Saturday, September 15, 2018

Fall into the Best Tea(s) with Your Honey

Tea(s) with Your Honey

   For centuries, people all around the world have enjoyed the simple, soothing pleasures of a good cup of tea with a good teaspoon of honey, and nowadays there is more reason to so do. Tea(s)—all kinds--especially with honey, but together they pack a punch of nutritional and health benefits.
            Medical doctors, nutritionists, scientists and beekeepers are now confirming what healers have been saying for since biblical times—teas and honeys have a variety of healing powers.
             Here are my favorite tea and honey marriages—but there are infinite combinations for both you and me to try. There is no right or wrong combination and what’s sweet to you makes honey-tea beverages a sweet sip.

1. Black Tea:  The first tea I was introduced to was basic black tea—which does contain caffeine—and I have enjoyed it plain but realized it did need a sweet flavor boost to it.  Also, Earl Grey and English breakfast teas (perfect for an Irish breakfast, complete with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and scones) are part of the Black Tea group.
Best Honey Matches:  Basswood has a distinct flavor that I’ve used in plain yogurt for a rich flavor and it can give black tea a kick, too. Sourwood boasts a caramel taste that can make a common black tea come to life with taste. Earl Grey teams well with avocado, blueberry, and eucalyptus honeys, too. It’s more exotic and exciting than just a simple all-purpose clover honey that comes without pleasant surprises.  
2. Green Tea:  Touted for its wide array of health virtues, this Asian tea does contain caffeine, like black tea, but not as much. It’s an acquired taste and that’s where honey comes into play so you can get the best of taste and nutritional benefits. 
Best Honey Matches:  Blueberry honey has a fruity taste which can give a nice kick to green tea, not the most flavorful tea.  Sage honey is mild, a California favorite of mine that brings out the best of green tea.
3.  Fruit Tea—Welcome to lemon, orange, rose hips, and apple teas. These fruity teas are sweet and sometimes tart, which call for a honey sidekick.
Best Honey Matches:  Mild flavored honeys such as sage and alfalfa brings out the best in fruit teas because it doesn’t overpower the fruity taste but maintains the integrity of the fruit flavor.
4. Herbal Tea—Herbal teas come from a variety of plants other than the tea plant. They are made from the leaves, berries, flowers, fruits and bark of herbs and spices.
Although most herbal teas do not contain the antioxidant properties of real tea, they do possess other good-for-you compounds that can enhance your health and well-being. There is a wide range of herbal teas, including ginseng, cinnamon, licorice, and mint.
Rooibos (roy-boss) is the “new” herbal tea on the block—that is often called “Red Tea.” Like green and black teas, this tea contains antioxidants that make it heart-healthy and immune-enhancing—and it’s caffeine free.
Best Honey Matches: Teaming earthy and warm herbal teas go well with a mild alfalfa, clover, orange blossom, and sage honeys—common honeys that complement distinct herbal flavors. 
5. Oolong Tea—This tea, popular in Asian countries, contains health perks of both black and green teas. A robust flavored-tea that can have a sweet taste lends to different honeys. 
Best Honey Matches: Oolong, not a tea familiar to me, was easy to try with a friendly California orange blossom honey with its citrusy sweet taste. Another oolong mate is tupelo honey its light amber color and herbal, fruity flavors.
6. White Tea—And last but not least welcome to this pale tea. Found in China it is believed to rank number one for its antioxidants. It’s a bit sweet and mellow. It’s the new tea on the block for tea lovers.
Best Honey Matches:  Fireweed honey is light colored and smooth, like white tea—the two complement each other. Wildflower, one of my favorite mild honeys also goes nicely with white tea.
            As a devout tea drinker, I believe your choice of honey and tea is a personal choice—like pairing dark chocolate with different fruits, herbs and spices. The selection also depends on the season to your mood. But popular and friendly honeys, such as clover and orange blossom are suitable any time, any place because they are not too strong and will not overpower teas—all types—and you can’t go wrong for yourself or if you’re serving other people.
Excerpt: From The Healing Powers of Honey by Cal Orey, published by Kensington Books, mass market format 2018. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why I Wrote the Book on the Forbidden Food: Chocolate

By Cal Orey, The Healing Powers author
One summer morning, I woke up and had chocolate on the brain. I did brew a cup of fresh Italian Roast coffee splashed with organic chocolate milk and paired it with a warm dark chocolate muffin. And then, my creative juices were in high-octane gear. I got a craving to e-mail a query to my book editor. I wanted to write a new book on the healing powers of chocolate. But I hesitated and thought, “This is a crazy idea. Chocolate is a decadent food.”
Later that day I pondered the topic like I would scrutinize a truffle. After all, I had gone to Vinegar World and Olive Land in my two books The Healing Powers of Vinegar and The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. Would my publisher at Kensington really be interested in sending me to Chocolate Nirvana? Or was my idea just a sweet pipe dream of a self-professed chocoholic?
I decided I had nothing to lose, so I sat down in my study and wrote a quick query regarding writing a book on chocolate. A few hours later, I received a response from my editor, Richard Ember. I’d snagged his interest. Within a couple of weeks, the idea was sealed into a chocolate book deal. At last, I was given the go-ahead to write the book I had wanted to pen for more than a decade.
Back in 1999, I pitched the idea to another editorial consultant when I was writing those mini mags sold at grocery store checkout stands. My editor showed interest, but then there was a shake-up in the company and my chocolate-book idea fizzled like hot chocolate gone cold.
Ironically, in both books on disease-fighting antioxidant-rich vinegar and olive oil, I did mention chocolate (also chock-full of disease- fighting antioxidants). And, as a health-conscious Californian and self-professed chocolate lover, I have touched on the once forbidden food—chocolate—in health articles for women’s magazines including Woman’s World and Women’s Weekly. But I noted only chunks of its virtues, from how the good-for-you fatty food can boost your energy to how it can rev up your libido (maybe).
The amazing part is, I was assigned to write a book about my passion—chocolate—and this is how The Healing Powers of Chocolate became one of my favorite love affairs and was finally written by me, a health author who simply loves chocolate.
By being a San Francisco Bay Area native (a popular home of experienced chocolate makers and artisans), I was given the opportunity to share the real chocolate world through my research of famous chocolate makers (three major companies: Guittard and Ghirardelli, part of the Lindt empire; and Scharffen Berger, part of the Hershey moguls).
Also, olive oil, vinegar, and chocolate are linked to the traditional European diet and lifestyle, which continue to make headlines in research and news articles, and which I practice and preach to anyone who is interested in staying healthy and living longer by teaming health and indulgence.
I immediately began my mission and set out in the real world and cyberspace to discover the past and present standout benefits of chocolate: heart health, weight loss, home cures, beauty uses, and so much more. And never did I imagine what a wealth of information is in the wide, wide world of chocolate.
I took the holistic route to chocolate’s wonders and confirmed my instincts that chocolate is good for the body, mind, and spirit. I delved deep into the cutting-edge health benefits, original and edgy home cures, and anecdotes from both famous and everyday people, past and present. And that is why The Healing Powers of Chocolate will surprise you with its extraordinary surprises—like a box of healthful and heavenly chocolates, all natural, of course, and full of flavor.
So make yourself a cup of hot (or iced) chocolate (depending on what season it is), sit down, and grab a pencil (you’ll want to take notes!). I’ll show you, page by page, how this ancient “food of the gods” can be your best friend, too, for the end of time.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wellness in a Cup--TEA Healing Powers

Wellness in a Cup—
Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!
The Healing Powers of Tea:
A Complete Guide to Nature’s Special Remedy
It picks you up and calms you down, warms you and refreshes you. With black, white, red, green, and herbal varieties, there’s a tea for every taste, and now this time-honored superfood is trending as the drink of choice for health-conscious people of all ages and cultures. (Discover 10 Tidbits to Sweeten the Pot, page 14)
This fascinating book boils down the rich history of tea—as well as the ever-expanding list of health and weight loss benefits found in its leaves. (Learn about Milestones of Past and Present Uses of Tea, pages 26-27)
Discover how black and white teas are heating up the beverage world with antioxidants and nutrients that lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and fight off inflammation, viruses, and bacteria. (Find out more about tea-fighting perks for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, pages 51-54)
Learn how age-defying spa treatments made from tea can soothe your skin, soften your hair, and give you an all-over glow and peace of mind. (Enjoy the Beau-tea-ful Possibilities with a tea-infused spa treatments you can do at home! Pages 192-199)
Stir up over 50 home cures to give yourself more energy, less stress, treat the common cold, insomnia, and more! (A super A-Z guide for folk remedies using a combination of teas in the comfort of your home, pages pages 156-184)
Enjoy comforting and tea-licious recipes like Warm Scones with Jam and Devonshire Cream, Assorted Finger Sandwiches, Scrumptious White Tea Scallops, and Russian Tea Cookies paired with the perfect brew – hot or iced. (Love a Tea Menu-style collection of healthy recipes, pages 238-274)
Better health is just a sip away. With The Healing Powers of Tea (sweetened with lively stories) you’ll learn the hottest tips to improve your health, boost your brain power, and even clean your house! (Fill up your heart with emotions in the beginning of each chapter by reading a story that’ll warm your heart, make you laugh, cry, and feel inspired—all with the amazing powers of tea.)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Ring of Fire is on a Roll--Is the West Coast Next?

What’s Shakin’?
 (Is the Big One Coming?)

So what’s shaking around the world?  Some quake wizards are saying that the recent seismic activity in the Pacific Ring of Fire—a horse-shoe shaped region surrounding the Pacific Basin—is a big warning that the West Coast may be next for the “Big One”!
In a two day period, news reports revealed more than 70 earthquakes in this ring—strong shakers--hit different areas in August. Some scientists believe when the Ring of Fire (known for 80 percent of the world’s earthquakes and volcanoes) is super active it may be a super red flag--a superquake is coming. So, experts fear because the West Coast, which has been in an extreme seismic drought—yes, it's in the Ring of Fire--may be in the line of fire, so to speak. Read on.

Is the West Coast Next Up?
Scientists to earthquake sensitives, like me, believe when the Pacific Ring of Fire acts out—like now, especially Fiji (there was an 8.2 underwater shaker in August) that California, my home state, is next up. Yep, there’s been minor tremors in the late summer, including Greater Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Lake Tahoe—and all were reported in the news and by people who felt the Earth move and reported it to the United States Geological Survey. (Personally, I got a ring from my sibling for the Tahoe shaker which I did not feel. I said, "A 3-magnitude." The 4.1 was downgraded to a 3.8--but since it was shallow, Northern California folks felt it all the way in Reno to Sacramento.)

But while these tremors rattled nerves for locals and visitors, as well as nudged seismologists—it wasn’t the Big One that everyone knows is coming. As noted in the film San Andreas, it’s not if it will happen it is when. The more the Pacific Ring of Fire continues to shake, rattle, and roll, the more folks in California will be on edge, hopefully, get prepared while wondering if the seismic drought over. Or not. True, overall, the Golden State's recent newsworthy seismic events remind us that we are the 2nd most shaky state (Alaska is number one) and it’s just a matter of time when we really shake. But there’s more…

Cascadia Subduction Zone
            Years ago, when I wrote The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes, I learned about the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the North America plate. That's where under-thrusting near seacoasts have been called subduction zones known as plate tectonics. In the Pacific Northwest earthquakes can result in shallow quakes near the Cascadia trench and deeper earthquakes which affect Washington, Oregon, and most of Northern California.
            History tells us that a 9.0 or superquake hit the Cascadia Trench off the Washington Coast hundreds of years ago. Extreme ground shaking, flooding, earth changes all happened back in 1700. Also, this movement came with a tsunami that affected Japan killing hundreds of people.
If the Big One happens in the Cascadia Subduction Zone (from Vancouver, south to Washington, and Northern California) it could be a quick happening and create a deadly big wave like it did centuries ago. So, will history repeat itself? A great earthquake could certainly happen in the Pacific Northwest (and would be nightmare-ish). But let's not exclude California.
It is more than 100 years overdue for a great earthquake; and it’s been more than 20 years since a deadly shaker like the 1989 October 17 unforgettable San Francisco quake.

Ring of Fire Trigger Effect—Fact of Fiction
     Some scientists will tell you that when the Ring of Fire earthquakes start they seem to trigger one another. Several years ago, there was a succession of major and great earthquakes in the Ring of Fire and it set off earth changes gurus, from seismologists to geologists, to predict that California could be next in line. However, nothing happened.
That said, in June 2004 we experienced several earthquakes in a short span of time, from a 7.2 Offshore Northern California shaker and then a strong Southern California earthquake—like a ping pong effect within a few days. So, yes, while volcanic activity is believed by some experts to spawn more eruptions, the same could be possible with earthquakes.
Yet the late geologist Jim Berkland noted that after the great Indian Ocean quake-tsunami on December 26, 2004, he was amazed at the lack of 6-plus magnitude quakes which almost “shut down. Rather than triggering distant quakes,” he said, “it had the opposite effect (is there such a word as ‘untriggering’?” The jury is still out on if earthquakes trigger earthquakes. 

Will the “Big One” Affect You?
When a great earthquake happens in California as it did in 1906 in San Francisco followed by a deadly fire which was even worse, or the 1857 Southern California earthquake—it will certainly cause a chain reaction of demise for the rest of our country. The Golden State is touted for its produce (the fruits, vegetables, and nuts you love) and economics so when a great earthquake hits—America will feel a financial shake-up without a doubt.
And, if the Big One hits the Cascadia Subduction Zone it will also affect our nation because of the populated cities, including tech-savvy Seattle and San Francisco (which could be hit by effects of a tsunami).
The best-case scenario? When the “Big One” happens it would be better if the Earth shakes early in the morning or late at night so traffic on major roads is less than more. If the quake is offshore and deep it may not create a big waves which would be dodging a bullet, much like the recent 8.2 in Fiji instead of killer quake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. 
For now, we wait and we get ready (you know the drill--water stored for you, the cat, and dog to drop and cover--no running to the doorway--if the Earth moves) because living in the Ring of Fire earthquakes are inevitable. And, the Big One on the West Coast will happen but nobody knows the day or time when it will hit.

The 2018 Summer Ring of Fire
·        California, in the Ring of Fire, has been quiet but in the recent months some earthquakes up and down the state are reminders that it’s the shaky state.
·        In August, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake happened in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji but was too deep to cause a big wave like in 2004 when the quake shook the world on Boxing Day.
·        Not to ignore a 6.4-6.6 rattled Alaska, and a rare 6.2 rocked Offshore Oregon.
·        The “Big One” is not really it in Southern California or San Francisco—but will be the Cascadia Subduction Zone which could wreak havoc on California and the West Coast because a megaquake would likely include a tsunami affecting the coastal regions from Vancouver Island down to Northern California.
·        Minor earthquakes that hit Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area in late August and early September could be foreshocks for an overdue stronger earthquake by the end of October 2018 or before 2019. And as far as predicting the Pacific Northwest "Big One"--well I did forecast something like that for this year and we have four more months. The odds? Hopefully less than 10 percent.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Superfoods--It's Time to Savor Favorite Foods with a Twist!

By Cal Orey
Did you know the keys to a long life and vibrant good health can be found on the shelves of your local supermarket?
Pre-Order for Late Fall
Delivery--a Gift for all

Apples, leafy greens, shellfish, yogurt—even ice cream and pasta. The latest scientific studies reveal that many of the classic foods you’ve always loved are superfoods that can supercharge your health! Not only are they delicious, they’re affordable—plus these essential farm-to-table favorites can work with any diet plan, from the balanced Mediterranean Diet to the hunter-gatherer Paleo plan.
 With over 50 recipes for both cooked and raw dishes, including smoothies and soups, a detox juice fast and a jump-start pounds-off diet, this down-to-earth guide will show you how to get healthy and stay healthy with body-friendly superfoods.
*Boost your immune system with citrus and nutrient-dense berries, including fresh, frozen, and dried. 

*Enjoy the healthy fats in eggs and nuts, including nut butters, to fight inflammation, slow the aging process, and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

*Trade white sugar for antioxidant-rich sweeteners like maple syrup, the newest superfood!
*Create home remedies designed to ease anxiety, improve sleep, boost brainpower and enhance energy.

 *Keep your home spotless for kids and pets using eco-friendly superfood-rich formulas.
*Pamper your mind and body with the same food-based treatments that health spas use, including ingredients like seeds and seaweed. 

Now you can indulge in a Pesto Pizza or Berry Basil Smoothie, a Chicken Bone Broth or dark chocolate gelato, while chilling with an ancient-oats facial or relaxing in a warm, herb-scented bath. Infused with heartwarming stories and inspiring legends, The Healing Powers of Superfoods will take you to a world of wellness that starts at home with our favorite foods from Mother Nature—enjoyed in a new way with an exciting twist!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Cookies with a Thrilling Twist

By Cal Orey

Yep. It’s time. We’re now entering a brand new month and soon a new season. Sweet September! That means it’s almost time for baking. But we’re taking it slowly, remember. Why not bake a batch of sweet-and-salty peanut butter cookies changed up a bit.  As history tells it, criss-cross imprints made by using fork tines goes back to the early 20th century. My mom told me pressing the cookie dough made it bake better.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Sea salt caramel is a popular combo trend and it’s not unheard of to mix it up with peanut butter. Sea salt caramel gelato is a favorite cold comfort food I’ve enjoyed in the summertime with iced water after dinner. But peanut butter cookies are a treat fall-time treat that take me to coffee and cookie shops.

Last October on a Sunday afternoon I had a feeling that if I played the Wheel of Fortune dollar slots I’d win. Once the man next to me let me have a go of it at his slot machine, I sensed a win coming. When I spun the wheel after hearing those words “Wheel of Fortune” I knew I’d hit the 2000 dollar jackpot. And yes, it hit the 2000 number! Also, I was given a gift card to use at a coffee shop. And I purchased pastries and cookies, including a peanut butter cookie. This recipe reminds me of that exciting day and I included a bit of excitement (sea salt and caramel) for the thrill factor.
Peanut butter criss-cross cookies (sea salt CARAMEL)
½ cup European style butter
½ cup golden brown sugar
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 brown eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups caramel chips (Ghirardelli)
Sea salt (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine softened European style butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (flour and baking soda).  Fold in chips. Place dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper or foil, drop ice cream scoop (1/4 cup size) onto sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 15 cookies. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 
Serve with tea, honey, gelato or ice cream and fresh berries. Since the days are still warmish,  I recommend taking two cookies (they're medium sized) and spread cold vanilla or chocolate ice cream on one and make an ice cream sandwich for the thrill of it.

These cookies are easy to make. Not only do they smell heavenly with creamy peanut butter (a superfood noted in the new book, The Healing Powers of Superfoods (December 18, 2018) and caramel chips but you can taste both in each bite. The criss-cross marks will give you a classic peanut butter cookie and the caramel chips and sea salt brings you back to present-day adventurous trends. It’s the perfect cookie prelude as we edge into off season and autumn bliss around the Lake and nation.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Summer Scones, Prelude to Autumn

As the crisp air at night and early mornings greets us, it’s time. Are you craving warm foods for breakfast or dessert? Instead of baking an apple pie or cake, I decided to start slowly, like inching my way into the cool pool water when swimming. So, we’re going back to Sconeland, a place where you can enjoy a sweet and savory homemade pastry with the colors of pre-autumn at Lake Tahoe.

One September I munched on a scone purchased at one of the airport cafes while traveling to Vancouver, Canada. I was clad in Tahoe-type fall attire when I arrived in a strange place where the air was warm and semi-humid. Ironically, people were wearing shorts and sandals. All I could think of was, “Why did I flee our mountain town during a surreal time of changes in weather with a mix of two seasons.” Chilly mornings and late nights combined with and sunny days. I rolled up my jeans, wore T-shirts, and walking shoes without socks. I promised myself I’d bake home-style scones in the cool morning while enjoying afternoon activities with blue skies and sunshine.
So, this week I used my Granny Smith apples, walnuts and raisins (meant for chunky oatmeal cookies but I changed my mind). Here, take a look at the British Columbia-inspired recipe for scones infused with both summer and fall foods.
2 ¾ cups cake flour, sifted
¼ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, premium brand
2 teaspoons maple syrup
¼ cup tablespoons European style butter, cold, cubed
1 cup Granny Smith or Fuji apples, cored, peeled, chopped
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Lemon rind, 2 tablespoons
Whole wheat flour (for shaping dough)
3 tablespoons raw sugar and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (for topping)
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add buttermilk and syrup. Fold in butter, fruit, nuts, and rind. On a floured cutting board mold the dough into a circle. Place on a plate and put into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Remove and slice the circle like a pizza into triangles. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar cinnamon mixture. Bake scones in a 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until bottom of scones are light brown. Do not overbake. Makes 6 scones.
Serve with local honey or summery organic berry jam. Using cake flour gives these scones a light cake texture. (You can use all-purpose flour for a crunchy cookie type bite.) The sweet bursts of apple bites and chewy nuts and raisins with warming cinnamon notes are super staples of autumn eats. The fresh citrus complements a flavorful harvest time scone in between two seasons. These are perfect for breakfast and hot coffee or an afternoon snack with iced tea. You choose.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is