Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Warm up with Tea, Bread and Thou

This time some years ago, a dear friend of mine drove up in the snow to visit me on her birthday. Thrilled to have company, I opened up my cabin to her. At that time I wasn’t a “Food Network” addict, and cooking wasn’t on my favorite to-do list. So, French bread, cheese, and bottled water was the plan.
We rehashed our travels up and down California during a book tour for my earthquake prediction book. We were certain a shaker was going to hit Palmdale, and I was even on TV—but the Earth did not move that night in the hotel room as we munched on spinach pizza and watched the film 10.5.
This week when I made a Spinach Dip and Sourdough Bowl it reminded me of that book tour and how I am preparing to go again--somewhere out of the state or country. However, I miss the comforts of home, including the cozy cabin, companion animals, swimming at a pool amid trees in the mountains.

Spinach Dip and Sourdough French Bread

½ cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise with olive oil
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped, dry
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped fine
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1 small round artisan whole grain sourdough bread
2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon European-style butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and sour cream. Stir until smooth. Add spinach, scallions, seasoning, salt and pepper.  Put in refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice top off bread. With a knife cut out bread to make a bowl. Spoon chilled dip mixture into bread bowl. Top with cheese. Brush bowl with butter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bread is golden brown and dip is bubbly. Serve hot. Cut or break off bread pieces and dip. *You can cut the scooped bread into cubes and serve baked or not. Serves 6-8.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

TEA TIME: Ask the Healing Powers Series a Question!

Chocolate and Tea--a Perfect Pairing for V-Day

Q: Why do you think chocolate and tea are a perfect match?
A: 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?
A: 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.

Rocky Road Tea Bark
* * *
  • 7 premium baking chips, 60 percent  
  • cacao bittersweet 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.

Monday, February 12, 2018

TEA TIME: Ask the Healing Powers Series a Question--Get an Answer

By Cal Orey

QUESTION:  What type of tea should I drink if I get SAD? No sunshine, colder days is making me feel depressed. Help!

ANSWER: Tea comes to the rescue! 

Seasonal Affective Disorder:  Feeling down and sluggish with SADSeasonal depression is yet is another monster to face in the colder months. I have tackled the symptoms with an arsenal of remedies—and tea is on the list come late fall through early spring.  Brew 1 cup of green  tea. Steep for 3 minutes. Repeat 2 times per day.
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.
But chamomile calms you and can also make you feel warm and fuzzy without caffeine! And don't forget classic black tea! It'll provide you with a pick-me-up and you may be smiling!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Tea Time: Ask the Healing Powers Series Author a Question! Get An Answer

The Healing Powers series Author
Valentine's Superfoods-- Tea and Honey

QUESTION:  Why do you think honey and tea are such a wonderful pair? 
ANSWER: These two gifts from nature go together like America’s favorite apple pie and vanilla ice cream. 
Both functional foods contain good-for-you ingredients and are flavorful, comforting and complement each other perfectly!
QUESTION:   Do you have a favorite honey and tea pairing? 
ANSWER:  Ah, I am a Libra and making a decision like this is a challenge! How about black tea with orange blossom honey? Or chamomile and lavender honey? Bliss. It’s tea time.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TEA TIME: Ask the Healing Powers Series Author a Question!

By Cal Orey

Tea Home Cures from Your Kitchen

QUESTION: Can tea help with a cold? Help! 
ANSWER: You bet! Colds: During the fall and winter months, cold season is at its peak. But, if you are under stress, a cold can pay you a visit year-round, especially if you’re traveling. 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 while symptoms last.  Honey is contains anti-inflammatory components and can coat the throat to help stop that tickle and soothe soreness.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tea researchers believe it’s the compound antigen (a molecule capable of inducing an immune response) in black tea that bolsters the body’s immune system and may help guard against colds. Known for being rich with antioxidants, tea also contains tannins which may help to stave off viruses like a cold.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

TEA TIME: Ask the Healing Powers Series Author A Question!

By Cal Orey

"Tea takes me to a place I love."
--The Healing Powers of Tea
Victoria, July 2017

Question: So, what inspired you to begin this tea book adventure? 
Answer:  Tea has provided me with balance–it continues to nourish my mind, body, and spirit. Versatile tea is like a dear family member–it’s a constant. Tea–many types–are my friends and relaxes me during ups and downs in life. I cannot imagine my world or travels without it. Tea takes me to a place I love.

Both The Healing Powers of Tea and The Healing Powers of Honey will be carried by the Fairmont Hotel tearoom/gift shop in Victoria, B.C., Canada.  Plenty of stories about teas and tisanes in both HONEY and TEA books... and more to come in the forthcoming #7 Healing Powers series book.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Tea Time: Ask the Healing Powers Series Author a QUESTION!

By Cal Orey

QUESTION: Do you prefer different types of honey for different seasons?

ANSWER:  I love antioxidant-rich dark honeys such as medicinal amber-orange manuka and rich buckwheat with black tea and a bit of honey for the fall and winter–both can stave off pesky health woes during seasonal changes.
I turn to light golden wildflower paired with white tea for the spring and summer. 
And clover honey is super with spice teas, my friends for life, especially in the autumn. Oh, and alfalfa honey with chamomile! It was given to me by a local beekeeper to keep both spring and fall-time allergies at bay!