Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Survived a 3 Day Power Outage

I Survived a
 3 Day Power Outage
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

On a dark, stormy winter midnight in California sierra, I walked outdoors into the cold with my two Brittanys. The front deck was covered with wet snow; the towering trees and wires amid me looked surreal and eerie because they were wilted with white powder. I shoveled the heavy slush off the deck to make it easier for the morning. At 7:30 a.m. I got out of bed and turned on the TV switch for CNN—there were no red and amber lights on the cable box. I flicked on the lamp—it didn’t work. “Power outage,” I mumbled. It was the beginning of the first day the lights went out at South Lake Tahoe.

Dog Night One
            Instead of making a cup of fresh, brewed java, I resorted to trekking to the back house to borrow instant coffee from my sibling. A gas stove and heat were a godsend. I got my first news report from a neighbor walking her new young black dog. “The power will be out for days,” she shouted. Her words echoed in my mind. I tuned out her warning. Once back indoors I was thankful for having a land line phone. I called the police department. They assured me that the power would be restored by afternoon. A call to the power company dished out an automated message: “downed wires and trees in power lines.” I hoped for the best, but by dusk I went into survival mode and prepared for the worst.
First, I buried my premium perishables—milk, yogurt, cheeses—in the snow. Dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, and chamomile tea were my new friends. As I munched on the “granola girl” type foods, I got a move on. I gathered matches, candles, flashlights, brought in firewood—and fed my cat and two Brittanys, Simon and Seth. I was clad in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans and felt like a characters in The Day After Tomorrow doomsday film.  But it was a cozy in the candlelight sitting by the crackling fire. Then, my mind raced. The filters nor did the lights work for my fish aquariums; my waterbed was another concern. It was good for one night—not two. I tried to read by candlelight but the challenge wasn’t worth the effort. I turned in at 11:00 p.m., and had a two dog night.
Dog Night Two
The next morning, like a Groundhog Day movie, the same (and more) inconveniences greeted me. The ice dam above the front door was back. The pricey work for a heating device was useless without power. The ice mound at the doorstep was accumulating ice again. So, I called the power company (again). More automated messages. No estimated time for power restoration.
A hot shower was on my agenda. I didn’t go to the resort indoor swimming pool (they did have power but they also had a flood of tourists). Without usage of my hair dryer, I ended up drying my long locks by the gas furnace. The warmth of the air reminded me that three comforters on my bed filled with cooling water weren’t enough. A quick trip to the store (they had power) and another thick comforter made me and my dogs smile. But news of scattered outages hit me, like a tornado, hurricane, or quake that hits one house and not another. It made me frown and think, “Why me?”
I felt isolated and cut off from politics, entertainment, world events, and weather reports. So, I called my geologist friend Jim Berkland in Glen Ellen, CA, for his forecast. He predicted a three day outage. At 8:00 p.m., electricity was restored. But, the scientist was partially spot-on. The cable company (my lifeline to the world via Internet and TV), was down. I felt disconnected and connected with my companion animals. I talked to both my cat and dogs to feel calmer.
In the morning, like a hungry raccoon I dug up my edible goods—but they were no edible. Each item was too frozen or off in texture. I abided by the saying, “When in doubt, throw out.” Sadly, I lost 150 dollars of fresh food. In retrospect, the good things, such as gas heat for warmth and phone, were good. I endured withdrawal without my computer, Lifetime movies, the USGS and NOAA web site. My lifeline to technology was restored and resetting. I read in our local paper that 10,000 residents on the south shore of Lake Tahoe were affected by the blackout.

(Reprinted with permission from Oracle 20/20 Magazine, February 2011 issue.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coffee Book Revealed in Woman's World Magazine

Coffee is the Skinny Beverage
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

November 5 issue of Woman's World hit the stands. The cover story, "Lose 42 lbs drinking coffee!" will wake you up as it did me.
In the first paragraph, I, the one who wrote the bible on coffee, am mentioned.  ...Cal Orey, author of The Healing Powers of Coffee, says she's heard many stories like Susie's. "Umpteen women have told me they use ordinary coffee to make weight-loss magic. Even if you're already a coffee drinker, you just add a little extra coffee at key points during the day and slimming down becomes both faster and easier."
Ironically, I used to be the Diet and Nutrition columnist for Woman's World. Yep, I penned the cover stories on how to blast pounds. Every week as I ate veggie pizza, chocolate, salads, and drank coffee, I created a different weight loss plan. And, the fact was I maintained a size 2-4 throughout my role as the diet girl. 
Fast forward to present-day. I am the author of the successful Healing Powers series (translated in 20 languages). The Healing Powers of Coffee is offered (and doing well) by major book clubs including Good Cook, Crafters, Homestyle, Quality Paperback, and One Spirit.  And yes, I include an entire chapter on the "skinny beverage" as well as dozens of pro-chef recipes to help you get-stay lean and heart healthy.
I am pleased to see the Woman's World coffee headline so more women can discover the facts about fresh java and its perks--like losing unwanted weight, effortlessly. And in my new book I discuss more details, straight from high profile experts and personal experience, how exactly coffee can burn fat, facts about caffeine, and a super 2-day easy to follow fat-burning coffee diet that works without counting calories. 
Also, I devote an entire chapter to awesome flavored coffees so you can lose the fattening cream, sugar, and whip. Plus, I dish out DIY espresso recipes, too. What's more, coffee is the must-have power drink that can be a woman's best friend. And it's ideal for the upcoming hectic holidays--more energy, less weight gain.  Yes, coffee can help you fit into your skinny jeans and little black dress this year! A toast to joe!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear God: A Cry for Angels to Save My Dog

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

In the summer, my beloved Brittany Seth, 6, stopped eating and drinking water. I watched my food-loving canine (part of my Brittany duo) go from a meaty 35 pounds to 29 pounds. After $1000 of medical tests, an antibiotic and change of diet was the cure.
Within 24 hours, my feisty, active, sweet-loving dog was back. Within weeks I no longer saw his ribs. Today, he weighed in at near 35 pounds.
But unfortunately, the story doesn't end...
A few days ago, my fur child was acting clingy. As a quake sensitive with seismically sensitive four-leggers I thought "earthquake" is coming. Wrong. Nothing significant. 
Yesterday, Seth's balance was off. He wasn't the leggy, agile canine I know. He was also subdued. Appetite still good but...he seemed weak and my other Brittany picked up on it. He fell twice. He appeared dazed and confused. His spirit was hazy. It's like monsters invaded his body and soul.

Fast forward: Today, he's at the vet...being monitored. I received "the call".  So far, better than expected. No epilepsy. Most likely no brain tumor or bone cancer (often causes lameness in the legs). He passed the hands-on neurological exam(s). Now, I wait. More blood work. Re-dos. I ponder, "Does he have an underlying life-threatening disease?"
I'm scared. I'm in shock. I have given my heart to this dog whom I've embraced since he was six weeks old. He's my older Britt Simon's sidekick. He is my best friend. I hope that you, God, please come to the rescue (again) and help us find the problem and fix my four-legger.  I can't bear to lose him. It will break my heart and spirit. Last night when he put his paw on my forearm, he was telling me, "I'm trying to be strong for you." And I got the message. God if you can hear me, please let the angels heal Seth. My tears are real. I know you know that. Save my dog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Author-Cal Orey's 10-6 Birthday Bundt Cake Plus

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

  It's My Birthday and I'll Bake My Cake
A few years ago, after attending my book signing at Barnes and Noble downtown, I ended up in Seattle at Pike’s Peek Farmer’s Market (the place Starbucks opened its doors) which has the strong flavor of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  With a double mocha latte from the famed coffee company, I strolled and felt the caffeine buzz which helped me go on the quest for the perfect sweatshirt and key chain with a Brittany, my choice of dog. Enjoying sights of fish, fruit, flowers, and strangers was bliss (it had to be the caffeine fix). 
I could have joined people after the book lecture/signing, but there was something special about savoring a day with me and Joe, from the first thing in the morning to that afternoon, that made my Washington trip a comforting and invigorating trip... And today, I realize tomorrow I am going to play the hermitess role again and celebrate my birthday -- a milestone one -- alone but with my four-leggers.
While gourmet coffee and desserts are perfect for anytime, it’s even more decadent for a birthday treat. This year, while boxes of chocolates and bags of coffee aren't on my doorstep as they were during the research of The Healing Powers of Chocolate and The Healing Powers of Coffee books, I've decided to bake a special birthday cake that charms me and will make me feel good.  And, the best part is, I helped get both my beloved youngest Brittany and Siamese cat well again to join my eldest Brittany--my companion animal trio. That's the best birthday present and mountain woman (city girl at heart) could ask for.

Cappuccino-Chocolate Chip-Fruit Bundt Cake
* * *
1 premium yellow cake mix                                       
3 large brown eggs
2/3 cup water                                                             
2/3 cup organic 2% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons European style butter, melted         
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup cappuccino chips (King Arthur)                  
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (for dusting pan)
Extra virgin olive oil (for greasing pan)

Confectioners’ sugar                                                 
½ cup fresh strawberries, whole with stems

In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, beaten, liquid ingredients, and butter.  Stir a few minutes till smooth. Fold in 2 cups of chips. Lightly grease tube pan with butter and dust with flour. Pour in batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. (Put knife in and if it comes out clean, it’s cake.) Cool. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the pan and turn over on a plate. Sprinkle sugar on top. Place ½ cup fresh berries or berries in the middle. Serves 10.
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Coffee

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wake Up to The Perks of Caffeine

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Wake Up to the amazing perks of caffeine in your cup of joe! It’s the beverage we can’t live without—yet few consume it without some guilt. But the truth is that coffee (yeah, regular) has health benefits thanks to its jolt of caffeine.  Java juice—nature’s surprise—an ancient remedy, is now the “newest” health food.  
What's more, that cup of real coffee is the number 1 source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet—and its caffeine doesn’t deserve a bad rap! Groundbreaking research shows caffeinated coffee can relieve a host of woes—and it makes you feel perked up day or night! Plus, it's still legal! Welcome to caffeine, a compound that acts as a stimulant drug on your nervous system and befriends 
humans around the globe...

Q: Why is regular coffee (not decaf) the nation’s favorite beverage?  
A. Folks (of all ages) love their coffee because it “helps them to get the job done.” The bottom line:  its caffeine boost, aroma, flavor is addictive and millions of Americans got to have their coffee first thing in the morning to get up and go. Its caffeine buzz makes you feel good – mind and body!

Q: Why has this potent elixir with caffeine “a drug” gone from vice to virtue? 
A. A jolt of caffeine in your coffee (lighter roast has more) can help fight ailments:
·        Brain drain-Coffee latte--enhance mind
·        Hangover—Medium roast with aspirin—speed recovery
·        Headache—Cappuccino or café mocha—relieve pain
·        Fatigue—Café mocha—boost energy
·        Muscle pain—Medium roast—rid pain
·        Low libido—Columbian (with a shot of alcohol) boosts sex drive, lowers inhibitions
·        Jet lag—Medium roast—normalize body and mind
(The jury is still out on if medium or dark roasts hold the most antioxidants. And it doesn't stop there. Regular coffee with its high octane caffeine can also lower risk of developing heart disease, diabetes 2, and some cancers.)

Q: Why is a cup of regular coffee a “skinny beverage”? 
A. If you hold the flavorings, sugar, and whipped cream—it’s a fat fighter. Coffee’s caffeine buzz energizes you so you’ll get physical and go work out, burn off calories from. Caffeine revs up your metabolism (calorie-burning power)—while you’re exercising and chillin’, too. Is it addictive? Uh, yeah but in moderation it's all good.

Grab a copy of The Healing Powers of Coffee (Kensington) to find out more how exactly caffeine works to boost your mood, energy, and well-being!