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Hospitality: making overnight guests welcome

Anna Aughenbaugh
Fort Collins, Colo.

In spite of the wise saying of Roman playwright Titus Plautus way back in 200 B.C., “No guest is so welcome in a friend’s house that he will not become a nuisance after three days,” we often have friends and relatives visit for three days to up to two weeks. We enjoy having them visit, especially those who willingly pitch in to set the table, do dishes or fix sandwiches.

In order to truly enjoy them and to make them feel welcome, we have furnished our small guest room to closely resemble our favorite bed and breakfast. A lamp on the night stand allows them to read in bed, tourist brochures in the drawer lets them pick things to see. A chair, a dresser with empty drawers, hangers and extra blankets in the closet makes it easy for them to make themselves at home. A night light in the hall and plenty of towels, soap, shampoo, sunscreen, and new toothbrushes in the bathroom are helpful amenities.

It is helpful to tell guests to bring clothes that can be layered because weather can change quickly in Colorado. Although we keep extra winter coats on hand for trips to the mountains we suggest guests bring comfortable hiking shoes.

To make entertaining seem effortless and to allow time to spend with guests, I write up menus and make some of the meals ahead of time and store them in the freezer. Making use of a crockpot has dinner ready after a day of sightseeing. We clean the house before they arrive, then do the bare minimum of housekeeping for the time they are here. I keep a box filled with picnic supplies and stock the cupboard with easy to pack picnic foods.

No matter where you live, there are places to entertain visitors. Sightseeing gives time to visit while enjoying your area. We check the tourist information office for free things that will be taking place, then mark the calendar with things to do.

Those who live on ranches or farms may need to educate visitors about where they can venture, about livestock, and machinery. City kids often think of cattle as pets and machinery as a playground.

Remember they come to see you, not just to be entertained. For fun evenings, keep table games and a picture puzzle on hand. Videos from the library fill in times when you are all tired from a busy day.

These easy to do, make ahead recipes have proven to be enjoyed by our guests.

6 c. broken French bread

1 c. dried cranberries or raisins

4 eggs

2 cans evaporated milk

2 t. vanilla

1 t. cinnamon

Put bread and cranberries in a greased 3 quart casserole. Mix egg, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. Uncover. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until browned and set in center. Serve with syrup. Serves 8.

1 lb. bulk pork sausage

8 eggs

3 c. milk

2 t. dry mustard

4 slices bread, cubed

1 cup grated American or cheddar cheese

Brown sausage; drain fat. In medium bowl, beat eggs; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a well greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Cover; refrigerate overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until firm.

1 c. raw macaroni

1/2 c. chopped celery

2 Tbsp. chopped onion

1/4 t. salt

2/3 c. mayonnaise

1 (6.5 oz) can tuna, drained

Cook macaroni; rinse with cold water, drain. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill. Option: Omit tuna and use cubed cooked chicken.

Ramen Cabbage Salad

1 pkg. chicken flavored Ramen noodles

1 small head cabbage, sliced thin

1/2 c. grated carrot

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. chopped red onion

1-1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken

3 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

2 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1/2 c. Canola oil

1 pkg. Ramen flavoring

In a large bowl, mix first eight ingredients. Stir together seeds, sugar, vinegar, oil and flavoring; pour over salad. Cover and chill for several hours. Serve with a hot veggie and biscuits.

Spray Crock Pot with oil.

Place 4 peeled, quartered potatoes in bottom; top with 4 peeled carrots and one peeled, quartered onion. Put pieces of chicken, pork chops or a small roast on top of onions.

Mix 1 can of cream of mushroom soup with 1/2 can of milk and pour over the meat. Cook on low 6 to 9 hours.


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