Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Lose Belly Fat! Real Fave Superfoods Rank #1 Diet

Superfoods (Healing Powers Series)


By Cal Orey


2019 Released
32 Color Photos!
#7 Healing Powers Series
Pasta, Pizza, Water? Yes! These are picks from the #1 ranked Mediterranean Diet for 2019!

If you haven’t heard by now, listen up. Your health—mind, body, and spirit—may depend on it. Chances are, you like me, already have superfoods in your kitchen fridge, cupboards, and on the counter tops. I’m talking about whole foods—good, clean, edible fare—most processed junk with ingredients you can’t pronounce or define.
The verdict is in, and it has been evident since the ancient caveman and hunter-gatherer days. Eating a whole foods, natural, plant-based diet is the path to good health and well-being. The best superfoods can and do vary, but despite controversy between the food of the week in the media and scientific nutritional studies backing them, superfoods are functional foods—not a gimmick to sell products or a brand despite what some medical doctors believe. Yes, superfoods are real food with super nutrients that provide super healing powers.
Graze with Mediterranean Cheese Plates
Infuse Water to Detox and Energize
Lose Unwanted Weight
The top U.S. ranked heart-healthy Mediterranean diet includes all of my top favorite picks! In an A-Z order, common foods of the groups include: cheese and yogurt, fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables, and water—an overlooked superfood for survival. Here, take a look at Mother Nature’s favorite functional foods.

1 CHEESE:  Cheese can be upgraded into superfood status by using the right kind and right amount and pairing it with whole-grain bread, nuts, and berries. Grilled cheese sandwiches were common kid food in the twentieth century, and they were budget friendly during the Great Depression. But some nutritionists do not believe cheese—any kind—deserves to be included on the healthiest-foods list, let along tagged a superfood, because of its high fat and high sodium content.
“Cheese is a ‘good’ food!” I find myself saying. Cheese is a super source of calcium, which is good for calming your nervous system and for your teeth and bones. Past medical research shows that people who get an adequate amount of calcium by eating a moderate amount of dairy, which includes cheese, may be likely to keep their blood pressure numbers in check—lowering their risk of heart disease and stroke.
2 GREEK YOGURT: The popularity of yogurt grew in the 1950s and 1960s, but it made it mark at health food stores. In twenty-first-century supermarkets, there are an array of brands and types of yogurt, including low-fat and fat-free varieties. But it’s Greek yogurt that is gaining popularity—and for good reason.
Homemade Granola with Greek Yogurt
Nutrient-Rich
Like cheese, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are superfoods—and taste great drizzled with raw honey or mixed with fresh fruit. In moderation, this dairy staple is touted for its heart-healthy powers, bone-boosting merits, and immune-enhancing perks thanks to its probiotics. Plain Greek yogurt is also rich in the mineral potassium. Both calcium and potassium may help you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in check.
3 MAPLE SYRUP: By the 1900s, maple syrup was used throughout the United States, mostly as a topping for pancakes and waffles. These days, maple syrup is pair with other superfoods, such as homemade granola, all-natural ice cream, whole grain oatmeal, smoothies, and sweet potatoes.
Antioxidant-rich Maple Syrup, 
egg-y whole-grain bread, berries
While honey is touted as one of nature’s top superfood sweeteners, premium antioxidant-rich maple syrup is getting more recognition for its nutritional benefits. One-fourth cup of premium maple syrup contains fewer calories than high-fructose syrup, corn syrup, or brown sugar. It boasts more calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and zine than most sweeteners. And maple syrup has more disease-fighting antioxidants than raw cabbage—also a superfood.
4 PIZZA (with Toppings): Food historians will share with you that in Naples during the 1700s and 1800s, pizza was a food popular with money-challenged folks. The food was called “flat breads,” and it had toppings such as cheese and tomatoes—two superfoods on the top 20 list.
Greek Pizza--Thin Whole-Grain Crust,
Tomatoes, Spinach
Feta Cheese--Moderation! Scientists give a 

thumbs up to sauce
Yes, a slice of pizza.  But it is whole-grain crust and superfood toppings that make it a healthful food. The crust gives you lost of energy and a dose of good-for-you nutrients. Choose superfood cheeses, such as goat cheese, feta, that provide you extra protein benefits. Not to forget a tomato-based (or basil-rich pesto) sauce.
5 POTATOES (RUSSET/SWEET):  As the story goes, the first potato reached Spain in the sixteenth century. Back in 1578, Sir Francis Drake introduced potatoes in his around-the-word adventures. Later, in 1662, it is believed that the British Royal Society sponsored growing potatoes, and by the early 1700s, potatoes were embraced by people in the United States.
Sweet Potatoes are a Superfood!
In the southern United States, folks love their sweet potatoes (whether it’s sweet potato fries or sweet potato pie), and it’s not just the super taste they’re getting. This potato has a whopping amount of vitamin A, which can enhance your immune system to stave off colds, flu, and even cancer. Medical researchers believe the carotene in them can guard again some types of cancers, perhaps because it can boost white blood cell activity in the body.
            So now you’re in the know about which superfoods are super for you—whether you live on the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, or in the Deep South. Despite changes to Earth due to man’s tampering and nature’s wrath, we still can enjoy nature’s healthiest foods. But sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get the real deal.


Garden of Apples

During one harvest season time in California, I envisioned going to an out-of-town far in Placerville to pick apples (another superfood) off trees. I had images of meeting a friendly farmer who’d take us on a tractor followed by a couple of herding dogs. The autumn sunshine would warm us up while we carried baskets to fill with big, fresh apples. We’d climb on stools and pick nature’s finest fruit. Excited about the rural experience awaiting us, we drove down the winding road, off the hill, there was a glitch.
Organic Apples Are Best
I didn’t see apples on trees. Not one. A big sign read: “No apple picking.” I left and drove up the road, but the farms and small stores all had signs reading “Closed.” Locals told me, “Tourists can’t pick apples.” I ended up at a busy tourist attraction. Pumpkins and Christmas trees were visible and for sale, and pricey fruit—including apples.
Disappointed I drove back up to the hill. I ended up at our local grocery store and picked up a bag of organic apples at a good price. Later, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who had endured such a wild ride at the apple haven. I was told by the apple organization that it had been a busy harvest time and we had come late in the season. There were farms, though, that did offer apple picking, but I had missed the apple boat. So my fantasy remains in my imagination until next year. Nowadays, it’s places like Apple hill, farmers’ markets, and supermarkets that all do sell organic produce and superfoods for you to enjoy.

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Superfoods: A Complete Guide To Nature’s Favorite 
Functional Foods by Cal Orey (Kensington Books, Citadel, 2019). All rights reserved. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Chill Time! Buddah Bowl, Anyone?

By Cal Orey
Welcome to a Buddha bowl, a perfect clean food choice for the dog days of summer, right? It is a plant-based meal served in a bowl, which boasts an arrangement of superfoods, including ancient grains like cooked brown rice, beans, and hot fresh vegetables. All these farm-to-table foods are arranged in a nice Zen-like balance and in a creative manner to be easy on the eyes. It’s been around for several years at health spa resorts to pre-packaged at your favorite local grocery store to even hotel menus.
These are actually salads with whole foods, including vegetables and whole grains. You can add protein, whether it be poultry, fish, or even meat. It’s a complete meal in a bowl. The bowls are in style because they can be super fresh, super flavorful, and super convenient. If you’re hungry and want to eat fresh and healthy, you’ve come to the right place!
One summer a few years ago, I prepared a multitude of dishes that are fun but take time, such as pasta salads and potato skins. While a small group of folks at my cabin were relaxing and watching the game, I, the workhorse, was in the kitchen cooking, baking, and thinking of one five letter word, “Chill.”  But I made a super vow. Next time whatever I put together when visitors visit, the food will be healthful, fast and easy. So, this recipe is inspired by hot summer days.
BUDDHA BOWL
Salad
2-2 ½ cups kale mix, chopped
1 cup cruciferous vegetables, steamed or nuked

1/2 cup tofu, grilled
½ cup avocado, slices
½ cup tomatoes, slices
1/ 2 cup feta or cheddar cheese
1 cup brown rice, cooked

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, shelled (optional)
Parmesan cheese shavings (optional)
Dressing: You can make your own olive oil and balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar dressing; ratio 3 oil to 1 vinegar and add your favorite spices and herbs. Or you can also purchase a premium all-natural store bought variety, including chunky blue cheese, herbal, thousand island, or ranch dressing--or all of them!
Buddah Bowl and Yoga, Anyone?
In a bowl, place each ingredient separately in individual groups. Arrange each food item nicely for a nice presentation. Garnish with Parm cheese.  Serve with French bread. Slice, spread with butter and garlic powder Pop in the oven under the broiler until lightly toasted. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serves 2-3. 
You can double the recipe if you like. *You can prepare these for ready-to-eat bowls. Or if you want to have more fun, put ingredients in ramekins and let people put together their own power bowls. Either way, it works! 
And you just may find the time to slip into a nirvana zone and enjoy inner balance. Yes, superfoods can do that. While you're there, try a bit of yoga, swim, walk, or run.  Or turn to Mother Nature and savor the outdoors--the lake, ocean, trees, or desert? Chill time.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is www.calorey.com .

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Chill with Homespun Summertime Scones and Iced Tea

By Cal Orey


In the winter, I was chilling in a hot tub after swimming. A tourist and I engaged in a conversation. When I shared my recent experiences at tearooms in Canada, her interest soared. She said, “My friend wants to open up a tearoom on the South Shore. What do you think?” There was a pregnant pause as I thought, “Gee, she stole my idea!” But as time passed, I arrived at the conclusion a tearoom may attract tourists in the winter for hot tea and summer for iced tea—but during off season a tearoom would be like an empty tea cup or two. And I told her that, speaking from experience and my heart, well, sort of.  But just because a tearoom may not be in the cards for the South Shore doesn’t mean enjoying vanilla petite scones at Starbucks or munching on homemade scones aren’t something to savor. So, since I  bought fresh berries and walnuts, they were used in this tearoom chat-inspired recipe. It’s truly easy to make, will please folks of all ages—and gender (not just fussy women) because they are countrified and well, real food.

Summertime Scones
2 ½ cups self-rising flour, sifted (a bit extra for cutting board)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup low-fat organic milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 stick European style butter, cold, cubed
1 cup summer fruit, your choice (apples,apricots, plums, peaches or berries) 
½ cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup dried golden raisins
2 teaspoons orange or lemon rind (optional)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted (for sprinkling tops after removed from oven)

In a bowl combine flour and sugar. Add milk, yogurt and vanilla. Fold in butter, nuts, raisins, and fresh fruit.  On a floured cutting board mold the dough into a circle. Place on a plate and put into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Remove and slice the circle like a pizza into 6 triangles. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake scones in a 425 degree oven for 18 minutes or until bottom of scones are light brown. Do not over bake. Dust with sugar. Makes 6 medium scones or 12 mini sized ones.
Using self-rising flour makes these scones have a light and fluffy texture. The fresh fruit is a naturally sweet delight as we near wintertime. The powdered sugar is a nice touch and most of you hope it’s foreshadow for snowy days ahead. These scones with nature’s berries and nuts are a sweet pleasure to eat and share any time, day or night. Pair it with iced tea. Because they are rustic mountain-style food and not a perfect and dainty cookie cutter shape, you’ll enjoy them all the more whether you’re a local or tourist.



— 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 

The Healing Powers of Tea is a bestseller in the tea genre on amazon; The Healing Powers of Vinegar has had a bestseller status countless times on a variety of bookseller websites.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Forecasted Southern California Earthquake in Summer! Quake Sensitive Called it on C2CAM June 10

2019 FORECASTS
By Cal Orey

Update: Southern CA Rocked by 6.4--Stronger Quake(s) May Follow

As predicted, 2018 Earth changes walloped our country in different regions, from the West Coast, East Coast, South, and Midwest. We're talking about wildfires in the West, a rare major earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska (the strongest seismic activity since the great 1964 tremor), epic volcanic action leading to an odd 6.9 earthquake in Hawaii, autumn snowstorms in the Deep South, and hurricanes on the East Coast...

These events are more than likely connected to climate change, resembling scenes out of the film “The Day After Tomorrow,” and we’re going to see more erratic events in the New Year. 
It is the year to be ready for unusual Earth events. This means wacky snowstorms in warm regions and lack of precipitation in normally cold regions will open our eyes to global warming. Read on—and take a peek at what may happen in the United States and around the world. Like last year, it is a new year with new challenges, whether you’re at home or traveling on the road, in the sky, or on the water. It’s a time to be ready for nature’s wrath--the new normal.


        * California, one of the top three shakiest states (Alaska and Hawaii are part of the trio) did get some shakers but nothing significant. In 2019, a major earthquake offshore Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area (East Bay, South Bay or Coastal and on the San Andreas)……Southern California (Greater Los Angeles or near the Salton Sea and on the San Andreas) will most likely strike. I predict at least one of these hot spots will experience a shallow and strong earthquake that will make news around the world. If it is near a major city, shallow, happens during commute hours on a weekday catastrophic infrastructure, injuries, and deaths may be the end result.
Tahoe-Reno: 5-6.0 Possible
* Not to forget Anchorage, Alaska which rocked with a 7.0. Aftershocks will continue to occur for months, however, I predict there is the chance a stronger quake could happen near the region, whereas if it’s shallow there will be more damage to the infrastructure and a tsunami which didn’t happen.
* On December 12, a shallow 4.4 earthquake temblor rocked Tennessee, one of seven states in the New Madrid Zone. It could be a foreshock. A major earthquake may happen and will be felt in more than a dozen states in the Midwest and Northeast.
* Europe may be challenged by major earthquakes, including Italy and Greece (the 6.8 felt on October 25 in 2018 could have been a foreshock). At least one shaker will be shallow, in a major city, and likely a powerful 8.0.

        Rain and Snow Events

As Earth changes continue to shock us, in 2019, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts weather will be warmer in the majority of the United States. Also noted: higher than average temperatures; the South and East Coast will get more precipitation than normal.
As a native Californian, I predict a repeat drought in our Golden State is likely (despite one or two major snowstorms in the northern state, mudslides throughout the State with power outages), and more coastal chunks of cliffs (like at Big Sur) will erode and fall into the sea.
European countries including Italy, Spain, and France may experience heavy rainfall and flooding, especially in coastal regions in the winter and summer.


 Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Wildfires
 Hurricanes may be more severe in 2019. The Gulf States, including Texas, Mississippi and on the East coast making landfall in North Carolina or South Carolina. At least three Category 5 hurricanes will occur—with two making landfall; not to exclude Mexico and/or the Caribbean. Tornadoes will likely accompany some these hurricanes. Also, rare twisters will happen in states that will be surprising and make international news.
Wildfires in the West are likely to continue year-round and cause significant damage. The Southwest, Southern California, Northwest, and Midwest are in the line of fire as well as the Northwest including Western Canada.



        On the Fringe
As we deal with shaky ground and mild weather do to climate change, other challenges will keep us on guard. As always, politics will cause shake-ups, affecting air quality. Ongoing fracking will continue to make the Earth rock in Oklahoma and other states. Also, more volcanic activity in the U.S., is probable. Perhaps Hawaii will start shaking again, as well as Redoubt Volcano in Alaska or Yellowstone creating alerts...and more.
 Despite the erratic Earth changes, people in the United States will be forced to become more mindful and self-reliant, be more prepared with first aid kits and survival foods in case a natural disaster hits their home or even our entire nation. Whatever Earth challenges happen, as always, we will persevere and become country strong(er).

Spot-On 2018 Visions That Came True

* On January 4, the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay rocked; a 4.4 in Berkeley hit at 2:39 a.m., and was reported felt by 40,000 people. It was on the Hayward Fault.
* On October 22, British Columbia, part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, did rock with a 6.8 at Port Hardy, Canada but no tsunami.  
* On January 23, Kodiak, Alaska was indeed rocked by a January 7.9; and on November 30, a 30 second earthquake rumbled through Anchorage causing major infrastructure damage, a West Coast tsunami alert, and hundreds of aftershocks.
* The Eastern Seaboard was indeed slammed by hurricanes… There were two Category 4 hurricanes—Michael (which hit Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia); and Florence (which affected the East Coast).
And note, deadly wildfires in California did happen; Paradise in the northern state was nearly destroyed. Air quality due to the California wildfires was reported extremely unhealthy in some areas, including Sacramento.

Frost Me with Jewelry, Naturally

By Cal Orey

I love jewelry. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets? Oh yeah.  It's all good. I must say at home or traveling you will find me clad in skinny jeans, a tee shirt, boots--and jewelry. I’m still a tom boy at heart but that doesn’t mean I will go bare. No way. Frost me with jewelry…

In my forthcoming latest book in the Healing Powers Series, I include the importance of personalized jewelry to me. Charm bracelets to necklaces with lockets which I can add an essential oil makes me feel sensual, calm, energized and alive. The scent I use such as lavender is a part of me and Mother Nature. It's essential. 

 This fall I’m planning to go back to the Pacific Northwest. I’m talking Canada or Alaska. Whichever region it is, you can bet I will be taking my charms:
Earrings:  As a kid, I got my ears pierced against my mom’s wishes. It was a trend. It was a way of expressing myself. Since my tweens I’ve worn earrings—all kinds. Gold, silver studs to dangling varieties, too. Nowadays, I have 5 holes in my ears and wear four earrings. Today, I will add a fifth. It makes me feel complete. Earrings are an must-have and provide a personalized add-on to my look: Casual but chic. Kind of Bohemian 21st century style. It’s me.
Necklace (or two):These days I wear a heart shaped locket. Actually, any locket will suffice. Inside it I have a photos of my beloved Australian Shepherd, Skyler; and Siamese cat Zen and me. I love my dog and since I can’t take my big boy on a plane, a picture makes me feel like he’s with me all the way.
            When I chat it up with people on the airplane I will often say, “Want to see my dog?” I put my hand on the chain and locket and open up the accessory. “Isn’t is cute, big, and fluffy?” That ornament comes with me everywhere: The dentist to book signings. Not only have I always worn a necklace, but one with a photo and personalized is perfect. And that's not all. I usually wear another necklace, too. It seems to complement the look.
Bracelet(s): When I am on the road to go out of my comfort zone, get new stories to share in my books, bracelets come with me. That’s right. Currently, I have a silver bracelet that I adore. It’s simple but elegant. Also, I have a beaded bracelet given to me as a gift. It keeps me bonded to that special person. In fact, I have a photo of me wearing it. I was signing books at a Barnes and Noble book signing.

Rings: And rings? Yes, yes, yes. When I was in Montreal a few years ago I traveled by train to Quebec City. I ended up in a  jewelry shop. I was on the quest for a the perfect ring. I found it. It is still on my left hand. It's my connection to Canada, a place I will return.

            I love the bracelet. I love the necklace. I love the earrings. The jewelry makes me feel like a natural woman.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Sweet Crostini at Victoria on the 4th of July

By Cal Orey

Meet a superb 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.

A crostini and fresh summer berries? Ah, pick up a copy
of the Superfoods book and enjoy!
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.

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.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Tourist Town Life--The Real Picture


Living in a Tourist Town? Author Shares Survival Story


I wasn't going to write about this coming Fourth of July but I'm thinking why the heck not? Welcome. Usually I am a quiet, balanced author-intuitive who writes articles and books. Three days ago, my life changed as I knew it...
As an intuitive, I sensed chaos was on its way. I prepared as I do before forecasting a mega quake swarm (2008 Reno-Tahoe) and the Angora Fire (2007) or thunderstorms (through the summer). I've done Northern California floods and blizzards before the Tahoe drought, and rough air when I choose to fly away to Canada and escape. But this Fourth of the July--is a piece of work.
On the upside, I've lost those three pesky pounds thanks to the Fourth of July Diet. Blame it on the vacationers here at the Lake. My street no longer looks like it once did. It is an Old-Tahoe-style neighborhood but the locals have managed to keep their homes clean and neat. Not so right now.

A Scene Out of Twister
Last night it looked like a scene out of "Twister"--and I was waiting for a flying cow to pay me a visit.  Dogs, young and old, were running loose up and down the street day and night. Cars, cars, cars everywhere. Clothes and towels, chairs, people galore were everywhere. And the noise factor? Hot tubs bubbling, screaming, laughing, sirens...
Ugh, I feel sick to my stomach. Sure, I get it. I live in a "tourist town"--get used to it. But you see, the intensity of holiday events never comes inland to the neighborhood as much as it is this year.  Well, we do hear fireworks and live music concerts but I and my companion animals have become desensitized to it. Sorta.
I've learned to stock up on food and water, have a low profile, and wait until the storm is over. This time the storm of unruly pets and their people overflowed into my world. RVs, flood lights (night and day. see "Lakeview Terrace" and how irate neighbors become when there's big balls of sunshine in their bedroom), tacky picnic table umbrellas, one flag, and a car lot is what I see when I peek outside the windows.

Tourist Town Needs Tourists’ Money
So you may be thinking:  "The town needs tourists' money"--but I do not get paid from the tourists. It's locals, like me, who are the bread and butter for the locals who offer services year-round during off-season. Meanwhile, as I sit here working at home (feeling captive, love to swim or walk the dog but I'm intimidated so I will not do either) I am done fighting. It is out of my control. 
As I look at photos of trips I've taken I think: "I didn't trash the city or town or do insensitive things." I do not get drunk, let my dog run loose, scream and party all day and night (however I wish I did at this moment).  So my Aussie chews his bones in between chaos and I try to finish the book that is due in less than two months but I cannot lie. I'm feeling frustrated and unbalanced.  The town has been invaded and tourists to vacation homeowners are acting selfish and insensitive to people who live here. But, but, but...
It's eerie out there (almost feeling like Will Smith's character in "I Am Legend" and sense "dark seekers" (mean zombie people and dogs are outside when it gets dark at night). Ready to board of all the windows. Besides one local's dog who jumped the fence (I felt so sorry for her--the shepherd's blue eyes met mine--she was scared) and her concerned owner rescued the dog. I feel for these pets and their people. Tonight we get 25 minutes of loud fireworks, after all, it's the time when we celebrate and our sensitive dogs and cats flee. And that's what I should have done. One more thing: My Aussie is barking out in the living room. I am allowing it because it's an insensitive tourist walking by my cabin with a wayward off-leash canine and ignoring our town laws. Live and let live? What else can I do. “Go ahead, boy bark!” I say and turn up the volume to the stereo.


Summer Fun…Join Them—Or Not

A few days ago, I read an article online about how a popular town in Europe, Venice, doesn’t want any more tourists. After all, too many people create traffic congestion, air pollution, lines in stores, and a quiet, quaint town of paradise can turn into a nightmare.
After 20 years of living at Lake Tahoe I became a “clacker”—refer to the film “The Devil Wears Prada”. No, I don’t wear heels but I’ve joined the fun-loving vacation homeowners. That means on weekends I stop writing. Why bother? I take time to chill: garden, swim, sun, and play with my furry friends.
I purchased those silly patio umbrellas with solar lights, faux ivy, lavender flowers, river rock, patio stones, tall trees, and solar lights. I created an oasis to make my time in season chaos, well, bliss. Oh, this year it arrived! I purchased earphones to plug into the TV and computer like being on an airplane. Pondering if I should order a pair for the dog. My cat, Zen? He’s chill.
And there is the ongoing feud of locals and vacation home rentals. But that is another story. My mantra: This too shall pass. Autumn.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Sweet and Spicy Crisp for Summer Days

Cave In and Savor a Fruity Crisp!
By Cal Orey
Yeah, the trees and flowers finally bloomed. Warm air is here. Wildlife is out and about. On the South Shore the environmental change affects mood and how we eat. I’ve been doing the vegan, raw food diet for what seems like forever. And it was time to cave for a day.I tossed in the Stone Age grub and baked us something to celebrate summer.
This week I noticed the big peaches on the kitchen counter were ripe. I didn’t really want to bake peachy muffins or scones. And while a deep dish peach pie or health nut smoothie could work those ideas were tossed out, too. I decided to whip up a peach crisp with a cinnamon twist to remind me that autumn (my favorite season) will return in a few months.
The other morning, when chopping peaches it took me back to one summer day in the cabin. I recall baking a peach pie early in the day when it was cool. Walking out into the kitchen I heard a hissing sound; actually it wasn’t the first time. I walked to the fireplace, removed the metal cover and was welcomed by a frisky mom and her three raccoon babies. “Hiss!” It took a day or three to find a brave human soul to safely remove the furry family, one by one, outdoors. And a screen was put on top of the chimney. That night, when eating a slice of pie I was amazed how resourceful our wildlife can be to find comfort and solitude during tourist season.
This sweet and spicy peach crisp is dedicated to the South Shore raccoon family that paid me, the hermit-ess author a visit. It’s a classic recipe. I changed it up a bit with extra cinnamon and mint to keep it flavorful and lighter.
Summertime Peach Crisp
3 to 4 peaches, cored, peeled, chopped into small bits (you can use cherries, too!)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup all-purposed flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar (you can make this yourself, or buy it)

Crisp Topping
½ cup self-rising flour
1/4 stick European style butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup old-fashioned quick oats (not instant)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mint sprigs for garnish
Vanilla gelato (optional)

In a bowl, place chopped peaches. Add sugar, flour, and cinnamon sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, butter, sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Dish fruit into ramekins or a baking dish of your choice to fit the mixture. Top each with crispy topping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until peaches are tender and bubbly. Serve warm with mint. Makes 4-6.
So this time around I enjoyed the sweet summertime peaches. No furry visitors but that’s okay. I did discover that the raccoon is a good omen: It’s a sign to accept gifts from the universe; and be open to new things and challenges. This light fruity dessert can be dished up for family, friends, or a sweet solo treat. One serving of peach crisp served with iced coffee, tea or water will keep your seasonal diet on track. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Peanut Butter Cookie and Iced Tea, Anyone?

By Cal Orey

Summer is almost here! Sea salt, like in the ocean is super mixed with caramel. It is a popular combo trend and it’s not unheard of to mix it up with peanut butter. Sea salt caramel gelato is a favorite cold comfort food I’ve enjoyed in the summertime with iced water after dinner. But peanut butter cookies are a treat in the summer if you pair it with a cold beverage and eat just one!

One fall afternoon I had a feeling that if I played the Wheel of Fortune dollar slots I’d win. Once the man next to me let me have a go of it at his slot machine, I sensed a win coming. When I spun the wheel after hearing those words “Wheel of Fortune” I knew I’d hit the 2000 dollar jackpot. And yes, it hit the 2000 number! Also, I was given a gift card to use at a coffee shop. And I purchased pastries and cookies, including a peanut butter cookie. This recipe reminds me of that exciting day and I included a bit of excitement (sea salt and caramel) for the thrill factor.
PEANUT BUTTER CRISS-CROSS COOKIES (SEA SALT CARAMEL)
½ cup European style butter
½ cup golden brown sugar
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 brown eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups caramel chips (Ghirardelli)
Sea salt (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine softened European style butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (flour and baking soda).  Fold in chips. Place dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper or foil, drop ice cream scoop (1/4 cup size) onto sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 15 cookies. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 
Serve with tea, honey, gelato or ice cream and fresh berries. Since the days are getting warmer because of summer,  I recommend taking two cookies (they're medium sized) and spread cold vanilla or chocolate ice cream on one and make an ice cream sandwich for the thrill of it.

These cookies are easy to make. Not only do they smell heavenly with creamy peanut butter (a superfood noted in the new book, The Healing Powers of Superfoods (2019) and caramel chips but you can taste both in each bite. The criss-cross marks will give you a classic peanut butter cookie and the caramel chips and sea salt brings you back to present-day adventurous trends. It’s the perfect cookie year-round with iced tea or hot tea. And even if you don't gamble or do and win--you'll still win with a cookie like these!
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, and Essential Oils--ready for pre-order) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)