Fine Italian Foods from Doria – Review

Being a lover of Italian food I was keen to see what authentic Italian brand Doria had to offer in the way of fine foods.  I do love a bit of crunch to my food, so their crackers and biscuits looked like the ideal thing to fit in with my lifestyle and I couldn’t wait to taste them for myself.

doria

First up are the Doriano crackers described as ‘Simply Baked & Crisp’.  What I like about these is that they come in eight individually portioned,wrapped packs meaning you only need to open the amount of crackers you need.  This means the rest will last longer and also stop you from eating too many – they are rather moreish!

doria 2

I’ve been having these for my daily lunches served with sliced avocado, baby plum tomatoes and freshly ground black pepper or alternatively with feta cheese instead of the avocado and can confirm that they taste utterly delicious, so much so that they have become my staple lunch of late and I have already purchased further packets and even got my mum buying them as she has enjoyed the lunches she’s eaten with me.

doria 3If you get a sweet craving in the afternoons, then trying adding a couple of these charming little Doria Amaretti biscuits alongside your coffee.  They are just the thing, with the most delicate, crisp, bite and enough crunch and sweetness to settle your cravings.  With one portion equivalent to six of these treats and only 137 calories for the lot, I am definitely converted.  These would also taste amazing broken up and sprinkled on top of dessert, yoghurt, ice cream, fruit, you name it, I think they’d go with it most choices. The bag is generously sized too and with the sweet almond flavour, these are definitely worth a try!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

A New Year and Miss M’s 8th Birthday

It’s been a hectic start to the year to say the least, with trying to sell a house and job worries making it most stressful, but I musn’t forget the amazing event that really started off the year and that was Miss M’s 8th birthday on the 1st January!

Maisy 2What an amazing eight years it has been and she has done me very proud with both her efforts at school and at home.  She has grown into a lovely, polite girl who loves to help others and is friendly to everyone.

She wanted a birthday party at home, which was fine by me so we decided on biscuit decorating as the main activity.  Miss M eagerly helped me the day before to mix the ingredients and cut out enough biscuits for all her friends to decorate the next day. I also bought some flat cardboard food trays which they decorated the outside of with coloured pens as the first activity of the party.

maisy 5They then iced and decorated the biscuits with great enthusiasm, but I was particularly impressed with the results and they all ended up with a really lovely tray of biscuits to take home at the end of the party.  Mister B did a great job of his biscuits too!

maisy 4We then moved onto some other party games which Miss M had chosen and all the girls loved.  I had frozen some erasers in silicon cake cases so they were like blocks of ice and each girl had one to unfreeze using their hands and mouths – they absolutely loved it, I’d thoroughly recommend it.  I just placed some trays on the floor for them to let the water drip onto and put some towels around for them to dry their hands on.

Next up was another favourite in which three partygoers, including the birthday girl became mummified in toilet paper!!  They worked in three teams and it was great fun with minimal, easy mess to clean up afterwards.

maisy 3Miss M had a great birthday and it was a lovely start to the year.  We have lots of change coming up this year, particularly with our new house which we can’t wait to share with you.  There’s been a number of complications which we are working on but I forsee a year full of DIY ahead as well as a great family home where we hope to share lots of baking and gardening projects throughout the year as well as other fun times.

Wishing you all a fantastic 2016!

 

The Snowman™ and The Snowdog Great Festive Bake Off Blog Tour

The animated film of The Snowman first graced our screens back in 1982 when I was just seven years old, although it is one of those films that I remember clearly and have watched many times over during it’s annual viewing each Christmas.  The 20th anniversary film released in 2012 shares the snowman’s adventure with another little boy along with a Snowdog, of which has become one of my little boy’s favourite cuddly toys since taking part in last years blog tour.  If you haven’t seen the film or want to watch it again then keep your eyes peeled as The Snowman™ and The Snowdog will be shown on Channel 4 again this Christmas!

Snowman Bake off bannerThis year we have received some lovely Snowman & Snowdog gifts to try out as shown below.

snowdogThe Snowman Indoor Light String with LED bulbs is available from Christmas Trees and Lights priced at £15.99.  The set contains 10 moulded snowman which gently illuminate to a soft glow.  The set requires 2AA batteries to operate it, which I do like as it means they can be hung anywhere.  We chose to hang them from our picture rail between our lounge and dining room.  The children really love these lights and can’t wait for me to turn them on each evening.

snowdog 2A product that will always prove popular in this house is chocolate and when it’s a white chocolate snowman from Thornton’s, you know you are onto a winner!  The chocolate is creamy and very yummy, a firm favourite with my little ones and also myself, great for a Christmas treat!

snowmanThe fun twist on this years Snowman & Snowdog blog tour is a bake off along with the other bloggers taking part.  We have all been sent this lovely set of Snowman & Snowdog biscuit cutters available from John Lewis and Party Delights to see what we could come up with.

snowman 3I didn’t have to ask my children twice if they wanted to help, they absolutely adore baking, and as soon as I mentioned we were starting they were in the kitchen doing up each others aprons and sitting at the work top ready to begin.  Due to an imminent house move my food processor is all packed up, so luckily the children love getting their hands in the bowl and effortlessy rubbed the butter into the flour for our biscuit mixture.  They then rolled out and cut a variety of shapes ready for baking.

snowdog 3I love their results, so sparkly and festive!

snowdog 4And aren’t these snowdogs super cute?

snowdog 5Then it was mummy’s turn with the other half of the mixture.  I carefully cut and baked my shapes before attempting to ice them!  I’d had a long weekend of DIY at my new house and was feeling pretty shattered, so was a little rushed, but I gave it my best shot!

snowdog 6I really enjoyed this challenge and found it really fun to do.  I’ll definitely be trying out some more biscuit designs in the new year when I have a bit more time on my hands.

snowdog 7Mister B’s snowdog came down to the kitchen for a visit and approved of my biscuit creations of him and thought the children would love them!

snowdog 8I have to say the finished biscuits are very tasty and the children couldn’t wait to sample them. I can confirm they do taste absolutely delicious are make the perfect festive treat this Christmas time.

snowdog 9For more Snowman & Snowdog gifts and bake off adventures head over to Madhouse Family Reviews tomorrow for more wonderful festive ideas.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the Snowman & Snowdog goodies in order to write an honest review.

Thomas J Fudge’s Salted Caramel Florentines

Salted Caramel Florentines from Thomas J Fudge’s sounded like a perfect treat, so I couldn’t wait to taste them.  I’ve always been a fan of Thomas J Fudge’s savoury biscuits but never really tried the sweet varieties.

florentinesThese florentines are a trio of chocolate, nuts and salted caramel and certainly didn’t disappoint.  They look luxurious, are a generous size and half coated in a thick layer of milk chocolate.

The flaked almonds give them a great texture and with the combination of the caramel and dried fruit they have a chewy bite.  You only need one of these at a time, due to their richness, but that’s a good thing because not only do you save on calories, but the pack lasts longer!

florentines 2If you haven’t tried Thomas J Fudge’s biscuits and savouries, then I’d highly recommend them – they never disappoint and are the perfect little bite of indulgence!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the review.

Mornings with Belvita

Mornings for me consist of chaos, being a mad rush getting ready for work in the morning and get the children ready for nursery and school.  Even leaving the children’s things laid out for nursery/school or on my days off, it still seems a mad dash to get the children up and out the door.  So I’ve really tried my hardest to be more organised recently, which comes mostly down to being prepared the night before.

That means clothes laid out for all of us, pack lunches made, school bags ready, my handbag by the door with everything I want in it!  If I’m working, it’s usually my husband that takes them to school due to his shift work, but that means I need to be up quick and out the door often not having time for breakfast.  An essential I keep in my bag are a healthy cereal bar or a pack of the new Crunchy belVita Breakfast biscuits!

belvitaAt work I find them a handy snack on my desk that I can nibble at during the morning.  There are three quite chunky biscuits that do fill you up and are rather tasty.  Coming in hazelnut, choc chip and apricot flavours, I can actually say I recommend all three!!

Being honest I do think the hard crunchy texture tastes best dipped in a hot drink which is something I only achieve on the days I don’t work.  E.g. on a Thursday I’m at home with my youngest, we walk my eldest round to school, then come home again.  I don’t normally eat breakfast myself before the school run so when I come back I make myself a cup of Twinings detox tea (the only kind I drink!) and enjoy it with a pack of Belvita.  I honestly enjoy all three crunchy flavours, choc chip is moreish, hazelnut has a lush nutty taste and apricot has a fruity bite – they are all really tasty!!

What I really find great with Belvita, is that they are handy to keep in my bag as a a breakfast snack or as a mid morning snack at home with a hot drink.  The best bit is they come in a pack of three biscuits #MorningWin, great portion control which I love – if it was a an endless pack I wouldn’t know where to stop!

Belvita for me are a great snack that is versatile and tasty, take it with you, on the go, or have a home – a win win for me!!

This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. 

 

Brown Sugared Vanilla Shortbread

Baking Mad is a recipe database website with endless pages of scrumptious looking things to make, all alongside mouthwatering pictures to tempt you into a spot of baking.  It really is the place to go if you are looking for something to bake and I do like the way you can search with just a few key ingredients in mind.  There is also a “How to” section which is really handy for getting to grips with methods, hints and tips as well as video demonstrations.

baking madWith an array of baking goodies sent to me including flour, sugars and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, I wanted to make something that included most of them so searched with the words, “brown sugar, vanilla, flour” and I was faced with a delicious array of sweet treats wondering what to make.

I decided on the Brown Sugared Vanilla Shortbread, we all love shortbread and this one looked really tasty with the crunchy brown sugar and it’s deep golden colour.  And it was so simple to make, all the ingredients put together in the food processor which does the hard work for you then bake in the oven.

baking mad 2I let all the family have a taste and the verdict was a resounding “delicious”.  They all wanted more and now are eager for me to bake it again.  It has a really soft crumbly yet crunchy texture that just melts in the mouth, perfect with a hot drink to dip it in.

baking mad 4I’m really pleased with the outcome of the Brown sugared vanilla shortbread and now want to try some other recipes from the site, with so many tempting options I’ll have to be careful but I’m sure my family will enjoy tasting them with me.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some ingredients in order to write the review.

42 days of Summer fun with BN biscuits

Six weeks of school summer holidays means 42 days to have fun with the children, days out, days at home, some in the garden having fun, others inside playing games, baking and making crafty pictures.  So much to do, so much fun to have, where do we start.

If it’s sunny and you want to get out but not go to far, why not try out a local park that you’ve never been too.  We discovered one the other week that ended up being fabulous, the children loved it, lots of new things to do and we ended up spending a good few hours there walking around and playing.

They loved the zip wire, in fact we didn’t know we had one so close to home.  They are now eager to return!

devonport park 1This big hammock like swing was a huge hit and my two lay on it for ages relaxing while mummy gently pushed them.

devonport park 2There was also a huge wooden structure to climb on, which Miss M was eager to try out.  Mister B wasn’t so keen but gave it a go.

devonport park 3If it’s a dry day why not get the children out on their bikes and scooters for a ride.  Mister B has just mastered his scooter after many months of insisting he couldn’t ride it.  The summer is a great time to teach them how to ride things.

scooterIf you need to get on with some household chores, then get the children to help.  They love it more than you think.  Here they are helping me to clear some of the plants and weeds from their grandparents garden.

gardeningIf it’s raining, there are plenty of things to keep children occupied with indoors, board games, cooking, crafting or how about face painting?  Miss M made her first attempt at face painting the last week when she painted Mister B’s face with Spiderman.  I was very impressed and we had lots of fun for the afternoon decorating each other’s faces!

Spiderman faceSo no matter what you do, whatever the weather, you always tend to feel a little peckish and tired in the afternoon.  This is a great time to sit down and have a little snack.  As it’s the summer holidays then why not make it a fun snack, such as a McVitie’s BN biscuit!

bn 1These crispy sandwich biscuits come in Chocolate and Raspberry flavours, with a fun smiley face on the top.  Miss M and Mister B loved these particularly the chocolate flavour and I have to agree they did taste rather good!

bn 2McVities BN biscuits are perfect to bring a smile to hungry children and are not too heavy so make a great snack.  Why not try some to bring a smile to your summer?

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

Win a Case of Bahlsen Pick Up! Biscuits

Pick Up! are an exciting new biscuit from Bahlsen, consisting of a slab of chocolate sandwiched between two crisp biscuits.  I know my two children would be eager to get their hands on these and they come in handy individually wrapped packets – perfect for snacks on the go!

pick upWith a pack containing 5 wrapped biscuits and a case containing 14 packs, that means I’m offering you the chance to win 70 of these rather scrummy looking biscuits, great for pack lunches, days out, morning snack at work or simply a treat whilst at home.

Why not check out the Ninja Chihuahua TV advert for Pick Up! biscuits:

So if you’d like a chance to win, just fill in the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK only
Winner will be contacted within 24 hours of giveaway end

I have received some packs of Pick Up! biscuits in return for running this giveaway.

Easter Baking ideas for children

We were challenged by izziwizzikids.co.uk to come up with an Easter activity video for children and decided we would love to do some baking as this is one of Miss M’s favourite pastimes.

I wanted to keep the recipes really simple so that Miss M could really feel like she was baking on her own without mummy interfering every 2 minutes.  So this is what we came up with:

Firstly we chose to make some Easter chocolate nests using Shredded Wheat:

6 Shredded Wheat
180g Milk Chocolate
60g butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
Mini eggs for decoration

Step 1: We crushed the Shredded Wheat into a bowl
Step 2: We melted the chocolate, butter & golden syrup over a low heat
Step 3: Add the liquid ingredients to the Shredded Wheat and combine
Step 4: Spoon the mixture into cake cases and add decoration – leave to set in a fridge for a couple of hours.

Next we made some Easter bunny and flower biscuits:

100g butter
100g castor sugar
1 egg
275g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla essence

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar together
Step 2: Add the vanilla essence, a beaten egg and the flour to the creamed mixture and combine to form a ball of dough
Step 3: Roll out the dough and use cutters to create your biscuits
Step 4: Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 190C
Step 5: Once the biscuits have cooled, decorate using royal icing or ready made icing tubes and a variety of sweets/decorations

These recipes are very quick and simple and are ideal for children to follow.  Miss M even cracked the egg perfectly herself without the numerous shards of eggshell mummy normally has to spoon out of the mixture!!  A fun element of baking for Miss M is that she loves to get her hands stuck into the mixing bowl which we achieved when crushing the Shredded Wheat and mixing/rolling out the biscuit dough.

Miss M’s favourite bit was when mummy let her loose with tubes of icing and a plate full of sweeties to decorate the Easter biscuits.  It kept her occupied (and quiet) for a considerable amount of time and she had great pleasure and pride in showing us her finished results.

I think baking is a great activity to do with the children, one that gives them a sense of achievement with the finished result and gains them valuable skills in the kitchen.  Baking for an occasion is always added fun and helps with creativity.  Any cakes and biscuits made for Easter make ideal gifts for the children to give to friends and family – particularly grandparents who are always proud to see their grandchildren’s homemade efforts.  We tested out these recipes on Grandad and Miss M proudly wrapped her handpicked selection of goodies for Nanny to take back for him after her visit to us last week.  His verdict – delicious!

Here is our video:

Baking biscuits with Miko Cat and Miss M!!

Miss M has been desperate to play with all her Xmas/birthday presents particularly the messy creative ones (e.g Moon Sand) that are really unsuitable around Mister B.  So when Mister B had a nap yesterday afternoon I agreed we could try out her new ‘Miko Cat Make and Bake Gingerbread Baking Set’.

199083811It came in a gorgeous solid cardboard case (which we’ll use to store little bits & pieces in Miss M’s bedroom).  Inside was a lovely apron, rolling pin, mixing spoon, 3 cutters and a recipe card for ginger biscuits.

So we got started with mummy measuring out the ingredients and Miss M sitting excitedly on her kitchen chair waiting to pour each item into her mixing bowl.  And the question I kept hearing was “When can I put my hands in mummy?”.  So upon adding the butter to the dried ingredients I let Miss M loose with her hands in the bowl to rub it all together in a bid to form a dough.

And I must say I was very impressed with Miss M’s efforts as within a few minutes she had created a fine powdery blend with not a buttery lump in site.  We added the egg and made a dough which we rolled out and had lots of fun cutting it into shapes.

When the biscuits were cooked and cooled I made a small amount of royal icing in a piping tube and let Miss M free to decorate as she pleased.

DSCF3751 DSCF3753 DSCF3752

 

 

 

 

I thought the resulting biscuits were delightful and Miss M was very proud of her creations.  It was great to spend time baking with my daughter and I hope to make it a more regular activity once Mister B discovers a bit more independence and is able to entertain himself or even join in and have a go at some baking alongside his big sister.