Friday, July 24, 2015

Healing Powers Series Author Feeling Pre-Fall in the Sierra

Off season in autumn
By Cal Orey

As we are coming closer to August, and the second Full Moon of July, I feel the end days of summer are coming sooner than later. Squirrel sitings, a chill in the morning, fresh pine cones chunks on the deck, fall fashion on websites, talk of El Nino (writing about it for the September issue of Oracle 20/20 Magazine), and kids back to school on the 10th next month are some cues to me that my favorite season will be here early.
Honey and Muffins for Fall
Pre-fall baking and cooking with superfoods for my next Healing Powers book is on my brain. Chocolate Mousse and a Peach Tart with a special tea twist is on this weekend's menu. I have an ongoing love affair with muffins — a sweet and savory mini cake. These cuties don’t need frosting. Homemade muffins taste so much better than pre-packaged, store-bought types and are less pricey than the monster-size ones at Starbucks. The best part is, you can control and store the ingredients — including seasonal fruits and nuts, like our wildlife in the mountains do when storing up for wintertime--forecasters predict a wet season, and I agree.
These muffins take me back to my living on a shoestring days in San Jose as an undergrad student. One Sunday, my guy pal brought home apples he picked from an unknown neighbor’s yard. I had lots of walnuts his mom gave me in a care package. So, I baked a batch of apple nut muffins. In the morning, it was the usual trek to school to get West Valley College for a grueling day of back-to-back classes. That special day in my favorite creative writing class, I asked my professor the all too common question, “Do I have any talent? I want to be a writer.” She looked at me. She smiled. I waited eagerly for her response as if she was a psychic. She answered, “You should move on to SFSU. That is where you need to be.” I gave her an apple nut muffin and she gave me the incentive to move forward and get my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Here I sit in my cabin and I am writing health cookbooks and articles. So, I have a soft spot for apple nut muffins from yesteryear and I’ve come full circle. This is a new, improved recipe for my muffins — a gift from me to you.

1/2 cup, packed, light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 brown egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup European style butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
2 capfuls of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice, not concentrated, with pulp
1 1/2 cups apples, peeled and cored and chopped (into small cubes)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A trip to the Northeast this Fall?
Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, combine sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add flour. In another bowl combine egg, melted butter sour cream, and orange juice. Mix all ingredients. Fold in apples and nuts. Spoon batter with an ice cream scoop into muffin tins. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Once in the oven I felt these cakes would turn out nicely. After about 10 minutes I peeked. They looked like wholesome muffins. Once baked, I savored a warm apple nut muffin spread with a bit of whipped cream cheese or drizzle with honey. (I was going to add cream cheese icing but decided to ditch the extra sugar.) These fruit muffins make the grade as is. Enjoy.
Motto: Hard work and drive can pa
On July 26, tourists light for Sunday
y off whether it’s following your dream or making muffins.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey was offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) The Healing Powers of Coffee, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Honey are sold at Walmart stores nationwide. The Healing Powers of Vinegar, 3rd edition is in production; The Healing Powers of Tea is in progress.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19 Meltdown for Author on Break

By Cal Orey

Today is Sunday, a day in the week that is usually a good one filled with fun and spontaneous outdoor activities with my dog duo. But on this mid-summer afternoon I find myself in a minor meltdown mood. Let me count the ways how this day tanked and it's not over but should be...
Boston in the Fall? Planning my
B-Day book research escape

1) The go-to Reno guy to repair my bed with a cosmetic tear has gone simply AWOL. Translation: The problem is back in my court. He flaked right after I sat outside on a log with fresh pine tree sap; ruined my favorite skinny blue jeans. A call to Victoria's Secret repaired my grief. RIP. I loved those jeans.

My attire for the next trip: Boston, Chicago or somewhere cold
with Tea People
2) That freshly painted deck is now on the back burner. My loyal sibling has been MIA since yesterday. (I had a dream last night where someone showed me a newspaper article that he was missing.) So, the job remains undone much like the bed...
3) Speaking of beds...  He is somewhere, someplace with an ex boyfriend (no label ever made it to the table) who wasn't good enough for me but is fine for him to have good times the way guy pals do. (Thank God for my two canines who can spell loyalty.) It's not that I care; it's that our dog day afternoon has been scratched. Howl.
4) Last night a weak moment hit me. After dishing predictions on a psychic network I decided to play the online dating site, similar to hitting the casinos. Yes, I snagged a live one: younger, cute, blond, Gemini...
I miss Monday morning in B.C. Tomorrow
it's to the outdoor pool.
5) This morning when I called per his request I was rewarded with an obnoxious jerk on the road. Remember, I'm intuitive. As he loudly confirmed he was driving out of town and on a cell phone the words I heard were like scraping your fingernail on a blackboard. Let me recount how it went: "Are you a homeowner? How many square feet is your home?" Hello? Still at a loss for words.
6) And it got progressively worse. "I date women of all ages. I'm seeing a 26-year-old. When he returns I got an invite to travel 100 miles round trip to meet him because this one will be too tired.  I need an aspirin. And so it goes. Happily single...just needed a quick reminder of the reason behind my status.
Getting ready to decide where to flee to for pre-fall
7) By now my sinus headache (or another quake is due from the one last night that rocked Truckee) is about 11 on 1-10 scale and 10 being a mega pain in the bum.
8) So what was going to be a productive, loving life day has turned into a ice pack on the forehead (right between the eyes), "I'm not thrilled" weekend and I'm praying for magical Monday.
9) Tomorrow has to be better... and this week promises a teeth cleaning, touching up those roots on the locks, and summer cleaning this rustic Tahoe-style cabin.
10) One positive thing...I just heard the sound of thunder. The weather gods have sent Pacific Northwest clouds, thunder, and hopefully rain this way. Perhaps I will shop online and figure out how I'm going to spend those saved up flight miles...
A Bonus: My fico score is still in good standing. Maybe I should break the news to the one I tossed back to the sea.  I need a nice cup of hot tea.  And then it's time to brush the dogs' teeth... count my blessings. Thank God I am single and in love with soulmates with paws. No questions asked. Oh, and my senior Brittany has papers and is a Gemini...

UPDATE: Bed man showed. Sitting on it now! Great job. No longer longing for a man (especially after the dude who wants to know the square footage of my home).  Planning a pre-fall escape. Mondays are my favorite day. Motto: Everything is temporary. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Author Departs Vinegar Land

By Cal Orey

It's official. I am leaving Vinegar Land tomorrow morning. My bags are packed, I'm ready to, and wishing I was off on a jet plane. (I may be sooner than later.) This time, however, I've been busy at work working on the third edition of The Healing Powers of Vinegar (Kensington). 
It's been fun. It's been challenging. It's been another experience. While I am done with this updated and revised edition I know too well that it will return with some notes from the editors. It's the way it's done. However, I also know that I'll have some time to exhale, regroup, and treat myself to lots of things that have been neglected...

Later this week a teeth cleaning. Both dogs have had their dental check-ups. The hair? Ah, it's about time to deal with those oh-so natural dark roots. And swimming? On Wednesday it's either back to the resort pool early in the mornings or to the outdoor pool. Decisions, decisions. 
And this old cabin I live in? Cob webs on the high beam ceilings. Raking is needed after the thunderstorms all last week. Summer cleaning. 

After working day and night (living and breathing a topic) for a lengthy time on a book project it's not uncommon for an author to get a surge of physical energy.  The thing is, writing is sedentary (after the research), and to stay focused often things that need to be done are put on the back burner. Also, staying balanced is a challenge because you enter another place--like Vinegar Land. But today, is a good day. For the most part, the project is done--or I will enter the land of over writing and editing (an editor once taught me that fact). I'm leaving the Vinegar People and regaining my life again. Caveat: I will be entering Teaworld once I find my balance.  A writer's work is never done.