About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day.

Simple Homemade Italian Sausage

 Simple Homemade Italian Sausage- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Italian sausage is simply amazing! I can’t get enough of the savory and sometimes spicy meat. It makes pasta sauces shine and pizza delightful.

While living in Mexico I couldn’t just run to the store to buy Italian sausage when ever I had a craving for it. I could have bought it in the States on my every few month trip but that would have gotten pricey so instead I started to buy ground chicken or turkey to make my own.

I really do enjoy a good pork sausage but a good healthy option has never been easy for me to find so I took to making my sausages with ground chicken or turkey. Both have a mild enough flavor palate to take on the flavor of the herbs and seasonings similar to pork. The key when using a fowl instead of pork is adding a little extra fat when you cook it. You could use ground beef or some other game, which I have done but the flavor of those meats have a stronger flavor.

Someday I have dreams of making my own sausage links and building a smoker. That requires buy a meat grinder, sausage stuffer and having a place to build the smoker. Non of those are in the budget right now but someday….

What I love about making your own loose sausage is that it is a frugal option that is easy to make at home. You don’t have to have any special equipment (even if you really want it).

This simple homemade Italian sausage may be my favourite sausage that I make (sorry, breakfast sausage crumbles). For years I made Italian sausage but they flavor was never quite right. Then one day while savoring and (dissecting) a bowl of Zupa Tusscana at Olive Garden I noticed a few fennel seeds in the sausage they used in the soup. The next time I made Italian sausage I added fennel seeds and realized that fennel seed was what had been missing all those years. Why I never googled it I’ll never know.

I frequently use this sausage in my own version of Zuppa Tuscana, on my soaked whole-wheat pizza, on top of my garlic pasta with fresh peas , tomato sauce or my friend, The Nourishing Gourmet’s yellow split-pea and Italian sausage stew.

When I’m on top of my game I make a large batch of this sausage, portion it out in approximately 1 pound potions in freezer bags. I stick them in the freezer and they are ready to defrost last minute for what ever recipe I want to use it in. You could also make them into logs of raw sausage, defrost and cook when you want to.

Simple Homemade Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork
  • 2 TBS olive oil (if you are using pork you may not need the added oil)
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  1. Mix the ground meat, salt, and herbs together in a bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil to a medium-sized skillet, warm over medium high heat.
  3. Once the skillet is hot add the meat mixture.
  4. Stir continuously to break the meat into small pieces. Cook until done, about 5-8 minutes.

 What is your favourite dish to use Italian sausage in?

Raspberry Hot Cocoa

Raspberry Hot Cocoa Dairy-free- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

(This recipe was originally posted on March 21, 2011. It has been updated to share with you today.)

Have you ever eaten a dark chocolate filled with oozing with raspberry filling? They are.so.good! Dark chocolate and raspberries are one of the greatest sweet pairings. My friend Debra of Worth Cooking‘s honey raspberry candies make me think of those tasty chocolates.

A few years ago a delicious box of tea made its way into my hands, raspberry earl grey. Earl grey was already at the top of my list so this I couldn’t wait to try it. As I sat there taking my first sips of the new in the chaos of 16 girls playing in a small house in the middle of winter it occurred to me that it would taste AMAZING in my coconut milk hot cocoa.

Let me tell you it.is.absolutly.devine! It is all I dreamed of and more!

This cocoa is dairy free, refined sugar-free, low sugar and can easily be made vegan if you swap the raw honey for maple syrup. Each serving has about 1 1/2 tsp of sugar, making it a decidedly rich and decadent treat but not overly sweet, just right. Perfect for a cool, rainy day like today!

Since this hot cocoa is made from coconut milk the oils tend to separate and float to the top. Don’t be alarmed, simply stir them back in and continue drinking.

If are still craving dark chocolate and raspberries but don’t feel like making hot cocoa, this raspberry nib chocolate from TAZA is about as good as it gets! I found a bar at Marshal’s that I slowly savored but you can buy it on Amazon as well because what isn’t on there? ;)

Raspberry Hot Cocoa
Serves: 5 servings
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 bag raspberry earl grey tea
  • 2 TBS honey or palm sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium-sized sauce pot bring the water to a boil and then turn off. Add tea bags and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.
  2. Add coconut milk and return to low heat.Until hot, remove from the heat.
  3. In a small bowl or cup whisk together the cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract to make a paste.
  4. Pour the paste into the hot liquid, stirring until smooth.

This post is part of Hearth and Soul , Tempt my Tummy Tuesday This Weeks Cravings, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fat Tuesday, 

How to Make Sizzling Rice Soup

How to Make Sizzing Rice Soup

A steaming bowl of chicken broth is brought to the table. As the server pours crisped rice into the bowl the air is filled with the sound of sizzling and popping. It’s sizzling rice soup, one of my favourite soups at any Chinese restaurant. It is light and full of flavor. The crispy rice adds a fun crunch with each bite.

Have you ever noticed how it’s hard to not have “just on more bite” when you go to a Chinese restaurant? There are many great chefs in those places, crafting amazing dishes but the “need” to have more is often connected to the addition of monosodium glutamate better known as MSG. It’s what makes cheap Chinese taste better than it is and quality food burst with even more flavor.

When I get Chinese food out I have gotten into the habit of ordering it without added MSG, I’ve noticed that the dishes that once had spot-on, beyond tasty flavor suddenly lack salt and that extra bit of flavor that I had come to expect.

The key to dishes that might normally rely on MGS is to create umami. It’s the “5th taste”. Umami when translated from Japanese can mean “delicious” or “pleasant savory taste”. A Japanese man discovered that the flavor that made food taste so good was L-glutamate. He later went on to create a stable form of it that we now know as MSG.

Want to learn more about umami? Kimi of The Nourishing Gourmet wrote an article on it for Mother Nature Network.

How do you create a natural umami flavor in foods like this sizzling rice soup? The key is in rich homemade chicken stock and naturally fermented soy sauce (or tamari) both of which contain L-glutamate or umami. I love that these flavors can easily be crafted in your own kitchen!

Sizzling rice soup is really not that hard to make, the most difficult part is the rice cakes which you can make ahead of time and the give a quick fry before you add them to your hot soup.

If you don’t have the time to fry the rice cakes you can add them to the soup five minutes before removing it from the heat, you’ll be missing the signature sizzle but the slight crunch will still be there.  Another thought would be to add leftover rice to the soup five minutes before serving. It won’t be quite as fun but the flavor will still be there.

However you fix the soup it is still going to be delicious, making your tongue and stomach very happy. Now I want another bowl of this sizzling rice soup!

How to Make Sizzling Rice Soup
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb thinly sliced chicken breast, velveted
  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts slices, drained
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 8 "sizzling rice cakes"
  1. Pour the chicken broth into a medium sized sauce pot. Add the ginger and garlic. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  2. While the broth is simmering, slice and velvet the chicken. *
  3. Add the chicken, spinach, water chestnuts, soy sauce and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Ladle into individual bowls and top with a sizzling rice cake.
  6. * If you do not desire to velvet the chicken add to the soup 3 minutes before you add the remaining ingredients.

Sizzling Rice Cakes
  • 2 cups cold cooked white rice
  • 4 cups coconut oil/palm shortening/tallow
  1. Shape the rice into small flat disks about 2 inches across and ¼ inch thick.
  2. Place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 250 F for 1 hour or until completely dry.
  4. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Break a small piece off of one rice cake. Throw it in the oil. If is puffs up in less than 10 seconds you will know that the oil is hot enough.
  6. Gently place a rice cake in the oil. Once it puffs remove immediately from the oil. Place on a paper towel or cloth towel to drain.
  7. Fry only enough rice cakes for the amount of soup that you will be serving.
  8. Store the remaining rice cakes (if there are any in a glass container) for up to a month. Fry the cakes as needed.
  9. Add to a hot bowl of soup and listen for the sizzle!


Simple Herbal Muscle Rub

Simple Herbal Muscle Rub- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Have you been lifting heavy things recently? Maybe trying out a new work our routine? If you have, it’s likely that you have experienced sore muscles.

I used to be an avid hiker when I lived in Mexico. Now that I live in the Central Valley of California there is nothing but flat land. A few weeks ago I met up with some friends to go hiking near the coast. My once toned muscles were in pain the next day!

Even people who have desk jobs feel the strain and tension in their back and neck from a day at a computer or doing paper work.

You are in pain, you want to sooth the ache so you can function like a normal person again. What do you do? Do you reach for the tube of muscle rub full of questionable ingredients? You could do that, or you could make a simple rub that heals the body with God given herbs. One way I like to ease the ache is to use an arnica tincture, another way is to make your own muscle rub. Join me over at Traditional Cooking School to learn how!


My Favourite Things- St. Valentine’s Day

My Favourite Things- St. Valentine's Edtition

Happy St. Valentine’s Day! This day always evoacs a verity of emotions. While many focus on making this the ultimate day for romance others look at their rough marriages or singleness and wish the day away.

As a single gal, I’m not spending the day “in the land of if only”. Instead I am looking at today as a reminder that it is another gift from our Savior, the ultimate example of love. When I was in Mexico I spent the day with my girls decorting with hearts, drinking hot cocoa, nibbling on a special treat or two and telling them the story of why we celebrate this day. If you have never heard the story, it’s worth reading!

A fun treat for the kids (and adults) is to listen to the Adventure’s In Oddessy’s story of St. Valentine called “The Last I Do”, you can download and listen to it today!

Valentine Books

The Story of Valentine’s Day
One Heart (A Valentine Coloring Book)
Hug Time
Saint Valentine
My Valentine for Jesus

Tasty Treats and Books

Coconut Milk Hot Cocoa
Simple Homemade Mocha
Raspberry Hot Cocoa (dairy-free)
Classic Hot Cocoa
Chocolate Mousse
Basic Scones (soaked)
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (soaked and sprouted)
Vanilla Maple Whipped Cream

Sales and Deals


Amanda of TruthPics  has wonderful, inspirational graphics on in her etsy shop! You can save 10% when you use the coupon code LOVE2015 through 2/15/15! Be sure to check it out, I am loving everything I looked at!


How do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day?