, maybe a hamburger patty with cheese.

My lunches are typically leftovers, either from meal prep I did on my days off (grilling!), or leftovers from last night's dinner.  I reheat my lunches in the microwave, easy peasy.

Today, my lunch will be fish.  I had two Flounder fillets last night for dinner (I made three), today I'm having the last Flounder fillet for lunch, with a little tartar sauce on the side.

Lunch is my lightest meal of the day, eating just enough to make the stomach happy and I'm busy at work so there's no time to think about food.


Perhaps a snack you haven't yet considered for your Carb-Check Diet: Beef Jerky

By Mike Thayer

It's something you can easily take with you just about anywhere, it's readily available, it stores well and it's pretty darn tasty.

Wild Bill's Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky

Need something to hold you over until dinner?  Snack on some jerky.

Need a snack before catching that plane?  Eat some jerky on your way to the airport.

Don't want to pay those outrageous snack prices at the not-diet-friendly theater?  Sneak in some jerky.

A typical serving of jerky provides your body with nine grams of protein and just one carb gram.  In the three ounce Wild Bill's Beef Jerky package pictured right, one serving is one ounce, or 1/3 of the package.

There's such a wide variety of jerky out there to choose from too, original, Teriyaki, spicy, bbq, fruit flavors and more.  And it doesn't really have to be beef jerky either.   There's bacon jerky, turkey jerky and wild game jerky to choose from as well. 



Carb Check Diet

By Mike Thayer

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I'm a believer in the saying that it's the most important meal of the day, as your body needs some fuel after an 8-hour session of sleep.

Here's a great way to kickstart your morning.

  • 1/4 pound of pork sausage
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly scrambled
  • Two slices of American cheese

This breakfast delivers about 18 grams of protein and less than 5 grams in carbs.  That's good body fuel!


Chapter 1 - The Grill Setup

by Mike Thayer

How much charcoal should I use? How long does charcoal stay hot? What kind of grill should I buy? Which is better, gas or charcoal? Do I put the lid on or leave it off? Are those wood pellets any good?

These are all great questions. Whether you’re new to grilling or are looking to expand on your grilling expertise, you’re reading the right book. The answers are here.

Any kind of grill is better than no grill. A grill can be a piece of scrap metal and two cinder blocks standing over a small pile of charcoal, or it can be the latest stainless steel propane gas model with infra-red heat for searing and two side burners. Grills vary greatly in size, shape, fuel source, cost and most importantly, the ability to deliver flavor.