Peppi’s Hospice Wish Tree allows community to light up the holidays for a hospice patient

Wish treeThe community is invited to help a hospice patient and family members this holiday season by participating in the Peppi’s Wish Tree program.

Folks can choose a tag from the tree located in the foyer of Peppi’s House, the inpatient unit of TMC Hospice, 2715 N. Wyatt Road on the campus of Tucson Medical Center. 

Each tag represents a gift wish from a pediatric or adult Tucson Medical Center Hospice patient or family. The giver is encouraged to purchase the requested item as soon as possible and return it, unwrapped with the original tag to Peppi’s House by Thursday, Dec. 13. 

This is the inaugural year of asking for community participation in TMC Hospice’s holiday giving program. In the past, a few community partners as well as generous staff and volunteers would contribute to help meet the holiday needs and wants of the patients.

This year, the staff decided Peppi’s Wish Tree would be a wonderful way for individuals impacted by TMC Hospice to give back.

How does the Peppi’s Wish Tree program work?

Visit the Peppi’s Wish Tree in the foyer at Peppi’s House and choose a tag from the tree. Wishes are granted for both our Inpatient and homecare patients and families.

Theses wishes can include anything from basic needs to something that brightens their holiday season. Choose the tag that interests you. The patients name will NOT be included due to confidentiality but the recipient’s age and gender will be noted.

TMC Hospice is also asking for donations of gift cards. The gift cards noted on the tags have been identified by the social services team as regularly requested needs from throughout the year.

Please return unwrapped gifts and gift cards along with the original tag to the TMC Hospice administration office, 2715 N. Wyatt Road, no later than Dec. 13. It is preferable that you bring the gift during normal business hours, but if this is not possible, leave the gift with the staff member at the front desk of the inpatient unit.

You will be able to receive a letter for your tax records at that time or we can email or fax it to you if you include your email or fax with the gift.

Staff and volunteers will then distribute the gifts the week of Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus take time out of their busy schedule to bring gifts to our pediatric hospice patients on Christmas Eve.

What if I want to participate but am unable to make it to Peppi’s House to get a tag?

You can mail a monetary donation to TMC Foundation, 5301 E. Grant Road, Tucson AZ 85712. Please note on your check that you want your donation to benefit TMC Hospice Holiday Giving. You also can donate online.

Visit us online for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Lose the guilt, not the taste – Holiday recipe modifications

healthy holiday recipe modifications

Welcome to the season of festive gatherings and indulgent eating. Nutritionally speaking, this is a tough time of year. We don’t want to give up delicious holiday dishes; however, we would rather not wreck our health through weeks of unhealthy eating. Fortunately, with a few modifications and a little moderation, we don’t have to do either.

There are three magic ingredients most cooks rely on to make their dishes taste better: salt, fat and sugar. Unfortunately, these ingredients can damage our health when used too heavily and consumed too often. Here’s the good news: you can still get that delicious taste by using salt, fat and sugar in moderation. Let’s look at ways we can reduce them.

Cutting the salt

  • Before adding salt to a recipe, think about why – or even if – it is necessary. Maybe you don’t really need it, or perhaps you could use half the amount called for.
  • Instead of salt, try herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of your food. Other seasonings to try: pepper, citrus juice or zest, onion or garlic, vinegar, salt-free seasoning blends, nutritional yeast. Beware of spice mixes that may contain salt.
  • If using canned tomatoes, beans or broth in a recipe, choose a no-salt-added or low-sodium version of the product.
  • When baking, be careful about how much salt you remove from the recipe, as that can change the texture of the final product.

Lightening up with less saturated (bad) fat

  • In cooking, replace butter and coconut oil with olive oil or canola oil. This won’t work in baking, however, because you would get a completely different texture.
  • Pie crusts are full of butter or other highly saturated fat. Try a crust-less version of your dessert instead.
  • Buy lean cuts of meat: chicken and turkey breasts, beef “loin” or “round,” pork tenderloin. Consider serving fish in place of meat.
  • Try replacing some full-fat dairy products with low-fat or fat-free versions. For example, do you need both butter and cream in mashed potatoes, or could you do with butter and low-fat milk?
  • Roast, grill, broil or stew food instead of frying.

Scaling back on sugar

  • Bring out the natural sweetness in food by adding spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace, vanilla or almond extract.
  • When baking, try reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe by a quarter, or 25 percent. (For example, use 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup of sugar.) You may be able to reduce it further, but this may affect the browning and texture of your baked goods.

A few more things to remember

  • Choose good quality ingredients, so that their natural flavors make the dish delish!
  • To boost the nutritional value of your meals, add more fruits and vegetables. Try adding dried fruits or extra vegetables to traditional recipes such as stuffing, quick breads and salads. An simple, tasty addition to any meal is to cut up a variety of your favorite veggies into similar-sized pieces (about 1 ½-inch), coat them in olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite herbs. Spread them on a sheet pan and roast at 400 degrees until golden on the outside and slightly tender on the inside.
  • Indulge mindfully. If you have a generally healthy diet most of the time, you can allow yourself room for some holiday indulgences. The key is to enjoy them, with all your senses and without a shred of regret.

We wish you happy, healthy and tasty holidays!

Laurie Ledford is a registered dietitian from Atlanta, Georgia, the land of grits, collard greens and super-sweet iced tea. She now works as a registered dietitian  in the Tucson Medical Center Wellness Department. She enjoys helping people improve their health through sustainable dietary changes while still relishing occasional indulgences. In her off hours, Laurie engages in foodie pursuits such as sampling unusual flavor combinations (olive oil and basil ice cream was a good one) as well as hiking and cycling.

 

 

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Thousands of twinkle lights make the TMC campus sparkle for the holidays

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It’s not quite the Winterhaven Festival of Lights, but the TMC campus is impressively festive during this holiday season! Tens of thousands of twinkle lights and other decorations, including more than 50 elf and snowmen cutouts, have been used to illuminate and adorn the 114 acres the hospital sits on.

“It’s an enormous undertaking,” said Richard Parker, director of TMC Facilities and Plant Services. “We have an enthusiastic team made up of employees from many different facilities crews who commit themselves every year to brightening the holidays for patients, visitors and staff. In order to get it all done, oftentimes they logged hours when most of us were still asleep, and even came in on their weekends in order to decorate in a discreet way that didn’t impact the campus during regular business hours.”

“The joy these decorations bring to everyone who visits or works at TMC is the kind of thing you just can’t put a price tag on,” said TMC carpenter Dan Bittner. “It’s worth every minute and every dime we spent putting it all together. The enthusiasm and the positive reactions from people on campus make it well worth the effort. It’s a pleasure to see how people enjoy our work.”

Last year, TMC for Children patients and their siblings were alerted via closed-circuit television that Santa had landed on TMC’s roof as part of his test flight a few days before Christmas. The children headed to a nearby courtyard where they could visit with Santa, eat cookies, listen to stories and enjoy enchanted snowfall. We’ll have to see if the jolly old elf pays TMC for Children a visit again this year…


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461