Sunday, September 14, 2014
While traveling in Iceland for two weeks, I decided to test several of the newer gluten-free nibbles on the market. My product testing had me searching for healthy, natural products. I am tired of LARA bars, have never been a fan of KIND bars, and altogether find too many gluten-free bars filled with sugar, carbohydrates, and questionable ingredients.
Sadly, the new gluten-free LUNA protein bar fits that description. Basically a chocolate candy bar, the ingredients are: Soy protein isolate, organic cane syrup, organic dried cane syrup, palm kernel oil, inulin (chicory extract), cocoa, non-organic dried cane syrup, macadamia nut butter, natural flavors (whatever that means), whey protein concentrate, chocolate, organic rice flour, salt, soy lecithin, cocoa butter, and both organic alkalized cocoa and organic vanilla extract and alkalized cocoa and vanilla extract, plus a bunch of added minerals. Whew. Nearly a score of ingredients. Plus, why bother with organics when you are also going to add in the (cheaper) non-organic version of the same ingredient? Seems like a bit of a bait and switch to me. This bar may taste good, but I doubt it's very good for you. That said, the new LUNA protein lip balm kept my lips moist and juicy throughout my trip.
Grades: LUNA Bar-D LUNA Balm A-
When I looked for bar alternatives, I was seeking out high-protein products. Aside from the LUNA line, I tried various versions of Caveman Cookies, a paleo, all-natural product with no dairy and no gluten. There are six flavors, ranging from Mayan--chocolate, chili and chia--to New World--pumpkin, maple and cranberry. The cookies have between four and eight ingredients, depending on the flavor, and all are products you can recognize (honey, various nuts, raisins, coconut spices, and dried fruits). They are soft, yummy, not terribly sweet, and about 60-70 calories a cookie. One is not going to fill you up, but it will give you a little energy spike during a long day of touring. Grade: A-
The last product I will review here is the Santa Barbara Bar. Now, this one is made with gluten-free oats, and I know that some debate whether that is an oxymoron. However, I do fine with Trader Joe's GF Oatmeal, and indeed, I didn't react to the Santa Barbara Bar. The bar is cloyingly sweet, although tasty and chewy. I tried the coconut almond version. The ingredients are almonds, brown rice syrup, whey crisps ( whey protein concentrate and rice flour), GF oats, raisins, pumpkin seeds , cashews, brown rice syrup solids, chicory fiber, honey, salt, chia seeds, sunflower lecithin, and GF oat flour. Again, that's a number of ingredients, but most of them seem relatively healthy. Grade: B
Next up: Gluten-free beef jerky and other snack items.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Permission to List? Renters and Condo Owners Face Obstacles
Renting Your House: It's a Business
Enforcing the Rules: How It's Changing
Monday, September 1, 2014
My lengthy feature story on Baltimore hits seat pockets everywhere today--or at least the seat pockets of Alaska Airlines travelers. Here's the link to the full story on Charm City in Alaska Airlines Magazine. You'll find the piece from page 52-59. Let me know what you think. Hope it doesn't leave you feeling crabby.
Monday, August 25, 2014
|Seaplane Harbour Museum|
|Former KGB Headquarters|
Monday, August 18, 2014
In Sun Valley...
1. Watch the pros practice at the Sun Valley Ice Rink
During the summer, Sun Valley hosts an ice show every Saturday night, featuring a regular cast and guest stars like Gracie Gold, Evan Lysacek, and Johnny Weir. The shows can pricey. But if you come to the ice rink at 12:30 on the day of the show, you'll see the Olympians and the cast alike practice their moves...and you don't have to pay a cent. Watching practice can be almost as fun as taking in a show, as you can see how the pros put their spin on practice sessions.
2. Skating on Film
Get a taste of old school Sun Valley by watching the 1941 classic Sun Valley Serenade. There's a free 4:30 daily showing of the Sonja Henie ice skating movie at the Sun Valley Opera House. The charming 320-seat theater was built in 1937, and it's a classic itself.
You can take free fly casting clinics in Sun Valley from 5:30 to 6:30 PM Tuesdays through Saturdays. Instructors from Silver Creek Outfitters teach newbies all about the art of fly fishing.
4. Music in Paradise
For 30 years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has presented a free concert series during the season. The symphony, which draws musicians from all over the country, is the largest privately-funded, free admission symphony in the country. Concerts are held at the magnificent Sun Valley Pavilion, which offers ample seating and amazing acoustics.Symphony season is held between late July and mid-August, and features everything from chamber music to jazz to the classics.
In and Around Ketchum...
5. Art for All
Friday Night Gallery Walk, the city hosts the Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival in early August. There's music, too. Ketch'em Alive is a free concert series held on Tuesday night; Town Square Tunes features local musicians every Thursday evening; and Jazz in the Park takes place Sundays from 6 to 8 PM. All three only take place between June and August, so 'ketchum' while you can.
6. Warm up in Hot Springs
There's a great deal of geothermal activity in this part of the world. As a result, hot springs in the area are plentiful. Closest to Ketchum are Warfield and Frenchman's Bend Hot Springs. While gratis, you are not free to skinny dip (at least officially).
|Rarin' to Go for a Walk|
7. Walk a Dog
Doggone crazy? In that case, the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley needs your help...even if you are just visiting. Take a paws to join 'Hikin' Buddies on Wednesdays from 9:30 AM to 1 PM. Walks start at the Adams Gulch Trailhead, just a mile and a half from downtown. Meanwhile, Paws Around Town is another opportunity to meet canines in need of a home. It takes place from 1 to 2:30 PM Saturdays at Ketchum Town Square
8. Do Downward Dog
Free Yoga on the Mountain runs throughout the summer, either at Sun Valley Village or at the base of River Run.
9. Take a Hike
Up a mountain, beside a babbling brook, along the paved Rails-to-Trails path--the options for casual walking or extreme trekking are nearly endless.So go work up a sweat.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
Maybe very little, if the Russians have their way. Due to the continuing strife between Ukraine and Russia, the European Union has finally placed numerous sanctions on Russian businesses. One of the sanctions impacted Dobrolot, a new budget airline owned by Aeroflot. The airline just started flying in June, and its key route was a heavily-subsidized route (starting at $29 one-way) between Moscow to Crimea.
The EU, saying the airline was "facilitating the integration of Crimea into Russia" cancelled the leases on the carrier's European-owned Boeing jets and annulled insurance and maintenance contracts. As a result, the airline had to suspend service on August 4.
Now, Russia is pondering retaliation of its own. Should it close airspace over Siberia, European carriers will have to fly thousands of additional miles to get to destinations in Asia. Most nonstops between Europe and Asia save up to four hours and $30,000 by flying over Siberia. Longer routes will mean higher fuel and labor costs, and more strain on the equipment, staff and passengers. According to an article in Forbes, Lufthansa says it could lose 1 billion euro in three months if Siberian airspace is closed.
Both Lufthansa and Air France-KLM send the most planes over Siberia--about 500 a week combined. Interestingly, though, the move could hurt Russian air carrier Aeroflot even more. Currently, Aeroflot collects an overflight fee from all carriers flying in Russian airspace. Last year, it collected $170 million. Given that the airline's profit is around $200 million annually, a vast drop in overflight fees could plunge Aeroflot into the red. Plus, the EU could potentially ban Aeroflot flights to Europe.