Entertaining tips that keep your guests coming back

Entertaining, even for the most seasoned host or hostess, can be nerve racking and stress inducing, but let’s face it, we continue to entertain. However, there are tips and tricks that anyone can have in their arsenal to make their gathering a good time, followed up with requests for an encore performance. Here are five tips that will guarantee your gathering is a healthy and stress-free indulgence.

1. Add flavor to your recipes
Freshen up your standby recipes by exploring innovative ways to add variety and flavor. If you’ve been serving the same dish for years, why not look for a way to liven it up by incorporating dried fruit? Your guests’ taste buds will be tantalized with these recipes below. They incorporate dried fruit for a boost of flavor that will be a perfect pairing with the meal you plan to serve your guests.

Mango Ginger Sauce
Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple slices in juice
1 (5 ounce) bag Sunsweet Philippine Grown Mangoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup mango nectar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Instructions
Drain pineapple juice into a small saucepan. Dice pineapple and add to saucepan with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Serve warm with ham, roasted pork, poultry or seafood.

Brie with Berry Sauce
Ingredients
1 (5 ounce) bag Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 thin lemon slices
1 cinnamon stick
1 wedge Brie cheese, let sit at room temperature for one hour

Instructions
Stir together Antioxidant Blend, juice, honey, lemon and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes; let cool to warm and remove lemon slices and cinnamon stick. Cut Brie in half, lengthwise, and spoon berry mixture between halves.

2. Time is essential
Keep shopping simple. Grocery stores are busy after work and on weekends. There’s no sense in traveling to several stores to find exotic ingredients; plan a menu that takes standard, easy-to-find, but still healthy ingredients, like Sunsweet Plum Amazins, which are perfect for adding to your favorite recipes because the dried plums are already diced.

3. Snack healthier
The aromas of delicious cooking can fill a house, and can also start a symphony of growling stomachs. And let’s face it; your guests won’t be the only ones reaching for a handful of snacks to quell their bellies. To keep the munching healthy, replace bowls of candy with a variety of dried fruit. Sunsweet offers a sweeping portfolio of products from an antioxidant blend to dried apricots and cherries. If you’re craving chocolate, look for PlumSweets; A combo of dried plums and decadent dark chocolate, without the guilt. Searching for more suggestions? Check out Sunsweet’s Facebook page for additional recipes.

4. Avoid food allergies
Keep everyone happy. Make sure you check with your guests about possible food allergies and phobias, and then plan a well-rounded menu that keeps everyone happy and not hungry. And while many of your guests might prefer a glass of wine or cocktail to accompany their dinner, make sure to provide multiple non-alcoholic options.

5. Entertaining and having fun
When it comes to preparing your feast, think of things you can do ahead of time to avoid extra stress. Speaking of the day of, don’t forget to be a guest at your own party. The dishes can wait; they will be there when everyone leaves. Surround yourself with good friends and good food, and make sure to set aside time to enjoy them. You worked hard to bring everyone and everything together.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to keep your entertaining fun and fancy-free.

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