October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween everybody!  In honor of the day when people can dress up, look ridiculous, make fun of other people AND get away with it; I thought I would take you on a trip down memory lane.

Here are our costumes through the years, all of which were either put together with items purchased at Good Will, Wal Mart or salvaged from things we already had at home.  None of these costumes cost more than $10…so go ahead and get creative.


2008:  First Halloween together…

Mike – Doc Brown

Lane – Catholic School Girl


halloween 025

halloween 065

I should have known then what I was getting myself into!



2009:  The Graduates

Halloween 09 001



2010:  Married with Children

Mike – Al Bundy

Lane – Peg Bundy




2011: Where’s Waldo (My favorite so far)

Mike – Waldo

Lane – Wenda


SA 2010



2012:  The Bellies

Mike - Beer Belly

Lane – Baby Belly




Have a spooktacular day!

October 30, 2012

To Die For


As promised in yesterday’s post, here is the DELICIOUS recipe for my Pumpkin Pie Bars.  Although not the most figure friendly, they are by far the tastiest fall treat of all.  This recipe initially came from a Kraft Food & Family magazine, but with a few minor tweaks, I have mastered the perfect crust consistency and made it my own.





After making the original recipe (found here) many times, I finally found a way to not have a crumbly crust when cutting the finished bars…softened (not cold) butter.  Most recipes with a shortbread/crumble type crust instruct you to use cold butter and “cut it in” with either two knives (a pain) or a pastry blender (not the most fun). 

I found that even after working it in with all my might, I still didn’t have the consistency that I wanted.  There was always too much flour left over and the butter wasn’t dispersed properly.  By using softened butter, the ingredients clump together nicely and the crust stays together even after the dessert is cooled and cut.  In my opinion, much better than the original!


Pumpkin Pie Bars

Print this recipe!

  • 1-1/3 cups  flour
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup  butter, softened
  • 1 cup  old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup  chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 pkg.  (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can  (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp.  pumpkin pie spice

For crumb topping (mix together in a small bowl and set aside):

  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1/4 C butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/3 C oats
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C nuts (optional)



HEAT oven to 350°F.

LINE 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; spray with cooking spray. Mix flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar, and softened butter in medium bowl until blended.  (Best to use hands – warning:  your hands will be messy).  Mix in oats and nuts (again, with hands).

**tip for easier lining of foil:  Mold foil over bottom of pan leaving 3 inches extending over the short sides.  Pop pre-formed  molded foil into pan and crunch extended sides of foil to form handles.  Use handles to lift baked item out of pan when cooled (see pictures below).




PRESS oat mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, pumpkin and spice with mixer until blended; pour over crust. Sprinkle with crumb topping.



BAKE 25 min.; cool 10 min. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely before cutting.





This will be a crowd pleaser any where, any place, any time…you have my word.


October 29, 2012

Menu Monday

Hi everybody!  Happy Monday and Happy Cooler Weather!  It was in the 50s here this morning and feels SOOOO GOOD!

This weekend was full of fun!  We celebrated Halloween at our friends' house, and as usual, had a blast.

Lynn and Tuller had the place decked out and the front door blocked off with caution tape.  It was enter at your own risk through the back.



The weather was perfect and we snacked on finger goods that included hummus w/ peppers (a new group favorite), artichoke dip, summer salsa, buffalo chicken dip, chicken wings and tenders as well as pumpkin bars (recipe coming tomorrow).


OBP for those who could drink - it did look delicious!


As far as the costumes were concerned; Mike and I went as "The Bellies".  He was Beer Belly and I was Baby Belly.  They were both a hit and very inexpensive to make (double win!).


We also had a skeleton family (including Reef the dog pictured below), JD the Beer Vendor, Wonder Woman and a nod to Napoleon Dynamite.



and of course...Snow White.


Even despite a poor football showing for both the Badgers and Gators we had a blast getting dressed up. 

As far as this week, it is somewhat back to normal (I use that term loosely) although I have to finish our anniversary weekend plans.  Mike and I switch off planning each year and this year is my turn...I guess I'd better get busy!!!

Here's our plan - what are you eating this week?

M:  Crock Pot Roast w/ Carrots and Mushroom Stuffing
T:  Chicken Marsala Pasta (new recipe!)
W:  Taco Salad
Th:  Baked Ranch Chicken (new recipe!) w/ Veggie Yellow Rice
F:  Twice Baked Potatoes w/ Broccoli
Sa:  Anniversary Dinner - 2 years!
Su:  Meatloaf w/ Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

October 26, 2012



Well my friends, it has officially been one whole year of Grocery Lane!

Yesterday was my 1 year Blogiversary…and I can’t believe it.  I started this literally on a whim (I actually wanted to launch a business website with the same name offering the services mentioned under my Services tab) and am so glad I did.



I don’t know what I thought it would become…and still don’t… but I do know that I love sharing our life, interests and experiences with you all.

People ask me all the time:

  • How do you even start a blog?  I just went to Blogger.com, set up an account and started typing.  Totally free to start.
  • Is it hard?  Nope!  It’s essentially like typing a word document and adding pictures.
  • Do ideas just come to you?  Most of the time the ideas just come to me, sometimes I am inspired by other blogs and put my own spin on things, or I have recommendations from friends.
  • Why did you do it?  I needed an outlet from my everyday work life and wanted to inspire people to try new things and share what works for me.


What I love most about blogging:

  • Finding my “writing voice” and sharing with other people.
  • Having a husband that is 100% supportive and challenges me to make it better.
  • Hopefully inspire others to get (a little bit more) organized, try new recipes and experience all that life has to offer.
  • I love when I get random emails or texts sharing something that my readers have incorporated from the blog into their own lives(recipes, purchases from the It List, recommended day trips). 
  • I love that our families can keep track of what we’re doing as well as having an online journal so we can keep track of what we’re doing, as well as all of my favorite recipes.


What I love least about blogging:

  • Finding time to do it after a long day at school, usually around 5am the day of.
  • The stress of finding decent material to talk about and share.
  • Internet problems (luckily I haven’t had that many…knock on wood).


Stats so far:

  • 37,755 total page views
  • Posts have been viewed by readers in:US, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, China, Philippines, Russia, Australia, France
  • Average page views per day:  120-150 (In the real blogging world, that is NOT a lot, but I’ll take it for now Smile)
  • Top 5 posts of all time:

Where’s Waldo

Swamp People

Boot Socks

Sweet Baby J



Goals for the next year of Grocery Lane:

Keep on keepin’ on.  I know that when our new bundle of joy comes along, all bets are off; especially since this venture is not one with income attached.  But I hope to continue to share our journey and our lives as much as possible.


To all of you that have been there from the beginning – thank you.  To those of you who are new readers, welcome!  Make yourself at home, I’m glad you’re here!!!



October 24, 2012

Booze Review


Hi everybody!  First, let me apologize for neglecting you guys yesterday and most of today.  It has been SUPER CRAZY at work right now and I have been a wild woman going non-stop.  I have missed blogging decent content for you all and can’t wait to get back into the swing of it.  With that being said, I have been wanting to write this post for a while now (well, ever since becoming preggo). 

So, I must say, there are hundreds of perks when talking about being pregnant (a constant excuse to put your feet up and rest, people oohing and ahhing over your growing belly, strangers going out of the way to help you carry something, your precious unborn baby, etc) however; there are many, many not so great things about the 40 weeks of human creation (swollen feet, uncomfortable sleep, acne breakouts, just to name a few).

The one thing that was hard for me at first was going to group get-togethers.  We have such amazing friends and we LOVE to hang out and have fun, which usually involves having a bit of alcohol.  In the beginning I felt totally left out and like the third wheel when going to parties, tailgates, or even just a Friday night dinner.  I wanted to “participate”, but just felt a little like a party pooper (especially as the fun Fall beers started appearing everywhere…sigh).



Some pre pregnancy favorites…



Then, I decided to get a grip and find other ways to feel festive while not drinking (disclaimer:  I don’t have to drink to have fun, but I do like to imbibe while having fun at times – don’t think I’m a lush).  So, without further ado, here is my Preggo Booze Review!


Non-Alcoholic Beer:

There are quite a few brands of N/A beer out there and Publix (our main grocery store in FL) has a very good selection.  I would imagine that Total Wine would also be a great spot to look as well.




N/A Beers- (I have tried the beers in bold)

  • Clausthaler Premium
  • Sharp’s (Miller Product)
  • Beck’s N/A
  • Busch N/A (Anheuser-Busch Product)
  • St. Pauli N/A
  • Coors N/A
  • Odoul’s and Odoul’s Amber





Note:  I haven’t tried St. Pauli N/A but it has been highly recommended to me…that might be next on my list.




My favorite so far?  Coors N/A gets the nod – especially with your favorite koozie!




Alcohol-Removed Wine:

To be honest, I didn’t even know this existed until my friend Chrissey was pregnant last year.  She loved champagne and told me about the Fre brand of alcohol-removed wine.  Not all grocery stores have it, but luckily Publix carries it in stock.




Fre offers:

  • White Zinfandel
  • Merlot
  • Chardonnay
  • Premium Red
  • Brut (Sparkling Wine)

I have tried the Chardonnay and have the Premium Red in the pantry for the next get-together.  The Chard was okay, but really just tasted like grape juice (which essentially is what it is). 

I do however, have to sing the praises of the Brut Sparkling Wine.  It was delicious and I loved using for Mimosas last weekend at our Gator Tailgate.  I will definitely be stocking up on this during the holidays!




Mixed Drinks:

I will say that I don’t have a taste testers view for the next segment of specialty drink mixes, because I’m not a huge sweet drinker, but these looked very festive and they come without any alcohol in them.  You could chill these and serve in a martini glass minus the spirits for your next swanky party or they would be great for a baby shower!




Turn any of these into a frozen concoction by simply blending with ice and making a daiquiri consistency.  Don’t forget to rim the glass with salt if making a margarita!



October 22, 2012

Menu Monday

 Hi everybody and Happy Monday! 

This past weekend we headed up to Gainesville (my hometown) for the UF vs. South Carolina game and all the festivities that entailed.  The weather was beautiful, the friends were amazing and the Gators were victorious.  It couldn't have been any better!


I love coming "home" to Gainesville and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.  I started going to the Gator games at age 9 and was there for every home game until I graduated from high school. 

I remember it being a family affair every Saturday for home games.  My parents (both UF alums), grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all had season tickets and LOVED making a full day of it.  Since we were the only family members that actually lived in G'ville, everyone would meet at our house, eat, go to the game, come back, watch more football and eat again. 

I had the best time and have the fondest memories of those days growing up.  It's just in my blood. 

So, when we pulled up to our tailgating spot and headed over to see the College Gameday set (UF was the host school this week) I couldn't help but get nostalgic.  I just love it.

Lee Corso on set

Desmond Howard walked right by us!

As for this week, we will hopefully get caught up on some things around the house (last week was spent painting the nursery - it looks so good!) and then we are looking forward to a Halloween Party this weekend...I guess we will have to add costume making to our to-list as well!

Here's our menu plan:

M:  Cheese Ravioli w/ Broccoli
T:  Pesto Chicken Pizza w/ Green Salad
W:  Brinner - Egg and Sausage Casserole w/ Breakfast Muffins
Th:  Chicken Kebabs w/ Balsamic Roasted Potatoes
F:  Black Bean Cakes w/ Yellow Rice and Veggies
Sa:  Happy Halloween
Su:  Steak Salad w/ Crusty Bread


Have a great week!

October 19, 2012



I am not feeling that fashionable today, but figured I could give you all a bump update:  a bumpdate!


Just a few progression pictures – I am definitely feeling and looking pregnant now!








Have a great weekend!

October 18, 2012

Ghoulishly Good


It’s almost that time…Halloween!  Mike and I just came up with our costumes last night, which are creative, but I think pretty funny.  After searching for pregnant couples costumes endlessly, and discovering that there weren’t any really, really good ones (there are a couple that were ok) Mike came up with our final decision and I’m pretty excited about it.

As for our party plans?  I think we are headed to a house party at our friend Lynn’s house and I can’t wait to take some of these ghoulishly good snacks.  Don’t be afraid to be festive and have fun!

You can access all of these recipes by clicking on the picture or the caption…and good news, if you just Google Halloween Party Food, there are tons more online!



Mummy Dogs



Cheesy Fingers



Nutter Butter Ghosts



Glow in the Dark Concoction



Apple Teeth



Eyeball Snacks


Used Band-Aid Cookies



Brain Cupcakes



Veggie Pumpkin


Bloody Punch