A Reader Reunion

by HEAB on July 28, 2011

Remember when I met reader Carolyn (brilliant creator of the infamous Vajayjay Cake) last year while in Michigan? Well, we decided it needed to happen again this year, and so on Tuesday, Summer and I headed south on I-75 and met up with Carolyn for lunch and a girly day of shopping at the Birch Run Outlets.


We had a great day together, and it was so good to see Carolyn again as I consider her one of my closest friends. Love ya Bid, and not just because you bring me my favorite foods from civilization…although that does score you major points.

The goods from Carolyn…she knows me quite well. 🙂


So much for living on peanut butter alone. Our nut & seed butters are now fully stocked, and so was the dark chocolate…for about 5 minutes. Originally, there were two Peppalo Stone Ground Chocolate Bars. I ate one on the way home, and CD and I quickly finished off the second bar not long after I arrived back in Fife Lake. Peppalo Stone Ground Chocolate is an artisan, small batch chocolate company located in Tecumseh, MI, and they make their chocolate from single-source, raw cacao beans. The bars were delicious! You know how some chocolate bars taste kind of waxy? Not the Peppalo bar. It tasted super dark (you could really taste the raw cacao bean flavor) and kind of gritty – gritty in a good way if that makes sense. Anyway, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my new items. Thanks again Carolyn!


Do you know what’s even better than toasted Great Harvest bread topped with tahini and melted dark chocolate?


A horribly sliced piece of Great Harvest bread, toasted and smeared with butter. Really, is there anything better than toast with butter? I think not.

What’s your favorite toast topping…and why are outlet malls always in the middle of nowhere?


Jill in Chicago August 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thank you (and to Carolyn!) for highlighting these Michigan products. As a fairly new reader, I wasn’t around for your vacation last year and had no idea Naturally Nutty was made in Traverse City! Nor had I heard of Peppalo Stone. I grew up west of Tecumseh (and my parents still live) in between Jackson and Hillsdale, sort of near the Speedway in Brooklyn. I can’t wait to ask them to buy me some chocolate 🙂

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli July 30, 2011 at 7:54 am

I LOVE toast topped with avocado and jam but my heart will always stay true to a slice with a big ol’ schmear of melty peanut butter! I love how when you take a big bite, it gets all stuck to the roof of your mouth! Haha!

My thinking about outlet malls…they MAKE the city. So, if you have a po-dunk town that needs some touristy love, just build a mega shopping complex…and obviously in America, there must be a Walmart (shudder)! Lol

Emily July 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

My favorite topping will always been peanut butter.

Bid July 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee July 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Toast covered in any chocolate nut butter and strawberries!!! Oh and it’s because outlet malls are huge and the land is cheap in the middle of nowhere.

Michaela July 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

That is a good question! Probably that is, so that the regular shops in town still have customers and make money 😉
My fav would be pb/j. But I also love tahin w/ lemon juice or avocado w/ lemon juice. Or tapenade 🙂

carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com July 29, 2011 at 2:59 am

Nope… There is NOTHING better than gluten free toast slathered in butter. Seriously I think I could eat it for every meal and be perfectly happy! lol…

s July 29, 2011 at 1:23 am

my favorite toast topping is earth balance + muenster cheese + a fried egg. or a pita with laughing cow and jam. and yeah, i don’t know about the outlet mall thing, but it’s sure true in my experience too. maybe it costs less to have a store taking up a lot of space in the middle of nowhere.

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

That makes sense, and I love the jam/cheese pita. Such a perfect savory/sweet combo.

Emilia @ Namaste Gurl July 29, 2011 at 1:02 am

I wish I could have a meet- up with you– my wish! 🙂
Nut butter, dark chocolate and GF bread? WOW, she does know you quite well 🙂 What a nice friend indeed! Favorite bread toppers would be PB or hummus 🙂
I tried tahini and chocolate atop my oatbran this morning– thanks to you! Delicious 🙂

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 8:37 am

So glad you tried the tahini/chocolate combo…we shall eat it together at our meet up someday. It will happen. 🙂

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) July 29, 2011 at 12:32 am

I totally remember Carolyn. In fact I think she’s the gal who has the amazing cat that stands on his hind legs! Sparty I think his name is. She entered my photo contest. Nice that you got to meet up again and so sweet of her to bring you more goodies this year.

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 8:42 am

Yes, Carolyn is Sparty’s Mom, and she loves your blog and wants you to post more. 🙂

Bid July 29, 2011 at 9:38 am


Emily @ Comfortable Home Life July 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Mmmmm buttered toast. Nope, really nothing better. I want some now! And outlet malls ARE always in the middle of nowhere. You have to spend so much money on gas to get there that sometimes the sale prices aren’t even worth it!

Hannah July 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm

That is so completely and utterly the kind of chocolate I need to move to America for. So many new artisan chocolatiers since I was last there!

Kilee July 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I work 100 yards from a Great Harvest and I had no idea that they had gluten-free bread! Mine ony advertises spelt bread, but not gluten-free. I’m so glad that you had a fun meet-up. Your new stash looks delish! Hope that you’re having a great day 🙂

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 8:58 am

I don’t think all Great Harvest sell the gluten free bread, but you could always put in a request for your local one to start baking it. 🙂

Kristen, Sweetly July 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Homemade bread, definitely toasted with just delicious butter smeared on.

Favorite overall might just be Nutella and sliced bananas. 🙂 I haven’t bought Nutella since I moved in to my apartment, though, because I have a strong feeling I’d eat the jar in 1 or 2 sittings.

Kristen, Sweetly July 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Oh, and that photo of Summer smiling at Carolyn? Priceless.

Ellen July 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Actually, I don’t think I can think of anything better than bread and butter. Well, maybe a glass of wine to go with it and ice cream for dessert:)

The Healthy Engineer July 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Bread and butter could be my bread and water.

I bet that didn’t even make sense, but hopefully the point gets across 😉

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

Haha, yes I got it. 🙂

michelle July 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I could live on seedy toast and peanut butter (crunchy, natural). Outlet malls do this because the rent and land prices are much cheaper in the middle on nowhere……and I totally made that up. I have no idea 🙂

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

Makes total sense.

Nikki @ Resistant Nikki July 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

My favorite topping right now is sunflower seed butter and berries or banana.
Sidenote: Your little girl is adorable!

Roz July 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Hi Heather, lovely photos. Summer is adorable as ever. I love warm bread with butter, a bit of sharp cheddar cheese and some pepper jelly or apple butter on top. Sweet and salty…mmm. Oh dear, this has made me very hungry! Have a great day!!

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thanks Roz. I’m hungry after reading through the comments…now I want pepper jelly and apple butter. 🙂

Katie July 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

YES! You got tahini! I was worried for you there!

The only thing better than toast with butter is toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar.

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

Yes, tahini and I have been reunited, and the brand Carolyn brought me is delicious. All is right with the world. 🙂

Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf July 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm

On really good bread, if I need anything, I like to put honey, Nutella, pumpkin butter, or cinnamon honey butter!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Ive never heard of the Peppalo Stone Ground Chocolate Bars but based on your review, they sound wonderful. Waxy chocolate is the worst and I know exactly the taste. Blech! These sound sooo good with the real cacao bean flavor.

Happy that you had time to meetup with Carolyn and you could catch up! It’s awesome when close friends are made possible (originally) by way of the blogosphere…that is just great that you two ladies have developed such a close friendship.

One day I KNOW you and I will meet. One day, some how, some way! 🙂

Love the 1st pic collage. Nice job, I am assuming it’s a PS Elements little project 🙂

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

Yep, PS Elements. Are you using Photoshop or still sticking with Lightroom?

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

So far I’m sticking with Lightroom. I have become pretty proficient at it and if I decided to use PS it would be full PS not the PS Elements

But after talking to many photographers (and people who use both) everyone has said, LR is so much easier than full PS.

And in many senses LR and PS E are similar. And full PS is very….cumbersome so why even bother at this point…but one day I would like to know PS. It’s one of those things that could come in handy!

Sorry that was so long winded!

Junia @ Mis Pensamientos July 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

heather, you are in michigan again :). i love ann arbor farmer’s market. do visit it if u get a chance. whoohoo for nut/seed butters. i’ve recently tried artisana’s raw cashew butter, which was good, but going back to almond butter next week 🙂

and i love great harvest bread! i had no idea they had a gluten free, corn free bread!! ahhhh i would love to try this bread….how did it taste? was the texture ok? and summer is growing up so quickly!

Alex @ Spoonful of Sugar Free July 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I always wondered that myself…why are outlet malls in the middle of nowhere?

And I must disagree. I think dark chocolate and tahini is far better than butter 😛

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I don’t know Alex. Originally, I was going to say there is nothing butter than buttered toast except for maybe tahini/chocolate toast, but after eating them side-by-side, I had to switch them around. Buttered toast – you just can’t beat it! 🙂

Aine @ Something to Chew Over July 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

It has to be almond butter! 🙂 Or raspberry jam, yummy.

Mary @ Bites and Bliss July 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Looks like fun! And I desperately want to try that GH bread! I’ve seen it on so many blogs ever since Kath opened the shop!

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

It’s okay. Honestly, I think Rudi’s gluten free bread tastes better, and the Great Harvest stuff is way outta my price range. Definitely a treat and not a regular purchase.

Lorne July 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Just broke my rule, I am here at breakfast time…again … but today it is all ok!
Avocado, hummus, and lemon juice. So off I trot to the kitchen to locate the goodness :0)

Nicole July 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

That bread looks crazy good! We don’t have a Great Harvest nearby, but I’ve got it on my list of things to do when I make a trip home next month. I usually am plenty happy with just butter on my toast, but when I’m feeling like a little pizazz, nothing beats butter topped with apple butter!! My mouth is watering right now…

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Oh gosh, I love apple butter on toast. Craved it like crazy when I was pregnant. Toasted bagels with apple butter was one of the few things I could stomach those first few months. So good!

Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport July 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Outlet location is a total conspiracy!

They make you drive so far for the $9.99 discount sundress… and then because you drove so far you have to buy more than that… the sunglasses, shiny belt, cut off shorts, last seasons coat and earring at the checkout counter get thrown in!

Or is that just me!?? 🙂

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Nope, me too. 🙂

Liz @ IHeartVegetables July 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

My favorite toast topping is almond butter AND sliced almonds. It gives it an extra crunch. YUMM. Oh and a sprinkle of cinnamon never hurt anyone 😉

Bid July 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm

THE BABY!!!! OMG the SPie…So proud on her.. Miss her.. sniff sniff

That outlet mall is not in the middle of nowhere.. You just need to move here and realize that is the main pathway between the Trolls (under the bridge) and the UP-ers (over the bridge)! I-75 is Michiganders lifeline north to south…..

BUT…the econmy is bad here now which might have made a difference in there only being 6 people actually at the outlet mall…including us.. for 145 stores.. 😉 Back in the day it was hoppin…

So glad you are enjoying your goodies… It was fun to bring the store to you…

Just toast.. good toast.. toasted with nothing on it… crunchy.. favorite.. which reminds me.. i need more burnt crunchy cheeze…

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Come back to me!!!!! Really, these few hour long visits are just never enough, even if they do always involve crunchy cheese. We miss you. 🙁

Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Hooray for Great Harvest bread–it is good even on it’s own.

Toast and butter is always a classic. I like to add either strawberry jelly or cinnamon to that. Toast with peanut butter and bacon is also delicious (and in my case, a family tradition).

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I LOVE PB & bacon. Coconut butter & bacon on toast is really good too. Really, any nut butter + bacon is a winner in my book. 🙂

Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories July 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Oo I will have to try that!

Ana July 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

You look like the happiest Mom on that picture where you are holding Summer!
And I totally agree, best toast topper is definitely butter!!
(there is a delicious local butter here in Brazil that I adore and I am totally indulging in it during my stay, butter is good!!)

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Glad you’re enjoying your time in Brazil, and I bet you look just as happy in your pics of you and Matheus. In fact, you do as I’ve seen some. 🙂

Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing July 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

How cool — I thought all GH wouldn’t sell GF bread, so that is awesome news. My fingers are crossed that our local GH will follow suit soon 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your trip, HEAB family!

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thanks Katie, we are having a great time. The GF bread came from the Ann Arbor, MI Great Harvest. The GH in Nashville doesn’t sell it, but they don’t sell much of anything. Perhaps if you local one doesn’t sell it, you could put in a request OR just buy Rudi’s. Personally, I think Rudi’s tastes better, and it’s cheaper.

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather July 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

What a sweet package of goodies! I love almond butter + mashed banana on toast…. With a sprinkle of cinnamon too 🙂

Francesca @ From Debt to Set July 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I love butter and honey on my toast! Nutella and Peanut Butter are a close second. Well, Nutella is amazing…so, I’ll say it’s a tie. Birch Run…boy, I haven’t been there since I was a kid. Tecumseh is about 30 miles west of my hometowe of Monroe. You know, I’ve never heard of Fife Lake and I’m from Michigan. Crazy! Sounds like your enjoying! 🙂

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people have heard of Fife Lake – it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere with a small beach and a ice-cream stand…but really, what more do you need in life…except for maybe Nutella. 😉

Ann Claire July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

Favorite toast topping? Butter, butter and more butter. We might just get along 🙂

lindsay July 28, 2011 at 11:50 am

keri gold butter!

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Totally. Really missing our Buttermyd! Hope you’re having a good birthday. 🙂

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Ann Claire,
No doubt about it. 🙂

lindsay July 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

Good Lord I need to get me some of that bread. Great harvest done good!

Carloyn, are you going to make another vijayjay cake for summer? I just like saying it.

Bid July 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I’m scared to even have those Strawberry Whoppers in the house for a short period of time.. It’s like crack! The cake will only have one pink Whopper and my mouth will be covered in them..

But, Heather.. you get pregnant and Vajayjay cake it is.. I promise.. In honor of yours.. not the sex of the new baby.. I might have to make a “god knows what” cake if it turns out to be a boy… Any boy cake name suggestions out there.. ?

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) July 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

What a lovely friend you have! She gave you a lot of fantastic loot. 🙂

That bread looks so yummy. I’m partial to butter on bread… I can’t think of many things that are so simple yet tasty, and that I can eat and eat and eat, lol.

Holly @ The Runny Egg July 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

I am a lover of bread + butter — toasted or not, that is such good stuff!

When I was younger my sister caught me buttering a piece of bread and singing “buh-ttered bre-head!” to the tune of who knows what. Now my sisters sing that whenever we’re all together for a meal and bread is involved.

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm

You and your family sound really close – I always get that vibe from your comments/posts, and it makes me smile. 🙂

Claudine @ The Kathmanduo July 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

Oh, the Birch Run Outlets! Those are the only saving grace to trips up to Saginaw. I know that I still owe you some travel tips for northern Michigan — forthcoming, I promise! (Things have been a little crazy and hectic in Kathmandu, lately).

P.S. My favorite toppers for toast are nut butter and “banana jam” (mashed banana with a generous dousing of cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt).

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

No worries. Any tips are appreciated, but whenever you have time. For now, I’ll just have try your banana jam tip. Michigan stuff can wait! 🙂

Ashley July 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

Jealous of your MI trip! 🙂 That chocolate sounds outstanding. I can tell that GF bread from GH is the same I get here. Such a treat!

HEAB July 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Yes, I remember you packing the GH bread for your trip to Telluride. It’s good, but honestly, I like Rudi’s better. Better price too. That GH bread is so expensive!

Ashley July 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I’ve only tried Rudi’s cinnamon raisin and thought there was a definite funkiness to it. A weird lingering flavor. Have you seen Udi’s?? Nutritionally, it blows all other GF breads away. They have a millet/chia bread that is my favorite. Their whole grain hamburger buns + multigrain bagels are fab too. Great flavor! 🙂 Definitely only bought the GH bread once! $$ The only thing I didn’t like was that it had a little too much yeasty flavor.

HEAB July 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

I’ve seen the Udi’s but never tried it. Will be on the lookout for the millet/chia combo. Sounds right up my alley. 🙂

Jennie (the gf-gf) July 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

My favorite toast topper is butter and cinnamon-sugar.

What a sweet friend to fill your cupboards with nut butter! I’m jealous.

Jen July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

Peanut butter, regular butter, or jam are my favorite toast toppings! Especially jam and butter together. Drooool. As for outlet malls…I guess there’s nowhere else to fit them! Which is why I rarely make my way to an outlet mall.

Jess July 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

Nut butter and dark chocolate chocolate chips (melting optional), or with smashed avocado and salsa. Depends if I want sweet or savory 🙂

Jessica July 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

Yum yum! Bread with butter is delish!

Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am

Butter it is for me. 🙂 Every time I take out the PB or something else to smear on my toast, I put it back and bring on the butter.

Summer is just beautiful!

Erika @ The Teenage Taste July 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

Slathered with nut butter is my favorite way to eat toast! Although, for a savory flavor, toast and hummus or pesto is also very good! 😀

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