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It Takes A Village plus Stella Rosso

We’ve all heard that raising children takes a village.

Not all that long ago, mothers staying home with their children was the norm. As was having a community of stay at home mothers all up and down the street.

These mothers relied on one another, kept watch of each other’s children (even fixin’ up a stack of PB&J’s to feed whatever children remained in their own yard come lunch time), and gave one another total breaks by assuming responsibility for the kids so grocery shopping or house cleaning could be done without loading kids in/out of the car or having them under feet.

Leisurely summer afternoons were spent sipping tea or lemonade and having adult conversation while the kids played together outside.

Grandmother’s, aunts, cousins all lived nearby.

At any given time there were a dozen or more options for a set of extra hands.

AND – maybe even more shockingly – kids more or less entertained themselves.

My how times have changed!

It still takes a village to raise children but more mothers (maybe most of them?) have returned to work. Gone are the days when a dozen or more stay at home moms lined the street of every neighborhood, all willing to pitch in (and having the time to do so) when a fellow mother needed help.

I spent time reflecting on this yesterday, as a held a fussy baby on the heels of 2 hours of sleep (sleep I happened to catch before midnight) the prior night. I thanked GOD for the little bit of “village” we have been able to secure for ourselves (an answer to prayer, no doubt) here in Colorado sans all the family living nearby.

Not long after the foster kiddos entered our lives (though, in the moment it felt like MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS) GOD placed the most incredible people in our lives. A fellow foster family with a mama who was pregnant and looking to stay home with her baby. This family needed a little extra income. I needed a break for my emotional and physical wellbeing and ‘foster approved’ child care for the kids.

They invited us over for dinner and we became fast friends. The best of friends. The family here in Colorado we have made for ourselves.

I feel certain we could not have managed without them.

We frequently provide dinner for each other…and wine…and coffee…and other special treats.

Because raising kids is HARD (raising foster kids adds a layer of difficulty) and it takes a village.

It also takes a lot of really good coffee and even better wine.

Enter Stella Rosso.

This bottle made its way home alongside the diaper bag one evening after a particularly LONG week of minimal sleep and toddler behavioral issues.

I’ve loved all Stella Rosa wines that have come through my kitchen so had no fear when popping the cork on this bottle.

What I didn’t expect was for it to totally blow my mind.

Seriously one of my new favs.

A sparkling, sweet, fruity, bubbly glass of heaven on my deck while the littles work to burn off the last of their wiggles (LOL – like that’s even possible with their endless supply of energy) at the end of the day….as I sit in a chair basking in the warmth of the spring sunshine.

Speaking of spring sunshine, sounds like that’s on its way out as yet another ridiculous winter storm rolls in off the mountains.

More snow. More wind. More cold.

The groundhog seriously killed it with his prediction this year, huh?









Anyway, do yourself a favor before the storm, or at minimum, before the weekend, and hunt down a bottle of Stella Rosso.

I seriously doubt you’ll be disappointed.


Side Note: I receive no compensation for the shout out to Stella Rosa wines. I am nobody to them. I just want to share the best of things with my peeps…that’s all 🙂






Smoked Sausage, Peppers & Onions Hash

I’m not in love with this new <temporary> dairy free lifestyle.

Emphasis on “temporary”, along with the love of my little man and I’m sticking with it.

I don’t feel better as a result of eliminating dairy from my diet though many people said I would. Maybe it’s because exhaustion simply cancels out any opportunity to “feel better” otherwise.

So, the week it was determined that I go “dairy free”, I’d already done all my meal planning, grocery shopping and food prep for the week ahead. Additionally, I’d spent the weekend prior killing myself in the kitchen re-stocking our freezer meal supply.

As you might have guessed – nearly everything on the menu (and tucked in the freezer) contained dairy of some variety.

Cheese. Sour Cream. Milk. Butter.

Our budget (and my time) didn’t allow to simply start all over so the family ate what was prepped (including what might have been the most glorious lasagna I’d ever put together). I ate an abundance of salads and sandwiches.


Toward the end of that week I simply couldn’t stomach another sandwich or salad so I rooted around the fridge and freezer to see what else was on hand that I could throw together, sans dairy.

A ring of smoked sausage, some frozen hash browns and a couple peppers and onion did just the trick!

Because this is a throw together recipe, it’s versatile. And the addition of some scrambled or fried eggs on top make for a delicious next day breakfast.

Smoked Sausage, Peppers & Onions Hash

  • 1 lb ring smoked sausage, cubed
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Warm cooking oil in frying pan and add peppers and onion.
Sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add frozen hash browns to the pan
Cook until hash browns are nearly done, then add smoked sausage to warm though
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Top with a scrambled or fried egg

Hope you enjoyed your weekend and if the weather wherever you are was as beautiful as it was here you got some much needed sunshine and fresh air.

We took advantage and grilled a couple of nights.

It felt like summer.

It was amazing.

Hugs and Love-

Beef and Hashbrown Mexican Casserole

I’ve got another casserole recipe coming your way today. A Mexican casserole, to be exact!

A popular mis-conception about casseroles is that they aren’t healthy. This may, in fact, be true depending on the kinds of ingredients you plan to use. But here on Simply Writeous, I really strive to share good and healthy dishes you can serve your family without guilt. Doesn’t mean I always hit the mark – but this one surely does!

This particular recipe was adopted from a recipe posted by The Midnight Baker on her blog. In true Simply Writeous fashion, I changed it up a bit by adding and omitting ingredients from the original.

One of my favorite things is the cheesy, bell-peppery, hashbrown topping. My picture doesn’t reveal this bit of detail but it’s got just a bit of wonderful crunch. A texture I’m never mad at when it comes to casseroles.

Let’s gather some ingredients and get the ball rolling!

Beef & Hashbrown Mexican Casserole: Ingredients

1.5-2 lbs ground beef or turkey
Small onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
Small can red enchilada sauce (or home-make your own, following this recipe by Skinny Taste, to avoid preservatives)
Small can diced tomatoes, drained (straight out of the pantry, home-canned from the garden)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
2 cups cheese, shredded (any variety cheddar, or Mexican blend will do)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 bag frozen, shredded hashbrowns, thawed

Beef & Hashbrown Mexican Casserole: Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray casserole dish with cooking spray
Brown hamburger (or turkey) with chopped onion and half of the chopped bell peppers (1/4 cup each, green & red)
In large bowl stir together hashbrowns, melted butter, remaining bell peppers, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and 1 cup cheese.
Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and 1 cup shredded cheese to browned meat. Stir until it’s all mixed together
Pour meat, etc. mixture into casserole dish
Top with hashbrowns
Bake for 20-25’ish minutes at 375 degrees
Switch oven over to broil for 5 additional minutes to really brown and crisp up the top layer of hashbrowns
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and serve!

Serve alongside some chips and guac…and a nice margarita if you’re feeling especially saucy!

And, you guessed it! This dish can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to warm (you’ll want to tack on 5-10 more min to the warming time). It can also be prepped as a freezer meal.