Tuna-less Tuna Salad

Tuna-less Tuna Salad is a quick and easy meal that will leave you satisfied. This recipe is not only for vegetarians, carnivores like my husband also love it. Make a double batch of Tuna-less Tuna Salad and have lunch for a couple of days in a row. Try this recipe and in the comments below let us know what you think of our Tuna-less Tuna Salad.

Tuna-less Tuna Salad

Tuna-less Tuna Salad

What You’ll Need:
1-28 oz can cooked chickpeas
2 to 3 tbsp red onion, diced
2 to 3 celery stalks, diced
2 to 3 pickles, diced
2 tbsp nori seaweed flakes*
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Sour Cream

Tuna-less Tuna Salad

What You’ll Do:
In a large bowl, smash the chickpeas with a potato masher until they are broken up. Mix in all other ingredients. Serve on crackers or bread.

Places To Visit In Spain

With so many places to visit in Spain, it would behoove travelers to allocate a month’s time to exploring the vast country side. Once you arrive in the country, you will get caught up in the lively, vibrant atmosphere and be intrigued by the multifaceted culture and people that inhibit Spain. There are many charming towns in Spain, from Zargoza to Bilbao, León to Valencia. Here, I will highlight my favorite places to visit in Spain and why they are worth exploring. If you plan your trip in late summer, you will be able to participate in some one-of-a-kind festivals.

Places To Visit In Spain: Buñol

Places To Visit In Spain

The last Wednesday in August, the biggest food fight in the world is held in Buñol, a little village outside of Valencia. La Tomatina attracts tens of thousands of people annually. 130 tons of tomatoes are trucked in for this event. There is a $10 euro registration fee to participate and tickets should be purchased in advance.

As I walked the cobble stone streets to the center of town, Plaza del Pueblo, I was passed by people wearing face paint and goggles. One gentleman ran by wearing a hallowed out watermelon on his head like a helmet. I thought to myself “what am I getting myself into?” At this point, it was too late to change my mind; I was committed to taking part in the largest food fight in the world.

A shot rang out, echoing through the square as the sound bounced off the side of the buildings. The crowd began cheering. In the distance, the brave man wearing the watermelon helmet was trying to shimmy his way up a two story tall greased pole to retrieve the prized ham perched at the top. Once he reached the ham, the tomato fight would begin. He was having a tough time scaling the slippery pole so the crowd, anxious to start, began using their bodies as scaffolding to help the greasy climber reach the goal. He grabbed the ham and flung it into the crowd.

Suddenly, fire hoses began spraying the crowd and dump trucks full of tomatoes began to inch their way down the narrow streets. Standing in the road amidst thousands of people, I thought, “There is no way this truck will fit down this street.” I was wrong. The horn of the trucks blared as people were made into human pancakes squished against the walls and boarded up windows of the buildings. As we struggled to breathe, unable to bat an eyelash in such tight quarters, people in the bed of the dump truck flung tomatoes at us. It was at this point I wished I had googles and a watermelon helmet. These tomatoes were not ripe at all! They were actually quite hard.

The rule was that all tomatoes were to be crushed before throwing them at other participants…being smacked in the face with a rock hard tomato, I soon realized that not everyone had read their welcome packet outlining the rules. This was anything goes, full on war and people were aggressive. I found myself chucking tomatoes at strangers and getting covered in a sticky paste. A few minutes passed and another truck could be seen inching its way down the street, threatening to squish us along with the tomatoes under it’s tires.

Abruptly, ice cold water came raining down from the sky. The people in the apartments above the street were throwing freezing cold buckets of water out their windows on the crowd below and laughing about it. The street became a slurred mess. Repeatedly, I took a barraid of shots to the face, chest and arms. It was time to take cover. I looked for an out.

It wouldn’t be easy, but I saw a stairwell halfway down the street and made my way towards it. The stairwell was a gantlet. The people trying to escape were easy targets and the crowd took the opportunity to pelt them with tomatoes as they ran up the stairs to safety. The beating was worth the risk so I went for it, knowing that the short term pain would be nothing compared to staying in the trenches. The bruises forming on my skin were all the battle wounds I needed. This experience tops the list of places to visit in Spain.

Places To Visit In Spain

Places To Visit In Spain: Pamplona

Of the places to visit in Spain, running with the bulls in Pamplona is a must. Running with the bulls in Pamplona takes place July 6-14 each year. Each day, visitors have the chance to risk life and limb to run with the bulls. This festival has been held annually since 1592. Running with the bulls is a time honored tradition in honor of Saint, San Fermín.

Running with the bulls in Pamplona takes place July 6-14 each year. Each day, visitors have the chance to risk life and limb to run with the bulls. This festival has been held annually since 1592. Running with the bulls is a time honored tradition in honor of Saint, San Fermín.

Running with the bulls is a bucket list experience for many. Some actually kick the bucket when they are gored by a bull charging after them in the streets. Actually, less people die running with the bulls then at the parties, so a word to the wise, run with the bulls and then skip the after parties.

Driving into Pamplona in our RV, we again had no clue what we were in for. Hundreds of people walked by dressed head to toe in white. The men wore white linen pants and t-shirts while the ladies were in long white dresses. Red scarfs were tied around their necks and waists. There are two different reasonings as to why such attire is worn. One explanation is that patrons wear white to honor the saint, San Fermín and the red scarf is worn because he was martyred. Another reasoning is that runners dress like the butchers who first began the tradition.

At 5 am, runners still hung over from the party the night before stagger to the start line as workers frantically hurry to construct the large wooden fence that divides the spectators from the participants. The fence is a map for racers, charting the course they will take. As the sun rises, streaks of red and orange wash over the sky as a beautiful water colored picture is painted of the morning. One could cut the tension in the air with a knife or a bull horn as the impeding race weighs on each persons’ mind. Officials comb the crowd, removing the weak and elderly; not everyone that wants to run is permitted to.

I was under the impression that runners raced down the street with one set of bulls charging after them. This was not the case at all. Waves of bulls are released from their holding pens throughout the race. Just when you think you are in the clear and the bulls have passed you, another wave of bulls come charging towards you. The half mile course seems miles long when a 2,000 pound bull speeds after you like rocket on your heels. The animal is pure muscle and high on adrenaline. You can feel the warm stertorous breathing on the back of your calves as the creature gasps for air and swings its head and horns at you to get out of the way.

With a rolled up newspaper in hand, the goal and the deciding factor if you are a real man or woman is if you touch the bull with your newspaper. A risky proposition I am unashamed to admit is that in this definition of being a real woman, I am not. I did not get close enough to a bull to touch it with a newspaper and instead a cowarded on the side of the fence praying not to get gord.

Then I saw the most manly man in the world. A man that seemingly did not have a healthy fear of death or he was still drunk from the night before. Either way, he was crazy. The raging thunder of the bulls hooves intensified moving closer to where I cowered. This man was running in-between two bulls with his bare hands nonchalantly sitting on their backs like old friends do. Like in the movies, the crowd parts and everyone turns their focus to the hero as he emerges, time slows down for a brief second and everyone watches, awe struck. As quickly as he appeared, he is gone, ushered down the street by the bulls to the finish line—the arena where the bullfights take place.

Spectators pack into the arena to watch the matadors “toy with the bulls,” I mean fight the bulls before they are slaughtered. Super soaker water guns are filled with sangria from the large buckets the crowd has brought with them. Spraying the sangria into the air the crowd is drenched in the sticky, sweet, red mixture. The red liquid staining the white clothes the crowd is wearing, we now look like the butchers we are dressed as. The matador enters the arena and the crowd erupts into a Spanish chant and boisterous cheering. Sadly, the bull will soon be dead. In its last few moments, I find myself cheering for the bull to win, to somehow make it out of the arena alive. I know this will not be the case. The difference between bullfights in Spain and those held in Portugal is that, in Spain, the bulls dies while in Portugal they no longer kill the bulls. Earlier in the day, there were protests against the killing of the bulls but for now, the tradition continues.

Places To Visit In Spain

Places To Visit In Spain: Barcelona

There are two big cities that make our place to visit in Spain list. To be candid, I prefer Barcelona over Madrid. The artistry is what makes this town special. Every tile on the facades of each building are unique and tell a story, which brings to life the Spanish culture. The renowned artist Antoni Gaudí has masterful and quite intriguing pieces of artwork sprinkled throughout the city. Gaudí’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church, has been under construction since 1882 and is not set to be completed until 2026.

The hop-on hop-off bus (32€) also operates in Barcelona and is a good option for travelers. The metro can also be easily navigated from one attraction to the next and averages 2.15€ per ride. The entrance fees are moderately priced and should be factored into your travel budget.

Places To Visit In Spain: Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain and a bustling metropolis as the third largest city in Europe. There is much to see in the city as the country has done a great job at preserving the infrastructure of the historic city and, in such, the feel of this ancient yet modern town. The Madrid City Tour bus, at 21€ for a 24 hour pass, is great way to get an overview of all this city has to offer. At your leisure, you can get off at stops to learn more about the monumental landmarks. The night life in Madrid makes this one of the places to visit in Spain, it is not to be missed. Dance floors come alive as men and women move their bodies to upbeat latin music. You will get hot and sweaty whether you’re dancing or observing. Hotels can be quite pricy so I suggest booking a room through Airbnb or a hostel. (For a $25 credit towards your next stay with Airbnb visit: www.airbnb.com/c/sstolba1?s=8 Hostels will also be able to give you discount admission prices to many local attractions).

Places To Visit In Spain: Granada

At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range is the city of Granada. Rich in history, Granada is most commonly known as the home of its prize jewel the Alhambra. In the hillside outside of the city, visitors can experience one of the most beautiful palace fortress complexes in the world. With the attention to detail in the architecture of the Alahambra, the layout of the grounds and the placement of this magnificent structure, it is no wonder that 8,000 people a day visit this site each year. 55 euros will get you a guided tour, which brings to life the rich history of this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even with the hefty price tag of this tour, everyday it sells out, so be sure to book your tour well in advance.

Places To Visit In Spain: Málaga

Near Granada, you will find one of the oldest cities in the world, the port city of Málaga. This artsy town was the birth place of Pablo Picasso. Today, you will still find local artists featuring and selling their work on the roadside. My favorite aspect this quaint stop are the tapas. Tapas are small plates of food otherwise known as appetizers in America. In Malaga, you get a free tapas with each drink you order. Sitting at a table under an umbrella in the summer, months of watching people move to and fro while sipping on a red wine from the Rioja wine region in northern Spain and nibbling on delicious Spanish cuisine is perfection. Everyone loves free tapas which is why this destination makes our places to visit in Spain.

Places To Visit In Spain: Toledo

Next, on our list of places to visit in Spain is Toledo. This town is southwest of Madrid. The narrow, winding, cobble stone streets are enchanting. The ancient buildings surrounded by the old city walls transport you back to a much different time. The town, though modernized, still has an old time feel, allowing you to picture yourself living centuries earlier.

Places To Visit In Spain

It took on the nickname Holy Toledo as the Christians, Muslims and Jewish religions converged in the city. The phrase “Holy Toledo” is said to have sprung from the concentration of churches, which made the city holy. Many religious buildings in the area have preserved the history and architectural treasures of the Gothic, Renaissance and Spanish Mission decor.  A guided day trip is a great way to experience the city.

The memories you will take away from your time in Spain will be memories that will be cherished and recounted for the rest of your life. If you haven’t booked a trip to Spain yet, you need to do it today. Heck, let me know when you are going and I might just join you and add more stories to the fond memories I have of this amazing country. The places to visit in Spain listed here are a great start.

Health Benefits of Iodine

Having the proper balance of vitamins and minerals is essential to the optimal functioning of the body.  One element that is not getting the attention it deserves is iodine.  The health benefits of iodine are often associated with supporting a healthy thyroid.  The thyroid aids in regulating the body’s metabolism and cellular function in the body.  Health benefits of iodine also include hormone regulation.  As the health benefits of iodine stimulate cellular function and regeneration of our cells, it is helpful in promoting healthy skin, nails, hair, a healthy thymus, pancreas, stomach and breast among other bodily functions.

Iodine also helps fight off harmful organisms, protects the thyroid from radiation and encourages detoxification.  Healthy levels of iodine in the body prevent toxic chemicals such as fluorine, chlorine, and bromine from inhibiting the proper functioning of the thyroid.

Contrary to popular belief, standard table salt is not a good source of naturally occurring and bioavailable iodine for the body.  Much of our table salt is bleached and full of artificial versions of iodine and does not offer the health benefits of iodine to the body.  A better alternative to table salt is Himalayan Crystal Salt.  There is a long list of foods that contain iodine.  Protein based sources include cod, shellfish and eggs.  Sea vegetables like seaweed and kelp are great plant based sources of iodine as well as dark leafy greens.  By simply eating a few prunes each day, we can increase our intake of iodine.

Iodine is important for males and females.  The female anatomy additionally needs iodine to support breast and ovarian health, as well as support the development of the fetus during pregnancy.  The amount of iodine you need each day depends on your age. The National Institute of Health outlines the health benefits of iodine and the average daily recommended amounts of iodine in micrograms (mcg).

Health Benefits of Iodine

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 110 mcg
Infants 7–12 months 130 mcg
Children 1–8 years 90 mcg
Children 9–13 years 120 mcg
Teens 14–18 years 150 mcg
Adults 150 mcg
Pregnant teens and women 220 mcg
Breastfeeding teens and women 290 mcg

My interest in the health benefits of iodine was sparked by my lifestyle.  As a perpetual traveler and health conscious person, I wanted to know more about this misunderstood element and the importance it plays in our lives.

The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA’s division of Dermatology, has been researching the increased incidents of radiation exposure of individuals who fly on a regular basis. This research sparked my attention. I fly somewhere new in the world at least once a week. I was concerned about the amount of exposure I was coming into contact with and what could be done to combat the effects of my consistent exposure. My research brought me to the conclusion that I must supplement my diet with iodine and share with others the health benefits of iodine in our diets.  Personally, I take an iodine supplement daily to protect and support the optimal functioning of my body.  Iodoral is my supplement of choice.  To do your own research on this product or to order, click this link. A trusted health care professional could also answer any questions you may have on supplementing your diet with iodine.


Driving The Alaska Highway

Road trip! Join me on the journey of a lifetime as we drive the Alaska Highway

The winding road of the Alaska Highway is legendary and is reserved for the most fanatic travelers.  Making it on the bucket list of travel junkies worldwide, it is for many a once in a lifetime undertaking.

We are on a race against the clock.  We have 4 days to make the 2,826 mile drive from Seattle to Anchorage and there is a lot of ground to cover.

Alaska Highway














The Alaska Highway is nestled in North America’s last frontier.  Billions of trees have rooted their earthy brown trunks in the rich soil below, supporting the branches full of lavish green leaves that reach into a turquoise sky to embrace the sun’s warm rays.  The mountain range in the distance is violet and looks like crushed velvet and capped with snow. The colors appear to be more vibrant in the north, the stark contrasts extenuate an already brightly painted canvas.

In order to see the most breathtaking view, one can image all you must do is open your eyes.

The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada and travels 1,390 miles (2,237 km) to Delta Junction, Alaska in the United States.

An engineering marvel, the Alaska Highway was built in just 9 months.  In February of 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie Kings agreed to the construction as a means of connecting the U.S. and Canada.  Less then one month later, construction began.  The Alaska Highway is fondly referred to as the “Alcan.”  This stretch of concrete cost the U.S. approximately $140 million dollars.

Many of the towns on the path sprung forth as a result of the building of the highway.  You will not find a large metropolis on the journey; just quaint little pit stops inhibited by only a few hundred people where you can evacuate the vehicle to stretch your legs.

As the odometer clicks by mile after mile, be sure to take time to visit these roadside attractions.

Alaska Highway

Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway is in Dawson Creek.  It is an obligation to stop and take a picture under the sign announcing “You Are Now Entering The World Famous Alaska Highway”.

The next big town on the Alcan is Fort Nelson which is known for the large reserves of oil and gas nearby. On the way to Fort Nelson, you will pass over Pink mountain, which is the highest point of the trip—and if you blink, you will miss it.

The next 300 mile stent is home to Summit Lake and Muncho Lake, which are renowned for there jade color waters.  This unique color is attributed to the copper oxide that has leeched into the the water from the bedrock below.  Stop here for a picturesque picnic lunch.

Pause for a moment at the Laird Hot Springs. It will cost you $10 to get in but you can stay as long as you like; they are open 24 hours a day.  A long wooden boardwalk ushers visitors through the marshes where bear and moose are often spotted. These natural sulfur springs are a nice way to relax after a long day of driving.  The heat will relax your muscles and the fern covered embankment evokes a peaceful abeyance.  There are no public showers, so if you do not have an RV to shower in after your dip, you will smell a little like rotten eggs— but it is well worth it.

In Lake Watson, you have the opportunity for another photo op in front of “The Sign Post Forest”.  72,000 signs are on display. Look for the “Alaska or Bust” sign and snap a photo there.  The sign forest started in 1942 by the homesick layman Carl Lindley who posted a sign for his hometown of Danville, IL. Without knowing it at the time, he created the most famous attraction in Watson Lake.

Alaska Highway

Trucking along, you will come to Whitehorse, a town that boasts 2/3 of the Yukons residents with a population of 36,000.  Here you can see the S.S. Klondike on the banks of the Yukon River, “Log skyscrapers” which are small two or three-story log cabins and the Whitehorse Waterfront Trolley.

When you reach Haines Junction, you are entering Kluane National Park and Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Keep driving and you will find yourself at the gateway to Alaska, the U.S. Border.  From here, you can continue on the Alaska Highway to its official end in Delta Junction or you can branch off and head south to Anchorage, which is what we did.

If, at any point in the drive you see a sign warning “Rough Road Ahead”, proceed with caution.  “Rough Road Ahead” actually means, beware of the potholes which are the size of small children that are quickly approaching. Unevenly grated roadways, loose gravel and dust storms from speeding semis are in your immediate future.

Expect to see a lot of wildlife on the trip.  Big game like buffalo, elk, bear, moose, reindeer and antelope all call this place home and I noticed that many of their homes were right on the side of the highway. There are plenty of fishing holes where you catch the biggest fish of your life. Take time to hike around one of the many lakes along the road and soak in the 360 degree panoramic views. Remember, you are in bear country, so do not leave food out and be alert to your surroundings.

We made it to Anchorage ahead of schedule, taking 36 hours to make the 1,580 mile drive. If I were to do it all again, these are my three tips to make your journey more enjoyable.

Tips To Navigate The Alaska Highway

1 Take at least a week to complete the drive. You can do the drive in a couple of days; however, you’ll pretty much just be driving and not soaking up all the beauty the landscape has to offer.

2 Take a friend with you that is willing to share in the driving responsibilities.  You can do the drive alone; however, it will be much more enjoyable if you can switch off drivers.

3 Pack a cooler full of food. If you’re looking for fine dining along the drive, you’re not going to find it. If you do not pack some food you will end up eating a lot of gas station snacks.

A camera can not capture the beauty I’ve seen with my eyes. The journey of a lifetime on the Alaska highway showed me things I had never seen before and will probably never experience again. If you are considering taking the drive, go for it, it will be well worth it and the stories you will harvest along the way will bring you lifelong joy.