Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Four-Legged Weather Forecasters? Hurricanes, Storms?

Are Pets Really Weather Forecasters?
Healing Powers Series Author

*States with the most dangerous weather? 
California #43 out of 50. Is your state on the list?
Whether it’s ESP, superior senses, animal intuition or a change in routine, your cat  or dog may sense severe weather, and you should know about it.

            At noon on a stormy spring day in Austin, Texas, several household cats started acting strangely. “I was in bed watching the weather channel on TV,” recalls cat owner Janet Shon. “My cats wanted to hide underneath the covers.” The heavy rains and howling winds continued, causing panic in her house full of pets. Eventually, she put them into carriers to calm them, and took cover under the stairwell. “Usually, my cats don’t mind being in the crates during bad weather,” she says, “but this time, they were chatting nonstop and wanted to be next to me.”
            Several hours later, on May 27, 1997, an extremely rare and dangerous tornado (classified as an F-5), with winds measuring over 260 mph, touched down 40 miles to the North of Shon in Jarrell, Texas. Twenty-seven people died in Jarrell. Multiple tornadoes also ripped through the Austin area, killing two people. “It took the roof off the Albertsons’ store,” says Shon with awe. She and her cats survived without a scratch.
            What made Shon’s cats react in such a way? Some say it’s ESP (extra sensory perception), or a sixth sense. Others claim cats aren’t gifted, just blessed with well-developed or heightened senses—scent, sound and sight, that are far superior to our own.
            However you see it, cats have earned their supernatural reputation throughout history. In ancient Egypt, felines were worshipped as gods, and killing a cat was a crime punishable by death. Even modern society gives credence to the idea that cats “know” things. During World War 11, “British families found that their cats were the best warning system for impending danger,” notes Dale Koppel, author of Amazing But True Cat Facts. “They showed unmistakable signs that something was about to happen even before the air sirens were sounded. Their hair would stand on end, or they’d spit or wail. Some would head straight for the nearest shelter.”
            Many people who live through terrible disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or earthquakes—believe their cats knew something before these disasters struck. But whether or not cats really predict danger is still an open debate. So, what will you do the next time Felix starts acting strange? Will you roll your eyes, or head for high ground? Read on and decide for yourself.

            Are pets really four-legged weather forecasters? So, what about hurricane warnings?  While scientists use wind patterns, barometric pressure, sea surface temperatures and other climate factors to predict hurricanes, fishermen watch their cats. In fact, cats have long been considered good luck on ships for their ability to ward off storms, sea monsters and ghosts. Europeans of the past centuries believed cats “knew” the way home and would reveal the direction by sleeping on the side of the ship that was closest to port.
            Gail Beecher, a veteran cat breeder from Needville, Texas, got a special warning before Tropical Storm Frances hit the Texas coast on September 9, 1998. Some of Beecher’s pregnant cats began to go into early labor. “When the barometer shifts during bad weather my cats always go into labor early,” she says. “I knew the storm was coming this way.” Wind speeds reached a maximum of 65 mph, and one person died due to the intense flooding of the Gulf Coast.

            “All cats are extraordinary sensitive to even the smallest changes in the weather,” writes Koppel who claims, “you can throw away your thermometers and stop watching weather forecasts on TV.” A resident of Kansas City, Missouri agrees, “I have noticed before a tornado (during thunder, wind, hail and lightning) animals do lie close to the ground and pant. The bigger and fatter the dog and cat, the more it seems to affect them. Also, they sometimes put their head on the floor.”
            According to Koppel, French fishermen watch their cats’ body language to get a weather report. “They watch their cats closely to predict weather changes,” he says. “Rain? Watch for your cat to pass her paw behind the ear during grooming. Windy? Your cat will clean her nose. Low tide? Wide pupils, of course. When will the bad weather end? When your cat twists and turns.”
            Sound silly? Perhaps not, says John C. Wright, PhD, certified animal behaviorist from Macon, Georgia, and author of Is Your Cat Crazy: Solutions from the Casebook of a Cat Therapist, who’s fascinated by it all. However, to be certain that this is a reliable weather source, Wright says, a group of cats and their body positions should be examined carefully in a weather study for conclusive scientific evidence. In other words, scientific studies are needed.


Neil Tenzer, DVM, of Miami, Florida recalls that his five cats felt Hurricane Andrew’s fury before it arrived on August 25, 1992, with winds of up to 150 mph. Amid the chaos of his family putting shutters on the windows and gathering canned food and candles, explains Tenzer, his cats grew curious and upset about the change in their environment. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this category 4 hurricane caused 58 deaths and approximately $27 billion in damage. “It’s not that they predicted the hurricane—but they certainly sensed it was on its way,” Tenzer says.
            A former North Carolina resident agrees. She was in the path of Hugo as the hurricane headed toward Charlotte in 1989. Hurricane Hugo passed directly over Charleston, South Carolina, on September 21, as a category 5 storm with wind speeds in excess of 135 mph and a storm surge of nearly 20 feet. Hugo caused 57 deaths on the U.S. mainland (mostly in North and South Carolina) and 29 deaths in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to NOAA records. Total damage: $9 billion. “I had indoor cats and barn cats there,” she recalls. Apparently, her cats share the same reaction to all severe storms. “Barn cats always seem to find shelter well ahead of a storm.” 
            Some argue that extrasensory perception is really just super senses. In the case of earthquakes, for example, cats may be sensitive to the earth’s vibrations and sound waves right before an earthquake hits, says geophysicist Bruce Presgrave, from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Golden, Colorado. Other people suggest that cats are able to detect minute shifts in the earth’s magnetic field or in the earth’s magnetic field or in the earth’s static electricity, which occur before a jolt.

                                                  REACTING TO CHANGE 

            Most people recognize that cats don’t like change too much. Perhaps felines don’t “sense” danger, but are instead reacting to change in routine or environment. “It may be novelty of those particular cues, rather than the cat knows that this is danger,” says Wright. And often, it’s fear of the unknown. “Fear motivates cats to act out,” he adds. “When they can’t cope with the stimulus they go emotional on us. Sometimes these emotional responses lead cats to run over and over their escape routes or make some noise to get out.”
            Deputy Director Gary Grice of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, relies on complex scientific theories and computers to forecast powerful twisters. However, “there is a possibility that animals react to the significant pressure changes of the atmosphere before a tornado hits,” he concedes.         
The question remains, can feline barometers detect the difference between an impending hurricane or tornado? “Since there are similar weather phenomena associate with tornadoes and hurricanes, you’re likely to get the same reaction out of cats because they are reacting to the same kinds of things,” explains Wright.
            “Although there’s research that’s ongoing in different areas, when your life is on the line and you have to depend on something so you get out of harm’s way, the clear answer now is to heed the warnings that are issued by the National Weather Service and do what they say,” says Grice. He goes on to say that “scientists do not have a 100 percent track record for predicting disasters.” As for cats, Grice believes that are not perfect predictors either since it’s not known if they are responding to disaster precursors or if they are behaving strangely for other reasons. “Our success rate is much, much higher than what you’re getting from animals,” he says.
            Meanwhile, Shon wonders about her cats’ behavior before the deadly Texas tornado. Did they sense the nearby funnel clouds on the day of destruction? Was there a change in smell or pressure, or did Shon’s own behavior affect the cats? We’ll never really know. But at least some disaster experts are now realizing that some cats can sense impending gloom and doom. The question of whether cats can predict a cataclysm hours or days in advance requires more research.

            But since scientists admit they aren’t able to reliably predict earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, is it really so far-fetched to monitor cats and dogs?
            Pet experts advise cat owners to do just that. “The cat’s first instinct is survival, and cats are the best survival machines Mother Nature has ever developed,” concludes Eric Swanson, author of Hero Cats: True Stories of Daring Feline Deeds. Whether cats are gifted with some kind of sight, or not—felines continue to inspire a spiritual nature that cat-lovers respond to. What they actually see, and what we see in their eyes is impossible to say.

            Consider what the late Jeane Dixon wrote in her book Do Cats Have ESP? “In the dark, [cats’ mysterious eyes] seem to hover alone, disembodied and shining brightly on the darkest of nights. Ancient people believed the cat had captured a piece of the sun which it called up at will to see in the dark.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Coffee & Tea Books are Timeless for All Seasons

Author of the Healing Powers series

The Healing Powers of Coffee

From the author of the hugely successful Healing Powers series (Honey, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Chocolate) comes The Healing Powers of Coffee: A Complete Guide to Nature's Surprising Superfood.

It's the beverage we can't live without--yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits. Coffee boasts more antioxidants than cocoa and tea, and even more than renowned antioxidant-rich fruits like oranges and blueberries. In fact, there are hundreds of healing compounds in coffee.

Recent studies have shown that coffee consumption can significantly decrease or reduce the risk of many conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia, asthma, cancer, heart disease, chronic constipation, dental caries, diabetes, and liver disease. 

As in her previous bestselling books, Cal Orey combines groundbreaking research into all these health and weight loss benefits with home cures, cosmetic uses, household hints, and dozens of heart-healthy Mediterranean style recipes.

The Healing Powers of Tea

Wellness in a Cup—Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!
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. 
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. 
*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.
*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.
*Get the latest knowledge from top medical researchers and tea experts on how the superfood can tackle digestive problems, depression and anxiety, aches and pains, and add years to your life. 
*Stir up over 50 home cures to give yourself more energy, less stress, treat the common cold, insomnia, and more!

Banana Bread with Black Tea

As we edge into September we're in between late summer and pre-fall--a time for savoring both hot and cold good for you carbs. If you noticed the town is quiet during the weekdays and the squirrels are busy while pine cones are dropping--it's that time. Tell-tale signs of changing seasons are in the air around the Lake and it's a time of reuniting with the kitchen and enjoying wholesome comfort food. Enter Banana Bread.
In July when I was en route to Canada coffee shops greeted me at airports and the hotel of my choice. One afternoon while waiting to board the CRJ900 plane departing from Victoria to Seattle I realized I hadn't eaten. Looking at the open cafe of pre-packaged sandwiches, cookies, bagels, and breads I almost purchased the bread. I asked the girl behind the counter what it was and she shrugged her shoulders. "I think it's banana nut bread. I'm not sure." I passed as a wave of homesickness hit me.  I missed my kitchen, my fur kids, and Tahoe. 
Sitting down alone in the small and quiet airport, waiting to board the plane I once feared to fly on, I held onto a souvenir: a box of Canadian maple leaf cookies and sipped bottled water. I thought, "Back home when the weather is cooler I'm going to bake my own banana nut bread complete with California walnuts and honey from Reno's beekeepers."  And this week I did just that.
home-style BaNANA NUT BREAD
2 large eggs, organic
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup European style butter (save a small amount to butter loaf dish)
2 ripe, large bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Confectioners' sugar or raw sugar (optional)
 In a bowl , beat eggs, sugar, and butter. Blend in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Add flour to the banana mixture. Mix and stir in yogurt cinnamon and walnuts. Pour batter into a buttered 9 x 6-inch loaf dish. Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or till firm to touch. If the top browns too fast, cover with foil after 30 minutes in the oven.  Cool for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar. You can serve warm or chilled. Garnish with grapes, slices of banana or peaches. A pat of butter or raw honey can be a nice touch. Makes 8-10 servings. It freezes well.

This bread is so easy and budget-friendly that it's a keeper for all seasons. It's a recipe that doesn't fail and the sweet and savory aroma in your kitchen is unforgettable. Once you take the bread out of the oven, wait a bit, and cut a slice you'll be happy to be home. You'll taste the fresh bananas, soft crunch of walnuts, and cinnamon.. Paired with a glass of orange juice for breakfast or hot tea for an afternoon snack or dessert is heavenly in the mountains.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Healing Powers Series Author Working on Book #7

By Cal Orey

Today, mid-August at Lake Tahoe I'm busy in research mode for my new big book project. 

During this part of writing a book is familiar. It's like aliens are now moving into my brain and settling in. Ideas from nowhere come and find nooks and crannies in my mind. It's okay. Been there, done that. And here it goes again...

Actually, it's kind of exciting. Stories, decades, people, and food adventures in my life come back and visit me. It's sort of like taking a vacation. I suppose I'm a bit distracted when I talk to people in real life because I'm somewhere else. It is a challenge, though, despite the thrill of it all.
At least three times during the week swimming with a hot tub treat in the morning keeps me balanced. And I am elated because Tahoe is quiet, the kids are back in school, and the vacation homeowners are gone. It is bliss so I can think. In fact, it's so serene I'm tuning into the rabbits and squirrels--we are feeling the transition in the air from the hot summer to cooler days of fall--my favorite season.

This time around, I booked a flight for January (the month The Healing Powers of Tea is released) for a book signing at the Bellevue, Washington Barnes and Noble bookstore. I'm going back to Seattle--my second home. It will be a treat for the New Year, provide a few adventures for the new book in progress, and give me a bit of regrouping to come back home for the final stretch. 
So, here's to TEA, the new surprise book--it's full of fresh food stuff that I forgot I knew but practice, and sweet autumn is in the works. It doesn't get better than this...Well come January I may beg to differ.

Monday, August 7, 2017

NEW Tea Book Is Coming to You Soon!

The Healing Powers of Tea 


With a Foreword by Will Clower, Ph.D., CEO Mediterranean Wellness and Author of The Fat Fallacy and The French Don’t Diet Plan
“A fascinating book that goes beyond just ‘green’ to include the medicinal benefits of black, white, and herbal tea blends.”
—Ann Gittleman, Ph.D.

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

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. 
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. 

*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.
*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.
*Get the latest knowledge from top medical researchers and tea experts on how the superfood can tackle digestive problems, depression and anxiety, aches and pains, and add years to your life. 
*Stir up over 50 home cures to give yourself more energy, less stress, treat the common cold, insomnia, and more!
*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.
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!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Quiche for a Heat Wave

Summertime Quiche
During a heat wave slaving over a hot stove is not something anyone wants to do. But Lorraine Quiche (a tart filled with custard, cheese, meat, and vegetables) can be easy and quick to whip up and worth the effort. The original quiche can be traced back to  the earlier part of the 20th century, however, it had its heyday in the seventies and eighties. Nowadays, a lot of varieties of quiche can be found at restaurants, in the frozen food aisle at your grocery store, and at coffee shops around the Lake.
A few  years ago, I was good friends with a neighbor around the corner. She cooked more than I did back then. One  hot summer day she was making quiche and filled the tart shell with bacon, bell peppers, and an egg mixture. While it looked tempting I thought, "I'll make this dish my way--meatless."  Still, I was envious as the egg dish was put into the oven. Once it was done the fragrant dish was put in the fridge for morning brunch. It was more like my Mom's quiche (she used ham, mushrooms, and asparagus) but I had my own ideas of the perfect veggue egg pie.
So now I finally put it together my way. And you can do it, too. Of course, there are better than things to do in the Sierra during summer than hit the kitchen. But savoring an easy breezy breakfast teamed with fresh fruit or having a light dinner while it's warm indoors and outdoors is super. A cheesy, scrumptious quiche, like this one, is the answer and will make you smile
Broccoli  AND cheese QUICHE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon European style butter
4 tablespoons red onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 1/4 cup broccoli and cauliflower florets, chopped
1 cup all natural, premium organic mozzarella, shredded
3 organic brown eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups organic half-and-half
Black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 (9-inch) premium store-bought refrigerated pie crust (save homemade crusts for fall)
2 heirloom or Roma tomatoes, sliced (optional)
Pine nuts (optional)
In a skillet, melt olive oil and butter. Stir-fry onion and vegetables. Add basil. Set aside. In a mixing bowl combine eggs add half-and-half. Add pepper and salt. Bake pie crust covered in foil for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. (This keeps it flaky.)  Chill in freezer for about 15 minutes. Top pie crust bottom with cheese, veggie mixture and repeat. Pour milk-egg mixture on top and sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Stir lightly so it's even. Bake at 350 to 360 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or till firm and crust is light golden brown. Do not over bake. Cool for at least 30 minutes. You can serve warm or chilled. Garnish with tomatoes and nuts. Makes 8-10 servings.

This Quiche Lorraine dish works cold for breakfast (the ingredients are more flavorful, cutting it is perfect) or warmed up for brunch so the cheese melts and pleases the palate. Served solo or paired with a tossed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette is the way to do it. Who doesn't like a cool, light and  easy summer dish? This new, improved 21st century quiche--dished up warm or cold--is gooey, bursting with texture and flavor--and is a seriously delicious quiche to love!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Appetizers with a Victorian Flair

By Cal Orey
Meet a sophisticated Italian appetizer called crostini. These versatile cuties are made with small slices of toasted bread and an assortment of toppings.  Think cheeses, vegetables, herbs, and even fruit. These scrumptious treats go back centuries and were served to peasants who didn’t have plates—and these days crostini can be served to all classes of people, rich, poor and in between.
On my July trip to Victoria, British Columbia I was one of the lucky chosen few (a treat to the suite guests) to enjoy the concierge dining room appetizer bar. At five o’clock P.M., I entered the highest floor of the hotel with a picturesque panoramic view of the boat harbor complete with special food for special people. As the finicky semi-vegetarian it was the crackers, cheese, olives, and fruit that won my attention. I scooped up a plate full of the edibles and fled back to my room with the million dollar Inner Harbour view.  
Ironically, while I put together little appetizers a flashback of Tahoe visited me. Years ago when I was a stringer for the Tahoe Tribune I wrote a dozen articles for a magazine on noteworthy locals. My editor gave a magazine launch party at one of our town food spots. As the reclusive writer I forced myself to make a cameo appearance. When she asked me to read each article aloud I whispered, “Can someone else do it? I’m shy.” The extroverted publisher did the deed as I listened to my words on paper. Feeling calm out of the limelight I snuck over to the food table and snagged bruschetta (like crostini but larger toasted bread slices often with olive oil) to munch on.
So, back to the awesome Canadian suite complete with English d├ęcor. I put together artful appetizers like I enjoyed back at the Tahoe Tribune event. I placed different foods on the assortment of crackers and pretended they were the classic crostini and bruschetta appetizers are Victoria inspired with a taste of Tahoe.

Worldly Appetizers
Canadian Bruschetta
4 slices of a baguette or French bread (toasted or warmed up in the microwave) or multigrain herb crackers
4 cubes or slices of cheese (cheddar or goat)
2 Heirloom or Roma Tomatoes, chopped or sliced
Several olives, pitted, sliced
Red onion, chopped (optional)
Top each piece of bread or cracker with cheese, tomato, olives, and onion. Heat up or serve cold.

Dessert Yogurt and Fruit Crostini
4 slices of a baguette or French bread
¼ cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla), goat or feta cheese
4-8 slices fresh fruit (figs, green apples, nectarines, peaches, strawberries)
¼ cup walnuts or almonds (chopped)
Honey (optional)
Spread yogurt on bread. Top with fruit, nuts, and drizzle with honey
Both savory and sweet appetizers serves 2 to 4 people. Serve cold when the weather is hot, heat on cooler nights.

These tasty tidbits were fun to eat as well a healthful way to eat a light dinner. Back at home instead of a picture-perfect view of an island city, I whipped up these tasty bites in the comfort of my cabin surrounded by pine trees, and my view of a cat, dog, birds, and squirrels. And note, wherever you are this summer or year round these appetizers are worth writing home about.