Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hot Soup and Tea for National Hot Tea Month

A Toast to Hot Soup and 
Tea for Winter--
National Hot Tea Month

Colds, Flu, and the stomach bug. Oh my! Each time I turn on the news or log on to the Internet I am overwhelmed of the statistics that it’s the season to be sick. But you don’t have to relinquish control and get ill. It’s the time to take care of yourself, be more mindful when outdoors, and indoors it’s the perfect time to make soup and tea (it is National Hot Tea Month) before a cold or flu spooks you and takes you down!

As a self-professed hypochondriac, after hearing all the doom and gloom virus reports for 2018, I thought a cold was paying me a visit. On the upside without snow to shovel or crackling fires to make, not to forget walking the dog on black ice, I decided to prepare. A store run for water, sore throat lozenges, orange juice, fresh vegetables, herbs, and tea were stocked and ready for me to be woman down.
During the three day holiday, I escaped to the bed. My refuge included clean flannel sheets with cozy comforters,  two companion animals, put one log into the fireplace with the promise to burn 4 ½ hours), and the popular TV mini-series “Big Little Lies”—and tea. On day two, I was surprised. After chilling, making soup and drinking tea—no cold, no flu. I survived. So, here’s the recipe to prevent a cold that may be coming to visit you.

 Vegetable Soup for Winter Health

1 carton (32 ounces) organic low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup red or yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ cup carrots and cauliflower, chopped
1- 1½ cups cooked whole grain spaghetti
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (garnish)

 Pour broth into a large pot. Bring to a boil. In another pan boil until tender, onion, garlic, celery, basil, seasoning, carrots, cauliflower, and tomatoes.  Drain and place in broth.  Simmer for 15 minutes. In another pot boil pasta for several seven minutes until cooked. Add pasta and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Top with cheese. Serve with slices of local artisan sourdough French whole grain bread and real butter. Serves 6.
This easy to make vegetable soup tastes much better than the stuff from a can. The scent of garlic and onion fills the kitchen and it feels like you’ve been cooking home-style soup all day. Pairing a bowl of hot soup with a slice of fresh, warm bread will warm you up and give you that warm and fuzzy feeling, too.

Not to forget, brew a pot of premium black or herbal tea. Use tea bags or leaves. Add fresh lemon and local honey—two more good-for-you foods to boost your immune system. Sipping tea before and after this meal adds good-for-you disease-fighting antioxidants. And this, my friends, will help you keep the cold and flu at bay. Is it worth the trouble to make up a batch of DIY soup and make a tea potion? You bet, especially if you want to be ready for the next storm.

      — Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington and available at bookstores. The collection was featured in the Good Cook Book Club. Her website is

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Healing Powers of Tea--Author's Favorite Sweet Chamomile

By Cal Orey

Apple Chamomile Tea Cake

Sweet apple cake recipes with fresh apples, an autumn favorite, go back centuries. This recipe, my own, has served the years but I continue to make minor tweaks, and this time around it's infused with a bit of special chamomile tea blend.

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
12 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple cinnamon chamomile, finely ground loose leaf
1 stick European sea salt butter (save 1 tablespoon to grease cake dish)
1/2 cup Granny Smith apples, cord, chopped, unpeeled
1/2 cup raisins
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Sea salt caramel gelato

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and tea. Add cold butter chunks, apples, raisins, eggs, and honey. Stir until mixed. Spoon batter into buttered baking dish or pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until firm and light golden. Cool. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares. Top with a small scoop of gelato. Serves 16.

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea (Kensington).
Pages 260-261
Chamomile Secrets That'll Surprise You
Pages 106-108

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Herbal Tea and Chocolate--NEW TEA Book Pairs the Two

Herbal Tea and Chocolate

Chocolate and tea can be found as the perfect match in tea rooms to gifts for National Hot Tea Month and February’s  Heart Health Month and Valentine’s Day--and year-round. 

Q: Why do you think chocolate and tea are a perfect match?
Both superfoods have amazing powers to help nourish the body, mind, and spirit. Pairing this mighty duo is like apple pie and vanilla ice cream or salt and pepper. Chocolate and tea are Mother’s Nature’s finest work and deserves kudos.

Q: Do you have a favorite chocolate and tea pairing?
This is a Sophie’s Choice question. If I have to make a decision today in the middle of winter with snow covered ground in the mountains, I’d choose a dark almond chocolate muffin with a cup of White Peony Tea.

Q: What's an interesting fact about tea that most people don't know?
A: You can cook and bake with chocolate paired with tea--leaves or brewed. You can incorporate chocolate and tea in recipes like Chocolate Lavender Torte, and Rosemary-Infused-Chocolate Fudge Cake.

Q: How is your new book The Healing Powers of Tea different than other tea books?
A: I focus on teas (black and white) that other authors have not. Also, I pair herbal teas with classic teas and new tea trends to give it an edge. Not to forget the health spin of the superfood is woven throughout the book full of original stories, including my own travels on the road while all types of tea and tisanes are my constant companion.

Q: Do you share chocolate recipes in your new tea book?
A: Ah, there are so many sweet recipes for the tea lover to choose from--I'm certain chocolate and honey sweetness sprinkled throughout the pages!

Healing Herbal Tea--
Paired with Chocolate
CINNAMON: Cinnamon, like anise and cardamom, the tummy helpers can also be used to treat colds and ease gas and diarrhea, which often accompany the flu. Best Choco Blend: Truffles, cakes, cookies. It is included in chocolate baked goods, hot chocolate, and exotic chocolate and truffles.
GINGER: Ginger root is another digestive aid, like tasty cinnamon, that can be soothing medicine for the stomach and intestines, relieving indigestion, cramps, and nausea. Best Choco Blend: It is used dark chocolate bars and combined with lemons in truffles, and in baked chocolate goods.
LICORICE:  Another healing herb, licorice may soothe a sore throat. Also, ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians used the “love” root of the licorice plant as one of nature’s aphrodisiacs to enhance sexual arousal and stamina. Best Choco Blend: Dark chocolate truffles.
MINT: This spice releases a culinary scent that elicits pleasant memories and sensations of baked desserts in the kitchen. Best Choco Blend: Dark chocolate bars, truffles.
VANILLA:  Sweet vanilla enhances the flavor of a variety of foods, like cinnamon, especially in ice cream, chocolate, and coffee. Best Choco Blend: Milk and dark chocolate truffles, cookies, and cakes.
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington). It was previously featured in One Spirit Book Club.
Rocky Road Tea Bark
* * *
7 premium baking chips, 60 percent  
cacao bittersweet chocolate or white chocolate
7 ounces premium baking chips, milk chocolate
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil
½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped                             
¼ cup tea leaves (green tea with
citrus notes) crush into bite-size bits
Melt dark chocolate chips in microwave for about two or three minutes, stir occasionally until melted. Stir the dark chocolate and spread it onto a nonstick cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread and shape into a rectangle. Chill in freezer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, nuke milk chocolate chips. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in marshmallows and nuts. (Save half of the nuts for the top.) Take out dark chocolate from freezer and frost with rocky road mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and tea on top. Put back into freezer for 10 minutes. Take out and pick up the entire chocolate candy slab, place on a plate. If you use parchment paper, take off. Break into peanut brittle-like square pieces. Place in airtight sealed containers and keep in refrigerator.

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated (Kensington) It was previously featured in Good Cook Book Club.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hot Tea Challenge--10 Questions About Tea Land

By Cal Orey

January is National Hot Tea Month. 
Here are 10 questions answered by the Healing Powers series author Cal Orey.

1. Black or Green tea?
Black, of course!

2. Hot or Iced?
Iced in summer, hot the other three seasons.

3. Chamomile or Lavender?
I'm in love with chamomile. We've gone through a lot, like a
a best friend.

4. Tea for afternoon or bedtime?
Afternoon always.  It's quality time.

5. Milk or Sugar?
No thank you. Why?

6. Energize or Calm?
Chill time. After a good swim/hot tub it's bliss. Or when arriving at a destination hotel room after traveling for miles.

7. Scones or Tea Cookies?
Fruit and nut scones, homemade please.

8. Ready to Drink or DIY Iced Tea?
Homemade with lots of ice.

9. Before flying--tea or coffee?
Early java, afternoon or night time--tea.

10. Lemon or Honey?
Both, sour and sweet. Fresh and raw.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NEW Tea Book Unveiled--A Winter Wonderland of Goodness

Warm Up this Winter—Wellness in a Cup—
Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!

5 Tea Home Cures from Your Kitchen
One autumn day I found myself getting up at 2:30 A.M. to catch a 6:00 A.M. plane to Salt Lake City, then to Atlanta Georgia, to Montreal, Quebec. Waking up without adequate sleep felt odd and it was the wrong hour to brew coffee. So, I made a cup of my own blend: black and green tea. It gave me enough energy to get on the shuttle bus without acting like a zombie from a sci-fi film.
But while tea offers home cures, including beating sleepiness, it can also keep you calmer than java. At the first airport counter cafĂ©, I ordered a cup of hot water and used my own chamomile tea bag to keep me calm enough for the next fear factor: flying out of the Sierra and into Salt Lake City—two airports known for turbulent flights.

There is a growing trend of at-home tea cures (like I used to achieve my final destination), that’ll wow you with their potential healing powers. I sprinkled in tea wisdom from tried-and-true folk remedies, scientific studies, medical experts, and my own home tea and tisane cures. It’s tea time! Read on.

1. COLDS (Warm Up Baby.) During the fall and winter months, cold season hits more frequently. Also, though, if you are under stress a cold can pay you a visit year-round, especially if traveling or contracting a virus from someone else. If your immune system is under attack—a cold can be prevented or the severity lessened with tea.
What Tea Rx to Use: Drink one 8-ounce cup of black tea (hot or iced) with or without 1 teaspoon honey two to three times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tea researchers believe it’s the compound antigen in black tea that bolsters the body’s immune system and may help guard against colds. Also, the tannins may help to stave off viruses like a cold. I recall one doctor’s story about how he turned to tea for comfort. He was traveling in the Alaskan wilderness. While in a van traveling with a lot of people, one had a cold as he did. The doctor had tea and drank the liquid. And it helped the good doctor heal.

2.  COUGHS (Cease the tickle.) Coping with a cold can be annoying, but coughing which can be caused by seasonal allergies, or linger after a cold, a bout of bronchitis, or other things, can be pesky and make your throat and even chest ache.
What Tea Rx to Use: Opt to brew 1 12-ounce cup of black or white tea. For an extra throat soother, add 1 teaspoon of honey. Repeat as necessary.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific:  Tacking a cough takes a bit of sleuth work to discover why you are coughing—and then it’s time to be proactive and deal with the problem. If allergens are the issue, for instance, it’s time to get an air purifier, vacuum and dust more, and add tea with honey to your diet repertoire—soon you’ll be doing the happy dance without stopping to cough.

3. FLU (Say good-bye to germs.) Catching the flu, which can come on suddenly, drags you down and into bed. Viruses come in all forms and can give you anything from a 24-hour flu bug to a super bug that’ll spook you to the point where images from sci-fi films like Outbreak and Contagion will haunt you as you try and shake it.
What Tea Rx to Use: Take 2 cups of tea and you won’t be calling the doctor in the morning. Mix it up and sip 1 cup of tea (black, green, or white) and 1 cup of your favorite vitamin C-enhanced herbal tea such as hibiscus.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: It’s no surprise that the functional food tea is chock-full of antioxidants—the good guys that can keep your immune system healthy and stave off germs you could encounter from your local grocery store to a vacation stop. By drinking tea and a vitamin-rich tisane teamed with a nutrient-dense diet, you’ll be keeping your immune system strong.

4. SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (Blast the blues.)  Feeling down and sluggish with SAD, coined by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, is another monster to face. I have tackled the symptoms with an arsenal of remedies—and tea is on the list come late fall through early spring.
What Tea Rx to Use: Brew 1 cup of hot water and use 1 teaspoon green tea leaves or tea bag. Steep for 3 minutes. Repeat 2 times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Green tea has 45 milligrams of caffeine (which can give you a physical and mental burst of energy). But also, green tea contains L-theanine—a compound that enhances brain chemicals including serotonin and that can give you a calming sense of well-being.

5. SORE THROAT (Treat the pain.) Before a cold you can get a telltale sore throat. Not to forget allergies and even talking too much. Rather than run to the doctor for an allergy medication, why not take an alternative route and turn to tea?
What Tea Rx to Use:  Dried oolong leaves combined with rose hips or hibiscus can be a perfect pairing. Put 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and 1 teaspoon of the herbal tea of your choice in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for a few minutes, then strain. Add honey to taste.
Why You’ll Feel Tea—rrific: Oolong tea my reduce swelling and inflammation, due to flavonoids. Also, honey boasts anti-inflammatory benefits, too.

Ginger Lemon Honey Tea
Ginger and lemon go together like salt and pepper—two of nature’s finest superfoods with an immunity booster that can keep you healthy this winter and all year-long.
2 cups water
10 thin slices gingerroot, fresh
1 lemon sliced
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
Bring water, gingerroot, and lemon slices to a boil for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat, steep 10 minutes, strain. Stir in honey and lemon juice. You can also add apple peel, a piece of onion, and one or two tablespoons of chamomile.
(Courtesy: Gemma Sanita Sciabica)

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea 2018. All right reserved. Reprinted with permission  from Kensington .

— Cal Orey, M.A.  is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)  Her website is .

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2018 Predictions for the World by Intuitive



As predicted, 2017 was like a roller coaster ride with twists, turns, and unpredictable changes. Earth changes including harrowing hurricanes, deadly earthquakes in other countries, and twisters in California and shakers in Delaware did happen.
The New Year will not be any calmer than last year but happenings will be different and the U.S., and around the globe will be blindsided by events that will make international news. It’s the year to be prepared for more surprises, including shakers in odd regions that may cause a trigger effect, flooding, snowstorms, and droughts—in places they have happened in history as well as make new history in different regions that will raise eyebrows about climate changes.
 It will be a year of chaos and Mother Nature will be sure to be in the limelight. But note, man versus man will also play a major role in affecting natural disasters, too. Take an up close and perhaps personal peek at what may happen in the United States and around the globe. It’s fair to say it will be a year for people to be mindful wherever they are or go at home, on the road, or in the sky.

A Mixed Bag of Predictions for 2018
·        Earthquakes
* It almost seems like California has lost its reputation for being a shaky state. The U.S. Geological Survey experts note the risk of a great earthquake increases. As the lull continues the stress builds (especially on the San Andreas).
Before spring and summer months, a major shaker (7.0, 70 percent probability) could rock the San Andreas (or faults nearby) in Southern California (Greater Los Angeles or Palm Springs) or the San Francisco Bay Area (the East Bay or South Bay regions as an epicenter. Worse, earthquakes could happen in both areas of the Golden State.
* Not to forget the entire West Coast, including Seattle, Washington and British Columbia—the Cascadia Subduction Zone which is capable of repeating history. A great 9.0 followed by a great tsunami could occur, and more likely in the first six months of the year. A major quake and at least a tsunami alert may happen warning the entire West Coast.
* An underwater earthquake near Japan and/or Hawaii (due to mankind) may create big waves somewhere in Ring of Fire—affecting the land and food chain up and down the West Coast.
* Europe may be challenged by major earthquakes, including Italy and Greece—which were affected in 2017. At least one will be shallow, in a major city, and likely a powerful 8.0 (probability 75 percent and more apt to happen before the fall).

·        Rain and Snow Events
As the Earth moves, lack of snow in Western United States in 2018 will make the California flooding and epic snowfall in the sierras of 2017 a memory. A repeat drought in California may continue (despite a few significant snowstorms, mudslides, mega power outages).
The winter 2017-2018 Precipitation Forecast points to less snowfall for the West Coast—more for the Northeast and Midwest. I see some flooding on the West Coast in the Pacific Northwest, Northern and Southern California, but overall it will be colder and drier than 2017.
European countries including Italy, Spain, and Germany may experience heavy rainfall and major flooding, especially in coastal regions in the winter and summer.

·        Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and Wildfires
Lack of snow or too much rain can cause problems just as twisters can do. This year tornadoes may hit like hurricanes did in 2017. The Gulf States and Midwest are likely areas for tornadoes in 2018.
 Hurricanes may be more severe on the Atlantic seaboard up north to New York and Maine, whereas, the Gulf Coast may dodge disasters this year.
Wildfires in the West are likely to continue year-round and cause significant damage.

·        On the Fringe
As we deal with shaky ground and wild weather, other challenges will keep us on guard. Politic problems may create a man-made disaster, including earthquakes, tsunamis, or even nuclear fallout. Also, volcanic activity in the U.S., perhaps Alaska or Yellowstone may turn heads with unusual action creating alerts...and more.
A major airline, large aircraft, will make the news due to an event that will may be due to a significant event, perhaps caused by severe weather. It could be a flight going or coming abroad to the U.S. and linked to the Atlantic or to an Asian country and the Pacific Ocean. Speaking of flights, another UFO sighting may happen shocking people everywhere.
In 2018, while political upheaval will rumble throughout the states and around the globe, earthshaking weather and other natural disasters will often steal the spotlight bringing light to humanity in the darkest times.
 Despite the erratic Earth changes and climate change, America and other countries will work together when nature causes friction. Love and heroic events will conquer darkness despite the obstacles and challenges God’s creatures, big and small, will face.

Spot-On 2017 Visions That Came True

* Alaska was not rocked by a great earthquake, but it did get a few 6.0 plus earthquakes that spawned tsunami advisories.
* The deadly hurricanes and massive flooding forecasted did occur. Another Katrina-type of event (not as deadly but profound) happened in the Southeast, including Texas, Louisiana, and Florida during hurricane season.
Three Category 4 hurricanes made U.S. landfall:  Harvey, Irma, and Maria in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico
* And note, the ground was indeed linked to more wildfires year round—in December Southern California was challenged with horrific wildfires.