Thursday, October 19, 2017

Salad and Tea for Fall Days and Nights


It was late fall many, many moons ago on the South Shore. The wind was strong, the temperature was in the twenties, but I was determined to leave the toasty cabin to go get my morning swim and hot tub fix. I was swimming laps at one of the outdoor pools. Snow flurries began but the water was warm—my ears freezing. Walking on the fresh cold snow to get into the Jacuzzi was a challenge. The reward? It was awesome! And I treated myself to a Starbucks’ pumpkin latte. Once back home I ate a fresh salad. Then, the sun came out and my canines needed their walk. Another perk? I made the first crackling fire of the season. And so it goes with a roller coaster weather ride at Lake Tahoe.

If you’re a local you know during shoulder season it can be warm and chilly. It’s best to go with the flow and enter slowly with hot and cold foods so you keep your sanity! This is a Sierra-inspired salad and hot beverage for fall.

1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or cranberries—yes! They’re tart but good)
2 tablespoons sliced red onion (optional)
Parmesan cheese, shavings or shredded
1/4 cup chunks of cooked salmon (optional)

Vinaigrette:  You can buy a fruity all-natural bottled dressing or make your own. Mix ½ cup olive oil, 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a bit of honey and dash of pepper. Chill in fridge.


In a bowl, combine greens, top with nuts, berries, onion, and cheese. Whisk up and drizzle dressing  over your salad mixture.  The salad bowl serves 1-2.

Okay. I know a clean salad with real food isn’t a pumpkin pie or apple cake with cream cheese frosting. Pair your greens with a mug of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Or brew a cup of pumpkin spice tea and warm up the scent of autumn!

The bottom line: Fall doesn’t have to be the time to pack on pounds or be sedentary. The more you get used to eating a healthful salad with fall time fruits and vegetables, the more energized you’ll feel, keep seasonal change (cold, flu) woes at bay so you can go do it—outdoors and indoors.

— 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 www.calorey.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Berry Good French Toast and Tea for Fall


An often told story to my family was that my mom met my dad at the Oregon Caves. Within less than one month the two became a couple, married, and lived happily ever after. Today, Columbus Day, is their anniversary. I remember this date because yesterday the eye doctor checked my peepers.  Sitting in the office—not as bad as the pinned eyes scene from the “Clockwork Orange” film—I got the diagnosis. No eye diseases, use low strength over the counter reading glasses for TV. The good doc gave credit to genes. This good-for-you recipe is inspired by my good parents—and eye-healthy blueberries, according to medical doctors.

Berry Good French Toast
2 organic eggs
½ cup low-fat organic milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup blueberries
Honey to taste (use a local variety from our health food store)

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip bread into egg mixture on both sides. Place in a medium heated frying pan. Turn once and when each slice of bread is golden brown and crispy remove and put on a plate. Top with a mound of blueberries. Drizzle with honey. Serves two.
This quick, easy to make hot breakfast is as good as it gets on an off-season morning. Pair with coffee or tea. 


— 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 www.calorey.com .

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Apple Love During Fall Days

Crisp Autumn Days with Andre


This fall I’ve noticed my liking for apples as well as others who seem to jump on the apple bandwagon. After all, this fruit is wholesome and very versatile in cooking and baking. Let me take you back in time to when apples played an unforgettable scenario for me.

My birthday is in October. That reminds me of one particular year money was tight due to the Great Recession. A former neighbor had a real job (unlike me, a past freelance magazine journalist) but he was frugal. Still, come the night of my special day he and my sibling surprised me with a gourmet store bought French Apple Pie. I was moved because a cake wasn’t on my wish list but pie—well, who doesn’t like pie, right? It’s the feel-good food, especially when the air is crisp and leaves are turning color in the Sierra. I was moved by the good-neighbor gesture.

This comforting apple crisp made from scratch was inspired by my neighbor, the dog-loving man (like my dad, another Libra) who shoveled snow off the deck, brought me sweets from Poland, and walked my former beloved Brittany on black ice, and suggested I write books about Lake Tahoe (I have used the mountains as a muse in my Healing Powers series). He was a good neighbor to love, appreciate--like a good apple dish!

Apple Crisp

Apple Mixture
2 cups, 4-5 Granny Smith apples, washed, peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Crispy Topping
½ cup oats
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter
Whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl put fruit. Add juice, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, combine oats, sugar, and butter. It should be moist and form crumbled balls. Dish fruit high into two or three ramekins (depends on if they are 6, 8, 12 ounces). Top with crumble topping. Place in a pan filled half with water. Place in oven for about one hour. (Turn the oven up to 425 degrees for the last 20 minutes.) Once the crumble is light brown and fruit bubbly, it’s done. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 2-4.
 This easy to make apple crisp aka crumble is worth the effort of peeling the apples. I tried making it with Honeycrisp apples but it’s Granny Smith that works like a charm. Also, unlike some dishes, this one is best served fresh out of the oven. The scent of apples, cinnamon, and the flavor plus light crunchy texture of the crispy topping and juice apples will make you and yours smile. A serving of this apple crisp has my late dog-loving, sweet neighbor’s name on it.

Motto:  Fences make good neighbors but so does dishing out autumn foods like good apples and sharing the season's delight.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Interview with the Healing Powers Series Author: Cal Orey

By Cal Orey

Today we're talking to Cal Orey, the author of the popular Healing Powers series, including The Healing Powers of Vinegar and The Healing Powers of Honey...and come December, The Healing Powers of Tea.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I prefer to write in fall/winter when it's quiet.
I was born and raised in San Jose, California. It's changed due to gentrification aka (King Kong stomped on Mother Nature and now it's a metropolis). I moved to Lake Tahoe to get back to nature. Ironically, history repeats itself. More changes, including killing healthy trees (I'm a granola girl/tree hugger) and vacation homeowner invasion like Stephen King's Langoliers, especially in the summertime. I am a journalist-author. That's what they (my editors) call me. 

How and when did you become a writer?
I got my first poem "School Days" published when I was in third grade. My teachers told me I had a "gift" when I wrote papers. I liked to write colorful stuff. So, I ended up majoring in English (Creative Writing) in college. I hold a bachelor's and master's in these topics. But I flunked math. 

What genre do you write?
I'm known as a health author. I have had thousands of articles published on different subjects, including relationships (I flunked this topic, too, in real life), pets, Earth changes, and just about anything (even sex).

How would you describe your writing style?
I'm candid. I like to inject humor into my work. Third person narrative is boring, prefer talking to readers like I chat it up in real life. I do this on a regular basis. Lately, I like to write in the morning (thanks to my cup of Joe), research after swimming in the afternoon. Late at night I brainstorm. When working on a book like now it's similar to having renters in your brain. I'm trying to go with them, this time. Overall, it's cool. Think visitors that can be amusing, thought-provoking, and inspiring but pesky at times. They don't sleep!

What makes you different from other writers?
I like to put my personal paw print on each piece of work. In other words, I prefer to write in a chatty, down-to-earth first person narrative. Love to say things people are afraid to say, kind of like baring your soul or disrobing in front of the world. I lose the inhibitions for my best stuff.  Love to write from the heart and tell stories--all kinds that'll make the reader laugh, cry, and nourish the soul.


Who inspires you?
My dog is my mentor. He gets me. I adore his energy--an Aussie at 4 1/2.  In grad school for my oral exams I chose my three authors: George Eliot, John Steinbeck, and Edward Albee; my professors weren't pleased with the last two--but I didn't care.  Steinbeck knew the Golden State, Tahoe, the ocean, and dogs. And, people in real life, past and present or future (in my imagination) make my works come alive.

How did you come up with the title of (your book you want to talk about)?
I fell into the Healing Powers series. It was the title of the first book back in 1999. The Healing Powers of Vinegar paved the way for books that followed into two, a trilogy but my editor corrected me and called it a "series." The rest is history. 

Who is your favorite character in (your book you want to talk about) and why?
July 4th I was in Victoria, B.C. to flee Tahoe tourist chaos
A returning character is an elderly woman who is someone who helped me a lot when I was a struggling magazine journalist. Read: I scrubbed toilets for the well-to-do to make ends meet. She traveled abroad many times and loved Europeans. Now I travel to Canada. A lot. It gives me my fix of culture, diversity, England and France. I have a sense of belonging in Quebec to British Columbia. Psst! I am wearing a maple leaf necklace I got back in July when I paid a visit to Victoria. So calming that trip was for me. 
Bonding with a Victoria seal. 
We live in divisive times. Should your religion/politics influence your writing?
As a Catholic I admit in my books this fact does come out a bit...but I shy away from politics. Too heated these days--I don't want to lean to the left or right. But between you and me? I am an Independent, former Democrat, and closet Republican. This is probably because I'm a middle child; dad a Republican, mom a Democrat. And I was the rebellious hippie chick growing up in the seventies.

What are you working on now? 
Ah. Number seven of the Healing Powers series. It's super awesome. I'm time traveling back in time to many regions I've been... and I love sharing my stories from on the road with a dog or dog-less (that's tough) and linking it to the topic to make it a fun, lively read from the heart. Not to forget it is a health-cookbook, of sorts. Surprise super super topic. I will share a bit later. 

Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Good news! My number six Healing Powers book, The Healing Powers of Tea will be released December 26. Very excited. My first book signing will be in Seattle come mid January. I'm always crushing on the Pacific Northwest. Oh! And, and, and, I just signed a contract for number eight Healing Powers series book. I feel like the Misery author but I vow not to kill the series. It is me. It is home.
Gentrification is ruining Tahoe, my home for
almost two decades.
Advice for young writers? 
Live life! Your experiences will take you where you are supposed to be in the writing world.

For more information about this author check out the following links: www.calorey.com, https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8065-3826-6

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Healing Powers Series To Be Continued!

By Cal Orey
Two days before fall, and two weeks before my birthday some good news happened about my Healing Powers series...For starters, my favorite book, The Healing Powers of Tea, number 6, will be released the day after Christmas--most likely I'll have advance copies a bit sooner on my doorstep (most likely covered with snow).


Next up? Currently, I'm on a new Healing Powers series adventure, book number 7, and having fun. A lot. Not only am I learning new things everyday, as I continue to write and research, it feels like being a time traveler of sorts as I weave stories from the past and present-day with experience--one of the perks of aging.

Come November an installment of the book in progress will be sent to my book editor, and in March this book will be written and out the door before spring. A bit of a break...to enjoy real life.

And then, a new Healing Powers series book, 8.  This is an exciting topic, one is a surprise and that will make me and readers smile and feel good from head to toe. So, as we edge near 2020, I have the knowledge and blessings that the Healing Powers series is timeless, alive, and growing and I owe it to one specific topic, one book that came my way via destiny and timing. 

Back in 1999 it was the 60,000 word book on vinegar that ignited the collection that has grown for almost two decades. Today, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, third edition, is still the book of choice by people around the globe, followed by Honey and Olive Oil counterparts. And I have faith in Tea--the new book with heart.

'Tis the season, to cozy up, get cooking, baking, and stay healthy with rustic recipes, home cures, and so much more from the Healing Powers collection with something for everyone whether you're 25, 50, 75 or somewhere in between like me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fresh Scones for Pre-Autumn

Scones are sweet, biscuits can work, too!
I'd like to introduce you to the British scone. There are sweet and savory varieties. I've savored and baked both types from cheese and pumpkin to blueberry and vanilla glaze. Think of scones in different shapes, including drop scone to triangle scone, big and small. For cooler, pre-autumn days I'm bringing to you the fresh late summer fruit scone, which also contains walnuts from our Golden state.  
Several years ago, I was invited to the college library at Tahoe to lecture/sign my book on olive oil. While I did just that I also snuck in earthquake talk (I wrote a book on quake prediction and Reno was  having an aggressive, newsworthy swarm which escalated and a strong jolt was later felt at Tahoe as I predicted). Most of the crowd was eager to listen to my take on the outcome, but a few folks were not happy and walked out of the event. At the end, I gave away biscotti made with oil and some bottles of the liquid gold. No regrets except the librarian wasn't smiling like the women who eagerly scooped up the free home-baked biscotti.
The thing is, my dear friend bakeress friend Gemma Sciabica, co-owner of Sciabica Olive Oil in central California, baked the chocolate treats for me because I knew she could do it better.  But I am scone savvy (love all scones with tea) and to be honest with you, scones are easier and faster to make, bake, and dish up.
Peach Walnut Scones
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons European style butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2 eggs

Nearing to the season of pumpkin love
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup honey vanilla Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup walnuts, rough chop
1 large firm peach, peeled, diced
1 egg with 2 teaspoons water
Raw sugar

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, mix together flour and sugar. Add the chunks of butter to the flour mixture. Mix in egg, half and half, yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir in walnuts and peaches. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form into a circle. Cut in half, repeat twice (more if you want small triangles). Brush with egg and sprinkle sugar on triangles. Put scones to on baking sheet or dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the scones are light golden on the top. Allow to cool. Serves 8 large triangles and 16 mini triangles. Cut in half and spread with mascarpone cheese and fresh mint, honey, cream cheese, or peach jam. Enjoy with a cup of tea.

Callie's Tips: In a pan boil water. Drop a large peach into the water for half a minute. Remove and put into cold water for a minute, and peel easily! Dust hands with flour before shaping the scone circle. Place cut scone dough triangles close together on the baking dish which allows them to rise higher. Dried fruit is good to use in the fall when our summer fruit supply is gone or too pricey. Scones freeze well. The shelf life of raw sugar is indefinite.

Since the book event I have mastered the art of baking biscotti but I still prefer creating the scone. As the weather changes around the Lake, I've begun to go back into the kitchen and so can you. This easy scone can be whipped up in no time at all. You can warm them up for breakfast or enjoy one (or two) fresh out of the oven for an afternoon snack.


— 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 www.calorey.com

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fall into National Honey Month

The Healing Powers of Honey for Autumn
By Cal Orey

Cures From Your Kitchen
I'll describe 50 common health ailmentsfrom A to Z, and provide amazing at-home honey cures. I include tried-and-truefolk remedies, real-life stories, scientific studies, and medical experts'words of honey wisdom--and my own experiences with honey. But caution, consult your health care practitioner before putting to work any honey cure.


1 ACNE  (Brush off blemishes)   Red dots on your face, back, and shouldersare the scourge of the young and beautiful. But adults aren't immune from adultacne or flare-ups. As a teen, I blamed my mom and dad on a blotchy face. (Genesand hormones can play a role in acne.) I turned to gooey Clearasil cream andsmelly Stridex pads and went to war like a fearless Indian using war paint andgetting ready to go to battle. But my efforts didn't work. 
I ended up goingto a dermatologist and using a potent topical medicine. After applying morethan less (I don't follow instructions) I ended up tying a navy blue bandanaacross my forehead to hide the unsightly blotch--and was grateful for the hippiefashion trend. If I had known that there was a gentler cure to clear up myface--I would have used it in a heartbeat.
 
What Honey Rx to Use:  Put a dab of honey (a darker variety such asmanuka) on blemishes. Repeat twice per day. Sip a cup of chamomile tea tochill--and drink 6 to 8 ounce glasses of water daily and stay clear of emptynutrition sugary beverages with caffeine. 
 
Why You'll Bee Happy: It'sthe antibacterial compounds in honey that work to help fight redness,inflammation, infection, and dry up the blemish.  Manuka honey is antioxidant-rich that canhelp give you a clearer, smoother complexion. "As a teenager," recalls onehoney lover, "I would smear raw, organic honey on my face and did it after Icame home from school, every day."  Twomonths later, he recalls seeing sweet results--a 50 percent clearer complexion.The credit goes to using the right "type" of honey--not processed kinds.  
 
2 ALLERGIES (Stop seasonalmisery)  Dealing with annoying acneis no picnic, but sneezing, a runny nose, and coughing can ruin an indoor oroutdoor event, thanks to seasonal pollen. Every year when the yellow pollenarrives like an uninvited visitor at Lake TahoeI hold a tissue in one hand and am on the phone to pharmacist with the other. Iam always on a mission to find the natural remedy to stop my sniffles.  
 
What Honey Rx to Use: Tryeating a tablespoon of locally produced honey. Proponents of honey tell me thatyour immune system will get used to the local pollen in it (it should be withina 50 mile radius from where you live).
 
Why You'll Bee Happy:  By taking the honey cure, you may lose yourallergy symptoms. Or not. It's worth the effort and is less pricey than a visitto the doctor or an allergist. Also, honey is a natural remedy and doesn't comewith unknown side effects linked to allergy medications or pricey shots.  One summer day, I looked outside and theTahoe yellow pollen was everywhere--cars, trees, and the ground. I startedputting honey (not just the local alfalfa variety) in my tea, yogurt, andbaking. Two days later, my sniffles were history. If it was coincidence or ahoney cure it doesn't matter. It worked.
If you have mildrespiratory problems, from allergies to asthma, honey may enhance the immune systemto build up a better arsenal against airborne allergens--and help you breatheeasier. Honey enthusiasts like D.C. Jarvis, M.D., believe honeycomb isexcellent for treating certain breathing problems. The honey prescription,according to him, was chewing honeycomb which may line the entire breathingtract. (2)
Also, eating honeyon a daily basis was recommended. "As far as I have been able to learn, Vermont folk medicineuses honeycomb as a desensitizing agent; from the results obtained by its useit appears to be anti-allergic in its action." He gives credit to the honeybees. (3) 
Beekeepers tell methat honey may help allergies linked to trees and ragweed--the culprit of hayfever and its irritating symptoms during spring and autumn months and often rightbefore.  If mold and food allergens arebothering you--honey is not going to be your allergy cure. As beekeepers arebusy at work selling local honey to allergy sufferers, I am busy including alltypes of honeys in my diet because I want to be covered when both seasons. Andif honey can help me cope with congestion and sneezing--I'm in. While furtherresearch is needed, I'm not going to wait for scientists to go to their labrats for a go-ahead. More honey, please.
 
3 ANEMIA (Iron up) Allergiescan affect people of all ages, but anemia may be more of a problem for peoplewho are dieting or vegetarians who are not getting sufficient iron. Simply put,anemia is a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin, the protein in red bloodcells that moves oxygen to cells in your body. The symptoms can include feelingtired and lightheaded.
 
What Honey Rx to Use:  Try incorporating a dark honey, such asbuckwheat, in your daily diet. Pair it with Mediterranean iron-rich foods,including fish, seafood, apricots, and figs.  
 
Why You'll Bee Happy: Ifyou're borderline iron deficient, you need to pump more iron into your body.The Daily Value of iron is 18 milligrams. If you are borderline anemic, you cantake boost your iron intake by increasing iron-rich foods and dark honeyscontaining iron which can help boost the lack of red blood cells in the body. 

 
4 ANXIETY (Beat the jittersmonster) Anemia sometimes comes with warnings of symptoms, but when anxietyhits (often worsened by stress) you know it like when an earthquake strikes.Anxiety can wreak havoc on your nervous system and up your odds of heartproblems, stress eating, and other chronic health problems. 
 
What Honey Rx to Use: Ifyou're under pressure and feeling high anxiety or sense a stressful event is inthe works, make a cup of chamomile tea. Put in one teaspoon of your favoritehoney. Repeat twice a day as needed.
 
Why You'll Bee Happy:Honey--all varietals--is touted by folk medicine healers for its calming effects.The natural superfood can help soothe your nerves rather than put you in higheranxiety mode. The relief it provides may be due to its multiple vitamin Bcontent--anti-stress vitamins.  Pairing itwith calming tea or milk (which is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acidwhich helps to alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress) can help you tochill.  So next time you want to relax,one of the best cures is carbohydrates--and the fastest worker to giving you achill pill is nature's sweet honey.
 
5 BAD BREATH (Freshen up yourmouth) Feeling anxious about if you breath is not as sweet as it should be?Bad breath can be linked to a variety of causes, from a bad tooth, gingivitis,eating onions to sinusitis. 
 
What Honey Rx to Use: Try 1teaspoon of honey in a cup of herbal tea. Repeat as needed.
 
Why You'll Bee Happy: If youare suffering from post nasal drip, drinking hot tea with honey (which hasantibacterial properties) can help clear up mucous and that'll help sweetenyour mouth. Drinking a cup of honey and chamomile tea will also soothe inflamedgum tissue because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Onions, like anypungent food, will take a while to fade out but a honey and tea remedy mayoffer a quick fix. And if you have a tooth that needs attention, seek it and save that sweet tooth.