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Helpful tips for holiday entertaining, including a sweet surprise

(ARA) - For even the most seasoned host or hostess, the holiday season can be nerve racking and stress inducing. However, there are tips and tricks that anyone can have in their arsenal to make their festivities merry and bright. Here are five tips that will guarantee your holiday feast is a healthy indulgence to holiday entertaining.

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 your holiday meal.

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 crazy during the holidays. 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 holiday 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, sweet tips and festive deals this holiday season for a chance to receive free products, cookbooks or a subscription to a cooking magazine.

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 eggnog may be your holiday beverage of choice, make sure to provide multiple options for your guests.

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 this year's feast fun and fancy-free.

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