Hello! Good day? I went to the gym and swimming while Toby was in creche again this morning - it feels so luxurious to be able to exercise during the day!! We nearly didn't go as there was really bad fog and my Mum/sister were a bit worried about me driving over, but I took it slowly and it was fine. Good experience, and having my sister in the passenger seat was, yet again, a calming influence (even if she wasn't actually that calm herself, haha!) Toby did really well again at the creche - obviously this time he did realise I was going to leave, but he said goodbye happily, no tears, and carried on playing. I wish I'd known about this creche before! Great experience for him, and great for me to have a couple of hours to exercise before evening tiredness hits!
When I got home I had a bagel for lunch, this time with blue cheese and grapes:
Not quite as amazing as last week's mashed avocado bagel, but still really tasty. Bagels are a good option for days like this. I have breakfast then do the school run, drive half an hour, about 45 minutes in the gym (although only 20 minutes cardio and the rest weights), 40 minutes swimming and another half an hour drive home...so by the time it is time for lunch I am starving and need something quick and easy! Bagels do the job perfectly!! :)
Liam is doing lots of overtime this week so we ate dinner before he got home tonight. I didn't feel like cooking and the children were more than happy when I suggested porridge. Toby hardly ever eats much dinner in the evenings but he gobbled this up! Mashed banana porridge with cocoa-peanut flour sauce (they had blueberries, chocolate chips and golden syrup as their toppings instead - Izzy's choice!!)...
I made rather a lot of sauce...not that I'm complaining!! I normally use 15g of peanut flour to make dipping sauces, but this was 10g of cocoa and 20g peanut flour (plus milk and a little agave). I didn't use as much agave as I normally would, just enough to bring the chocolate out, so it was like a really dark chocolate peanut butter sauce, mmm!
Anyway, on to the title of this post. A little while ago I was contacted by Doves Farm to see if I would like to review some of their newly repackaged cereal bars and flapjacks, all of which are organic and fairtrade. I love cereal bars for carrying around in my bag for when hunger strikes (either mine or the children's!) so I was happy to say yes! Thanks you so much for your generosity Doves Farm...I was very happy when this box was delivered!! :-D
There are three types of cereal bars in the range - banana mango & brazil, sultana apricot & apple, and crispy chocolate & rice:
The first cereal bar that I tried was the banana, mango & brazil:
I always find banana flavoured things to be a bit hit and miss - sometimes they can taste quite artificial, however this one was pretty good. It had pieces of mango, pineapple and brazil nut running through it, and whilst I might have liked the chunks to be a bit bigger, the size of them did mean that they were consistent throughout the bar without it falling apart. The bar itself had a great consistency - chewy whilst still having some bite to it. I enjoyed this bar and would happily eat it again, although as you will see further on in the review it wasn't my favourite - better are still to come! :)
The next bar I tried was sultana, apricot & apple:
I wasn't a fan of this bar to be honest. I like my cereal bars chewy, whereas this one has a really crispy texture. After taking my first bite, I checked the ingredients list and wasn't surprised to find cornflakes as the third ingredient. It doesn't taste bad, but it just isn't for me. A shame, it was the only bar I didn't like, but then I suppose they can't please all of the people all of the time! ;-)
The final cereal bar that I tried was the crispy chocolate & rice:
Chocolate flavoured things aren't normally my first choice when it comes to snack bars, so I was very surprised to find that I loved this! I love the appearance - the two different layers (one cocoa rice, one just sweet crispy rice) and the mini chocolate chips on top make this look really fun. I'd originally planned to share this bar with Toby, but after taking a bite I gave this one to Toby...
...and got a new one for myself! Yum. I can't believe the chocolate flavour is my favourite, but it's so good!! It is sweet enough for me, but not too sweet (Liam would've liked a bit more sugar) - you can really taste the cocoa in the bottom layer. Delicious. I've only got one bar left in this box and will be definitely be buying some more once it has gone!
Doves Farm also sent me a couple of boxes of flapjacks - plain butter flapjacks and apple & sultana ones:
These are really tasty, and great for lunchboxes too! The first time I tried the apple & sultana ones I cut it in half and put some in Izzy's lunchbox:
I really like these - in fact I'm eating one now as I type this - they are definitely taste more sugary than the cereal bars although actually I just checked and these have 12.3g of sugars per bar, compared to 16.9g per sultana, apricot and apple cereal bars. Another reason to love the flapjacks - they taste even more "treat-like" than they actually are! The flapjacks don't have a hugely strong apple flavour, but there are small chunks of cooked apple dotted through them alongside the sultanas. I love the texture of these flapjacks. Perhaps not as chewy as homemade ones, but lovely and soft.
There are also plain butter flapjacks for those of us (*ahem* Liam!) who don't like dried fruit in baked goods:
As the name would suggest, these flapjacks use butter whereas the apple & sultana ones use (sustainably grown) palm oil. I really enjoyed these flapjacks too, again they have a lovely texture and a luxurious taste. They are perfect for Liam to take to work too - I won't let him take anymore of the chocolate cereal bars as I love them so much (!) but whilst I like these, I prefer the apple & sultana flapjacks so Liam might be able to sneak a couple of them out of the box!!
I was really impressed with (most) of these bars. The calories range from 142-196 calories per bar, which, for me, makes them ideal for a mid-morning snack with a latte, or just to have in my bag for if I get hungry while I'm out. The only one I wouldn't buy again are the sultana, apricot & apple cereal bars, but if you prefer crunchy cereal bars then you may well like these as well - it was only the texture I objected to. Thanks again to Doves Farm for giving me the opportunity to try these - I will definitely be picking up some again when I go shopping! :)
Have you tried any of Doves Farm's cereal bars or flapjacks before? Or any of their other products? I guess a lot of us will have used their xanthan gum (great for thick smoothies!) and I have also enjoyed their gluten free pasta before. This was my first time trying their snack bars though and I was really impressed. I often regret eating pre-packaged bars - wishing I'd taken the time to make my own snack - but these bars tasted really fresh so definitely make a great portable/quick alternative to home baking.