About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae 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. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Nourishing Orange Hot Cocoa

Frothy hot cocoa with a hint of orange, and floral raw honey.

Hot cocoa was made for rainy days, for snowy days, or really for almost any type of day. There is something about wrapping your hands around a mug of creamy goodness and savoring the moment. The weather can be raging outside, yet in the warmth of your home with the mug in your hands, a stormy day can be delightful.

Have you ever eaten a chocolate orange? You know the orange flavored milk chocolate molded to look like an orange with individual segments. If you have found memories them, then this nourishing orange hot cocoa is for you!

I remember the first time I ate a chocolate orange, it was at a family Christmas gathering. A few cousins and I watched my dad crack it open. We all tried a piece but I sadly found it left wanting. Then one day I had a piece of fair-trade orange flavored dark chocolate and I was in love!

That bar of chocolate was just begging for a hot cocoa inspired by it to be made. This nourishing orange hot cocoa is rich, frothy, and slightly sweet, just like any good cocoa should be. My tried and true favourite is my classic hot cocoa, yet sometimes you want something a little different.

It has all the flavor of an orange chocolate bar in a mug, it with floral orange blossom raw honey (affiliate link). The honey blends perfectly with the cocoa while highlighting the lightness of the orange flavor. Orange blossom honey is more delicate when compared to the darker, more robust clover honey that you commonly find in stores.

The orange flavor can be achieved by either adding a drop of orange essential oil to the cocoa or a small amount of orange extract.

This recipe contains affiliate links to Amazon at no additional cost to you. 

Nourishing Orange Hot Cocoa

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 1/2 cups

Frothy hot cocoa with a hint of orange, and floral raw honey. This nourishing orange hot cocoa has all the flavor of an orange chocolate bar in a mug.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan. If you are using dairy careful not to let the milk curdle. For raw milk, it is best to not let it get any warmer than 110 F to preserve most of the beneficial properties of the raw milk. For frothy milk, use a milk frother.
  2. In a small bowl or mug mix the cocoa powder, raw honey, orange extract/essential oil, and vanilla extract. Stir with a fork or a small whisk until a smooth paste is formed.
  3. Divide the cocoa paste between two mugs. Pour in the milk and stir gently to mix.
  4. Serve each cup of cocoa with a generous dollop of whipped cream if desired and orange zest.

Courses Beverage

Nourishing Orange Hot Cocoa

2 1/2 cups raw milk (or milk substitute of choice)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract (or 4 drops sweet orange essential oil)
whipped cream (optional)
orange zest (optional)

Heat the milk in a small saucepan. If you are using dairy careful not to let the milk curdle. For raw milk, it is best to not let it get any warmer than 110 F to preserve most of the beneficial properties of the raw milk. For frothy milk, use a milk frother.

In a small bowl or mug mix the cocoa powder, raw honey, orange extract/essential oil, and vanilla extract. Stir with a fork or a small whisk until a smooth paste is formed.

Divide the cocoa paste between two mugs. Pour in the milk and stir gently to mix.

Serve each cup of cocoa with a generous dollop of whipped cream if desired and orange zest.

What is your favourite type of hot cocoa?

 

The Introvert’s Guide to Hospitality- 6 Essential Tips for the Introverted Hostess

5 Essential Tips for the Introverted Hostess-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Hospitality, the simple act of inviting someone into your home to partake in life. Your simple, beautiful, messy, and broken life, and the grace-filled journey that we are all on.

A cup of tea with scones, a mug of coffee, and a slice of shortbread. It doesn’t need to be complicated. All it may be is bearing your soul to a kindred spirit sitting on the other side of the couch.

The introvert in me thrives on simple. I genuinely enjoy people and I, despite what introverts seem to be known for, enjoy having people in my home.

My years in Mexico taught me to savor people and their company. A dorm mama of many needed company to mix up the day, even if was just a friend and her niece. Really when you have 16 girls, adding one or two more to the mix doesn’t really feel like that much more.

Sometimes people dropped in the midst of kimchi making or cloth pad making. I learned to embrace it and go with it, even when the puzzled questions as to what I was making came about…

Birthdays, random tea parties, outdoor picnics, I love them all! I am a casual gal, so I thrive on simple and comfortable occasions.

These 6 essential tips for the introverted hostess are the perfect way to get your feet wet when inviting people into your home!

1.  Start Small

No one ever said that you needed to have all of your extended family or the entire Sunday School class over for a meal. While that may be a wonderful goal at some point, it does not need to be the first feat you tackle when you are easing your way into inviting people into your home.

Start with a girlfriend, or just a couple. Once you are comfortable with that, then you can dive into the world of having larger groups.

2. Start with the Familiar

As an introvert, we by nature have an easier time conversing with those that know us well. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s who we are.

It is okay to start with the familiar when you are learning to extend hospitality. Invite people who know you well first, then over time you can make the bold move to invite those who are in need of hospitality or those you don’t know well.

Good friends are usually happy to be genie pigs. They already accept you for how you are, and as time goes on you will continue to develop the art of being comfortable with having others in your home.

3. Keep it Simple

Who ever said that welcoming people into your home needed to be a fancy affair?

Throw off the advice of 1950s TV show and handbooks (though I dearly gleaning from them at times) and keep things simple. You don’t have to have a full-blown dinner party where people are dressed to the nines.

It can be as simple as having a friend over for a coffee date, or tea and scones, which is my personal favourite. Some of the deepest conversations have been had over a cup of tea with a friend in my living room.

Create a semi-calm environment.

This really depends on who you are having over. If a friend came over in the late evening, after the kids were in bed, my soothing playlist and a pot of tea were the essentials for a quiet chat with a friend.

5 Essential Tips for the Introverted Hostess-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

4. Have a Set Menu

If you are having someone over for a meal, cook what you love. 

One of my go-to meals is a Mexican meal of beans, rice, meat, and corn tortillas (bought), with fresh salsa.

Beans can simmer in the crock pot all day, white rice, let’s just be honest here showcases flavors better takes less than 30 minutes to cook. I often use my salsa base in my rice. Ground meat is fast cooking and perfect to toss with any verity of vegetables hanging out in the fridge.

You can even make some of it with your guests there.While it sounds complicated, it’s not.

My mom is known for delighting people with soup, homemade bread, and a salad.

The simple things that we love to cook are always best.

If you aren’t up for hosting a dinner, game nights are always a win in my book.

Games can be fast passed or a bit slower. Fast passed games keep you on your toes and don’t require much talking. Slower ones give you time to bond over a relaxing game.

Popcorn, iced tea, and another drink like kombucha, are all you need to keep people happy.

For my not so little clan birthdays consisted of joining us for pizza, ice cream, lots of laughter, and maybe a movie.

Tea? Sure fancy dresses are fun but that’s not how I roll so tea might just be, getting out some blankets, a couple types of scones, and a pot of tea with lots of sunshine.

Can you tell I am a fan of tea and scones? I even wrote a book about making your own simple, nourishing teas and tea time treats!

5. Forget the Perfect House

Invite people into your crazy.

In my years as a dorm mom, I had up to 16 girls running around. There was rarely a quiet moment. Granted, most of the people I had over were staff that were like family but I loved it!

With 18 people sharing the same, very small living space is was never 100% clean or fancy, unless you count the ten minutes on a Saturday when we were just finished cleaning. Ten minutes might even be pushing it.

Give up on perfect, that’s okay. It lets people get a glimpse into the everyday life.

Do I believe in trying to maintain an organized space? Yes but I’ve given up on perfect. As long as our living area where people were joining us was neat(ish) I was fine.

5 Essential Tips for the Introverted Hostess-www.NourishingSimplicity.org

6. Make a Recovery Plan

Be sure to allow yourself (and family) time to recover.

Have planned out what you will do after everyone goes home. Maybe it’s a cup of tea and a good book. Is it a movie with the kids? A relaxing bath with a piece of dark chocolate?

Do whatever it takes for you and your family to wind down, and rejuvenate. Remember, the goal is to want to continue to extend hospitality to others. It is not to feel burned out and want to mentally run away and the mere thought of having people over again.

Do you enjoy inviting people into your home? If not, what is holding you back?

Simple 3 Ingredient All-Purpose Cleaner

simple-3-ingredient-all-purpose-cleaner

Clean, fresh smelling homes. Sparkling countertops. No harsh chemicals.

It sounds nice, doesn’t it? You want to clean your home with non-toxic cleaners, unfortunately, most of the ones you find are expensive.

You have thought of making your own household cleaning products, but you are intimidated.

“What if you waste ingredients, or what if they don’t turn out?”

Push those fears aside. You can conquer those fears with three, that’s right three simple ingredients, water, distilled white vinegar, and an essential oil.

It is as simple as that. 

Water is practically free, woohoo! Purified, filtered water is best.

Distilled white vinegar disinfects and deodorizes, killing 99 percent of bacteria, 80 percent of viruses (germs) and 82 percent of mold. (Source) You will be paying no more than a few dollars for a gallon of white vinegar at your local grocery store.

Essential oils are used in tiny proportions so even a small bottle goes a long way. They add an antibacterial and disinfectant cleaning power.

Essential Oils for Cleaning: 

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)
  • Eucalyptus

Glass bottles are best when making your own cleaners. Essential oils and vinegar will break down plastic bottles over time.

This simple 3 ingredient all-purpose cleaner is perfect for cleaning kitchen and bathroom counter tops, the outside of toilets, mirrors, and so much more! It frees up space in your cabinet, which is a win! Now your cabinets won’t be overflowing with bottles! To simplify even more, you can store the cleaner, along with a few other cleaning essentials in a caddy, so you can carry your supplies from room to room! Beauty is simplifying.

Simple 3 Ingredient All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1 glass spray bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops essential oil(s)

Pour the water and vinegar into the glass spray bottle. Add the essential oil(s) of your choice. Screw in the sprayer and give it a good shake to combine.

Shake before use.

simple-3-ingredient-all-purpose-cleaner-2

Right now with Grove Collaborative you can be half way there to making your own simple 3 ingredient all purpose cleaner! 

They have a special offer for first-time customers when place your first order of $20. Here’s what’s in the set:

  • Free Grove Collaborative Enamel Cleaning Caddy
  • Free Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle
  • Free Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges
  • Free Now Essential Oil (Orange)

The set is worth $40, plus you get free shipping!

Existing customers get a set of Free Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges.

I have a few of these Grove Collaborative glass spray bottles and I love them. They are so pretty. I started stashing all my bottles and supplies in the enamel cleaning caddy. It’s handy to carry around the house to take it where ever I need it! Non-toxic cleaning just got even easier! 

That’s what Grove is all about: making creating a healthy, beautiful home effortless and affordable. Tell Grove what you like, and they’ll deliver a box of fabulous natural products (carbon offset) right to your doorstep, on your schedule. Each month, you’ll get an email reminding you to add any items you’re running low on to your shipment. I love that I no longer have to make mad dashes to the store for dish soap or toilet paper!

This offer ends Sunday, January 15th and supplies are limited, so here’s how to get yours now:  

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the Toxin-Free Kit for free when you sign up! Existing customers will receive free Grove Walnut Scrubber Sponges with your next order.
  1. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your first basket — this takes under 30 seconds!
  2. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.
  3. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.
  4. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Tip to save: Once you’ve submitted your Grove order, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. As a VIP, you’ll get free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service. It’s a great way to try out Grove and discover some new products you’ll love! If you don’t want to keep the VIP shipping it’s easy to cancel! 

7 Convenience Foods to Buy When You Have the Flu or Food Poisoning

 Convenience Foods to Buy When You Have the Flu or Food Poisoning

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Where everyone is queasy, bowels are irritated, and the stomach flu abounds…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Obviously, there is nothing wonderful about the stomach flu (or food poisoning).

I try my best to stay healthy but unfortunately working at a school catches up with me at times. This is the second time I have had the stomach flu in a year. Bless those kiddos hearts, they just love to share.

In a picture perfect world, I would have everything I need on hand to nurture my body when it needs healing the most. That was not the case earlier this week.

My usual go tos would be bone broth, homemade kombucha, and fresh coconut water. I was out of broth and had no coconuts on hand. Nor did I have the energy to attempt to make anything.

That is what I am grateful for convenience foods that can be found at many grocery stores.

7 Convenience Foods to Buy When You Have the Flu or Food Poisoning

1. Coconut Water

Coconut water is one of the first things I reach for when I am recovering from the stomach flu or food poisoning. It is gentle on the stomach and full of electrolytes to replenish minerals and keep you hydrated.

2. Egg Drop Soup

Egg drop soup is a perfect recovery food. While I prefer to make my own there are times I have no energy to even try to make it. Most quality Chinese restaurants make their both from scratch. It may not have simmered for as many hours as bone broth but, it is still full of wholesome minerals and vitamins.

The broth is gentle on a sensitive stomach. It is full of gelatin, which just what a weak stomach and distressed bowels need.

The eggs and broth give you a bit of protein to keep your body going, and if you are like me to ward off a headache from lack of protein.

If you are concerned about the use of MSG, ask your local restaurant to make it without. Many are happy to oblige.

3.  Carbonated Water

Bubbles are delightfully soothing for an upset stomach. I remember the days when my mom would give us 7up growing up. Carbonated water is great way to get the same effect without the added sugar.

If you can muster up a bit of energy you can add unrefined salt and vanilla stevia for an electrolyte cream “soda”. You could also add lemon juice and plain stevia.

4. Ginger Ale

Speaking of bubbles, ginger ale from companies like Zevia are another convenience food that I discovered.

I am not am not sold on Erythritol but, I am comfortable enough with it to have it on occasions like when the stomach flu or food poising strike.

5. White Rice

White rice is easy on the stomach and a simple way to start adding calories to your body again. Rice cookers make cooking rice easy but who wants to clean up the pot when you are barely able to lift a finger?

Guess what? They sell packets of cooked rice at the store. I never tossed my microwave because it is wonderful for heating up wheat/rice packs to keep you warm. They are also handy for heating up those rice packets. (Yes, I know microwaves are evil but, life…)

6. Kombucha

Once again, bubbles. Kombucha is naturally carbonated which right off makes it a nice thing for your sensitive stomach. It is also full of probiotics which is a win when your gut is not running at it’s finest.

I prefer to make my own but I have found that it is now sold at all of my local grocery stores.

7. Gelatin

If I could have nothing else, I would pick gelatin to as my top convenience food to use when I have the flu or food poisoning. Before I could muster up the energy to pick up anything from the store I was adding powdered gelatin to warm water this week.

In all honesty, I use gelatin every day in my tea or coffee but when I am sick, I add it to almost everything I drink. It soothes the gut and stomach and adds needed protein and gelatin to your body.

Right now I am using Perfect Supplements, one of my new favourite brands of gelatin.

What are your go-to convenience foods to buy when you have the flu or food poisoning?

 

Nourishing Ramen Bowl

nourishing-ramen-bowl

Savory, salty broth, full of noodles just waiting to be slurped up.

Ramen noodles, we’ve all had them right? Those hard little bricks of fried noodles and MSG ladened spice packets. Most of us probably even had quite a fondness for them.

I’m not going to lie, they were a favourite of mine for several years. My mom drew the limit at twice a week. I actually remember thinking about how when I grew up that I would eat them whenever I wanted to because, well I would be an adult. Please, please tell me I am not alone in this confession!

Dear twelve-year-old self, you WILL change your mind, trust me on this one.

But wait for just a minute. Ramen noodles are the perfect, simple meal for busy days when you are craving savory broth. Plus who can resist noodles?

What is a gal to do?

With a few simple ingredients, you can create a nourishing ramen bowl that is actually good for you!

This almost from scratch noodle bowl only takes a little bit longer than those packets you once adored. The key- fresh broth kept in the fridge and store bought noodles.

I try to keep homemade bone broth in my refrigerator at all times. It is full of so many vitamins and gelatin. Bone broth makes your homemade soups go from tasty to extraordinary. Seriously. Once you ditch the carton, it’s hard to go back. All you need is leftover chicken bones and water.

Homemade noodles are awesome. I even bought a book about making your own homemade ramen noodles. I drool over the pages but most of us don’t have time or energy to make our own. Offer yourself some grace and use store bought udon noodles, you can make homemade noodles another day.

Nourishing Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

Soup:

2 quarts chicken broth
8 oz udon noodles
1 TBS yellow or white miso paste

Toppings:

Chicken

1 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs, pounded flat
2 TBS coconut oil
1 tsp unrefined salt

Vegetables

4 fresh green onions
2 cup bean sprouts

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, add the miso paste, stirring until dissolved. Add the udon noodles and cook until done, about ten minutes.

While the noodles are cooking, place the chicken thighs between two pieces of parchment paper. Using a meat pounder or a rubber hammer, pound the chicken thighs until flat.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with the salt.

Heat a skillet with the coconut oil in it on medium high. Add the chicken thighs to skillet. Cook until lightly golden on both sides, about 3-5 minutes.

Cut one thigh to be sure there is no pink and that the meat is completely cooked.

Slice the thighs into thin strips.

Slice the green onions into one-inch strips.

Spoon the noodles and broth into large soup bowls. Top with the chicken strips, sliced green onions, and bean sprouts.

nourishing-ramen-bowl-2

How about you, did you like ramen noodles growing up? What is your favourite quick soup to make?