Thursday, February 28, 2013

Great Harvest Fruit Bars

I love a good bakery.  Sadly there isn’t one in the little town I live in.  There are a couple of great bakeries in the next town over.  My kids know that anytime we go to the nursery to get seeds or fertilizer that we can stop and buy a treat at Great Harvest Bakery.   My kids always choose the mint chocolate chip cookies, but Great Harvest has a variety of delightful baked goods.   One of the most beautiful is the Fruit Bars.   Fruit Bars have a delicious cookie crust and are topped with fruit.   
They always look amazing. 

I have been looking for a recipe for Great Harvest Fruit Bars and I found that the actual recipe from Great Harvest is a closely guarded secret.  But they do have to publish the Nutrition facts which contain a list of ingredients. 

So what is in the magical Fruit Bars?  Brown Sugar, Fresh Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Blueberries, Marionberries, Butter, Raspberries, Rolled Oats, Coconut, Eggs, Water, Baking Soda, and Baking Powder.

They also have a 450 calories each.  That is pretty intense for a fruity dessert.   I decided my fruit bars were not going to have quite so many calories.  To reduce the calories I substituted applesauce for a lot of the fat in the recipe.  To be clear even with the reduced fat these are still a “sometimes” food.

In baking it is pretty common to substitute applesauce for fat.  It is a pretty straight forward switch.  Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with plain unsweetened applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and ½ cup of apple sauce.  If you don’t mind a denser moister product you can replace all the butter with applesauce. 

I’ve been doing this for years but I never loved having just a little bit of applesauce hanging around in the fridge after I used part of the container for baking.  Enter dehydrated apples sauce.   Dehydrated apples sauce is tiny bits of apples, they are approximately the size of kosher salt, and when mixed with water they rehydrate into a chunky apple sauce.   So how do I do it?

How to substitute dehydrate apple sauce 
for butter in baked goods:

For 1 cup applesauce:  1 cup dehydrated apples sauce + 1 cup hot water. 
Combine and then let sit until water is absorbed.
Use to replace ½ the butter (or if your daring all the butter) in baked goods recipes.  

Great Harvest Fruit Bars (Lower Fat)
½ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Apple Sauce, plain unsweetened.  (I use ½ dehydrated applesauce rehydrated in ½ cup hot water)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup coconut
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cups rolled oat
1 cup or more frozen fruit (cherries, raspberries, rhubarb, black berries, peaches, etc.)

 *Note if you want you can use fresh fruit or Freeze Dried Fruit.   But know that the frozen fruit releases a lot of moisture as it cooks and makes the bars very moist. Whatever fruit you use be sure to use moist plump fruit.  If using freeze dried fruit rehydrate completely and add to the bars while still quite damp.

1.     Combine butter, sugar, apple sauce, vanilla and eggs.  Mix to combine.
2.     Add remaining ingredients, mix until combined.   The dough will be thick like cookie dough.
3.     Add ¾ of dough to an  8 x 8 pan. Pressing dough dough into the pan.  Sprinkle frozen fruit on the top and the sprinkle the remaining dough on top of that.  

4.     Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2013


If you are a regular reader you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often over the past few months.    I’ve been holding off mentioning anything  but my husband tells me that I should tell you what has been going on.  So here goes.

First the good news:   
We are expecting Baby Lorimer #4 in early May.   The doctor says that the baby is healthy and is developing correctly.  We are very excited to welcome this new little one into our family.   

My kids have even started a list of names for the new baby, none of which are actually in the running, because honestly if we named the baby Zelda, Twilight Sparkle, or Captain Hook our naming privileges should be revoked.

The bad news:  This has been a difficult pregnancy (are there any easy ones?).  It has been much harder physically than my other three. 
In case you want to know the detail read on (if you would rather not know skip bulleted list)

  •  I have had a couple of rounds of kidney stones.  I had always heard people say that having kidney stones is like having a baby.  They were wrong it is worse.  When you are in labor you have a hard contraction and then you get a second to breathe before the next one.  With kidney stones it just hurts super badly all the time, no break, oh and no baby at the end.   There is also pretty much nothing they can do for you when you have kidney stones and are pregnant, but wait for you to pass them.
  • The entire family had the flu, which went on for weeks.  I thought it was never going to end.
  • With previous pregnancies I have had morning sickness for the first trimester but around 20 weeks I start feeling good.  With this pregnancy it looks like I’ll be sick the entire time (not a good sign when you are throwing up at 30 weeks).

Can you see why the postings are few and far between?    

Yet we are eating a lot of our food storage.  I’m so grateful for all of the fruit we froze and canned last summer.   We have been using our frozen fruit in muffins and smoothies, and we are eating bottled fruit almost every day.   We have also been going through a lot of freeze dried meat.  It is so easy to use and quick to cook that it works well in my quick pregnancy dinner routine.

I do have a couple of posts in the works, and it looks like I will be able to get back to a more regular posting schedule.   In the mean time if you have a recipe that you would like to see converted to using food storage ingredients send it my way heather@teamshelfreliance.comand I’ll get working on it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A car kit update

A few weeks ago I had a mini emergency while I was running errands, so I opened up my car emergency kit and was sad to see that it was mostly empty.  We had used the, first aid supplies, water, and food.   It was definitely time to restock. 
My car kit is one that I use all the time.  It is there for big emergencies and for every day emergencies so it needs to be restocked about every six months. 

We store all of our supplies in a large tote.  I like the tote because I don't have things rolling around in the car, also it is easy to pack around.  
Here is what I added:

First Aid Kit: 
I purchased a premade kit from Wal-Mart for $9.00 and then added, tissues, more Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, tums, Tylenol, lotion, a toothbrush, night quil/day quil, and children’s Tylenol.   I still need to add children’s Benadryl.  I LOVE the premeasured children’s Benadryl but it is hard to find.   (I can find it at Walgreens sometimes).

This is what the Benadryl looks like: 
It is the thing we use the very most in our first aid kit.  It seems that where ever we are there is a kid that is having an allergic reaction.  It is a must for our kit. 

Cheese and Crackers,
Pb and J Cracker
Cliff Bars
Bottled Water
Emergency Supplies
Blanket—this is fleece on one side and is water proof on the others.  This makes it awesome for a picnic, or a in the rain it works for a poncho.

Ratchet—both US and Metric sockets
Screwdriver—Philips and flat head (the flip around ones are perfect)
Leather Gloves
Work Towels (we like the blue garage/shop towels)
Jack and Tire Iron—make sure you know where it is and how to use it.
Jumper Cables

Snow Grabber Mat

I live where there is deep snow for four or five months a year and getting stuck in the snow is always a possibility.  A few weeks ago a neighbor slid off the rode in front of my house and landed in a huge snow bank.  I watched as he and a large group of men dug out their Suburban, they tried ever trice in the book to get the suburban out but could not get any traction and the car was stuck.  After a while a teenage girl brought over these Grabber mats, slid them under the tires and they effortlessly drove out.  I talked to her father about the mats later in the week and he told me that they use them all the time and they always work.  You can find them at the local Wal-Mart or online

All of our tools are stored together in a tool bag. (with the exception of the snow grabber mat it is too big for the bag.