Microwave Chicken Enchiladas (for one)

To continue my love for the Microwave Pasta Cooker, I recently made chicken enchiladas. I love love love me some enchiladas and I also love how you can mix in whatever fillings you like and whatever you have on hand!

Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 9.40.03 AMChicken Enchiladas
Serves 1

1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken
2 tablespoons black beans
1 tablespoon canned green chiles
1 tablespoon Pantry Southwestern Seasoning
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese, divided
3 6-inch flour tortillas
1/4 cup red enchilada sauce, divided

  1. In the Small Glass Mixing Bowl, mix the chicken, beans, chiles, Southwestern Seasoning and 1/4 cup cheese with the Small Mix ‘N Scraper until combined.
  2. Place the tortillas on a plate and microwave 30 seconds or until soft.
  3. Divide the filling between the three tortillas and roll up.
  4. Pour 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce in the Microwave Pasta Cooker and spread to cover the bottom.
  5. Place the three filled tortillas on top of the sauce, then pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  6. Cover with the lid and microwave 2:30. Remove the lid and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with the lid and return to the warm microwave for 1 minute.
  7. Remove the lid and serve.



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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Pushing Pause

series 6I’ve been feeling increasingly guilty that I haven’t been updating my blog on a regular basis.

As most of you know, during the day I work as a client services manager for a financial planning firm, hence my #financebydayfoodiebynight hashtag on Instagram!

In order for me to assist further with our clients, we decided it would be a great move for me to get licensed! With that though comes over 100 hours of study in addition to working full-time, navigating Pampered Chef’s busiest selling season and having a life! As if I weren’t already busy enough!

The good news is that I am hoping to take the FINRA exam (and pass!) in the beginning of February. Until then, most of my spare time is dedicated to studying for it. Which means, in the meantime, sadly, updating my blog will suffer the biggest hit.

The good news is that I am super excited for 2019! I have been feeling better than ever (my doctors said it would be 4-6 months before I’d feel back to normal and we are coming up on month #4 in a week!) I have great content planned that I can’t wait to share, I’m scheduling live and virtual Pampered Chef parties (need to set one up? Contact me here) and I’m LIVE on Facebook every Friday at 5pm with Cocktails with Colleen. So don’t give up on me!

To keep you in the loop, I have been keeping up with my Instastories on Instagram so please follow me over there to see what I’m up to and to cheer me on along the way.

I’ll be back before you know it with food and fun!  Happy New Year!

Baked Granola Bars

img_4550I love having a little something to snack on mid-morning when I’m at the office. Usually I pick up some Enjoy Life bars when I’m at the store but they didn’t have any when I was there today.

Plus, you get five in a box and at $5.99/box, they aren’t a bargain! So I decided to pull out my Snack Bar Maker and make my own! I was able to make them GF/DF using GF oatmeal and Enjoy Life mini morsels.

img_4551I used this recipe and it was so easy! Why don’t I made these every week? And I’m super happy to have this week’s snacks ready to go!




Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Easy White Rosette Cake

img_4507Wednesday was my friend and neighbor’s birthday. Tonight the girls are getting together for a little celebration!

I had planned to bring my 7-Layer Mediterranean Dip but decided this afternoon to make her a cake instead!

I’ve made this cake a handful of times and it always turns out just perfectly. Since it’s made in the microwave, it’s very, very light. I also took a shortcut and used tub frosting. These decorating bags make decorating anything a breeze. Plus, you can use any brand of tips with them.

When scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post about vodka-infused frosting and obviously it intrigued me! I thought about giving that a try but then realized there would be a handful of kids there! Guess I’ll be giving that a go at another time!

Let the party begin!


Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!


I FINALLY had my parathyroidectomy last Friday! It feels like it’s been such a long road. While I was really just diagnosed last September, I’m so thankful to be on the healing end.

The last year has been such an education. And I learned more in the last two weeks than I have in the last year! While the dietary changes have helped me feel immensely better, they weren’t enough to cure my disease or even slow down it’s progression.

When my doctor suggested I see an endocrinologist, I thought it would be easy to get in to see one. Not so much. The local one here had a several month wait time and thankfully through some connections with my brother, I was able to see an incredible doctor in Philadelphia. He explained the disease so thoroughly and helped Bill and I to really understand how it’s been effective me both physically and emotionally. He also said that it wasn’t my diet that caused it… it’s just something I’m predisposed to. He also said that in his opinion, it needed to be removed sooner rather than later.

He referred me to the surgeon who was just as wonderful. He explained everything even more clearly and after the appointment I had such a sense of relief and justification that everything I’ve been feeling for at least the last two years was due to this and not every excuse I was making. When I was exhausted I’d blame it on working so much. When I was depressed I blamed it on being sad about losing my dad. When I was achy I blamed it on working out too much or not working out enough. When I didn’t feel well, I blamed it on something I ate. And all this time it was something in my neck the size of a grain of rice that was the culprit.

Before I met with the surgeon, I did my research and one of the biggest themes was to be sure to ask the dr to check all 4 parathyroid glands to make sure there wasn’t more than one infected. Thankfully the dr explained that there was no need for that now, due to modern medicine!

After my appointment I felt so at ease and knew we were definitely on the right track. And we scheduled it to happen 3 days later. Which I was very thankful for… I didn’t need a month of thinking about it.

I was scheduled for 1pm surgery and needed to arrive at 11:30am. We actually made great time in traffic and arrived an hour early.  When you check in you get a number that corresponds with a big board in the waiting area. It kind of looks like the arrivals and departures monitors at the airport. Each patient has a number and next to it is their current status: pre-op, in surgery, post-op, recovery.

By 11am I was in the pre-op in my gown and ready to go. I had just switched on HGTV to pass the time when I overheard someone call out my last name and “Room 3! ASAP! ASAP! ASAP!” Well, I knew I wasn’t in any crisis or an emergency but it did make me wonder in a little bit of a frightened way!

Then a swarm of nurses, technicians and several others came in and started getting me moving. When I asked what was going on they said that my surgeon had finished his previous surgery early and was ready for me. Which I was very thankful for. I was a little hesitant when they said they could get me in at 1pm on a Friday afternoon. All I thought was, “Geez… what if he’s running late… then what?” So happy I didn’t have to worry about that!

Since I’d never had any kind of surgery before and it was all unknown, it was probably better that I had no idea what to expect. That way I wasn’t too scared. I did get a little weepy at one point though but I’m sure that’s to be expected and I’m certain they’ve seen worse!

The IV line went in and then I received a shot in my stomach (I actually thought the nurse was kidding when she told me she was going to give me a shot in my stomach!). Then I signed some papers, more people spoke to me and off we went. Before I knew it I was in the operating room and they were asking me what kind of music I wanted to help me relax.

The thoughts in my head at that moment? “Are you kidding me? I have no idea!”, “Hmmm… what kind of music relaxes me?”, “Please don’t play Elvis… anything but Elvis!” Before I could say a word, the young male nurse who could probably be my son said, “She looks like she likes Aerosmith.” Which I do but probably wouldn’t have been my first choice in the relaxation category!

I think I muttered something along the lines of “Whatever makes Dr Pak feel the most relaxed…” Then I heard Aerosmith, saw my surgeon walk in and then nothing…

He was able to locate the infected gland immediately and remove it. Then he waited 15 minutes and did the blood test. The plan was if my levels dropped to normal, they had the right one and wouldn’t need to look at the others. As expected, that’s what happened and he closed me up!

The next thing I knew I was in post-op. The nurse was asking my pain level and administering something through the IV. The first dose didn’t help. The second helped a bit and then the third was just way too much. I didn’t feel very good after that. Then they moved me into the recovery area.


At that point I was starving!  They gave me crackers and ginger ale and I waited for Bill to come in. Then I got dressed and we were on our way home!

The worst was the sore throat from the breathing tube and feeling dizzy from the anesthesia. But I can totally feel that I am on the mend!


This morning I am a bit red and decided not to go into work for the next few days so I can relax and be 100%. And on Saturday I could feel my lips tingling which is another great sign. That means my calcium is low!

So for anyone who might be facing this too… you’ll be so thankful when it’s done. I promise!

Life is good!  xoxo



scan0215I grew up the youngest of six kids in Birmingham, MI, a suburb of Detroit.  My mom was (and still is) an amazing cook and homemaker.  She always made each meal special and each night the table was set and we had dinner as a family.

On Sundays and other special occasions, we’d have dinner in the dining room or if it was a bigger gathering, we’d be in the family at the really big table.

Candles were always lit at dinner and we used cloth napkins, a tradition Bill and I carry on no matter what night of the week. Mom always had some kind of centerpiece.  How she found the time to do it all still amazes me to this day!

She involved us in the cooking process (only if we wanted to be involved) and I never remember anyone complaining about anything she made.  Well, that’s not 100% true.  One time my sister and I begged her to make Hamburger Helper.  I don’t even want to now think about all of the processed grossness that must be in that box.  Anyway, it must have been the ads on tv with the BIG hand waving and the kids being all happy at dinner time.  Mom gave in and made it one night.  It was HORRIBLE.  I always wondered if it was really that bad or if she doctored it up somehow so she knew we wouldn’t like it and we’d never ask for it again.  I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if this is what dog food tastes like?”  Needless to say, we never asked and mom never made it again.

But really, she was a genius in the kitchen.  When I said the no one ever complained?  I asked her about that once… how did she do it?  She told me that she knew what everyone enjoyed and one day each week she made something that someone would like.  She figured at least one person would be happy each day because she knew she could never please all of us all the time.  Although I suspect she pretty much did that because her cooking is fantastic.

She was ahead of her time too.  Somehow she got her hands on old tin tv dinner trays. Not the disposable ones, but real metal ones.  It seemed like we had dozens stacked in our basement, although I’m sure it wasn’t that many.  But what she would do was after dinner was over, she would portion the leftovers into the trays and make her own customized tv dinners for us.  They would always be stacked in the freezer in the basement.  When she and my father would be heading out to a dinner party or hockey game, I remember loving that before the babysitter came, we would run down and pick out our dinner.  They were all different and extremely tasty, because of course, they were homemade.

sc0007Every holiday was special and one of my favorite times of the year would be before Christmas when mom would make my grandmother’s sour cream sugar cookies and we’d get to decorate them.

We’d get home from school to the aroma of the freshly baked cookies and after dinner, she’d set us up with frosting in several colors, sprinkles and other decorations to complete the task.

Every holiday meal was an elegant affair and normally included several guests in addition to our 8.  Mom always pulled it together flawlessly and never expressed an ounce of stress. When I was a teenager she put on an Easter brunch each year for around 30 hungry hockey players and their families.  She did that party 16 years in a row and averaged over 100 guests each time.

It’s because of her and my father and their love of entertaining that inspired Bill and I to host several events each year.  One thing I am looking forward to is hosting dinner parties.  We’ve done a handful but I’d like to add more to our lineup.  They are fun, a great way to entertain without the noise and rush of being in a restaurant.  Plus, it’s a lost art that I think needs to come back into fashion.  Stay tuned for my ideas on those!