Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Being Gracious During the Holidays

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Helping with Typhoon Haiyan

Today is December 10th meaning there is only fifteen short days before Christmas descends upon us.  This month is usually hectic for several of us and we all try our best to do what we can to get through the month.  Unfortunately, we never know when other disasters will strike to disrupt our lives or add on to the already existing chaos.  This week I want to focus on the devastating disaster that struck last month in the Philippines. 

Typhoon Haiyan

Thankfully, none of my family who reside there were directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan.  For the people and their families and friends who were affected, this holiday season will be even that much harder to get through and celebrate.  

I always try to help out others when I can and the holiday season is the perfect time for us to offer our time, thoughts, charity and prayers.  Every day of the year is the perfect time but I believe in making that extra stretch of an effort to reach out when this beautiful season graces us.  I want to teach my kids that the holidays are about the true meaning of the Christmas spirit, to be gracious and generous; and as a parent, leading by example is the best way to go.  

I thought I would honor the Philippines this week, in my own small way, by sharing some traditional Filipino recipes I enjoy cooking since food is a big part of the holidays for many of us.  It is a time when we get together to gather around the table and reconnect with friends and relatives.  

Filipino Dish - Sinigang

I want to share a favorite of mine that comforts me during the winter season and brings me back to the days of living with my mom when she would cook for us.  I also crave this when I'm not feeling well.  It's called Sinigang, (a soup/stew recipe), and you can cook it to your preference; I usually like it with either seafood or pork.  You can also use chicken or beef. 

This time, I used craw fish but shrimp is typically what I like when I'm in the mood for seafood.  You can buy the mix in a packet, called "Tamarind Soup Mix" from an Asian food store and the directions are on the back of the packet.  It is simple to make and offers several servings.  

Don't use the entire packet if you don't want the flavor to be too strong.  You can also make this recipe without using the packet mix and actually boiling the tamarinds itself, which I have never tried but I'm sure is delicious!  

By the way, the Tagalog (Filipino) word for tamarind is sampalok.

We all have favorite comfort foods and this recipe is one of mine.  My prayers and thoughts of comfort, calm and love goes out to all who were affected by the typhoon. Awareness and support go a long way whenever one of us in the world is in need so never think one small act won't make a difference, especially during the holiday season!  

Food for thought

I think it's important to keep in mind that it's not just about reuniting with the people gathered around your own table during the holidays, but uniting with others to lend a hand to those less fortunate who are sitting at another table, even if that table is thousands of miles away. 

Here are some sites you can visit to find out ways to help out with Typhoon Haiyan:

What are your favorite charities or organizations you support?

Take care,  

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Sinigang, a classic Filipino dish but with a twist in this recipe; uses crawfish, clams and Paella rice.


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