Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's (almost) TEA Time! Your Cuppa is Steeping!

By Cal Orey

Wellness in a Cup—Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!

It picks you up and calms you down, warms you and refreshes you. With black, white, red, green, and herbal varieties, there’s a tea for every taste, and now this time-honored superfood is trending as the drink of choice for health-conscious people of all ages and cultures. 

Healthy  Recipes
Home Cures
Weight Loss Tips
Lively Stories

Available in ebook/tradecover

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Nights--Shaking It Up with Cranberries and Honey

During one late October week before Halloween I was on a mission.  A trip to many stores around town was on my to-do list.  I bought pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and chocolate candy bars (big and small)—the big day was coming!

On the afternoon of Halloween, I put a brighter bulb in the porch light, dumped all the candy into a plastic pumpkin, placed the muffins and cookies with spiders on a platter, and brewed a cup of coffee. It was Halloween night and I was super ready for trick or treaters. At dusk nobody came. When it was dark not one knock on the door. By 9:00 P.M., it was obvious. I was so tricked—no kids in spooky costumes for me. I blamed it on the chilly weather.

So, this year I am on a pumpkin fast. Well, I have canned pumpkin in the pantry, and I munched on pumpkin seeds last week. I did experience the pumpkin patch in Placerville in early October. But this time around, on Halloween night I’m starting a new tradition. All lights off. I’ll be watching Hallmark harvest films and/or scary sci-fi films for the chill effect, working on a book project, cuddling with the dog and cat—and  chilling. No goblins or witches—just a sweet treat—a cranberry shake.  

Autumn Cranberry Shake

1-1/4 cups vanilla gelato
½-3/4 cup fresh cranberries, whole
¼ cup all natural premium orange juice
½ small banana, slices
¼ cup organic half-and-half
1 capful pure vanilla extract
Honey to taste
4-5 small ice cubes
Whipped cream (optional)
Walnuts, finely chopped (garnish for topping)
In a blender combine gelato, berries, juice, half-and-half, vanilla, honey, and ice cubes. Blend quickly until thick and smooth.  Top with whipped cream and nuts. Pour into a milkshake glass. Grab a spoon and straw. Serves 1 or 2.
I didn’t want to spook you with exotic fruits, protein powder, or non-fat milk. After all, we are entering the holiday season. In defense of this decadent shake, you are getting plenty of vitamin C from the berries and orange juice. Also, this shake boasts calcium and protein. So you don’t have to feel guilty when savoring this cold, oh-so creamy delight. Give credit to the banana and gelato, less milk. The cool thing is, fresh cranberries are delicious when you include nature’s sweeteners, like orange juice and honey. You’ll feel festive sipping this shake day or night—whether trick or treaters pay you a visit. Or not. Enjoy the chill of the shake. For tradition’s sake, Boo!
Motto: When you’re tricked, treat yourself to something to feel warm and fuzzy.

— 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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Salad and Tea for Fall Days and Nights

It was late fall many, many moons ago on the South Shore. The wind was strong, the temperature was in the twenties, but I was determined to leave the toasty cabin to go get my morning swim and hot tub fix. I was swimming laps at one of the outdoor pools. Snow flurries began but the water was warm—my ears freezing. Walking on the fresh cold snow to get into the Jacuzzi was a challenge. The reward? It was awesome! And I treated myself to a Starbucks’ pumpkin latte. Once back home I ate a fresh salad. Then, the sun came out and my canines needed their walk. Another perk? I made the first crackling fire of the season. And so it goes with a roller coaster weather ride at Lake Tahoe.

If you’re a local you know during shoulder season it can be warm and chilly. It’s best to go with the flow and enter slowly with hot and cold foods so you keep your sanity! This is a Sierra-inspired salad and hot beverage for fall.

1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or cranberries—yes! They’re tart but good)
2 tablespoons sliced red onion (optional)
Parmesan cheese, shavings or shredded
1/4 cup chunks of cooked salmon (optional)

Vinaigrette:  You can buy a fruity all-natural bottled dressing or make your own. Mix ½ cup olive oil, 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a bit of honey and dash of pepper. Chill in fridge.

In a bowl, combine greens, top with nuts, berries, onion, and cheese. Whisk up and drizzle dressing  over your salad mixture.  The salad bowl serves 1-2.

Okay. I know a clean salad with real food isn’t a pumpkin pie or apple cake with cream cheese frosting--but this is just as sweet and better for you. Pair your greens--trust me--with a mug of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Or brew a cup of pumpkin spice tea and warm up the scent of autumn!

The bottom line: Fall doesn’t have to be the time to pack on pounds or be sedentary. The more you get used to eating a healthful salad with fall time fruits and vegetables, the more energized you’ll feel, keep seasonal change (cold, flu) woes at bay so you can go do it—outdoors and indoors.

— 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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Berry Good French Toast and Tea for Fall

An often told story to my family was that my mom met my dad at the Oregon Caves. Within less than one month the two became a couple, married, and lived happily ever after. Today, Columbus Day, is their anniversary. I remember this date because yesterday the eye doctor checked my peepers.  Sitting in the office—not as bad as the pinned eyes scene from the “Clockwork Orange” film—I got the diagnosis. No eye diseases, use low strength over the counter reading glasses for TV. The good doc gave credit to genes. This good-for-you recipe is inspired by my good parents—and eye-healthy blueberries, according to medical doctors.

Berry Good French Toast
2 organic eggs
½ cup low-fat organic milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup blueberries
Honey to taste (use a local variety from our health food store)

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip bread into egg mixture on both sides. Place in a medium heated frying pan. Turn once and when each slice of bread is golden brown and crispy remove and put on a plate. Top with a mound of blueberries. Drizzle with honey. Serves two.
This quick, easy to make hot breakfast is as good as it gets on an off-season morning. Pair with coffee or tea. 

— 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 .

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Apple Love During Fall Days

Crisp Autumn Days with Andre

This fall I’ve noticed my liking for apples as well as others who seem to jump on the apple bandwagon. After all, this fruit is wholesome and very versatile in cooking and baking. Let me take you back in time to when apples played an unforgettable scenario for me.

My birthday is in October. That reminds me of one particular year money was tight due to the Great Recession. A former neighbor had a real job (unlike me, a past freelance magazine journalist) but he was frugal. Still, come the night of my special day he and my sibling surprised me with a gourmet store bought French Apple Pie. I was moved because a cake wasn’t on my wish list but pie—well, who doesn’t like pie, right? It’s the feel-good food, especially when the air is crisp and leaves are turning color in the Sierra. I was moved by the good-neighbor gesture.

This comforting apple crisp made from scratch was inspired by my neighbor, the dog-loving man (like my dad, another Libra) who shoveled snow off the deck, brought me sweets from Poland, and walked my former beloved Brittany on black ice, and suggested I write books about Lake Tahoe (I have used the mountains as a muse in my Healing Powers series). He was a good neighbor to love, appreciate--like a good apple dish!

Apple Crisp

Apple Mixture
2 cups, 4-5 Granny Smith apples, washed, peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Crispy Topping
½ cup oats
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons European style butter
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl put fruit. Add juice, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, combine oats, sugar, and butter. It should be moist and form crumbled balls. Dish fruit high into two or three ramekins (depends on if they are 6, 8, 12 ounces). Top with crumble topping. Place in a pan filled half with water. Place in oven for about one hour. (Turn the oven up to 425 degrees for the last 20 minutes.) Once the crumble is light brown and fruit bubbly, it’s done. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 2-4.
 This easy to make apple crisp aka crumble is worth the effort of peeling the apples. I tried making it with Honeycrisp apples but it’s Granny Smith that works like a charm. Also, unlike some dishes, this one is best served fresh out of the oven. The scent of apples, cinnamon, and the flavor plus light crunchy texture of the crispy topping and juice apples will make you and yours smile. A serving of this apple crisp has my late dog-loving, sweet neighbor’s name on it.

Motto:  Fences make good neighbors but so does dishing out autumn foods like good apples and sharing the season's delight.