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December 2015

Classic Lawn Care - Cedar Rapids

Classic Lawn CareHere at Classic Lawn Care, we are dedicated to serving the Cedar Rapids area and providing the highest quality concrete and landscaping services for new or existing homes and commercial property. We strive to make the process as simple and worry-free for you as possible with the beautiful results you crave with minimal interruption to your busy day.

From concrete raising to snow removal, no other company cares for your residential and commercial needs like we do – and that’s a promise!

Give us a call today for a free quote.

Elegant PoolLicensed, Bonded, Insured:

Trained Horticulturist (BS), Lawn-Pro Turf Programs, State Landscaper Association, Transplanting Specialists, Licensed / Bonded / Insured, Entomologist on Staff, Japanese Trained, Licensed In Backflow Testing, BBB Member, Agronomist on Staff, Landscape Architect on Staff


Certified Arborist, Certified Nurseryman, Certified Pesticide Applicator

Contact us today

Michael Smejkal

211 8th St SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401


Business Hours
Please call for our hours of operation.




Ground beef cooking tip

By Mike Thayer

What you're making with that pound or two of ground beef, matters.

If you're making burgers, use an 80/20 (80% lean meat, 20% fat).  Fat means better flavor and a juicier meat patty whether it's grilled or fried.    Nobody wants to bite into a dry burger, but that's what using a leaner ground beef usually results in.  A 90/10 or higher ground beef grind doesn't have enough fat content to give you that juicy bite in a traditional burger.  And if you're worried about a diet and/or fat content, you still want to use the 80/20, because most of the fat stays with the grill or the frying pan.  What remains is juicy flavor, flavor that doesn't kill your diet.

Use 90/10 for soups, stews and casseroles.  Even if you're not worrying about a diet or fat content, these grinds of ground beef are perfect for chili, soups, lasagna, spaghetti w/meat sauce, tater tot casserole, ground beef w/mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes and that kind of thing.  The use of an 80/20 in these types of dishes is actually kind of a waste, because you have all those other flavors going on.   The variety of ingredients in a dish featuring a sauce or gravy, in combination with the 90/10 grind is what provides the flavor. 

What about something like a meatloaf you ask?   A general rule of thumb is that if the recipe features the meat, go with 80/20.  If the recipe features a number of ingredients combined to make the dish, go with 90/10.  When you're planning for or starting to prepare your meal, just ask yourself, "Is the dish about the ground beef, or a bunch of ingredients?" Like a burger, a meatloaf features the meat, so I like to use an 80/20 grind.   I actually use three kinds of meat when making a meatloaf.  Ground beef, pork sausage (usually an 75/25 meat to fat ratio) and ground turkey.  The ground turkey is lean and actually balances out the higher fat content of the pork sausage.  Baking meatloaf in all those juices from the beef and pork sausage means flavor.  Think of it as a meat concert with the turkey as the conductor.  The key to not having excess fat in your dinner is taking the meatloaf out of the pan you baked it in and letting it rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving.  Let the excess fat drain off into a cookie tray or the like.

And don't waste your time with any grind less than 80/20.  Even if you're on a budget, you've wasted your money buying a 70/30 grind because the fat content is just too much - going way beyond the 'adding to the flavor profile' thing.  A ground beef patty made with a 70/30 shrinks too much and causes way to many high flames on the grill, often resulting in too much char on the outside, raw on the inside burgers.  And instead of making four perfect bun-sized burgers from that one pound tube of ground beef you bought, you're only able to make three with the 70/30.  And when it comes to casseroles and the like, recipes calling for a pound of ground beef, well you'll end up with a lot less than a pound of meat that after draining off all that excess fat.

Make your meals even tastier with the right grind of ground beef!


Chili, it's what's for dinner

By Mike Thayer

The definition of chili is pretty broad, that's what makes it so great and one of my top, cold weather, go-to, comfort food meals.  It's easy to prepare and quite versatile.   Fix a small batch for two, or fix a boatload for a crowd.  It's easy!

You can make it hot and spicy, you can make it not-so-much spicy.  You can make it with beans, without beans, one kind of bean or three beans.  You can make a batch of chili with just about any cut of beef.  Make it with ground beef, or cubed sirloin, heck rough chop those two leftover rib-eye steaks in the fridge and put them in the pot.....  My latest venture has been making chili with smoked brisket - YUM!   And don't restrict yourself.  Beef-based chili is great, but so is chicken chili, pork chili and any combination of those.  I haven't tried lamb yet, but it is on the agenda.  You can serve chili over rice (my favorite way to enjoy chili, served over a bed of white sticky rice), have it Cincinnati style over a bed of spaghetti, or dish it up classic style in a bowl topped with saltine crackers.  Have it with crusty bread, corn bread (with honey), top it with diced red onion, or chopped green onion, or shredded cheddar cheese, or sour cream or "Loaded" (Fritos/onion/shredded cheddar/sour cream).  I don't know anyone who doesn't like chili.  Everybody likes at least some kind of chili.

Then there's all the leftover classics....  Chili dogs, chili burritos, chili-mac, chili nachos, chicken chili enchiladas.  Use your imagination, chili salad, chili shepherd's pie, chili tacos and yes, even chili pizza.  That's how versatile and crowd pleasing chili is!  It's easy to prepare, easy to make leftovers with, and most definitely, EASY TO EAT!  If I was a betting man, I would argue that you can do more with leftover chili than you can a Thanksgiving dinner.

Here's my standard chili recipe, not too spicy, but not too bland either.  It's kid AND adult friendly!


  • Two pounds of ground beef (I like to go lean ground beef here, using a 90/10.  There's a lot less fat to drain off and you don't have to worry about the meat drying out - we're making chili after all. 
  • One large onion, diced
  • Three stalks of celery, chopped
  • Three - four cloves of garlic, diced
  • Two tablespoons chili powder
  • Two teaspoons cumin
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • One teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Two cans of diced tomato, undrained
  • Three cans of beans, undrained (I like to use one each of red kidney, chili beans in sauce, and black beans - three beans = more flavor.  Pintos are good too.  Use any three you like.)
  • One cup chicken stock (yes, really.  Why not beef stock you ask?  Because this tastes better.  Yes, really).
  • And here's the secret ingredient - never make a batch of chili without it - one small can of diced green chilies.  Kids won't even know it's in there.


In a large soup pot, brown the ground beef over medium-low heat, drain, and set aside.  While that's draining, saute the onion, celery and chili powder until the onion starts to appear translucent.  Add the drained ground beef, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, sugar, green chilies and chicken stock and let that mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.  This is going to give you a nice, deep base flavor.  Add in the remaining ingredients and let that come up to a slow rolling boil for a few minutes, then reduce back to simmer.  Keep the lid off to tease people in the house with that great aroma, or until you reach desired thickness.

THE tip for a truly great chili:  Chili is ALWAYS better the next day.  Sure, chili is really good the day you make it, but letting all those flavors marry over the next 24 hours makes it even more delicious!  Once you get your chili to your desired thickness, refrigerate it.   Reheat it the next day on the stove and serve with any of the suggested styles mentioned above.


Serves six, with plenty leftover.  I like to add a little Louisiana hot sauce to my bowl......

A great quick rub for steaks

By Mike Thayer

If you're looking for something a little different to do to your steaks before putting them on the grill, this is a rub you'll want to try.  It gives the meat a nice little crust and enhances all that savory flavor.


  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt


Combine all ingredients and rub on the steaks at least four hours before grilling, place meat in a zip lock bag and refrigerate.  Good for about four 12 ounce steaks.

For other recipes and great grilling tips, go to:

Awesome Holiday Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadSimply put, as the name suggests, this pumpkin bread is awesome.  A double batch is pictured right.


  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Set aside. Using a mixer, combine the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs. Mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix well. By hand, mix in the nuts and raisins. Pour the loaf pans half full with batter.  Pipe cream cheese over that half layer of batter. Pour remaining batter to fill the pans. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until you get a clean toothpick test. Cool pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans to cool completely.

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 2 bricks (8 ounce packages) of cream cheese - softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.



Ramen soup hack #2,684

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

Ramen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...

Don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!

Ramen soup beefFire up the stove, heat up a pan.  Throw in a tab of butter and some olive oil.  Next, rough chop some carrots and onions, throw them in the pan and let them cook a bit until they are tender crisp.  Grab a package of beef flavored Ramen soup, put it in the pan with 2 cups of water.  Add some garlic powder, a dash of black pepper, a dash of Louisiana hot sauce, a couple liberal dashes of Soy or Teriyaki sauce and 3 minutes later you've got a great bowl of soup!  If you've got some left over roast beef or some lunch meat on hand, it's a great add.  Just toss it in when you're sauteing the carrots and onions.  Enjoy!

CJ's Sports Bar & Grill - Cedar Rapids

Cj'sMexican and American Cuisine, Sports Bar, and Games and Entertainment

Reconnect With Your Family

Your daily work schedule and your family responsibilities leave little time to get a delicious meal on the table. So, come in to CJ’s Sports Bar & Grill for a great meal and entertainment the whole family will enjoy.

Unwind After Work

After a long day of work, it’s nice to share laughs with friends and co-workers. Take advantage of our appetizer and drink specials during Happy Hour 7-days-a-week between 3-6pm, and relax.

Never Miss A Game Again

Whether you don’t have the channel, your cable is out, or your TV is broken, you’ll never have to miss a sports event again. We provide table, booth, and bar seating in our restaurant in view of our 16 LCD HD TVs.

See What CJ’s Sports Bar & Grill Is Serving Up For You and Your Family:

  • Menu – Children’s menu, hot wings, jalapeno poppers, Nachos Grande, Mushroom Swiss burger, Chicago Style Italian beef sandwich, steak dinner, Mexican combos
  • Restaurant and Bar Menu - Signature margaritas, domestic and import can, bottled, tall-boy, draft beer, daily restaurant specials, children's menu, Mexican specialties
  • Entertainment – 16 LCD HD TVs, pool tables, dart boards, Megatouch, and sports arcade games

Don’t feel like cooking or sitting in a restaurant tonight?

After a long day, the last thing you want to do is make dinner. And some days you just want to relax in front of the TV with friends and family. Give us a call at 319-365-9001 to place your carry-out order and avoid the hassle of cooking tonight.

Reconnect with family over dinner tonight. Come in to CJ’s Sports Bar & Grill at 62 17th Ave SW Cedar Rapids, IA and avoid the hassle of cooking.




The Flying Wienie - Cedar Rapids

Flying WienieGood food fast, not fast food!

We use Chicago Red Hot Brand All Beef Dogs for all hot dog meals.

Our buns are made fresh locally, every morning and most all food on our menu is made fresh from scratch - beef, pulled pork, chicken, chili, soups, burgers, ribs, sausages and more.

For Rib Lovers

Real baby-backs that fall off the bone. You don't even need teeth to eat them!

Call us to learn more

Dine-in or Take-out

We have inside and outside seating or, take your meal to go!

Check out our menu

Best Dogs in Town!

All beef dogs come in three sizes: regular, 1/4 pound, and 1/2 pound. Get them Chicago-styled or topped just how you like them!

Discover who we are

The Flying Wienie
103 8th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Phone (Call-in orders welcome)




Shakespeare's Pub & Grill - Iowa City

Iowa City's best east-side neighborhood watering hole. We offer a wide variety of beers and spirits as well as a full menu of great eats like our hand breaded, never flattened Tenderloin, great burgers and delicious steaks. Our cozy atmosphere will make you feel right at home.

 Join us for game days too! You can relax and enjoy your favorite team on one of our many flat screen TV's. If that doesn't strike your fancy there's always pool, darts, the great jukebox, or even pinball.

Conveniently located across the street from the 1st Ave Hy-Vee at 819 S 1st Ave. Stop in to relax after shopping or to cool down from a hard day's work. We have plenty of free parking! Our phone is 337-7275 and we always offer our excellent food for carry out!  We are open 7 am - 2 am Monday thru Friday. 9 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday. We serve food seven days a week and have a late night menu and cook until 1 am.





The Club Car - Iowa City

Club carTired of those downtown bars? Then come catch the small train that runs around the bar at The Club Car, Iowa City's best kept secret.

 The Club Car is the south side of Iowa City's favorite neighborhood bar. Kick back after work with our great happy hour specials, premium liquors and a relaxing game of pool or darts. Listen to your favorite tunes on our great jukebox.

 Conveniently located at 122 Wright St right by the old train depot off South Dubuque street, close to downtown. Come on down and see us sometime! We know our customers by name (Try to find that downtown.)

We are open 365 days a week from 11 am to 2 am daily. We have a fryer and have great appetizers when you are hungry.