Food and Drink Feed

Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Yes, you can still enjoy a big breakfast!

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

Veggie egg scrambleBeing on a 'diet' doesn't mean you have to sacrifice great flavor or nutrition.  Yes, you too can eat breakfasts like bacon and eggs every day and lose weight!

Pictured right, a veggie egg scramble (mushrooms, onion, black olive) topped with American cheese and four strips of pepper bacon. What's missing? Nothing.... I used to eat something like this with a side of hash browns and toast.... but not anymore and the weight is coming off.

Combined with exercise, I'm also now just about off my high blood pressure medicine. I used to take a 40mg pill daily for that. I recently got reduced to a 10mg pill. In monitoring my blood pressure daily, I haven't taken a pill in four days now. I'm consistently at 120/80 and pulse in the '70s. Doc will be pleased and you can bet I am!

Millstream Brewing Co.

Millstream Brewing CoIowa's Oldest Brewery

Three Amana men decided to revive the art that had not been practiced in the Amana Colonies for years - the art of brewing beer. Carroll F. Zuber and brothers James and Dennis Roemig dreamed of building a small brewery to produce small batches of hand brewed beer reminiscent of Europe's finest.

To brew the best they needed the best, so they called on one of America's premier brewers, Joseph Pickett Sr., who helped in the brewery design, in the development of the beers, Millstream Lager and the robust, Schild Brau. Later, Millstream brewers, developed the zesty Millstream Wheat Beer.

In 1985 Millstream Brewing Co. opened its doors - the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884. So the Millstream Brewery was born and so it has come to be recognized as the home of quality brews of rewarding taste.

The Story Continues in 2000 with the sale of the brewery to Chris Priebe, Tom and Teresa Albert. Chris is naturally handy and keeps the brewery in tip-top shape. Chris also is a trained brewer from the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and has brought many years of brewing experience to Millstream. Teresa is an excellent people person and handles all the sales and marketing. Tom is our warehouse and production manager. He is the "glue" that binds the place together. It takes a good team to run a good brewery!

These owners are committed to continually making quality brews, one batch at a time. With a current count of 33 national awards and 1 international award, Millstream speaks of some of the finest beer made in the Midwest today. The brewers have introduced many different styles of beer to Millstream Brewery and with the passing of the higher alcohol law change in spring of 2010, many more styles will be coming out! The Brewery hopes to be able to reach out to local consumers in new and exciting ways.

Millstream Beers - Year Round Beers, Seasonal Beers and the Brewmasters Extreme Series

Millstream Brewing
835 48th Ave Amana IA 52203
PH: 319-622-3672 


Mike's Carb-Check Diet: Parmesan cheese is your friend!

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

In giving up breads, pasta, rice, chips and the like in a low-carb diet, getting enough variety in the foods you eat can be challenging.  Enter, Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan cheese can give whatever you're eating another layer of flavor, a fun twist if you will, no more, 'ho-hum' if you're on the food boredom edge. Bonus: No carbs!

This morning I had Parmesan cheese on my eggs, over easy.  After cracking two eggs into the fry pan, I hit them with some black pepper and instead of reaching for the salt, I sprinkled the eggs with Parmesan cheese.  Remember, Parmesan has a salty edge to it - adding salt would have been an overdose of saltiness.  The Parm not only adds another flavor element to eggs prepared over easy, it gives them another texture too.  When you flip those eggs over, the cheese meets the oil which creates a nice little golden brown, slightly crispy bite to the eggs and combined with those flowing yolks, well, it's another does of YUM!

I'm sure you've sprinkled Parmesan cheese on spaghetti and pizza, perhaps even a salad, but don't stop there!  Parmesan is so good on many other dishes.  I like to use Parmesan for example in pan frying fish.  It's great on popcorn, excellent sprinkled on veggies like green beans, broccoli and cauliflower and it's a fantastic add to things like chicken and tuna salad.   The next time you roast or grill some asparagus, don't forget the Parmesan!   Frying up some country-style potatoes or home fries?  Hit 'em with Parmesan.   Try roasting some tomato slices in the oven, top them with Parmesan.   And here's one everybody should try, Parmesan crusted bacon!  Everything's better with bacon!

Play with it, add it to your favorite dishes for a new flavor profile.  Don't forget to hold back on the salt.

Mike's Carb-Check Diet: No Noodles Required!

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

Out of all the things I no longer eat, bread, rice, chips, noodles and to an almost non-existent extent, potatoes - I miss noodles the least.

Sure, there are the occasional cravings for all of the above, but noodles are at the bottom of the list.

Take the following dish for example, it's got all the makings of eating Italian, minus the noodles.  But as good as these flavors are, you don't miss them. 

Sausage Links and Sauce


  • A package of sausage links - whatever you like, Sweet Italian, Hot, heck - Breakfast links will work, I went with Smoked
  • One Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • One clove garlic, minced
  • Small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of ready-made spaghetti sauce or marinara
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heaping Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

20160819_174747 (2)Directions:

Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and green pepper, saute for about two minutes.  Add the sausage links and mushrooms (optional), saute for another couple minutes.  Add the minced garlic, saute for another minute, then add the sauce and oregano.  Stir, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes.   Top with the Parmesan and mozzarella and simmer until the mozzarella melts.   This simple dish is well, simply delicious and it's low-carb friendly because there are....   NO NOODLES REQUIRED!


This meal as prepared, does pack about 19 grams of carbs - the tomato sauce takes the bulk of the blame.  But you want to talk about bulk?  That same meal, served over noodles packs a whopping 59 carbs!   So if you ate a sandwich and fries for lunch and had pancakes or even toast for breakfast - you overloaded on carbs long before you got to dinner!

Remember:  Bread & noodle carbs bad!   Veggie-based carbs good!


Find what you're looking for with a Coralville Courier search

Find it in the Online Newstand!

Custom Search

Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Another way to replace chips - popcorn!

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

OK, so you've got a craving for chips, that crunch, but you're tired of pork rinds......  What do you do?

Eat some popcorn.

When I first started Mike's Carb-Check Diet, I assumed popcorn would be taboo, but it's really not that bad and WAY better than any kind of chip when it comes to carbs!  Popcorn popped in oil carries about 6 grams of carbs per cup.  That's very do-able if you've behaved all day.  

The classic of course is buttered popcorn and a little salt.  That's good, but try this:

Mike's 'Hot Parm Popcorn'


  • 1/3 cup popcorn
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • Several dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste


Pour the canola oil into a 3 quart or so pan that's been heated up over medium-high heat.  Pour in the popcorn kernels, the Parmesan cheese and the Louisiana Hot Sauce.  Cover and let that heat do it's thing, gently shake and remove from heat once the popping stops.    Pour all that popped goodness into a large bowl and salt lightly.  I suggest lightly, because the parm and the hot sauce already have a salty element to them.  That parm and hot sauce takes that popcorn up to a whole nuther level!  It's a nuther does of YUM!   It will be tough to eat just one cup of that corn......  



Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Tilapia, a GREAT food for low-carb eating

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

If you don't like fish, it sucks to be you.  Then again, you may have tried fish, but it wasn't prepared well.  You should give this recipe a try. 

Mike's 'Hot Parm TilapiaThere's no breading in this recipe, that would be a no-no for the low-carb diet, but by using Parmesan cheese to coat the fish, you get a light breading-like crunch with every bite.  And the best part - ZERO carbs!  I also like to saute diced onion and Parmesan along with the fish, giving you a 'chips' kind of side.  And don't do ketchup with this dish, try using Louisiana Hot Sauce instead!  The flavor combination of the Parmesan cheese and Louisiana Hot Sauce is excellent!

Mike's 'Hot Parm Tilapia'


  • Two Tilapia fillets
  • One Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer, or your favorite rub
  • 1/2 teaspo0n black pepper
  • Two Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • One Tablespoon Canola oil
  • Several dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Pull two Tilapia fillets out of the fridge, liberally coat with your favorite rub (I'm partial to Cookies Flavor Enhancer) some black pepper and half the Parmesan cheese on both sides.  Place fillets in a large, hot, cast iron skillet that has just enough canola oil in it to coat the bottom - medium heat..... Throw in the diced onion, hit 'em with some black pepper, the garlic powder and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Flip the fillets after about 3 minutes and give the onions a stir.  Cook for another 3 minutes or until the fillets and onion 'chips' look golden brown and delicious. Serve with Louisiana Hot Sauce to your liking.

Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Pepperoni - it's not just for pizza and subs anymore!

Mike Thayer 2016By Mike Thayer

During the course of my Carb-Check diet, I've looked for ways to spice up the menu, a menu that doesn't include bread, pasta, or rice.  Pizza is a food I really don't eat much of anymore, but I love pepperoni!

Pepperoni Scrambled EggsIt's a great addition to scrambled eggs.  Saute about one ounce of pepperoni slices in a small pan, let it start to sweat a little bit.  Then add a couple of eggs, you don't need to add any oil, the pepperoni takes care of that for you.  Options with your scrambled pepperoni eggs include chopped black olive, diced onion, or green pepper.  That's right, pizza toppings!  Don't forget the cheese!

This scramble delivers a lot of protein to keep you feeling fuller, longer and we're talking less than 500 calories.  Toss the doughnuts aside.



Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

I love to do these in a couple cast iron skillets on the grill, cooking with the lid on over indirect heat gives the meat mixture a nice little hint of smoky flavor, much better than stove top!   And here's a serving option, when you are plating these on the lightly grilled tortillas, top them with a little shredded cheddar cheese.  And if you like American cheese on your Sloppy Joe, after you flip the tortilla, that's when you put on a slice of American, let it melt a bit before pulling the tortillas off the grill.

Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps


1 pound ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup ketchup
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
A few shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste


Brown the meat in a large pan over medium heat. Drain off the fat. In a separate pan, saute the green peppers and onions in olive oil. When the veggies start to caramelize a bit, add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Combine the sauteed veggies with the meat mixture, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock, ketchup and remaining ingredients. Mix well, then cover and let all those flavors marry, simmering over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Serve with lightly grilled tortillas.


Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Needing to satisfy that chip crunch, without eating chips...

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a chip-aholic.

So I've been on this Carb-Check diet for over three weeks and I haven't had a single chip....  but the cravings are still there.  Where is a chip sponsor when you need one?.....  What I wouldn't give for a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos!

But discipline kicks in..... 

So I said to myself, "Self, I must find an alternative!"

Pork rindsWalking down the chip isle at Dollar Tree looking for a low-carb solution, the bag just about jumped out in front of me....

Pork rinds.

I read the label.....  ZERO CARBS.

I'm ecstatic!

I don't know why I didn't think of eating porks rinds sooner.  I've eaten them before, but only as something a little different, not a go-to snack.

Well it's a go-to snack now!

Dollar Tree only carries the plain variety of pork rinds, but boy do they satisfy the chip crunch!  They are tasty, it's a big crunch, just enough saltiness, and a bite really does alleviate the chip craving, without the carbs.

I know there are some seasoned pork rind choices out there to be had, I'll keep you posted.

ZERO carbs, remember that.