Entertaining and What to Do with Leftovers

Last week was definitely a week full of entertaining. I love hosting, but I don’t normally host two events back to back like I did last week.

First, Tim and I hosted Slesh, Will, Bridget, and Dave over our apartment for a little Halloween themed dinner on Halloween night.

Halloween 2013

I made a quick pumpkin cheese ball with pita chips to serve as an appetizer, and Slesh brought some grapes and cheese, but our guacamole pumpkin stole the show.

Guacamole Pumpkin

Our dinner menu included “spooky” stuffed chicken (chicken stuffed with apples, brie, and pecans), “scream” beans (green beans with mushrooms and garlic), and mashed sweet “boo”-tatoes. Can you guess who came up with those names?

Halloween Dinner 2013

To round out our meal, Slesh brought a big salad, and Bridget brought festive cranberry pumpkin bread.

Halloween Dinner 2013

For dessert, I made a batch of healthier pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that came out really good if I do say so myself.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

And of course, Bridget (in true Bridget fashion) brought everyone a Ginja Ninja and glow in the dark fangs.

Halloween 2013

That was party #1. Then on Saturday night I had a whole bunch of my gym girls over my apartment for a “fall fest” gathering that turned into a surprise baby shower for Liz. The only picture I took of any of us that night was Liz opening her gifts.

Bliz Onesie

The rest of the pictures I took were of the food. Priorities…

Here are some of the appetizers, including Emily’s pumpkin cheese ball, Aloisia’s brie and apple bites with a raspberry dip, and Mary’s quinoa cakes with a tomato and avocado salsa and a dill dip.

Fall Fest Appetizers

Some of the more “main” dishes included lots of squash! I made a butternut squash, kale, and gnocchi casserole. I also served harvest pizza that had acorn squash, apples, red onion, gorgonzola cheese, and arugula on it. And Ashley brought the butternut squash soup recipe that she’s been saving since the Somerville Mayor’s Fitness Challenge back in the day.

Fall Fest Meals

And then there was dessert, and lots of it!

Fall Fest Desserts

That might seem like a ton of food, but I didn’t even get to snap a picture of everything! I think I missed both ciders, Liz’s sweet potato latkes, Ashley’s lighter buffalo chicken dip, and more. Us gym ladies sure do know how to eat! We need to if you think about how many calories we burn every day. 😉

Needless to say, after hosting both of these events last week, there are a TON of leftovers in my house. I’m not going to lie, on Sunday night I kind of felt like this:

someecard-eat-healthy

Not so much the “start eating more healthy” part, but the mindset of “let’s just eat it all so then it’s not there” part. Does anyone else get like that with leftovers? I don’t always, but sometimes I do. Also, I’m okay when it comes to certain things (for example, I haven’t even opened one piece of Halloween candy), but with other foods I’m like a bottomless pit (I think I ate my weight in leftover cheese and Stacy’s pita chips yesterday).

Anyways, here are five tips I wanted to share about how to not let leftovers derail your diet!

Send guests home with food
I did not let a single person walk out of my apartment on Saturday night without taking at least something home with them!

Freeze what you can
I recommend freezing items that you may want to have later, but don’t necessarily want to eat right away. For example, I know I’m going to want to enjoy Liz’s homemade zucchini muffins at some point, but for now I’m pretty stocked up in the pantry. These will freeze well for later, as will the cranberry pumpkin bread from Thursday night. This way when I eat them, I can really enjoy them instead of just grazing mindlessly.

Bring it to work
I am not a fan of pawning off sweets and treats on your co-workers (that wouldn’t be promoting work site wellness and I often get annoyed with the constant abundance of sweets in the break room), but there’s no harm in bringing in a few of the not so bad for you items just so you don’t have as many around the house. I love Monique’s pumpkin pecan bars, but I knew I didn’t want to eat each one that was left, so I brought them into the office yesterday.

Donate them
There are several organizations out there that will accept candy or other food as donations, such as Operation Soldier. This gets the sweets out of your house and gives them to someone who will appreciate them. Local food pantries and food drives are a great choice as well, depending on what types of items they will accept.

Throw it away
Finally, i
f you know that there are sweets or certain things that really are going to get in the way of your health goals, just throw them away. There were a few items from both days that I felt I could throw away without REALLY wasting them because enough people ate them during the party. Don’t just hang on to things for the sake of hanging on to them.

After that cheese binge on Sunday, I definitely went through some of these tips to organized the rest of my leftovers and create an environment more conducive to my health goals. And it worked!

Do you like to entertain? What tips do you have for dealing with leftovers without letting them ruin your diet?

You could also make some new healthy meals out of your old leftovers! Check out Greatist’s list of 65 idea for that.