Monday, February 29, 2016

Springtime in the WEST...Lighter Days, Lighter Eating

Springtime in the Wild, Wild West

Big earthquakes, king waves, and active volcanoes are some of Mother Nature’s challenges this spring in the West. The new season is a welcomed time of change and renewal. But this year in the Western states it may seem like spring has its own agenda that comes with surprises. Here’s why.

Alaskan Breakers
A strong 6.8 shaker jolted Alaska on January 24 this past winter in Alaska. The temblor knocked items off shelves and walls in south-central Alaska and jolted the nerves of residents in this seismically active region known for earthquakes and big waves. The quake struck about 1:30 a.m. Alaska time and was  53 miles west of Anchor Point in the Kenai Peninsula, about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Back in 1964 on March 27, a great 9.0 earthquake rocked the state. The shaking lasted five minutes. The devastating earthquake was followed by a tsunami down the West Coast killing people in different states. Could it happen again this spring, almost a half century later and affect the Pacific Northwest and the golden state?

California Dreaming

A trigger effect of another great quake-tsunami on the West Coast could happen if a shallow and strong enough earthquake happens in Alaska (again) or in California. All of the golden state is at risk and overdue for a noteworthy shake—and the spring is a time when earthquakes do happen (Morgan Hill and Mammoth Lakes are two regions that shook in April and May years back.)
On January 6, Greater Los Angeles 4.4 rocked and rolled. Worse, flooding in Southern California is a concern, thanks to El Nino of 2016. King waves and coastal floods are affecting California up and down the coast. And the more fault zones are lubricated, the more likely the earth is to move.
Worse, erosion of the grounds in California is a threat due to the past drought and current heavy rain. While bringing the rest of the state needed water relief after four years of drought, El Nino is threatening the city of Pacifica. The erosion of Pacifica's coastline is crumbling too fast, thanks to its El Nino storms and high tides.  As if chunks of California slipping into the sea isn’t a nightmare, scientists believe there is also a trigger effect of earthquakes on the West Coast when Alaska tremors happen—and it did set off dozens of earthquake at Yellowstone National Park, too.

Yellowstone Awakening
As wildlife awakens this spring, will another Alaska earthquake cause a domino effect like it did in 2002, triggering dozens of tremors at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, part of the Northwest. Recently, The European Science Foundation says that the rise in volcanic activity on the planet, suggests that a supervolcano could be possible in the future. Plus, scientists have warned the world that it's volcano season from November to April.
According to the USGS, although it is possible, scientists are not convinced that there will ever be another catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone. But wait, did you know heavy rain and/or snowfall may cause volcanic activity (think Hawaii). Let's hope Wyoming (the land of Yellowstone National Park) will stay dry and El Nino won't go haywire and stir up Yellowstone tremors. 
Between mid-March and the beginning of May there are few services available. By May, the park awakens from a long winter and wildlife comes alive. The baby bison arrive first, followed by baby elk and then mother bears and their cubs come out and about.
So, as springtime brings us showers before May flowers, will it also deliver wild happenings on Earth? Nobody knows for sure but being prepared for Earth changes is a must in the Wild, Wild West and around the nation.
What Does the Groundhog Know?
On March 20 springtime will arrive. Wildflowers in the Southern California desert began blooming in late January, temperatures in the Northwest have been warm and cold, and will be even warmer than normal earlier this year due to El Nino; but in Northeast and Gulf States it may be colder with some tornadoes and snowstorms.
Before Groundhog Day, I forecasted an early spring due to the mild weather in California and around many regions in the nation. On Groundhog Day, February 2, groundhog Punxsutawney, in Pennsylvania didn’t see his shadow (at all) which means we see eye to eye. According to the 2016 Farmers’ Almanac, more wintry weather—wet rather than snow--will hit the U.S. and last through March.  The bottom line: More spring-like air will be felt throughout April in the majority of 50 states.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tea, Irish Bread & St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day with Bread and Coffee or Tea

Saint Patrick's Day means a lot to me. I'm Catholic, so this religious holiday celebrated on March 17 (tagged after Saint Patrick of Ireland) hits home - and in the kitchen, past and present-day. As a kid, I remember my mom, a cultured woman, part Irish and named Patricia ("Patty"), put her heart and soul into making an Irish breakfast and dinner from scratch for our family. Corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, sweetbread, cupcakes with green icing and Irish coffee were part of the feast. 
As an adult, I still acknowledge St. Patrick's Day, but my choice of Irish foods are a bit different from my mom's dishes. One year I turned to an Irish soda bread but changed it up a bit. It is ideal paired with a large cup of Irish breakfast tea or  Irish coffee.

Irish Bread with Blueberries
21⁄4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 brown eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup European-style butter
1 cup blueberries, fresh
Confectioners' sugar
In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, add mixture of eggs, buttermilk, butter, melted, and fold in blueberries.  Pour batter into a 9" by 5" bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool. Dust top with flour or confectioners' sugar. Garnish with blueberries. Serves 12.
This quick bread (without yeast or kneading), is not a super moist cake, so topping it with a bit of orange-blossom honey or a pat of real butter can give it a superb texture. So, here I sit in my Sierra cabin, amid green pine trees and enjoying a warm slice of Irish soda bread and cup of Irish breakfast tea. Cheers.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Spring Forward & Fight Winter Weight with Fruit Kabobs

Discover Olive Oil’s Extraordinary Powers!
Revised and updated, this indispensible book reveals why chefs, doctors, and nutritionists all love extra virgin olive oil, a key ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet—and why other healthful oils are not far behind. You’ll find easy recipes for satisfying foods like Pizza Baguettes with Garlic Oil, Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies, and Macadamia Nut Oil Cookies. Also included: home cures, beauty and household secrets, and pet care tips that really work!
Deliciously healing surprises…
The art of using olive oil for mind, body, and spirit goes back 6,000 years. Hippocrates, “the father of medicine,” used olive oil in over 60 healing remedies.
New research confirms that olive oil can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and it can stall age-related diseases.
Combining olive oil with other oils can help combat fatigue, infections, and insomnia, and help you fight fat and shape up!
Honey, Citrus, Olive Oil Fruit Kabobs
* * *
½ cup honey                                                                2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Cointreau                                             3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
or any similar orange liqueur                                    2 to 3 mint leaves, chopped
      In a bowl, add the honey, lemon juice and Cointreau; use whisk to blend. Little by little, gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add mint and continue mixing. Reserve.
8 bamboo sticks (6 to 8 inches)                                  8 pineapple slices, cut in 1-inch squares
8 (1-inch) cantaloupe or honeydew wedges,             8 large strawberries
cut in 1-inch pieces                                                    1 pint lemon fruit sorbet, optional
[powdered sugar for garnish]
On each bamboo stick, place one piece of melon, then pineapple and end with the strawberry. Arrange two kababs on 4 serving plates; drizzle with the glaze. To serve, sprinkle kebabs with powdered sugar and decorate with a mint leaf. Serve with lemon sorbet, if desired. Serves 4-8.

 (Courtesy: North American Olive Oil Association.)
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated (available at amazon, barnesandnoble, walmart and other stores)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

COMING! Fresh Vinegar Book, 3rd Edition...Start with Fresh Olive Oil Book, 2nd Edition

Friday, January 22, 2016

Here It Comes! The 1st Book That Started the Healing Powers Series!

The book that launched the Healing Powers series!

On August 30, 2016  it will be released! Yes, the 3rd edition of The Healing Powers of Vinegar, Revised and Updated is in production. Penned back in 1999, this book took off and found its legs. It ignited the Healing Powers series.

The Healing Powers of Vinegar,
Page 14 (click here)

From Folk Medicine to 21st Century Favorite—Discover the Amazing Powers of Vinegar!

Revised and updated, this comprehensive book draws on the latest scientific studies and interviews with top health researchers to reveal how apple cider and red wine vinegars—as well as balsamic, fruit, rice, and herb-infused vinegars—can help you stay healthy. Often partnered with olive oil, a key ingredient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, vinegar is the basis for easy, tasty, rustic recipes—including favorites of health spa chefs. You’ll also find proven home health cures, innovative cosmetic secrets, lively anecdotes, and environmentally friendly household hints—from making countertops sparkle to cleaning up kids and pets.
*Take advantage of vinegar’s natural therapeutic, antioxidant, and culinary virtues as this 5,000-year-old healer evolves in new uses and products—from sipping vinegars to home-cooked foods.

* Learn how vinegar helps lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and bone loss.

*Discover how vinegar’s acetic acid kills bacteria, and may help prevent tuberculosis and combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

* Use red wine vinegar to enjoy the same important antioxidants as red wine—without the alcohol.

*Pair vinegar with healthful oils to ease anxiety, boost brain power, enhance energy, and aid digestion.

* Create home cures to treat allergies, arthritis, toothache, sunburn, swimmer’s ear, sore throat, and other pesky ailments.

…and discover much more in this invaluable resource to help you slim down, shape up, and enhance longevity!

“Vinegar is right there in your cupboard—waiting for you to open its health properties for you and your family. Cal Orey’s book can show you how.”
– Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness
Perfect Pairing: Vinegar and Oil
Both Revised







Cal Orey, M.A., is an accomplished author and journalist. She has a master’s degree in English from San Francisco State University, and for three decades has written hundreds of articles for national and international magazines. She specializes in topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, relationships, science, and pets. Her books include The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, The Healing Powers of Coffee, The Healing Powers of Honey, The Healing Powers of Chocolate, The Healing Powers of Vinegar202 Pets’ Peeves, and Doctors’ Orders. She lives in northern California. Readers are invited to visit her website at, read her blog The Writing Gourmet at, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

V-Day...Signs of Simon Linger in the Air

Signs of Simon: Remember Me?

By Cal
UPDATE:  Lately, and this morning I got another visit from Simon. His collar keeps dropping on the dining room floor. Films with the name Simon to thoughts find me... I cannot for the life of me shake memories of my past Brittany. Happy Valentine's Day. Simon. 
P.S. I will always love you, Puppy Pie.

One month ago, on October 23 a devastating challenge paid me a visit. My senior dog, Simon, a beloved 12 1/2 year-old Brittany left my life. Due to an earthshaking diagnosis of dementia, a grim prognosis and the loss of a dear canine companion was an event I didn't want to face. In retrospect, the signs to me were simply aging but then it was clear to me that Simon was slipping away; gone in mind, body, and spirit... My favorite movie as a kid was Old Yeller and its ending of a gripping boy and his dog tale took me back to my inner child. And I cried as the real-life story happened and left me with a bittersweet ending... 
Today, I have no regrets. As I'm on the road to healing my broken heart it's clear that Simon and I savored more than a decade together. We were bonded heart and soul each and every day. I am thankful for the wonderful days, months, years, and memories of this beautiful Brittany--both inside and outside. He was a dog to love. Letting go was the humane thing to do. No more suffering for my companion...

Signs of Simon
In the past weeks I've received uncanny "signs" from my canine companion whom is on the other side. Some people do not believe we can communicate with the deceased.  Not so. And the stronger the animal-human bond, the more likely you, like me, will get signals from heaven...

* First, I was awakened by the reconnect dream. True, I couldn't hold him, pet him, kiss him but I did see my boy and he was vibrant, happy, and healthy. I woke up to reality that Simon is gone but I was left in my bed (one where we slept together for 12 plus years) with a sense of calm.
* At a dermatologist's office last week a physician's assistant asked me if I had been crying when she looked at the puffy skin around my eyes; she sensed my pain from grief. When she left the room for a moment, the song Sounds of Silence filled the air in the room.  My eyes watered. After all, I named Simon after Simon and Garfunkel. Another connection.
* Last night when working the "psychic" network, I received a call while listening to more Simon and Garfunkel tunes. The caller's date of birth May 28--the same day as my Simon's birthday. It was another cue from the Hereafter.
Incidences, like these, have given me serenity. I needed to know there is life after death; to believe my canine is at peace; to sense that when I pass there is hope I will reconnect with this beautiful soul--a blessing, one of God's creatures.

Life Goes On
The truth of the matter is, two-leggers and four-leggers grieve differently. My sibling misses Simon but tells me he was prepared as he watched his dear friend age. In retrospect, my cat Zen sensed Simon's personality had morphed and it spooked him.  Nowadays, my cat almost has his zen-like balance back. 

And my young Aussie? He is still a bit clingy. I sense he believes his best canine pal will walk into the home any time. But sadly, this will not happen. The void is still here in my home and my heart. But we all are getting by, getting past going through the motions, and living for the moment--as Simon did, as dogs do.

Each day gets easier, whereas instead of intrusive thoughts of the end days are overshadowed of the positive memories we shared. The fridge is graced with some of my favorite photos of Simon at his best; in each room there is a reminder, whether it be a framed Barnes and Noble poster, stuffed animal, plaque, or dog bed. His presence is still here. Yes, I remember Simon.  His spirit lives as life goes on.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chocolate Fortune Cookies for V-Day

Giant Chocolate Fortune Cookies: What's Your Fave Fortune?

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

"He who asks fortune-tellers the future unwittingly forfeits an inner intimation of coming events that is a thousand times more exact than anything they may say."-- Walter Benjamin

Recently, I wrote about DIY Fortune Cookies. These little wonders that you and me can make and bake include two superfoods--olive oil and dark chocolate. And, you get to create the fortunes. How cool is that? But I didn't do it yet. It seems to me that a Snow Day would be perfect to give your all to these creative chocolate cookies. Yes, I found a shortcut (again). After I posted the healthy dark chocolate fortune cookies recipe, fate hit me. Thanks to serendipity, I found an online company that makes awesome fortune cookies, all colors, flavors, sizes--and in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate...

Enter: Chocolate Fortunes! When you run not walk with your typing fingers to this clever Website you'll see for yourself that this company does fortune cookies with true finesse. The photo above? It is of a Baby Giant Fortune Cookie dipped in white/dark chocolate. Isn't it a chocolate work of art in its own special chocolaty way? I received two smaller versions--a traditional fortune cookie dipped in dark chocolate and milk chocolate. (What's more, when you check out all the decorated fortune cookies for the upcoming holidays, from Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Saint Patrick's Day, and so much more, it will make you smile like I did.) It gets better. If you're dreaming of a chocolate fortune cookie decorated to suit you and your chocolate cravings (or special needs), don't hesitate to speak out!

No doubt about it, these fortune cookies, especially the white/dark chocolate dipped Baby Giant Fortune Cookie, raise the bar on the standard fortune cookies you receive at the local take-out Chinese restaurant to even a high end eatery where they serve Asian cuisine. The cookies were a tad softer (probably due to the scrumptious, creamy chocolate) and sweeter. The fortunes are different than the common fortunes I've read--and I've read a lot. Today I posted my fortune on the fridge. It reads: "You will be in the best position--07 16 20 36 41 26". 

So that leads me to asking you the GIANT question: What fortune would you love to read when you open a fortune cookie?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Gifts From The Hive-The Healing Powers of HONEY+

* GIVEAWAY! The Healing Powers of Honey (you can grab a copy at fine bookstores) and a free Olive Oil book-
plus Honey Ridge Farms Must-Haves for
Heart Health Month, V-Day, and Pre-Spring
(Share on your FB/Twitter page...and be a winner!)

Gifts From The Hive-3
Honey, olive oil and vinegar. It’s a classic combination for dressing salads and greens, offering great flavor, and when enjoyed in moderation, healthful benefits. In celebration of Heart Health Month, we’re excited to partner on a special giveaway, offering Honey Ridge Farms raw honey crèmes, balsamic honey vinegar and the Healing Powers of Olive Oil Book. Enter HERE. And, please do share this delicious giveaway with family and friends. Bee Healthy! Best regards, Leeanne Goetz, Owner
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Take a Sneak Peek into the OLIVE OIL Book!

A Peek into the OLIVE OIL Book
2nd Edition

By Cal Orey

(Reader-friendly excerpt of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil)


Available at online and physical
bookstores everywhere
The same thing happened to me twice, in two different cities. The first time was at a book signing in Cleveland, OH when a small woman came straight up to me and asked, “Guess how old I am.”
She looked like she was about 68 to 72-ish (and I know how this game works), so I guessed low. “Oh gosh, no more than 65,” I responded.
She straightened up just a little bit taller and said, “I’m 88 years old.”
This woman was stunning. Her skin was perfect and she just radiated health. I said, “Okay, WHAT? What are you doing?”
She told me that she was a first-generation Italian, her family consumed olive oil every day, and her mother even put it right on her skin. Every day!

We look at cases like this, as does author Cal Orey, and wonder how in the world they knew to do that?  But the knowledge to know that the rich delicious oil of the olive will keep them younger and more vibrant for more of their days doesn’t come from some laboratory. They don’t do it because some science study told them to.
The knowledge they rely upon, like the rich multi-layered complexity of olive oil itself, comes from the ancient cultural traditions of these thin, healthy people. There is a depth to that cultural understanding, which also forms the centerpiece to what many deem the healthiest diet on earth: the olive oil-based Mediterranean diet.

Could you imagine someone from Spain or Greece exclaiming how they suddenly weren’t going to eat olive oil because some study came out about low fat foods? That would be ridiculous. Or perhaps they’d turn to a low fat dressing because they read that the ratio of hydrogens saturating its fatty acid chain didn’t fit some theory about what should or shouldn’t constitute a healthy oil? Absurd.
The thin healthy people consumed olive oil when we recommended against it, and continue this delicious habit after we’ve embraced it. Their dietary prescriptions haven’t changed precisely because the decision to eat olive oil is an expression of who they are as a people.
There is a steady depth to this form of cultural knowledge, embedded in the steady passage of time across ages. It’s an expression of who they are, who their parents are, extending across time like an outstretched hand to us today, directly from their history, culture, and tradition.
Because of this solid foundation, you can count on it to work for your good health, just as well as it has worked for theirs. 
After all, it has done so since before history was written down, and won’t change in the next five years either. The impact on your health will be the same as has been felt for millennia. And when you look at the results over this expanse of time, you see that olive oil consumption is clearly associated with low weight, healthy hearts and longer lives.
The people of Crete, for example, as I know and Orey pointed out in the first edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, have some of the highest longevity rates on Earth, some of the lowest cardiac mortality rates, cancer rates, and all with the highest per capita consumption of olive oil. Ask them about their amazing heart healthy diet and they’ll shrug because they’re not on a diet. They’re just living their lives as they always have.
It’s funny, too, that the remarkable health benefits of olive oil have been known to people in the Mediterranean region for millennia, but the rest of the world is just now catching up with them. With each month, it seems, new scientific research continually re-confirms the many ways in which it benefits our bodies.

Orey, once again, in The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated, with the greatest of ease discusses in detail, the fats in olive oil that we feared for so long turn out to be the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated variety, which today’s science confirms can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The antioxidants found within the deep green oil also work inside your body to fight the harmful free radicals. On your salad, in your sauté, or simply drizzled over your fish, this helps to prevent cellular damage and, ultimately, the development of cancer itself.
Not only are these amazing fats good for you on their own, but they can also help your body absorb the other healthful nutrients in your food, such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In other words, if you include olive oil on any of your foods, you get one health enhancement from the olive oil, and then a turbo boost from the added nutrients you absorb from your salad.
And the cultural habit of applying olive oil both inside and out, for softer, smoother, less desiccated skin has been known and practiced for thousands of years. Now our western science confirms that the dermal application of olive oil leaves your skin less dry, less wrinkled, and less susceptible to DNA damage caused by exposure to UV light.

So whether you are a person who needs science to quantify and verify what you see in order to believe it, or someone who trusts what healthy cultures are doing and can apply those habits to their own lives, the jury is pretty much in on olive oil. It’s great for you!
And the good news is that Cal Orey’s “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold, Revised and Updated” clearly lays out more research and more reasons why olive oil (also paired with other healing oils) is healthy, how you can use it, which kind is the best, where you can find it, and many delicious ways you can incorporate it into your daily life, for added flavor, better health, and even beauty! Orey gives credit to olive oil--and people will benefit from her words of wisdom.
--Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness and award winning author of The Fat Fallacy, and Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight