Saturday, November 22, 2014

Costa Rica VS Canada--Author Looking for Adventure

By Cal Orey
Eating a vegetarian meal up high at the
Space Needle is on my list

A week before Thanksgiving and thoughts of a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Eastern Seattle/Bellevue is on my mind. While I do love late autumn at Lake Tahoe, I can't help but think about traveling to the PNW--Washington and Canada. Come January, once again I'll be headed north and out of my comfort zone...
Canada is on my mind (again)

GOING NORTH OR SOUTH... My semi-competitive sibling announced he will be going south to Costa Rica when I return from my business-vacation trip. I have tasted and written about coffee from there, a place where men have been tagged "macho" and years ago, I did hitchhike one hundred miles south of the border. Once I heard the news, the green-eyed monster appeared. My big winter escape suddenly didn't seem so exotic. 
Sibling adventurer on the Lake when
I swim at resort pools in the snow
These threads will keep this California girl warm

Sure, flying north to Seattle is still new and exciting to me, despite I've been there a few times--and it's not Alaska (I've written about the great earthquake, and was a kid when it hit and rocked the snow-covered ground for five minutes). Come to think about it, BC is part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (overdue for a 9.0) and I have watched quake swarms in the region off the coast.

Visiting Vancouver is still a new playground for me. On my list of to do is going to Vancouver Aquarium, savoring coffee shops, finding a non-fish meal at "Sky City" and getting the nerve to book a B.C. Ferry to Victoria. But, but, but...

OLD MAN WINTER IS FICKLE...Wacky weather around the nation is on my mind. In my weather forecast for 2015 (published in December issue of Oracle 20/20 Magazine in my monthly Earth Changes column), I note lots of rain and some snow in the Pacific Northwest. So, while the 6000 mile trip to Quebec didn't come with a lot of "rough air" in flight, I'm sensing that this upcoming adventure may be a little more adventurous. I can do turbulence, sort of. Still, choppy water is another issue. I did take a ferry to Catalina and was fine, smooth sailing. However, when asked numerous times to go on San Francisco Bay waters know for its seasick journeys I passed, time after time. So, I suppose getting my sea legs will be the test. 

When I was younger in my early twenties, hitchhiking through the Mojave Desert on through Gulf states with warm water was my fantasy come true. These days, for some reason, I'm gravitating north where it's colder. Perhaps living at Lake Tahoe where it used to get below zero in the winter has changed my preference for temperature. I've always loved grey skies and fog, like in San Francisco so maybe that's another reason I'm northbound.  It's romantic.  I will sip coffee day and night since Vancouver is touted to be a top city for its joe.

TROPICAL NEXT IN LINE... So, while this upcoming trip is pre-ordered and ready to go I admit even another trip but south is on my brain. The Gulf states, Jamaica (I almost got there via plane by panhandling in the airport), are places I'm toying with...then Toronto, Canada keeps taunting me. Been there but am tempted to go back one more time. 
The deal is, sub-Mediterranean climate is in Washington and British Columbia. Read: It should be warmer than Tahoe when I leave. No need to rush the trip after the one that is coming up. After all, we're still in autumn, my favorite season, especially at the Lake. I'm sure after the Canada adventure it will come to me what's next.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Taking the Long Way Home with Fantasy Cookies

Rustic cookies are chewy, savory and sweet
I adore peanut butter. As the story goes, when I was just a kid after my mom returned from a trip to Europe she was smitten by dishing out gourmet food. She used me and my siblings as lab rats and tried her fancy fare on us. More times than not I, a picky eater, refused to oblige. Then she'd announce the punishment, “It’s peanut butter and jam sandwiches tonight.” I won.  Peanut butter sandwiches or cookies are like an old reliable friend—they always give you constant comfort.

Last weekend returning home from a Barnes and Noble book signing in Roseville, I accidentally took the long way home on State Route 49-- a north–south state highway that takes you through mining communities. At nighttime, this isn’t the way you want to go with its winding roads—a rural Gold Rush nightmare without street lights. The GPS woman’s directions were off  like a mean-spirited character in a “Twilight Zone” program. I was cold, hungry. “I want peanut butter cookies and hot chocolate,” I mumbled, envisioning cuddling up with my cat Zen and watching a film.  But bottled water and fantasies of cookies sufficed.
Enjoyed Roseville people

My mom baked large old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, the kind leaving a crisscross imprint on top. Mid-week, however, I created a smaller cookie with European style butter, and autumn spices. It promised a warm mix of sweet and savory crunch. These cookies boast an imperfect look—a rustic delight that give a taste of home with present-day flavors that took me into a new comfort zone.

Petite Peanut Butter Cookies
·        2 1/2 cups flour (your choice but all-purpose is traditional)
·        1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
·        1 1 /2 teaspoons (each) ground ginger and cinnamon
·        1/3 cup European style butter
·        1 cup low sodium, all natural peanut butter, creamy (no oil on top)
·        1 cup dark or light brown sugar
·        1/4 cup white granulated sugar
·        1 brown egg
·        1 teaspoon vanilla
·        Mediterranean sea salt
·        Apricot jam, organic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. Place butter in a small microwavable dish and melt. Add butters and sugars. Mix in egg and vanilla. Combine all ingredients and mix well. (It will be crumbly.) Form cookie dough into a snake-like roll and wrap in parchment paper. (I saw this tip on “Food Network” and it works like a charm.) Chill for at least an hour. Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices, roll into petite balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to flatten the balls. Place crisscross marks with fork on top of balls. (You can also use your thumb to make an imprint to place jam.) Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Once out of the oven sprinkle half the cookies with Mediterranean Sea salt and other half with a mini spoonful of jam. This way you'll have both of best worlds. Makes about three dozen.
Finding the right texture in high altitude is a challenge

It's a challenge to bake good cookies in the high altitude. You've got to get a grasp on the right mix of sugars and flour for a chewy texture. And baking requires a higher temperature. I think I've got it down now after a decade of living here in the Sierras. The spices add warm flavors. The salt provides a nice kick and the jam a sweet punch. I wish I had these babies to munch on during that dark and cold Sierra Nevada road but homemade cookies make home even sweeter.
Motto: Infusing old-fashioned foods with a new European twist gives you a feeling of savoring a sophisticated cookie.
— Cal Orey, M.A.  is an author and journalist. Her books include "The HealingPowers" series (health-cookbooks) published by Kensington.  Her website is . 
This article was first published in Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Barnes and Noble Book Signing Shocking Surprise(s)

A customer purchased a coffee book and
 gift for me: a mug with
author T.S. Eliot's words
Leaving Tahoe always makes me remember-
I live in the mountains
By Cal Orey
"I have measured out my life in 
coffee spoons."
--T.S. Eliot

Yesterday, Saturday November 15, I traveled off the hill from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento for a book signing. 
My Healing Powers Series was the featured guest and I was pleasantly surprised. 

The Healing Powers of Honey drew attention like bees on a flower
COFFEE ATTRACTS CUSTOMERS!... For years,  my two popular books The Healing Powers of Vinegar and Olive Oil have been the workerbees or brainchild kids that work for me. I'm talking translated in more than a dozen languages, featured in major books clubs, in the Newsmax store, Walmart, and national magazines to radio talk show topics. But at the very elegant Roseville bookstore things changed! 

The mass market editions (same book, smaller books) didn't draw as much attention as COFFEE and CHOCOLATE.  People talked to me about the health perks of both these neglected once bad foods gone good. It was delightful! Of course, the drawing we offered to win gourmet coffee and Godiva chocolate helped draw attention.  And there were four winners!
Coming into SAC--a Mediterranean climate

BOOK SIGNINGS, PAST AND PRESENT... As noted in my last blog post, I've done dozens of book signings from a busy gathering at the Seattle, WA bookstore to Palmdale,  CA (both geologist Jim Berkland and I were on local TV dishing quakes on the San Andreas). Some signings I read and have a sit down audience; other signings I meet and greet people and chat one-on-one. Both formats work for me. Yesterday,  it was a combination.  Actually, I will take a vow of silence today because I talked so much! In will drink tea with honey to soothe my sore throat. The people who visited me were fascinating. Not only did they purchase my books, I enjoyed the vast variety of conversations with people and both genders of all ages.

GOING BACK HOME--A SPOOKY SCI-FI DARKER CHALLENGE...  Traveling with my adventurous sibling is always fun, sort of.  Ironically, we got there easily following mapquest.  
On the way home, thanks to the eerie know-it-all lady's voice who led us on GPS Navigator--it was a segment out of a Twilight Zone episode. We were duped and got lost on the long, winding road in rural areas headed for Placerville. It happened once before but it was daytime. This time around it was in the dark. You're supposed to drive 20 mph but we were forced to go faster because of people behind us. Think amusement park ride without amusement. In retrospect it was exciting driving all alone without lit roads. I couldn't help but get images of sci-fi films I've seen when the characters get lost in remote regions and monsters appeared. It took us three hours to get back home unlike the two hours mapquest route that allowed me to be at the store an hour early.
We were going to stay in SAC but then I remembered-
Zen was home alone!

I confess I did kennel my dog duo. They will get the pampering--extra walks, brushing (teeth and coat), treats and toys, and piped in music. I forget Simon's blanket and I didn't label their different dog chow... When I arrived home I knew it would be zen-like. My Siamese kitty Zen was waiting for me full of purring and snuggles. I got to sleep in until 10:30 AM. Bliss. 

The dogs? It's 5-6 AM every day and midnight last call. Vacation day/night.  But today in the afternoon I will help my boys escape and all will be back to normal. I pray the sensitive Aussie doesn't have attitude and piddle on my comfy, plush comforter form SAC. Psst. I haven't told them yet about my short trip to Reno bookstore for the next signing on January 3, nor my second longer Canada trip. Well, Santa will bring gifts and lots of love the next month and a half  to make up for my absence. And we will all live happily ever after.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Revised and Updated Olive Oil Book Is Here!

Happy author to be on the road at
 Barnes and Noble bookstores:
January 3, Reno, NV; January 10 Bellevue/Seattle, WA
Today, I received a special package on my doorstep. New Book(s) on the Amazing Powers of Olive Oil, 340 pages full  of new research, charming stories in chronological order (it could be another book!), other healing oils, unusual home cures, and comfort food recipes-with butter, oils, and EVOO-- for four seasons. It's time for people to pre-order this edgy book! Available December 30; but special orders for before Christmas can happen, with a little help from Santa's elves at Kensington!

A Complete Guide to Nature’s Liquid Gold,

Revised and Updated

By Cal Orey
Kensington Health, December  30 2014
Author Tour Begins...
ISBN: 978-1-61773-453-3
Publish Date: 12/30/2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Cal Orey’s previous book, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, has sold over 150,000 copies. 

The Healing Powers Series have been purchased by the prestigious One Spirit Book Club. 

From ancient times to present-day, olive oil has been used as a remarkable remedy for everything from health ailments to beauty and household uses and so much more. Now evidence shows that a diet based on olive oil can promote longer life and may even prevent some of the diseases linked with American diets. In THE HEALING POWERS OF OLIVE OIL, health journalist Cal Orey describes the latest medical research from leading experts on the many benefits of olive oil such as:

A fascinating read--olive oil is not only delicious--it is good medicine!" --Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.

Discover Olive Oil's Extraordinary Powers!
Dining solo in Montreal was fun...salad, fresh baguettes

Revised and updated, this indispensible book reveals why chefs, doctors, and nutritionists all love extra virgin olive oil, a key ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet--and why other healthful oils from vegetables, fruits, and nuts are not far behind. You'll find easy recipes for satisfying foods like Pizza Baguettes with Garlic Oil, Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies, Honey-Citrus-Olive Oil Fruit Kabobs, and Macadamia Nut Oil Cookies. Also included: home cures that beat colds and reduce pain, beauty and household secrets, and pet care tips that really work!
Warm up with NEW recipes: butter, olive oil, other healing oils

Deliciously healing surprises. . ..
The art of using olive oil for mind, body, and spirit goes back 6,000 years. Hippocrates, "the father of medicine," used olive oil in over 60 healing remedies.
New research confirms that olive oil can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and it can stall age-related diseases.
Combining olive oil with other oils (like coconut and macadamia nut oils), can help combat fatigue, infections, and insomnia, and help you fight fat and shape up!
Bring on the butter--especially the right kind and right amount. When paired with oils, this twentieth-century "forbidden" saturated fat is a new twenty-first-century health food.
Olive oil was part of my dinner in Quebec

"Orey gives kudos to olive oil--and people of all ages will benefit from her words of wisdom." --Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness
About the Author:

CAL OREY is an author and a popular international journalist. She has a master’s degree in English from San Francisco State University, and for the past twenty years, has written hundreds of articles for a wide variety of national and international magazines. She specializes in topics on nutrition, health, beauty, and relationships. Her books include The Healing Series (Vinegar, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee). Her website:

Monday, November 10, 2014

My View on Book Signings, Past, Present and Future

Coffee is the star in Roseville this Saturday
By Cal Orey
November 15, 2014
Saturday   1:00 PM
1256 Galleria Boulevard
RosevilleCalifornia 95678

Book Signings. You can't live with them and you can't live without them. I have been a featured author at Barnes and Noble bookstores for several years as well as a guest at Borders and Neighbors, our Lake Tahoe defunct bookstore--I was the first and last author at the charming store that didn't get enough business during the years, much like The Shop Around the Corner replaced by Fox bookstores in the film "You've Got Mail"...
Roseville, Saturday January 15 at 1 PM
Some pf the stores I've signed books include: San Jose (my hometown and nobody came), Walnut Creek (with geologist Jim Berkland, TV station crew), San Mateo (doctors didn't make it for the Doctors' Orders book), San Francisco (a very busy signing for The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes), Sacramento (dogs upstaged me and my books), Chico (my Brittany Simon was a gentleman and well received), Glendale (a super big audience and lots of interaction), Palmdale (TV crew), Costa Mesa (the geologist held the fort down while I fought a cold at Laguna Beach in a posh hotel), Seattle (a busy day with a big audience), and Las Vegas (lots of books sold, different people). The thing is, with respect to Forest Gump's mother's words: Book signings are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

HELLO ROSEVILLE...Some of the past discussion/signings I went to drew a crowd, like one at Roseville. I invited a guest speaker and we fought for the microphone. My face turned red, at first. I am an ambivert. When dozens of people are staring at me and waiting for me to speak it can be a little unsettling. But when I'm on the radio, like Coast to Coast with George, I'm in my comfort zone and speak from the heart--and pray that my soothing, sexy voice comes out late at night, which it does more times than not. And that is why I am a repeat guest. I suppose the same happens at book signings where I'm face to face with people but deep inside my heart still goes pitter patter--not so much on the phone.

On the road is on my mind
So, this week on Saturday I will be returning to Roseville, outside of SAC. It's my job to dish on the perks of coffee which shouldn't be too difficult. I am a coffee lover. I never know if there will be a lot of people or if I will play meet and greet one on one. No matter since I've done both formats. Also, one time the community regional manager of a Barnes and Noble store invited guide dogs. Mistake. 
A different book signing upstaged by dogs
The canines got more attention and hugs so I simply put my pen down and bonded with a Great Dane who had attitude and didn't buy my book. 

This time around at Roseville, I'm going to offer a drawing for free bags of store coffee! The store will be offering my Healing Powers Series but coffee is the star--and they have a coffee bar. I used to take my fur kids, pups and adults...tomorrow they are going to the nice kennel: extra walks, nail trim for Skye, nice brushing, and a break for all one day/night. They do not know yet...and I haven't told them about Seattle-Vancouver. But they were so happy last trip...pampering is the trick.

A better version of a popular book
RENO, NEVADA ON JANUARY 3...Come January, it's off to Reno. I adore this bookstore. There is a mural of famous classic authors--the masters. This time around I will take a picture of it...and, of course, someone will take a pic of me signing books. It will be my new book, the 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. This book is my 2nd child, all grown up and has worked hard for me. I'm proud. And this book is more than 50 percent updated and revised. I'm talking new research, other healing oils, unusual home cures, recipes using olive oil, other oils and butter. Not to forget up close and very personal stories in each chapter.

Two days and one night Sleeping in Seattle 

SEATTLE/BELLEVUE... January 10. This is going to be a big event for me. I will be reading some stories which I include in each chapter, my favorite ones will be shared in front of folks. Recipes will be passed out as well as a question and answer segment. And, not only will the OLIVE OIL book be the highlight, my other books, including COFFEE, HONEY, and CHOCOLATE will be on the table. 
The signing will most likely be one that I will cherish and for my reward? Afterwards another visit to Canada is on the agenda. While it's only almost mid-November, I can feel the Pacific Northwest is going to make me do my happy dance with my dog duo. I'm already smiling each time I think of the trip up North. Taking a long train ride across the border to Canada; a high rise hotel in downtown Vancouver; visiting the Vancouver Aquarium and other sites has my mind and heart working over time for the day when it all happens. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Cozy Way of Flying to Canada

By Cal Orey
Booked for another Canada trip--
it's a peaceful and alive feeling  of excitement! 
UPDATE: Staying healthy on a plane takes smarts: Use a hand sanitizer wipes, stay clear of touching bathroom fixtures, don't touch face/nose, add moisture inside nose, keep hydrated with bottled water, and turn on vent low to medium to push away germs...

Montreal-PIerre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

 Scones, lattes, mean custom agent

Back in mid-September when I traveled from California to Quebec I admit I was a bit on edge about flying. I have been on airplanes, though. My first flight was with my sibling when I was 16: We went to Southern California for the Ontario car races.  It was a piece of cake. No anxiety. Then,  one year later, he came hitchhiking with me and we got a ride from Oakland to San Jose via a small plane. I rode shotgun. And that was the beginning of fun flying for me...
En route to SLC-a little bumpy but fun

Flying on the West Coast...  In my late teens, I flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back home again. Actually, I used to people watch or panhandle at SFO ("Spare change? I almost have enough money for my flight.") And from my grandma's in Arizona to San Jose--quick in contrast to hitchhiking through the Mojave desert! In my thirties, a grad student and budding journalist, I flew to Long Island to catch a ferry en route to Catalina Island. (I penned an article on motion sickness.) Later on, my writing took me to Hawaii three times and different island so small aircraft. The only concern was my ears felt like huge rocks were pushing on them while descending when coming back to SFO. In my forties, I went to British Columbia with a friend. Plane ride was fine, relationship shaky. Years later, a book tour took me to Seattle and back down to L.A.. even Tahoe to S.F. (small aircraft) to do a book signing in the City with geologist Jim Berkland. (I stayed at his house after; took a shuttle bus to SFO at 3:00 AM. It was surreal.) The only superturbulent flight was the regional plane from Reno-Tahoe International Airport to SeaTac for a book signing at the Seattle downtown bookstore. The minute I boarded the small plane with two seats on each side suited for the Wizard of Oz munchkins and a narrow middle aisle, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. And that it was. A man three times my size became my best friend during loud noise and the ongoing ups and downs. Once landed, several women with green faces fled the plane to the airport bathroom. But I survived. And there was the turbulent ride to Los Angeles and I thanked God I missed my plane back to Lake Tahoe. We drove home and it was smooth. Overall, I really don't have a mega fear of flying.

There is a sale on flights from Reno to Seattle: 
2 hours Economy De Havilland Dash 8 Turboprop for less than 200 bucks. No layover. The deal is, odds are that turbulence (or a wayward prop thrashing into the window) could be part of the special package, packed in like sardines.  Rather have a root canal,  power outage or swim in the cold Lake for hours than fly for 120 minutes on an amusement park ride-like plane ride. 

The Flying Formula for Comfort to Canada... These days, it's no wonder I have a formula that works for me. Big aircraft only and first class because I am too sensitive and need my space. I can feel the tension of people when the plane ascends and descends as well as when the pilot announces:  "It looks like we may have some rough air." But in first class I have more room to stretch out and tune out negative energy, sort of. Also, a window seat only.  Plus, you get to board first and get off the plane first. You are pampered a little more... We're talking big seats (I'm about 115 lbs.) with cozy blankets and a pillow. 

And, my fellow passengers amuse me. My last trip to Canada included conversing with a female doctor, a former criminal attorney, a software sales engineer, and a well-to-do woman from Lake Tahoe. The dangling conversations were stimulating--I made connections that led to tears and confessions that'll always move me. And yeah, as an author-intuitive I did dish out free readings and got their Sun Signs spot on. 
Airplane food (any class) doesn't work for me, being a vegetarian/vegan.  En route back to Tahoe one flight attendant felt sorry for me. She gave me purple grapes, Italian cookies, and orange juice. I'm high maintenance on ground and in the air. I crave hot tea but I read somewhere that the water isn't safe to drink... I did nurse little bottles of water given to me.
Salt Lake City International Airport
is small and rustic the way I like it 

I choose to go off the grid as much as possible. In other words, I do not take my computer. I do not let people know what flight I'm taking or where I'll be staying. This way, it gives me a sense of freedom--disconnecting. Perhaps, this is why I love flying to Canada. It takes me back to when I was young, carefree and without any responsibilities. Bliss.

Also, I have learned through my sixth sense and recent experience no short flight connections! Four days before I left for Quebec, I called the airline and changed my flight plan--and I'm glad I did. They had me on a 31 minute flight connection and a good luck, bring your running shoes agenda. If I missed it a domino effect with my other flights and hotels. I had a rap sheet because I called once a week asking if there was a new, improved flight plan. I caved and took the early bird special: Up at 2:00 AM! During the trip we had engine trouble two times; a fight in economy once--delays. Worse, I watched an elderly woman have a meltdown because due to a tight flight connection.  She cried. She screamed. She cried. She just wanted to go home from Atlanta to Mississippi. I had befriended her earlier when she was smiling and happy to be almost home. That woman could have been me.
Seattle-Tacoma Airport

Salt Lake City Airport to small and rustic--the way I like it. I found a restaurant that boasts the best salsa and warm corn chips. Another vendor offers salt water taffy--a bag for five dollars. It's a nice, comfy Utah airport that is doable to pass the time for a two hour layover--as I will have come January 2015 on the way to and back home from Seattle. I won't have a layover in Seattle. As before, I'll grab a cab and scramble through traffic to a hotel...a book signing. Then, it's on a train to Canada--my home away from home. It may be quicker to take a regional plane from Seattle to Vancouver but in the chilly PNW during wintertime it is too dicey. The wind and rain? Not going to chance it. A train ride seems the safer mode of transportation.

Going back to Canada... So, this time around no early morning flight for me in the beginning. I booked a noon-ish flight so I should be well-rested. But on the way back we're talking a 6:00 AM flight from Seattle. Translation: Up at 4:00 AM to go through all the changes but at least I will be back in U.S. I've decided the last night I'll play in Seattle. 
In retrospect I probably should have made a later flight but once on the airplane I'm awake and they say--the flight gurus-that it's the best time to fly for less rough air and being on time. And give me a good latte and bagel in the morning, I'm good to go. What's more, after a week away from my fur kids I will be eager to reunite. I hope my middle child--the Aussie--doesn't have attitude this time...
I've learned more is less. This time I'll take one smaller suitcase and carry-on.  I'll layer clothing, think simple: Skinny jeans, tees, sweaters, combat boots/sorels, neck scarves, hat, mittens, and sweater coat, and bathing suit. Done. I'm ready. The flight and hotels are booked but I'll probably switch the latter. Or not. Time is on my side.