Saturday, November 30, 2019

Christmas Cookies with The Healing Powers of Tea for the Holiday Season

Christmas Cookies with a Cuppa Tea for Holidays

As one of my favorite memories go, in early wintertime I was living in Eugene, Oregon with a small group of nomadic friends. One cold day with a bit of snow on the ground and slippery black ice (foreign to a San Francisco native), I stayed indoors and baked cookies. There wasn’t a single cookbook or baking tools in the kitchen, so I had to rough it and make do with the few food items I found in the cupboards and fridge. I recalled my mom’s recipe for Snowball or Butterball Cookies. Five ingredients, a bowl, spoon, cookie sheet is about all you need--and black tea while you bake--and chamomile to get you through the ordeal.

In hindsight, the scene was funny. Once the cookies were baked and good to go, I was boxing them up to mail to relatives for Christmas—but my six down-to-earth looking roomies (and two dogs) in a tiny, spartan kitchen were eating the white butter nut balls faster than I could box the goodies and I felt flustered because it was a lost battle. The cookie monsters won. This easy-to-make recipe is inspired by post-hippie snow days on the road in December.

Snowball Cookies

1 stick European style butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (about ½ cup extra for rolling after baked)
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 capful pure vanilla extract
¼-1/2 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans), chopped

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add flour and mix until creamy. Stir in vanilla. Fold in nuts. Place cookie dough on a floured cutting board and roll into a ball. Put onto a sheet of foil and into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  Use a small ice cream scoop (about 1/8 cup size) and scoop dough into balls. Roll into a ball shape and place on nonstick cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes or until bottom of cookies are light brown. Do not over bake. Place in balls into sugar immediately. After cooled repeat. Makes 8-10. You can double the recipe as well as freeze the cookies in an airtight container. Note: Simple is elegant like silver balls on a Christmas tree. However, if you to be more festive, add 1-2 teaspoons orange rind to cookie dough and/or sprinkle cinnamon on top after the cookies are rolled in sugar to give it a snickerdoodle taste.

There are dozens and dozens of holiday cookies to make. This quick, easy recipe is a super way to begin, though. Sometimes, less is more.  Not only are they affordable, ingredients are likely in your kitchen, but they are small. Also, two will fill you up and not out. Pair with a cup of tea for a morning or afternoon energizing snack to after dinner delight--and it's perfect wherever you are and what the weather gods are doing with their magic.

— 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.)  TEA--release date December 25. Now available for order at kobo, amazon, barnesandnoble, walmart, target, and other stores.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Day from an Author's POV

By Cal Orey

Last year Thanksgiving was a time when I spent the day cooking a big bird or little game hens, cornbread dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables, and pumpkin pie. But this year I decided to rebel making the traditional dinner and postpone the big meal until Christmas. And that’s when I decided to get my turkey dinner fix and leftovers with a twist of the Mediterranean.

Back in the 
day when I was in my late twenties I was living in a townhouse in Mountain View (north of San Jose). Sitting in the sun, getting tan by the swimming pool I was reading and dog-earing one of those go-to-Europe-on-a-budget books. It was my dream to go to Tuscany that fall and savor sites, people, culture, and Mediterranean cuisine. I was going to stay at hostiles, take a backpack and sleeping bag, and experience several countries. But my boyfriend announced that if I left on a trip while he had to work he wouldn’t be there when I returned. So, I changed my plans and opted for graduate school to get a master’s degree in English (Creative Writing). Europe was put on the back burner.

Decades later, I am here on the South Shore living my life as an author writing and promoting my health-cookbook Healing Powers Series. So, this week feeling a bit overwhelmed (after the Zen cat's dental surgery, bed meltdown, waiting for new mattress and sleeping in the bed frame like a big kitty litter box, and regretting not taking the Alaska getaway due to an unexpected hurricane-force storm) I ponder, “I can at least bring a treat with European flair to me." Think turkey sandwich and trimmings (I feel less guilty not having a bird in the fridge; rarely do I indulge in poultry or fish since I'm a 95% vegetarian and part-time vegan.) And  I may just go ahead and book an adventure to Seattle-Victoria, Canada as a late Thanksgiving present to me since I still have flight miles in the lock box, with credit to Al Gore.
Hot Turkey and Provolone Sandwich
2 tablespoons European style butter
4 red onion slices
1⁄4 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoon green bell peppers, chopped
2 sourdough rolls, split (whole grain preferred)
2 slices turkey (I used organic roasted turkey breast from Safeway deli.)
2 slices provolone cheese
1⁄2-1 cup spinach lettuce, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 tablespoon black olives
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Ground black pepper
In a frying pan melt butter and saute onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Put aside. Put bottom halves of rolls on parchment lined cookie sheet. Top each with turkey and cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven till cheese melts. Take out from oven and top each roll with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Add a dash of pepper. Cut sandwiches diagonally. Serves two.
Chunky Mashed Potatoes
4 medium red potatoes
1⁄2 cup 2 percent low-fat organic milk
European style butter
Chives, fresh
In a saucepan boil potatoes. When tender put potatoes in bowl; mash. Add milk until consistency is smooth and chunky. Add butter to taste. Add chopped chives. Serves two.
For dessert the plan is to savor a cup of gourmet Sugar and Spice flavored coffee and a square of dark chocolate while sitting in front of a freshly made fire and cozying up with the the Aussie and Siamese while watching a film. True, it isn’t Rome (and the ex boyfriend is history forever) but this nontraditional “family-style” mini meal has its health perks. (I’ll save the second sandwich for the day after.) And there will be no gaining unwanted Turkey Day pounds. My plan is when I make my appearance for signing of my new book in the New Year I will still be able to fit in my size 4 skinny jeans. And that is going to be Thanksgiving for me.
Motto: Things happen for a reason. If you’re thinking you should be somewhere else, maybe it’s time to rethink where you are and be thankful for what you have. Blessings and light to you and yours. One more thing: The boyfriend left me, anyhow. He traded me in for "a woman to brush his hair out of his eyes after a hard days work." So, I got me a dog and lived happily after and we are each others' rock. 
– Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist. Her books include The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee,Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils) published by Kensington,, barnes and noble, ebooks/paperback/mass market

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019 Earth Changes Forecasts--Some Came True

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.

Predictions for the New Year

* 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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

It's National Cake Day! Healing Powers Series (Recipe)

By Cal Orey

In a few weeks, I'm booked for a trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Attempt three. Of course, earthquakes are on my mind. Yes, I did forecast the European shallow shaker that hit yesterday. And I am booked on a high floor in Alaska. But you know...we have quakes in California, too. More than likely, I predict I will go snow or quakes. Just ordered a new digital camera. Dog is booked at kennel. And book is almost done. Meanwhile, take a peek at memories of earthquakes... and a cake recipe Gemma Sciabica created just for me! 

SoCal + El Nino Rainfull + Rain-induced
erosion loosens faults
No shaking in October at Cascadia Subduction Zone
when I was there on the 29th hotel floor room
When I was in British Columbia early this month, I saw the film San Andreas while in my room on the 29th floor overlooking the water, part of the Cascadian Subduction Zone. As a native Californian from the SF Bay Area it would be a mortal sin if I didn't watch it. Yes, I did have chocolate. Worse, at home I viewed the quake movie two more times (three times less the price). 
Currently, we're having an earthquake swarm in the East Bay, San Ramon to be exact and on the Calaveras Fault near the deadly Hayward and San Andreas Faults. Think snakes. While it could fizzle, as swarms often do, it could shake more. After all, yesterday was October 17, the day the Earth rocked back in 1989 (predicted by geologist Jim Berkland and noted in my book The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes); and on October 30, 2007 I, the intuitive, did forecast the 5.6 that hit in Alum Rock and was reported felt throughout NorCal.
200+ earthquake swarm in SF East Bay
 Calaveras Fault

As one who survived the Loma Prieta shaker, a strong foreshock two months prior, two rolling Livermore quakes in a week, and a 6.2 in Morgan Hill, as well as predict a 4.8 shallow but very strong Reno-Tahoe quake in 2008, earthquakes are nothing new to me. And back in April before it hit, Gemma Sciabica, olive oil guru and cookbook author, whipped up an Earthquake Cake for me (and she sent me chocolate biscotti) so I could deal with our hundreds of quakes here in the Reno-Tahoe region. Caveat: Dark chocolate can help soothe rattled nerves and high anxiety when Mother Nature makes moves. Chocolate (in many forms) is the 21st century nature's finest remedy for coping with earthquakes. (It used to be popcorn.)
So, I'd like to share Gemma's recipe--straight from my timeless book The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington, 2010)--formerly purchased by the Good Cook Book Club, One Spirit Book Club, Crafters, Mystery Guild, featured by Newsmax, and translated in three languages. 
* * *
Cal's Earthquake Cake
2 cups whole wheat flour (or use cake flour and all-purpose flour)
2/3 cup dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Sciabica's or Marsala Olive Oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Danish pastry extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raspberry-cream filled chocolate squares (chop)
1 large banana, mashed

Cheese Filling

1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well or use cooking spray in a 10-inch bundt tube pan. In mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients together, make well in center. Pour in buttermilk, olive oil, eggs, and flavorings. Stir until smooth. Add chocolate pieces. Pour half the cake batter into prepared pan. Spoon the filling mixture evenly over the layer of batter. Carefully pour second half of batter over the filling. Bake 55 or 60 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool cake on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before glazing. Glaze as desired, or, may be sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Serves 12.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Healing Powers of TEA--Timeless Book for Holiday Gift (Plus, give an assortment of teas in a basket)

TEA Book Home Cures for Winter!

Warm Up this Winter—Wellness in a Cup—
Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!
Tea Home Cures from Your Kitchen

One autumn day I found myself getting up at 2:30 A.M. to catch a 6:00 A.M. plane to Salt Lake City, then to Atlanta Georgia, to Montreal, Quebec. Waking up without adequate sleep felt odd and it was the wrong hour to brew coffee. 
So, I made a cup of my own blend: black and green tea. It gave me enough energy to get on the shuttle bus without acting like a zombie from a sci-fi film. 

But while tea offers home cures, including beating sleepiness, it can also help keep you calmer than java. At the first airport counter cafĂ©, I ordered a cup of hot water and used my own chamomile tea bag to keep me calm enough for the next fear factor: flying out of the Sierra and into Salt Lake City—two dicey airports known for turbulent flights. And thanks to tea, I survived the flight plan all the way to Canada, my second home...

There is a growing trend of at-home tea cures (like I used to achieve my final destination), that’ll wow you with their potential healing powers. I sprinkled in tea wisdom from tried-and-true folk remedies, scientific studies, medical experts, and my own home tea and tisane cures. It’s tea time! Read on--here's five home cures from more than 50 in The Healing Powers of Tea (Available December 26, 2017).

1. COLDS (Warm Up Baby.) During the fall and winter months, cold season hits more frequently. Also, though, if you are under stress a cold can pay you a visit year-round, especially if traveling or contracting a virus from someone else. If your immune system is under attack—a cold can be prevented or the severity lessened with tea.
What Tea Rx to Use: Drink one 8-ounce cup of black tea (hot or iced) with or without 1 teaspoon honey two to three times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tea researchers believe it’s the compound antigen in black tea that bolsters the body’s immune system and may help guard against colds. Also, the tannins may help to stave off viruses like a cold. I recall one doctor’s story about how he turned to tea for comfort. He was traveling in the Alaskan wilderness. While in a van traveling with a lot of people, one had a cold as he did. The doctor had tea and drank the liquid. And it helped the good doctor heal.

2.  COUGHS (Cease the tickle.) Coping with a cold can be annoying, but coughing which can be caused by seasonal allergies, or linger after a cold, a bout of bronchitis, or other things, can be pesky and make your throat and even chest ache.
What Tea Rx to Use: Opt to brew 1 12-ounce cup of black or white tea. For an extra throat soother, add 1 teaspoon of honey. Repeat as necessary.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific:  Tacking a cough takes a bit of sleuth work to discover why you are coughing—and then it’s time to be proactive and deal with the problem. If allergens are the issue, for instance, it’s time to get an air purifier, vacuum and dust more, and add tea with honey to your diet repertoire—soon you’ll be doing the happy dance without stopping to cough.

3. FLU (Say good-bye to germs.) Catching the flu, which can come on suddenly, drags you down and into bed. Viruses come in all forms and can give you anything from a 24-hour flu bug to a super bug that’ll spook you to the point where images from sci-fi films like Outbreak and Contagion will haunt you as you try and shake it.
What Tea Rx to Use: Take 2 cups of tea and you won’t be calling the doctor in the morning. Mix it up and sip 1 cup of tea (black, green, or white) and 1 cup of your favorite vitamin C-enhanced herbal tea such as hibiscus.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: It’s no surprise that the functional food tea is chock-full of antioxidants—the good guys that can keep your immune system healthy and stave off germs you could encounter from your local grocery store to a vacation stop. By drinking tea and a vitamin-rich tisane teamed with a nutrient-dense diet, you’ll be keeping your immune system strong.

4. SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (Blast the blues.)  Feeling down and sluggish with SAD, coined by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, is another monster to face. I have tackled the symptoms with an arsenal of remedies—and tea is on the list come late fall through early spring.
What Tea Rx to Use: Brew 1 cup of hot water and use 1 teaspoon green tea leaves or tea bag. Steep for 3 minutes. Repeat 2 times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Green tea has 45 milligrams of caffeine (which can give you a physical and mental burst of energy). But also, green tea contains L-theanine—a compound that enhances brain chemicals including serotonin and that can give you a calming sense of well-being. A bonus: It can rev up your metabolism, fill you up and not out. Read: Lose unwanted pounds and body fat.

5. SORE THROAT (Treat the pain.) Before a cold you can get a telltale sore throat. Not to forget allergies and even talking too much. Rather than run to the doctor for an allergy medication, why not take an alternative route and turn to tea?
What Tea Rx to Use:  Dried oolong leaves combined with rose hips or hibiscus can be a perfect pairing. Put 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and 1 teaspoon of the herbal tea of your choice in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for a few minutes, then strain. Add honey to taste.
Why You’ll Feel Tea—rrific: Oolong tea my reduce swelling and inflammation, due to flavonoids. Also, honey boasts anti-inflammatory benefits, too.

Ginger Lemon Honey Tea

Ginger and lemon go together like salt and pepper—two of nature’s finest superfoods with an immunity booster that can keep you healthy this winter and all year-long.
2 cups water
10 thin slices gingerroot, fresh
1 lemon sliced
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup lemon juice

Bring water, gingerroot, and lemon slices to a boil for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat, steep 10 minutes, strain. Stir in honey and lemon juice. You can also add apple peel, a piece of onion, and one or two tablespoons of chamomile.
(Courtesy: Gemma Sanita Sciabica)

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea2018. All right reserved. Reprinted with permission  from .
— 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 .

Friday, November 22, 2019

Warm Up to The Healing Powers of Tea --the Gift Book for Thanksgiving!

By Cal Orey

On August 1 The Healing Powers of Tea (#6 Healing Powers Series) once again gets bestselling banner on amazon!

It's a perfect read for late summer, fall and upcoming winter days... (Amazon, Kindle Edition special!) *The TEA book has been graced with the #1 Bestseller banner many times since January 2018.

On, April 29, The Healing Powers of Tea is attracting readers on a variety of online bookseller websites, including amazon, barnes and noble, walmart, kobo, apple, and google.

Also, the popular, prestigious Fairmont Hotel in Victoria, B.C., Canada will be carrying both The Healing Powers of Tea and The Healing Powers of Honey in their tearoom gift shop. Foreign rights to Estonia! Publisher's Weekly Review! It's a favorite in the Healing Powers Series. *Essential Oils is ready for pre-order, coming this December!