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March 2012

Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: There's nothing wrong with a steak

By Mike Thayer

The weather was fantastic yesterday, it got over 80 degrees on March 17th!  It was a wonderful St. Patrick's Day so the Thayer family enjoyed a great supper outdoors.  There's nothing like a beautiful day and that tantalizing smell of meat on the grill......

The menu:  Ribeye steak topped with grilled onion, with some roasted asparagus and penne pasta tossed with parmesan on the side.  Sliced fruit for desert, apples and cantaloupe.

Good food, great conversation, a little music playing in the background while enjoying the evening sky.....  It was a nice family meal to cap the day and the food was easy on the diet.

Simple but delicious

We got the ribeye steak at the Hawkeye Foodservice Outlet Store, near Tiffin.  They sell individually packaged eight ounce steaks and we love them.  For $3 a pop, the quality is excellent and no marinade is necessary, they have excellent flavor despite coming out of the freezer.  Just add a little salt and pepper on one side, throw them on the charcoal, grill to your liking and you have a melt in your mouth delicious steak.

The asparagus was also simple but delicious.  Add a couple pads of butter (olive oil is a good alternative, stay away from margarine), some Thayer house seasoning and roast them until tender crisp.

The penne pasta tossed with a little parmesan was more for my wife and kids.  Pasta isn't something I eat much of anymore, I did have a taste and like everything else on the plate it was simple but delicious....  A nice pairing with the asparagus.

This meal isn't a guilty pleasure, it's actually quite sensible.  According to, an eight ounce ribeye provides your body 64 grams of protein and includes the following dietary nutrients:  niacin, vitamin B6, B12, E, K, selenium (antioxidant), iron and potassium.  There are no carbohydrates in steak.  The asparagus gives your body some dietary fiber, vitamin a, c, iron, even a little calcium and protein!  The underused vegetable only has a little over five grams of carbs per serving.  The butter adds 36 calories to your meal, but no carbs!  A serving of penne pasta on the other hand, contains 88 grams of carbs and why I try to stay away from the stuff.  Tasting a few noodles is enough.  As far as the Thayer house seasoning goes, it consists of a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, red pepper powder and a little chili powder.  An alternative is Mrs. Dash.  The sliced apple and melon for desert was just the right amount of sweet, the vitamins and fiber a bonus. 

Simple but delicious.  What a great day!


John Thayer promoted to Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do

John thayerCORALVILLE, IA. --    John Thayer was promoted to Black Belt on Saturday after meeting all requirements as judged by the masters of Kang's Martial Arts Academy.

Thayer, age 11, is pictured right demonstrating a power side kick, breaking three boards.  In addition to  being evaluated on a variety of board breaks, students are also tested for endurance, forms, general knowledge of Tae Kwon Do, as well as a full contact sparring match against 3-4 other students simulating a gang-style attack.  

Specializing in Tae Kwon Do and Kum Do Martial arts training, Kang’s Academy is located at 2421 James St. in Coralville.  Located directly across from the Coral Ridge Mall and close to IHop, Kang’s is open from 4:45pm into the evening hours Monday through Thursday.  A second school is located in Marion.  For more information check out the Kang’s Martial Arts website at or call 319-338-2264.

Visit to Stella a bit disappointing

By Mike Thayer

My Dad and Stepmom took my wife Filiz & I out for lunch today, we went to Stella in Iowa City.

The wife and I have never been to Stella, it's a nice little place on Melrose.  Arriving right at noon we were greeted warmly and seated right away.  Stella was busy, but not so busy that there wasn't a table available.  On this warm March day, the windows were open letting in a nice breeze and the patio was in use. 

Our waitress was great.   We all ordered water and it was promptly provided, my wife Filiz and I wanted lemon slices, quickly delivered.  Our food also arrived in very timely fashion, with all our orders correct and delivered with a smile.  I ordered a Cobb salad with the bacon on the side so my wife could share (she doesn't eat bacon).  My Stepmom also ordered a Cobb salad, but with the balsamic vinaigrette served on the side.  My wife Filiz ordered a black bean burger with guacamole and my Dad ordered cheesy fries.

The Food Breakdown:

The Cobb salad was tasty, a nice selection of greens laced with chicken (a bit bland), shrimp (perfectly cooked), tomato, blue cheese and of course, the bacon.  The balsamic vinegarette was spot on and the salad portion was large.  It was satisfyingly filling.  

The cheesy fries looked great, they definitely don't skimp on the cheese, it also came with bacon and was sprinkled with some green onion.  But the base, the fries...  Well, they weren't seasoned well and fries are supposed to have a bit of crisp on the outside, fluff on the inside.  These weren't.  "Soggy" fries is the best way to describe them.

The black bean burger was disappointing.  I shared half the sandwich with the wife.  It was a bit bland and didn't have the texture that a good blackbean burger should.  It should have some firmness on the outside, this was mushy.  On the side, the soggy fries.

It's a cute place, a convenient location, ample parking for the lunch hour, the service is great, but...  The food, not so much.  Don't get me wrong, it's not, "I'll never go there again" bad food, but it was a bit disappointing considering the ambience and the menu.  The lunch menu ran around $10 a plate.  Stella gets three stars out of five.  The service carried the day.  Stella is located at:

1006 Melrose Ave
Iowa City, IA 52246

(319) 887-5564