Tis the Season…Already?

Did you happen to notice that the day after Halloween Christmas decorations were already adorning the shelves of stores? Some people already have their outside Christmas lights up! How early did you first start see Christmas items appear on shelves?

It does seem the retailers are advertising their wares earlier and earlier each year. And each year I find myself feeling I am further and further behind the 8-ball in holiday preparations and finding less and less time to just enjoy the season. I was a little taken aback this past week to have discovered, from a patient, that Thanksgiving is next week! I don’t even have a turkey yet! This year has simply spun past and I’m not even sure where it went or what month I’m currently in.

This year has been on the unique side for me. Not only do I have my regular community service as nurse to the Richland High School Marching Band, but this role has been expanded to include the Richland Color Guard as well. On top of this, I found myself elected as President of this wonderful organization for the 2011-2012 school year. I am now even busier than I could ever imagine in serving this amazing group of young adults.

Fall is always a busy part of the year especially if you are involved in band or football. I was so looking forward to just taking a deep breath at the end of the season. I did take that deep breath, and during that long inspiration and expiration, some mischievous little elf got into my schedule and filled it up again! I have found myself trying to make room for 3 extra meetings, opening my home to 30 college musicians for a Christmas party my son happily volunteered to host (and I think I’m making lasagna), picking people up from the airport, dropping people off at the airport, winter band concerts, decorating for the holidays, the usual baking, Christmas gift acquisition, and a repeat trip to and from the airport. Sometime during the Thanksgiving weekend I have to start decorating (thanks to my awesome son), move stuff to storage and look for a wedding dress with my daughter while she is in town on leave. Somewhere in all of this chaos I need to see the Dentist and get my eyes checked! Calgon take me away!

Moving through marching season, and now the holiday season, I find myself fixing more and more meals that only take a few minutes to prepare, and I make sure I have some for left-overs!

Spanish Rice and Chicken

½ pound skinned, boned chicken cut into cubes
1 ¼ cups chopped onions
½ green bell peppers cut into ½ inch squares
½ red bell pepper cut into ½ inch squares
1 ¼ cups uncooked Basmati rice
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic minced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 (14 ½ ounce) can stewed tomatoes Mexican style
1 (10 ounce) can chopped green chilies

Sauté the chicken in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add rice, oregano, cumin, and garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. For even faster preparation use chopped chicken found in the freezer section. Add a crisp, green salad and your meal is complete. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
Calories: 362
Total Fat: 6.3 grams
Carbohydrates: 55 grams

Basil-Tomato Chicken Skillet

1 to 1 ¼ pounds chicken breast tenderloins
1 (14 ½ ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup snipped fresh basil
1 (9-10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Cook and stir chicken in skillet about 5 minutes or until done. Add tomatoes and basil. Heat through. Remove from heat. Add spinach and toss well until wilted. Divide among 4 plates and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves: 4

Serving size: 2 cups
Calories: 170
Total fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 7 grams

Recipes from Diabetic Living.