Someone’s at the door! Be prepared for surprise guests.

Before I got married, I lived with my parents. Yes, I’m one of those people. I know to some it might sound really strange, but the way I was raised that was the proper thing to do. There is even a saying that goes something like “From your parents home to your husband’s home” which is basically the tradition that I was raised to follow.

Anyway, now that I have my own place (with my hubbie) I LOVE when friends and family stop by and I am able to play hostess. Those skills are new to me and are still being refined and perfected. I thought I’d share with you a few tricks and tips I’ve learned along the way.

Anyone care for a refreshment?

Recently my husband’s best friend and his girlfriend were in town for the weekend. I had fresh sheets on the bed, towels laid out for them in the bathroom, extra toothpaste and brushes just in case, but I made one critical mistake…I forgot to restock our wine! As we prepared for a night out I offered some wine to our house guests, but only had some left over from a few weeks prior. I poured the wine into glasses and watched as everyone puckered their lips in disgust after tasting some old, sour wine. I was NOT a happy hostess!

Since then I’ve made sure to always have at least one unopened bottle of red and one unopened bottle of white wine to offer my guests. I’m not a wine snob so I always pick up a bottle of wine either on sale or that I have a coupon for – usually it’s a bottle of Yellow Tail, Barefoot, or Robert Mondavi Private Selection.

Another delicious and refreshing option is lemonade. Keep a pack of Crystal Light in your pantry, mix it with some water, and serve out of a beautiful pitcher. Garnish it with some sliced lemons, strawberries, or mint leaves. It cannot get easier than that.

Sweet, refreshing lemonade

Sweet, refreshing lemonade

Who’s hungry?

I’ve learned that the key to be a fun hostess is to not stress out. I know that sounds silly but so often I get consumed with making sure everything is perfect – refilling drinks, making sure I have enough munchies out, checking in on food I may have cooking or baking, etc. After my guests are gone I often times feel like I spent more time running around than chatting with my guests – and that definitely doesn’t make me a good hostess.

To avoid this running around, and stressing about what I’m going to serve my guests. I try to have items in my pantry that are ready to serve. Here are a few ideas from my pantry to yours…

Who doesn’t love some creamy hummus and soft pita bread to munch on as you chat with friends? My favorite hummus to keep in the fridge is made by Sabra. They have various flavors – my favorites are Original and Garlic. Turn on the oven to warm up your pita so it’s nice and soft…or serve it straight out of the bag to save on some time and start enjoying your company.

Creamy Hummus and Pita Bread

Creamy Hummus and Pita Bread

You can’t go wrong with a fruit and veggie platter. Grab whatever you have in the fridge – grapes, strawberries, celery, or carrots –  and style it really nicely on a serving dish or bowl. Your guests will appreciate this healthy, fresh snack.

If you’re craving something warm try grabbing something that’s freezer friendly. Buy it, freeze it, and pull it out whenever you’re ready. How about trying healthy, yummy edamame or a satisfying bowl of meatballs? Both are great to store and easy to heat up and serve.

Popcorn! This one is a bit unconventional as a snack to serve your guests at home, but I’m sure you’ve seen that this snack, done right, can be super healthy! Try Jolly Time’s Healthy Pop or Smart Balance’s Smart ‘n Healthy both are healthy options.You’ll see that your guests won’t be able to keep their hands out of the bowl and leave feeling full and satisfied.

Light, airy popcorn

Light, airy popcorn

Do YOU have any suggestions of snacks that work in your home? What do YOU serve surprise guests?