BHG Christmas edition review

Better Homes & Garden Christmas magzineSo the latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) magazine is out and it is based around Christmas and includes a Christmas cookbook attachment. I grabbed the magazine for inspiration (and witches fingers – see below) and thought I’d share my thoughts on the magazine as I did last year.

BHG “Hello Christmas” December 2016

It does feel a little ridiculous calling it a December edition when I bought it in October, but that is fairly common practice these days… Ironically, the editor writes as if the magazine isn’t published in October (she refers to some people starting Christmas preparations in October as if that was a while ago!) And yet the Priceline advertising feature (6 pages at one end of the magazine) talks about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month

The magazine includes some delicious recipes such as a chocolate orange fruitcake, prawns with hazelnut mayo and seared eye fillet with gado gado-style salad – I’m looking forward to trying some out 🙂

I really like that it includes some Christmas crafts and ideas that are not budget busting, like making coloured linens instead of paying a fortune for pre-made tablecloths and napkins.

On the other hand I just rolled my eyes at the December events calendar – all very interesting if you are in NSW or Queensland but not inclusive for the rest of Australia. Actually, there is a listing for Christmas Melodies in Melbourne (never heard of it before!) but ignoring Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl  and other states is a bit nauseating.

If you are looking for recipes and craft ideas for Christmas, then this magazine will help you – and also give you some gardening and decorating information.

BHG “Your amazing Christmas cookbook” 2016

This 36 page cookbook has both recipes and tips for cooking meat beautifully for your Christmas events.

It starts with recipes for chicken, ham and pork (complete with crackling!) then moves onto side dishes such as whole roast cauliflower cheese and roast beetroot with figs, goat’s cheese and thyme. Of course, it finishes off with a Christmas pudding and brandy custard, and some pav stacks.

I haven’t tried the recipes yet, but they are written in clear steps with pictures so I think they will work fairly easily.Better Homes & Garden Cookbook

Witches fingers

witch finger shaped healthy biscuits

Biscuits that look like witches fingers suit Halloween more than Christmas!

Ok, this is definitely a Halloween recipe rather than Christmas but I had the magazine in time for Halloween and my kids had seen these made on the TV show and were keen to try them at home!

It is a simple recipe in that you throw everything in together and mix, but I found it more challenging and it took a lot longer than 10 minutes to prepare them! The mixture is quite thick and sticky while also needing to break up the nuts and fruit. I didn’t use a food processor but tried a vitamiser and hand processor – it was hard work! I’d suggest reducing the size of the nuts before adding everything else.

Santa shaped biscuits

Colour used as eyes and mouth instead of witches nails!

I couldn’t resist trying them in Christmas shapes, and will play with this recipe a bit as I can’t send these to school as they are (no nut policy) – so watch out for a Christmassy adaptation of Fast Ed’s witches fingers!

All I want for Christmas – festive food, fabulous craft and jolly good ideas

Better Homes and Gardens Christmas 2015 magazine Review

Pacific magazines Pty Ltd, Eveleigh, NSW
editor Julia Zaetta

Cover of 'All I want for Christmas' magazineAs I’m always interested in Christmas ideas, crafts and recipes, I decided to buy Better Home & Gardens‘ (BHG) Christmas special this year. And in case anyone else isn’t sure whether or not to get it, I am sharing my thoughts about it here. 🙂

Okay, so to cover the basics, it is basically the same as any lifestyle magazine (in that it has articles and recipes) but has Christmas as the sole theme. It is 145 pages long and has some beautiful images and layouts. Being Australian, it is both relevant and approachable (for instance, the recipes are in metric).

Crafts and cooking

For the crafts, there are pages of pictures of beautifully made items with the instructions for making them further on in the magazine. This arrangement is pretty but a little frustrating as you try to link images with instructions and materials to decide if it is something you could make with a five year old. The same approach is used for Christmas meals and treats – the recipes are not beside the main pictures.

I haven’t yet made any of the recipes in the magazine but some in particular look delicious. And they seem as easy to use as most magazine recipes.

However, I have read through a number of crafts in detail and worked on two of them with my five year old daughter. I was quite disappointed at the degree of difficulty in using the instructions as not every step is explained and some knowledge is assumed. The instructions, and the crafts themselves, are not aimed at children – I can see the value in aiming at adults to do a ‘nice’ Christmas items, but I am also aware that kids love making things and that it is a great time for adults to make things with kids. Perfection is not the ultimate outcome to my thinking – it is the doing, the thought and the resultant price that matter.bhg_xmas_magazine_2015_inner

The poinsettia wreath was particularly difficult to follow as it makes use of flowers made in another part of the magazine. Just assessing how much material was required took a while.

The little Santa bags were cute in the magazine and when we made them. Again, the instructions were not as clear as I’d have liked and I had trouble finding all the materials (so adjusted it to suit).

Christmas ideas

Throughout the magazine are various themes for decorating a house for Christmas. This includes ideas of how to add some Christmas touches, things to make, wrapping ideas and tips for setting a beautiful Christmas table.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are not many ads in the magazine – mostly just on the covers, plus a list of stockists that is somewhat generic at points.

So if you are after inspiration, just like looking at beautiful Christmas photos, are an experienced crafter after new patterns, or you want some new Christmas recipes, you may just enjoy this magazine. But it certainly isn’t aimed at young families or novice crafters.


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