Monday, April 19, 2021

April 19 is National Garlic Day -- Celebrate with The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices

 By Cal Orey

As a thirty-ish graduate and health gastronome, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I escaped south to the Gilroy Garlic Festival for the thrill of it. The annual event was crowded, garlic aroma filled the hot summer air. The garlic-centric scents permeated a different smell in each food booth. There were so many stands filled with so many garlic foods to sample and buy. I, of course, did both...

I ended up munching on garlicky onion rings. I relished a slice of sizzling garlic and basil vegetarian pizza, followed by a garlic cold and creamy ice cream cone. I brought home a bag of garlic bulbs to spice up my rice and vegetable dinners—my staples for losing body fat and gaining muscle. Not to forget a ceramic garlic braid I valued and hung in the kitchen as a reminder of how I lived near the garlic capital of the nation. And whenever I get the craving to visit the Pacific Ocean, a visit to Gilroy for fresh garlic bulbs is on the to-do list each and every time for the sensory thrill of it.

 

THE FAMILY TREE OF GARLIC

             Food historians report 6,000 years ago, garlic was recognized. Romans and Greeks believed garlic was ideal for stamina—and people in the Middle Ages need vim and vigor to cope with a hardy lifestyle. Garlic was one of known herbs used to guard against the bubonic plagues.

 Hippocrates, a Greek doctor and the father of modern medicine, is believed to have used garlic for curing both infections and sprains.

            During the Victorian era, the herb was believed to be strong and too bitter to enjoy. Also, some herbalists claim religious groups, such as Buddhists stayed clear of the harsh herb. In fact, garlic was believed to have aphrodisiac properties and was forbidden to eat by some people.

            In 1990, the First World Congress on Garlic, held in Washington D.C., the place where it was noted that garlic was acknowledged as a scientifically supported healing herb. 

  

Anti-Viral Enhancing

 

Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes

 

Pasta with garlic and tomatoes is an Italian dish that can be made quickly. Make sure to use your favorite extra virgin olive oil for it. This recipe is easy on the budget. Two favorite herbs—garlic and parsley—make it a perfect dish for any time year-round. It is a fail-proof recipe which can be used for a side dish or a light meal.

¾ pound of spaghetti, cooked

Sea salt to taste

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon lemon pepper

1 cup Roma tomatoes, chopped

½ cup Parm cheese, grated

Marjoram or basil for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and salt. (Italian chefs recommend salting the water to the salinity of sea water.) Cook pasta, several minutes, until al dente (not overcooked). Drain. Do not rinse. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat, then add garlic and sauté, do not overcook. Stir-fry tomatoes in same pan. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl. Add the garlic and tomatoes to pasta. Toss. Top with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.


Herbs and spices play a big role in my life and well-being in California. In December 2019, pre-pandemic era, my solo expedition en route from Lake Tahoe to Alaska aka "The Last Frontier" finally happened.  As I traveled through hurricane-force winds, an almost flight diversion to Fairbanks, I anticipated fresh and exciting seasonings, northern lights, and a moose sighting. Sometimes, fantasies are healthier than real life...

The Last Frontier 

Anchorage, December, 2019 
The last night I was nursing a sore throat. Blame it on frigid air blowing down on my bed in a pricey suite. I went with the flow... ordered a Greek pizza. It had chunks of real garlic! Another herbal highlight of the Alaska adventure was finding an artisan chocolate shop. I bought a peri-cayenne pepper truffle, caramelized pear saffron chocolate, and a white square of chocolate with pink peppercorn. The cayenne and dark chocolate gave me the gift of those feel-good endorphins and soothed my raw throat that hurt when swallowing. Both garlic and cayenne made me feel better... 

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices, published by Kensington

Saturday, April 17, 2021

April 18, 1906 SF Great Quake-Fire...I Survived the SF 7.1 1989 -- Write About Surprises Behind Both Epic Events

 By Cal Orey


I will never forget...More than 20 years ago, on Monday, October 17, 1989 I experienced a frightening major earthquake. In retrospect, I received so many cues, my own body, mind, and especially signs from my sensitive companion animals, three cats and a dog.

* On August 8, after a strong foreshock hit, my sensitive Siamese-Manx, Ashley packed her bags, put in her change of address and moved outdoors to reside underneath the morning glory bushes. I knew it was odd behavior but let it go.
* In October, a week before the main quake, my yellow lab Carmella paced back and forth in the living room of my San Carlos, Calif., bungalow. She wasn't a high strung dog. It was unusual that she was restless. Being a busy journalist, I didn't dwell on her action-orients moves.
* On the morning of October 17, my orange and white food-loving cat Alex refused to eat in the morning. This food strike was very odd for my lean and healthy feline.
* My oldest cat, a gray and white Tuxedo named Gandalf behaved as though all was usual and he
was a very balanced animal.
* In the late afternoon on the hot Indian summer day, I fought an excruciating headache. I took to bed to try and escape the pain.


Then, it happened. At 5:04 PM, strong rattling of the bedrooms woke me up. Startled by the sound similar to a freight train put me in fight or flight motion. Back in the day, it was protocol to get to a strong doorway. I instinctively grabbed my dog and headed for the front door. Once I reached the dining room, the floor was buckling, windows and French doors shaking fiercely. I couldn't keep my balance and fell, cut my leg. In my mind I thought, "The world is ending"  as I watched and heard the loud noise of a shaking home.

I got up quickly and crawled to the doorway. The quake seized. I heard the words from my neighbor upstairs: "Are you okay?"  With a rapid heartbeat, shock, and frightened and answered a weak "yes."  As a native California who had endured two strong, rolling Livermore quakes while a San Jose resident; and the 6.2 Morgan Hill shaker scared me when I was living in Santa Cruz Mountains--you'd think this wasn't a big deal. But it was bigger than big. But I survived.

This earthquake, however, was different. My instincts told me that the epicenter was not San Carlos and it had to be worse elsewhere.  I soon discovered it was catastrophic. The center of destruction was in Santa Cruz Mountain but greatly affected  infrastructure downtown Santa Cruz, Watsonville, the Marina in San Francisco, East Bay and other regions. 


When I turned on the TV I was welcomed with a black screen. Nobody was outside. I put my canine on a leash and walked towards the post office--the place where my boyfriend. Car sirens were going off and I was stunned. I felt like I was in a sci-fi film. The main window of  his workplace was shattered, pieces of glass on the sidewalk.

Once back home, news reports began to roll in. The 15 seconds and aftermath for weeks of a 7.1 earthquake was widely felt throughout California, neighboring states--and the damage was significant. Hours, days, and weeks of strong aftershocks kept people on edge in the Golden State. For weeks, I refused to sleep in the bedroom where it hit. I camped out in the living room with the lights on. I was clad in clothes, a dog leash and shoes next to me on the floor. I was hardly alone. People south of Santa Cruz lived in tents and were afraid to go back inside their homes.

As a journalist, I was given several assignments to write about the event and its aftermath. Then, I reconnected with geologist Jim Berkland the man who predicted the World Series Earthquake. Four days prior, on Friday the 13th an item about his forecast was published in The Gilroy Dispatch. And then the drama began for him, the man who predicted the quake, and whom was suspended from his job because of the frenzy of press and panic that followed. "Was this the Big One?" 

An eerie story that I'll never forget is the East Bay Vivarium...a pet shop with snakes and lizards. The owner in the East Bay did not have earthquake insurance. His creepy crawlers' aquariums broke, fell onto the floor and countless creatures escaped in the dark of the night. He was faced with saving his inventory on the loose or like others, helping the people trapped in their cars on the two-level Cypress Street Viaduct of Interstate 880 in West Oakland. 

Two decades later, I became the author of The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes. And today, as I live at Lake Tahoe it brings back memories of a memorable day.  These days, not only do I have a book written on quake prediction, but I am a frequent News Segment guest on Coast to Coast AM -- I forecast upcoming earthquakes.



Meet Jim Berkland, a California geologist whose forecast of the famous October 17, 1989 World Series Quake that rumbled through the San Francisco Bay Area was right on the money. This is the first book to document a geologist's uncanny ability to foretell earthquakes around the world. This fascinating read includes stories of earthquake survivors, a wealth of details about seismic activity in earthquake prone regions around the world.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

In April I've Been to the North Pole, South Pole, New York and Soon Down Below...

By Cal Orey

Recently, I’ve been more reclusive than normal and it seems some folks have noticed my hermit-ish indoor lifestyle. Well, yeah, I’ve haven’t been swimming, gambling, hiking, or walking the dog on blissful treks. But the deal is, I’m not afraid of going out into the Great Outdoors. That’s not it.

The other day, I walked off the cabin deck and out into the yard (yeah, I did it). I called out to a neighbor, “Hey, it’s Cal. Remember me? I heard that some folks think I should be outside more than less. Well, I’ve been around, sort of. Actually, in my imagination I’ve been to the North Pole, and South Pole. Then, this week I’m back to New York. And in May it’s “down below” to Australia.” An awkward silence filled the air.

Not many people know that I’m busy at work inside the cabin.  Lately, I’ve been ghostwriting novels, including a variety of super exciting genres. And, in between the long hours at the keyboard, I’ve promoted my new book, Herbs & Spices, which covered my Huffington Post interview from the cabin…and days later it was picked up by the American Global News, NYC Daily Post, and New York Daily. And, there is the Series…Oh, I was on Coast to Coast AM a week ago forecasting the next California earthquake.

What’s more, I’ve been eating, too. Pairing fish with vegetables, heart-healthy whole grains can help keep you satisfied, as well as helps you to maintain a lean body. So, tuna and/or salmon– the good stuff – is on my menu this week. And the home fries? Ah, they are something to write home about. This fish burger is inspired by my out of mind travels and brought to you to enjoy.

Fish Bagel Whopper

6-8 ounces premium tuna, solid white albacore in water, drained or fresh, baked salmon) 

2 tablespoons mayonnaise infused with olive oil

2 whole grain gourmet bagels

1 tablespoon each olive oil and European style butter

1 clove garlic, fresh, minced

2 tablespoon mayonnaise infused with olive oil

½ cup baby spinach, raw

1 tomato, sliced

Slices of red onion to taste

Sprigs of basil or thyme to taste, fresh preferred

Dash of black pepper

In a bowl combine tuna and mayo. Set aside. Slice bagels in half. Brush with oil and butter. Rub garlic on bagel. Toast in oven until golden brown.  Remove. Top bagel halves with tuna, spinach, tomato, onion, basil or thyme, and pepper. Add gourmet cheese of your choice if preferred. Put back in oven or under broiler (also in microwave) to heat.  Serves 2.

Add homemade thick fries. Use 2 or 3 Russet or sweet potatoes. Rinse with water, slice into nice wedges. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoon European style butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until crispy. Top with parsley (fresh or dried).

So, while I’d love tell you I just returned from Fairbanks and share awesome photos of me catching a fish and the blue and green northern lights – please wait. In real life, I’ve been hunkering down in the cabin on the South Shore, enjoying cozy comforts of home. I do take breaks to whip up eats, like a Bagel Whopper and go back to work to create whopping tales.  

-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Hello Alaska, an Herb Expert Misses You!

By Cal Orey

Herbs and spices play a big role in my life and well-being in California. In December 2019, pre-pandemic era, my solo expedition en route from Lake Tahoe to Alaska aka “The Last Frontier” finally happened.  As I traveled through hurricane-force winds, an almost flight diversion to Fairbanks, I anticipated fresh and exciting seasonings, northern lights, and a moose sighting. Sometimes, fantasies are healthier than real life...


In Anchorage at 9:00 a.m., I sat in my hotel room bed on the seventeenth floor overlooking downtown, and Chugach Mountains—but it was dark. The city was shut down due to icy roads, no snow. It was the warmest day since 1952.

I called room service. No freshly squeezed orange juice with fresh mint sprigs or coffee lattes with fresh spices. You will not likely find garden-fresh herbal treasures in December. Blame it on the lack of sunlight. Fresh food is expensive if it’s imported. And that’s not all . . . 

The last night I was nursing a sore throat. Blame it on frigid air blowing down on my bed in a pricey suite. I went with the flow… ordered a Greek pizza. It had chunks of real garlic! Another herbal highlight of the Alaska adventure was finding an artisan chocolate shop. I bought a peri-cayenne pepper truffle, caramelized pear saffron chocolate, and a white square of chocolate with pink peppercorn. The cayenne and dark chocolate gave me the gift of those feel-good endorphins and soothed my raw throat that hurt when swallowing. Both garlic and cayenne made me feel better.


 

Inside My Seasoned Cabin for One Year

            These days, I’m dreaming about revisiting Alaska. Ironically, it will be Fairbanks to view the green and blue colored sky also known as the aurora borealis. And dried herbs, such as the parsley, pepper, and paprika will suffice. It took a trip to up north to Alaska for me to appreciate fresh seasonings year-round that I have right at home inside my cabin. But dried herbs and spices are fine. You can’t always get what you want but you get what you need. 

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Herbs & Spices: Timeless Treasures Has Hit Major News Publications!

   By Cal Orey 

UPDATE: #9 Healing Powers Series 

Herbs & Spices: Timeless Treasures


Today, the bay leaves interview including my favorite new Herbs & Spices book (in the Huffington Post) has made its way into other national online news publications: American Global News, NYC Daily Post, New York Daily, and City Buzz News. On April 7, The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices author's words made a big  appearance in Huffington Post -- dishing on the wonders of flavor and versatility of timeless bay leaves! 

This week like in the recent past, the new book was graced in the top 100 bestseller on Amazon.com; recently, it got the badge of honor with the Bestseller banner for the book on Walmart's website. As of yesterday it is in 66 libraries (multiple branches, books on hold or checked out) worldwide! Still on page 1 of bestselling herbs and spices books on Barnes and Noble...  Newsworthy, popular Newsmax is on board with the fresh book, #9! and purchased hundreds of copies! Covered in newspapers to online magazines...  And the year is still young!

 ...we're thrilled about the new offering in the Healing Powers series from bestselling author Cal Orey featuring 50 recipes and A-to-Z guide cataloguing most versatile herbs and spices for flavoring food, as well as preventing and curing illness." -- Woman's World magazine, Book Club: Nonfiction


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, dozens of heart-healthy Mediterranean style recipes, legends, nutritional charts, and heartwarming anecdotes. --Tathaastu Magazine, book review

Not only is the book a guide for people who love to cook and bake, but it offers a fun way to learn through legends, stories and many of Orey's experiences derived from both childhood and present times. -- Tahoe Daily Tribune, book review

The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide to Nature's Timeless Treasures. The ninth installment of the Healing Powers series from nutrition writer Orey explores how herbs and dried spices can provide home cures, weight loss benefits, and beauty treatments.  -- Publishers Weekly

... Orey's ninth title in her Healing Powers series is part cookbook, part healthy living reference...After the educational parts and charts, most pages are devoted to nearly 80 recipes for almost every possible eating occasion: jumbo anise biscotti, cayenne spicy salsa, saffron baked custard, spicy meatless shepherd's pie.... An herb a day just might keep the doctor at bay. Includes glossary and resources. --Booklist 

Herbal medicines can be helpful in treating many medical concerns as well as be used to support our health. These natural healing modalities 
discussed in Orey's refreshing book for  the 21st century well-being  have been part of my integrative family practice for nearly 50 years. -- Elson Haas, MD (ElsonHaasMD.com) is the author of 11 books including Staying Healthy with the Seasons and Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine.

I loved the complexity of it: there are personal stories from the author which bring flavor to the pages, there are a lot of details about the chemistry and the history of the spices and, of course, their benefits for health. These benefits are represented in many forms, each spices has a dedicated page, but here are also charts and several health issues that have suggested herbs that can alleviate these issues. There are folk types of advice mixed in, beauty and home benefits from using herbs and a lot of recipes. -- Reviewer NetGalley

It's very refreshing to come across a book packed with solid, helpful information on healing and wellness that doesn't try to discredit modern medicine. There is absolutely a place for both in our lives, and crucial information is being lost in the delirium of "internet research." -- Reviewer NetGalley

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Herbs & Spices: Timeless Treasures Has Gone Global! UPDATE

  By Cal Orey 

UPDATE: #9 in the Healing Powers Series 

Yesterday, The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices author's words made an appearance in Huffington Post -- dishing on the wonders of the flavor and versatility of bay leaves! Recently graced with the Bestseller banner for the book on Walmart's website, today in the top 100 bestsellers (health genres) on Amazon; in 66 libraries (multiple branches, books on hold or checked out) worldwide! Still on page 1 of bestselling herbs and spices books on Barnes and Noble...  Newsworthy, popular Newsmax is on board with the fresh book, #9! and purchased hundreds of copies! Covered in newspapers to online magazines...  And the year is still young!

 ...we're thrilled about the new offering in the Healing Powers series from bestselling author Cal Orey featuring 50 recipes and A-to-Z guide cataloguing most versatile herbs and spices for flavoring food, as well as preventing and curing illness." -- Woman's World magazine, Book Club: Nonfiction


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, dozens of heart-healthy Mediterranean style recipes, legends, nutritional charts, and heartwarming anecdotes. --Tathaastu Magazine, book review

Not only is the book a guide for people who love to cook and bake, but it offers a fun way to learn through legends, stories and many of Orey's experiences derived from both childhood and present times. -- Tahoe Daily Tribune, book review

The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices: A Complete Guide to Nature's Timeless Treasures. The ninth installment of the Healing Powers series from nutrition writer Orey explores how herbs and dried spices can provide home cures, weight loss benefits, and beauty treatments.  -- Publishers Weekly

... Orey's ninth title in her Healing Powers series is part cookbook, part healthy living reference...After the educational parts and charts, most pages are devoted to nearly 80 recipes for almost every possible eating occasion: jumbo anise biscotti, cayenne spicy salsa, saffron baked custard, spicy meatless shepherd's pie.... An herb a day just might keep the doctor at bay. Includes glossary and resources. --Booklist 

Herbal medicines can be helpful in treating many medical concerns as well as be used to support our health. These natural healing modalities 
discussed in Orey's refreshing book for  the 21st century well-being  have been part of my integrative family practice for nearly 50 years. -- Elson Haas, MD (ElsonHaasMD.com) is the author of 11 books including Staying Healthy with the Seasons and Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine.

I loved the complexity of it: there are personal stories from the author which bring flavor to the pages, there are a lot of details about the chemistry and the history of the spices and, of course, their benefits for health. These benefits are represented in many forms, each spices has a dedicated page, but here are also charts and several health issues that have suggested herbs that can alleviate these issues. There are folk types of advice mixed in, beauty and home benefits from using herbs and a lot of recipes. -- Reviewer NetGalley

It's very refreshing to come across a book packed with solid, helpful information on healing and wellness that doesn't try to discredit modern medicine. There is absolutely a place for both in our lives, and crucial information is being lost in the delirium of "internet research." -- Reviewer NetGalley

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Blast Pandemic Pounds! It's the Season(ings) to Slim Down

 Season Up! Say Goodbye to That Muffin Top!

By Cal Orey

The word is, we packed on one to two pounds per month since the pandemic hit in March 2020. Why?...

One fall day during a doctor’s check-up, after booking a trip to Alaska, I asked the question. “Should I lose weight?” My skinny jeans didn’t make me look skinny. My physician took a pause. “Maybe five pounds.” I felt my face turn red, blushing. I was in between a time of squishing my now size 5 body into size 4 jeans. The doc blamed unwanted pounds on age-related slow-down of metabolism. I criticized the office scale. I vowed to do intermittent fasting (a diet cycle between a time of eating and fasting, which is healthy for some people).

At home, I agonized, “If I am going to eat less calories, I’ll do it with more flavor!” Enter herbs and spices to my gourmet rabbit food regimen of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. It worked. I dumped those five pesky pounds in one month.

Fast forward to April 2021. The word is, we packed on one to two pounds per month since the pandemic hit in March 2020. Why? Blame it on more comfort foods and less exercise. Go ahead -- take a look at some of Mother Nature’s herbal weight loss wonders -- and put them to work before summer hits.


NATURE’S  METABOLISM BOOSTERS

1 Cayenne:

This hot spice can hike body temperature, which can spike metabolism. That means it is “thermogenic” meaning it ups body heat, which in turn can boost the metabolic rate. Some nutritionists believe it is calorie-burning. Read: After consuming it in food, you can burn dozens of calories at resting state. Past research shows the ingredient capsaicin in cayenne is what gives the spice flavor and heat. If you’re trying to burn calories, go ahead and savor a serving of salsa or put it in a soup or even on a southwestern omelet. 

2 Cardamom: Welcome to another thermogenic spice. Mix it up with other earthy flavored spices, including cloves and nutmeg. The spice coffee I fell in love with contains the latter spices, and paired with a dash of cardamom it makes an aromatic and zesty brew. Plus, some studies believe the metabolism-boosting cardamom can give you energy to expend more calories. Caveat: It could also be the caffeine that provides that extra boost to get a move on.

3 Parsley: This herb is a known diuretic. That means it can help you lose excess water weight. You may get that needed boost if starting a diet even if you gain the pounds back. Since it helps detox your body, it will provide that mental and temporary jump start needed to give you the incentive to lose unwanted weight.

Spicy Skinny Green Smoothie

Here is a detox savory and sweet parsley smoothie I whipped up that can be used year-round. It’s a quick and easy, super seasoned healthy treat for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon pick me up.

 In a blender, combine ½ cup fresh parsley (leaves and stems), 4 baby spinach leaves (pre-washed, packaged), ¾ cup fresh raspberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen), 1 banana, sliced, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon honey, and ¾ cup ice, crushed. Blend until smooth. Serves 2.

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Timeless Treasures published by Kensington

-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.