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Tips on reducing waste this Thanksgiving

A graphic with a tip on how to reduce waste on Thanksgiving.

When hosting a large number of people for a meal, it’s easy to over-prepare.

Consider these reduction tips when planning, cooking, and enjoying your delicious Thanksgiving meal.

1.) Plan your shopping list

Take a moment to plan your shopping list; only buy what you know you’ll use. This is especially important when purchasing perishable items like produce, dairy, and meat.

Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!

2.) Skip paper or plastic cutlery

Ditch disposable, and go for reusable cutlery, dishware, and napkins. They are better for the environment, and reduce your trash load for the holiday week.

3.) Take only what you’ll eat

On a holiday that is all about eating, it’s easy for your eyes to grow bigger than your stomach. Be mindful of your serving size. Give yourself, or ask for, small portions. You can always go back for more!

4.) Don’t throw away food!

Eat what you can first, and compost second.

If you have a lot of extra food, pack doggy bags for your guests and/or freeze extra food.

Compost food scraps like potato peels, eggshells, and bones. If you receive curbside trash, recycling, and organics collection services from the City, you can compost at the curb.

Check out the Organics: Yard Waste and Food Waste handout for a list of accepted materials. Learn more at

5.) Recycle cooking oil, corks and glass

Frying a turkey? Recycle the oil. Place it in a sealed plastic bottle, label it ‘vegetable oil,’ and drop it off in the Oil Recycling Shed at the East Side Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE, or at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave. SW.

Glass is accepted at both locations and North Dodge. Wine corks can be recycled at the East Side Recycling Center in the designated bin in the Oil Recycling Shed.

No service reminder: Curbside trucks will not collect on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). If this date falls on your service day, have materials to the curb by 7 a.m. the next day.

Sign up to receive curbside service notices at

Today's Weather Outlook for the Corridor

Today's weather forecast and a four day outlook.  Check this page for the latest weather reports in the corridor area.  Up-to-date weather conditions for the Iowa City area are observed at the Iowa City, Iowa City Municipal Airport, IA.  For weather conditions specific to other cities outside the corridor area, just type in your zip code below.

Coralville, Iowa, weather forecast

Type in your zip code for your weatherecast




Kohl's offering 30% discount to Veterans this weekend - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Fila ShoesSo in the need for a new pair of sneakers, I went to my neighborhood Kohl's to do some shoe shopping.

I like Kohl's for this because they usually have the best deals on shoes, I've tried other places, but overall Kohl's has the best selection, shoe quality and pricing.

My budget was $50 and after looking at the various offerings by Nike, Adidas, Sketchers and other brands, I found what I was searching for, another pair of Fila shoes, my go-to brand.  They look good, they feel good on the feet and the price was right.

The regular price for these shoes was $49.99.  I picked them up for $34.99 on sale, but to my pleasant surprise when I got to the check out, was an additional 30% off my purchase because I'm a Veteran.  Kohl's is saying thanks to Veterans this Veterans Day weekend with the special offer.  Walking out the door, my shoes only cost me $26.45, WAY under my budget of $50!

According to the company, the 30% off in-store discount is double what Kohl’s offers year-round for Military Mondays, when all active and former military personnel, Veterans and their families receive a 15 percent off in-store discount.  The 30% discount special is good through Monday, November 11, 2019.

Thanks Kohl's!

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Hey Mainstream Media, I don't believe you!

ABC News, I don't believe you.
CBS News, I don't believe you.
NBC News, I don't believe you.
CNN, I don't believe you.
MSNBC, I DEFINITELY don't believe you.
FOX, even you at times, are suspect & it's becoming more frequent.
NY Times, you are laughable.
Washington Post, I stopped believing you a long time ago.

There are more to list, but none of the above is about reporting the truth, about being dedicated to simply reporting the REAL news. They are about ratings, about MANUFACTURING stories and doing so with an obvious bias/intolerance for any political idealism they do NOT agree with.

That's not journalism folks.


Use Extra Hour to Check Smoke Alarms this Weekend

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is encouraging citizens to use the “extra” hour this weekend when Daylight Savings Time ends and clocks are turned back one hour to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. – citizens should turn their clocks back one hour.

The time spent to ensure that working smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home, as well as inside and outside of sleeping areas, could save your family’s life.  Most fatal fires occur at night between midnight and 5:00 a.m. when people are asleep.  A working smoke alarm provides early warning and provides a family with needed extra seconds to get out of a burning home safely.  Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced at least once a year, or when a chirping sound indicating a low battery is indicated. 

Citizens should also check to ensure that their carbon monoxide alarm is working properly.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is the result of incomplete

combustion of carbon-containing materials.  Common sources of carbon monoxide include open flames, faulty gas stoves, blocked chimneys, space heaters, or a car or generator left running in the garage.  Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because the gas is virtually undetectable without detection technology like a carbon monoxide alarm.  Elevated levels of carbon monoxide can be lethal depending upon the amount of gas present and the length of exposure. 

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed near or in each separate sleeping area.  At a minimum, residents should have a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of the home.  For added protection, an additional carbon monoxide alarm should be placed at least 15-20 feet away from the furnace or fuel burning heat sources.  Alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from sources of humidity like bathrooms and showers.  If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors, call 911 and remain outside to await the arrival of emergency personnel. 

For more information about fire safety topics, visit our Web site at or our Facebook page at

Did you know?

Through October 29, 2019, there have been 109 residential fires in Cedar Rapids.  A working smoke alarm that alerted occupants was verified in 47.7 percent of the fires.  This is an improvement over recent years where smoke alarms present and working has been around 37 percent.

No charcoal chimney necessary when using Tumbleweeds to fire up the grill - Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

You can start your charcoal several ways, you can use lighter fluid, you can buy those ‘Match Light’ briquettes, or you can do what I think is the best way to go (up to now) and that’s fire up your charcoal using a charcoal chimney. I don’t like lighter fluid for several reasons. I don’t like to store it, I don’t like running out, the smell can get on your hands and clothes, and inexperienced grillers tend to put too much on or start grilling over charcoals that aren’t really ready yet, giving your food that nasty fuel taste. Those ‘Match Light’ briquettes are OK, they’re very convenient, but they are more expensive and like the traditional charcoal/lighter fluid starting method, can put a fuel taste on your food if cooked over before the coals are really ready. Avoid the fuel taste risk completely and start your charcoal WITHOUT resorting to lighter fluid. 

I wrote an article awhile back about using Weber Lighter Cubes to start charcoal, a great product that eliminates the need for newspaper but is still a bit dependent on the use of a chimney.

TumbleweedEnter a game changer, Tumbleweeds, made by Royal Oak.  These things are great, so good in fact, they eliminate the need to use a charcoal chimney.  No more putting on the glove, no more handling a hot metal container, no more worries about some hot ash getting getting loose and hitting your foot causing a bit of pain because you're wearing sandals......

All you have to do when using Tumbleweeds is put a base layer of charcoal or chunks of your favorite wood in the grill (I like to use a basket in my grill), throw a Tumbleweed in, place a few more lumps, briquettes or chunks around it, light the Tumbleweed and let it do it's thing.  One 'weed' has about an 8-10 minute burn time and as that charcoal starts to gray, you can add more if desired.  This can all be done right where you wanted to dump the hot coals from a chimney, but no chimney is required!

Don't get me wrong, there's still the need to have a charcoal chimney on hand, especially for long cooks and adding additional coals to the fire.  But when first firing up the grill, a chimney isn't needed when using Tumbleweeds and they outperform Weber Lighter Cubes.

Tumbleweed lit
Plenty of room to throw some pecan wood chunks on top, no worries of putting out the Tumbleweed fire

For tips on how to use a charcoal chimney if you're not familiar with them, go to

Costing me about $4 for a box of 16 Tumbleweeds, that's 16 grilling events.  They can be used to start camp fires and outdoor fireplaces as well!  Very reasonably priced and outstanding at the task of starting that fire, I'm giving Royal Oak Tumbleweeds 5 out of 5 stars.

5 stars

Related:  Weber Lighter Cubes

Related:  Arranging Your Coals


McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich is a poor choice of weapon in Chicken Sandwich war - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

There's a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food.

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines earlier this year becoming the third largest fast food chain.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  Showing up late to this war is McDonald's with a 'new' Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders.

McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Typical fast food 'assembly' of a sandwich

Today, I'm reviewing the chicken sandwich:

Here's the description from the McDonald's website:  Our Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich is full of flavor that makes you go “woo!” It's a crispy buttermilk chicken fillet made with juicy all white meat chicken and served with slivered onions, pickles and a mouthwatering, smoky barbecue sauce, all on a sesame seed bun.

A sandwich that makes you go, "Woo!" huh?

OK McDonald's, "Woo!, it's not very good!"

McDonald's has armed themselves with a pea-shooter.

McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich unveilIn taking that first bite, this sandwich is quite, "eh".....  The fillet isn't all that crispy, the barbecue sauce is quite average and not all that smoky or spicy and while there were plenty of slivered onions which I truly appreciated, there weren't near enough pickles on this sandwich.  Pickles are a perfect flavor combination with crispy chicken, they deliver that nice tartness that goes so well with a juicy, but crunchy chicken bite.  Pickles are also a great marriage with barbecue sauce.  I got like three pickles on my sandwich.  This sandwich won't win the chicken sandwich war for McDonald's.  Given how very average this sandwich is, I'm not sure I'll even try their Spicy BBQ Glazed Chicken Tenders.    There's no "Woo!" in what McDonald's put together here.

Costing me $4.50, the McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich gets just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The price is reasonable but the sandwich is unremarkable and is NOT a repeat buy.

2 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

For more food, drink, product reviews go to

Hotel Review: Red Roof Inn - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Red Roof InnI recently treated myself to a vacation, a few days of fishing fun on a lake in Missouri. It's my favorite kind of vacation, just the sounds of the great outdoors, appreciating the natural beauty, catching a few fish....

That being said, while roughing it in a tent had its appeal and saved me money on many a fishing trip, I've determined I'm really not into the camping thing anymore.  I've been there and done that, the camp fire, the tent, air mattress, all meals coming out of a cooler or cooked over the coals.  But in the heat of the summer and after being outdoors all day on the water, come nightfall, I want the comforts of air conditioning, the TV on and a good bed to sleep in.  These days when on vacation, the tent and camping gear stays at home.  I'm a hotel guy. 

There were several budget-minded hotel chains to choose from in the Cameron, Missouri area I was vacationing in and after doing some online homework, I went with the Red Roof Inn. It's been quite awhile since I've stayed at a Red Rood Inn, the online reviews were positive, the amenities looked great and the most important thing, the price was reasonable.

Red Roof Inn roomThis particular Red Roof has been recently remodeled.  Everything was new, to include vinyl floors instead of carpeting.  I got a room with a king size bed and the room itself was spacious, with nice desk space.  The amenities you come to expect in a decent hotel were all available and working, the Wi-Fi, a cable TV package with a good selection of channels and what I like about the room is something that often gets overlooked, PLENTY of outlets so I didn't have to hunt for any to plug my devices/chargers into.

The bed itself was quite comfortable and the linens were higher end.  This Red Roof - franchise operated - didn't cut any corners in the remodel.

There was an ice machine just down the hall from my room and the stay included the typical complimentary breakfast consisting of cereals, waffles, donuts, biscuits and sausage gravy, assorted yogurts, fruits, juices and coffee. I could also make coffee in my room with one of those one cup coffee makers and there was a mini-fridge as well.  The maid service was also top notch.  This wasn't a noisy hotel either, I slept well, no noise distractions.

Costing me $65 a night, I enjoyed my stay at the Red Roof Inn and I'm giving them 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The room was comfortable and the price was reasonable. 

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

The Red Roof Inn visited on this occasion is located at: 

501 Northland Dr, Cameron, MO 64429

PH: (816) 632-6623

For more product, service, food & drink reviews, go to

1st Gear: The UAW Corruption Mess Isn’t Going Anywhere Time Soon

U.S. prosecutors charged senior UAW official Vance Pearson with corruption-related crimes similar to the ones previous UAW officials have been charged with. Specifically, he allegedly oversaw a slush fund for embezzling money and throwing lavish parties “including $440 bottles of champagne originally created to please a Russian czar and scantily clad women to light union leaders’ cigars.”