9.26.2016

Taste of Ghana: Red Red & Fried Plantain



>> Red Red & Fried Plantain << 

This Ghanaian dish easily became my absolute favorite while I was in Ghana.  It is extremely yummy and very healthy (despite the fried plantain)  Also, for any of my readers who might be vegetarian, this dish is for you too – as it is a vegetarian dish ;)
Hope you all enjoy this dish as much as I do!

I N G R E D I E N T S  :
1 lb. Dried black-eyed pea beans*
* you can use red, black, or pinto beans in this recipe if you don't want to use the suggested
½ – ¾ c. palm or Canola oil
1 medium onion
1 Tablespoon ginger
½ teaspoon garlic
2 tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/3 c. dried shrimp
2 – 3 c. stock/water
1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon powder/cube
2 – 3 green onions chopped
Salt and pepper as needed
1 habanero pepper (optional; however this is what makes the dish)


I N S T R U C T I O N S  :
~ Rinse and dry black-eyed pea beans and pick through and discard any foreign object.  Add beans to a large pot covering with 3 – 4 inches of cold water.
~ Cover and let sit overnight or 6 to 8 hours
~ Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and place the beans in a Dutch oven or pressure cooker.  Follow instructions for cooking beans in your pressure cooker.  It takes roughly between 8 – 12 minutes to cook.  If you aren't using a pressure cooker, cook the beans for about 50 – 60 minutes or until beans are tender.
~ Drain the cooked beans and set aside
~ If using canned beans you should start from here
~ Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Saute the onions in the oil for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot
~ Add tomatoes, ginger, garlic, paprika and bouillon powder/cubes.  Cook while stirring for about 60 seconds
~ Throw in the dried shrimp and let it simmer, for about 10 – 15 minutes, add water/stock if needed to prevent burns.  Continue to cook the sauce, stirring occasionally.*****
***** At this point, start on your plantain (recipe below)
~ Finally add the beans, green onions and the remaining stock/water and bring to a boil and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes
~ Adjust for seasonings, and beans consistency with water and serve.

Fried Plantain:
Okay so I'm going to try my best to give y'all the recipe for fried plantain.  While I was in Ghana, I was taught by eyeballing everything – even with the amount of oil lol.  Sooo – hang in there, and we'll see how this goes ;P

I N G R E D I E N T S  :
3 – 4 ripe plantains
water
ginger powder
salt
oil

I N S T R U C T I O N S  :
~ Peel and slice the plantains diagonally.  Making sure each slice is about 1/2” thick*
~ Once you have finished slicing the plantain, put the slices in a bowl of water and rinse thoroughly.  Do not dump the water out
~ Add your ginger powder + salt.  Mix well so that each slice is coated with the ginger and salt
~ Put your oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and wait until it gets hot.  (you can check to see if it's hot by dipping a slice of plantain in the oil.  If it sizzles, the oil is ready).
~ Add however many slices your pan will hold, and turn once or twice until the color changes and the edges are crispy brown.
~ Place in a keep warm container (laid with a paper towel)
~ Repeat the steps above until you have finished frying the plantain
~ Serve as a side with Red Red and enjoy

Are you going to make this for your family?
Have you tried this recipe?
I would love to hear your thoughts :)

9.25.2016

Summer Recap + Fall Goals


Fall Goals

*Be in the Word more
*Blog more
*Go on a trip
*Make my family a Ghanaian meal
*Learn a new song on the piano
*Take more pictures
*Do more image manipulation
*Volunteer
*Exercise more


What happened this summer :

As most of you know, this summer I went to Ghana.  It was absolutely incredible to finally visit the land God had laid upon my heart so many years ago.

While I was there, I had the privilege of handing out Fante Bibles, flip flops, and cards.  I was also able share the Gospel with several people.  It was an absolutely incredible opportunity, one I will never forget.

I was also tested and went through a challenging time.  Through this test, I learned a lot about myself and now know what to really pray for/against.

What do you did you do this summer?
What are some goals that you've made for this fall?
I'd love to hear from you :)

9.23.2016

Take Me Back


title image from Google Images

Now that I've been back for nearly three weeks, I think it's time to share pictures from my trip to Ghana.  I hope you all enjoy :)

At the school:


A prayerful heart/spirit needs to be instilled into a child's heart at a young age.  I was amazed and touched at how worshipful/prayerful these small children were :) <3
I had the privilege of teaching a couple Bible lessons.  The guy in the red shirt is translating what I had just said :)


... more Bible lessons at the school

... and even more Bible lessons at the school

Worshipping our Lord and Savior before school starts :')<3

Touring Ghana:
I was able to visit Elmina, Ghana.  I took this picture at the Elmina Slave Castle
{I took the picture with my phone camera, hence the poor picture quality}

This is another view of Elmina, Ghana
{again, I took the picture with my phone camera}

This became my all-time favorite place to be.  No I'm not a beach girl here in America, but I am in Ghana :)<3
Meeting the sweet children was my favorite part :)<3
Kwami's auntie, me, and Kwami
Kwami's aunite is now a converted Muslim and is living for her Jesus :)



I absolutely love Cape Coast ... the Cape Coast market became my favorite place too.  This picture is the Cape Coast Kotokuraba market.
{picture from Google Images}

 Card distribution:
The children from Haven of Hope (the Children's Home) loved the cards Olivia Bell made :)
The children from the Orthopedic Training Center loved the cards Olivia Bell and some others gals made :)<3
... more OTC children who loved their cards <3<3


The guy on the left absolutely loved the F.R.O.G card Rhey made <3

Adapting to the culture:
I learned how to carry a child on my back the Ghanaian way
I was brave and tried coconut ... and didn't really care for it.  It's an acquired taste, and super yummy when you are extremely dehydrated lol ;P
... my yummy coconut :P

Laundry was done completely by hand, which means blisters on your hands + fingers, rinsing them at least twice, wringing your wet clothes out, and then hanging them out to dry.


Saturday morning Bible club:
Walking to Bible club

Children from Saturday morning Bible club ...

... the children loved the cards that were sent in as well :)
More Saturday morning Bible club ...
 Peeking during prayer time :')


Ministry:
Papa Jim ministering to a Muslim young man

Papa Jim ministering to an older couple who is currently caring for their four grandchildren.
{the husband and wife both came to the Lord the day this picture was taken :D}
Two of their four grandchildren
{please pray that Jesus gets a hold of their hearts as well}
Handing out snacks to the visitors

Somethings that I wasn't able to get pictures of was me handing out Fante Bibles to some of the locals, giving out flipflops, and witnessing to people on the trotro

Friends I made:

me and my friend Anna
L-R: Kojo, me, Kwami
L-R: Gabriel, me, Percy

**************

To say I enjoyed my trip is an understatement.  To say I want to go back is another understatement.  I thank God that I had the fabulous opportunity, and already can't wait to go back :)

9.22.2016

When Life Gives You Lemons

title image from Pixabay
Summer 2016.
This summer was epic … amazing … adventurous – but most importantly, I was able to heed the call of missions.
I traveled across the Atlantic.  I went on a three month trip.  I was able to reach out to a village that I would not be able to reach here in Virginia.  Loving the little children that came into my path unconditionally.
I was able to see the joy on a person's face when I handed them their own Fante Bible.  I got to see the joy in children's eyes when they got flip flops.  I was able to share the Gospel with several people.  I was able to see how much impact a simple card can have on a person's life.  I was able to give hugs to people and see how that simple act of love changed their day.

Yes that's right, I went to Africa this summer!

This opportunity had me so excited … ecstatic … bewildered … anxious … nervous … you name it, I felt it!

My family, friends, and I prayed for God's will to be made evident.  We fervently prayed for God to open and close doors according to His will.

{A huge hug and thank you to those of you who prayed with me every step of the way!}

I knew God could do anything – I knew He could close doors, but He didn't.  May 31st I set foot in Ghana.  I couldn't believe I was actually there … it felt like a dream, and I didn't want to wake up!  I was ready to impact this country for His Kingdom … haha okay, I was pumped :)

Then it happened.  One month into my trip and I made a stupid mistake.  I won't go into detail, but the struggle that I face here in America followed me to Ghana.  However, this struggle was ever more present, and came to me stronger than ever before.  I lost sight of everything and became “best friends” with the world.

One minute I was focused on what the purpose of my trip was, and the next minute … the focus had changed.

When my parents found out all that I was going through, I was so embarrassed.  I knew I couldn't change my huge mistake.  I knew that I would have to live with it the rest of my life.  I knew (deep down) that I would suffer heartbreak.  I also knew that my parents would be disappointed in me … they had a right to be. However, to my surprise, they weren't mad/angry/upset.  Instead, they offered encouragement and took the news like champs.  Sure they were disappointed, but instead of showing that disappointment, they extended mercy.

To say that I'm hurt is an understatement.

But I just have to remember that God has a bigger plan for my life than what I can fathom.



Sure I can't change my mistake, and yes I have to live it the rest of my life.
But there is a reason that God allowed me to go through this struggle.  Do I know what the reason is?  No of course not, and I don't need to know at this time.  But I can learn from my mistake and move on with life.

Sure I'm hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed with myself.
But this is the perfect opportunity to learn how to extend mercy to myself.  I need to learn how to move on and not wallow in self pity, or become even more depressed.  I have to overcome this hurt.

I can't let hurt control my life.



The other night, God led me to a passage in Scripture:

“But as for me, I would seek God, 
And to God I would commit my cause - 
Who does great things, and unsearchable, 
Marvelous things without number.”  Job 5:8-9

That's exactly what I've done – I've committed my cause to the Lord.

I'm excited to see what great things He has in store for me the rest of the year.  I know they will be unimaginable and unfathomable to me – but I trust God.  I am finally willing to move on, and not let this hurt + disappointment steal my joy and contentment!

Life has given this gal lemons …
… anyone care for some lemonade? ;)

9.15.2016

Living Loved

the title of this post was taken from the theme of Lysa Terkeurst's book "Uninvited"

Since I've been home, the Lord has been reaching out to me in ways that He's never reached out before.

While I was in Ghana, I went through a huge struggle (and am just now recovering from it).  God laid it on my mom's heart to purchase a book for me called "Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst.  Her theme for the book is living loved.  I have only read the first three chapters, but last night I felt like God challenged me to figure out what living loved meant for me.

This post are my thoughts on what it means ... hope you all learn from my rambles :)

The human race seems to run on this word.  We use it when talking to our family, friends, and our jobs (well, some of us do anyways lol).

We long to be loved by a guy.  To have him look down at us and say "I love you sweetheart".

We all long to be loved by a child.  To have him wrap his tiny arms around our neck and say "I love you Mommy".

But do we long to be loved by my King?  To have Him bend down, wrap His strong and mighty arms around us, and say "it's okay baby girl, I've got you and I wont' let go.  I know you're hurting, but I'm here to heal that hurt.  Love me, and only Me.  Walk through this life knowing you are loved, loved by Me dear one.  I love you sweetheart!"

Living loved looks different me than it does for my mom and vice versa.  However, the foundation is the same ... she is still loved by her King.

So how can we live loved?

// find our joy & strength in the Lord - Nehemiah 8:10

// get lost in our King's love for me & be content - Hebrews 13:5

// be strong in the Lord - Ephesians 6:10

// extend mercy & love to others - 1 John 3:11-24


Verses on God's love for us:

Zephaniah 3:17 // 1 John 4:7-8 // 1 Peter 5:6-7 // Job 34:19 // Psalm 86:15 // 1 John 3:1
So are you ready?  Are you ready to experience love from the King like no other love?

I pray that this helped someone, I know it helped me a whole lot.

8.10.2016

Happy Birthday!

Dear Rhay,
It's hard for me to believe that you're 15 now ... where has the time gone?!

16 years ago I had prayed that I would have a little sister
............
15 years ago our family was blessed with your arrival


5 years ago I didn't consider you my best friend because I was 6.5 years older than you.
............
5 years later, I can't imagine not having you as my best friend and my partner in crime.


I know today may be a tad bit difficult for you, not having me there 'n all.  Sure I may be 5,205 miles away, but I'm always with you by heart :)

I love you girly and truly hope you have a wonderful birthday filled with joy, love, blessings, wishes comin' true, and genuine happiness.

Love you more!
Ali <3

6.19.2016

Happy Father's Day Daddy!

Dear Daddy,
I pray that today you are shown just how important and special you truly are.  God has molded you into an amazing man after His heart!  I'm very proud to call you Daddy :)

For the past 17 years you have been my hero, my confidant, and my best friend.  Who would have thought that Father's Day 2016 I would be celebrating you all the way in West Africa?!

Enjoy your day Daddy!!!!!

I love you and miss you very much!

Love,
Ali <3


5.27.2016

"Say Goodbye" - Mandisa

During my three mile walk two days ago, I came across a song {Say Goodbye} by Mandisa (love her songs) and it made me think ... I love when songs make me think :)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! {2 Corinthians 5:17}
When we are made new in Christ, we need to put what we used to be behind us.  No matter what our past mistakes be, no matter how much we hate what we use to be like.  We need to "say goodbye" to who we once were, and embrace who we are in Him.

Enjoy this song by Mandisa - I hope you are greatly encouraged as much as I am when I listen to it! :)

5.26.2016

You Won't Be Happy ...



I just found out the other night that the internet is not reliable where I'll be.  I may be able to email, but not often.  But to post a blog post - yeah it's not gonna be possible.  So I will be taking a three and a half month blogging break.  But have no fear ... when I come back in September, I will have a ton of pictures to share and stories to post.
So sorry for the disappointment, I wasn't expecting this to happen.

For those of you wanting to keep in touch by email, I should be able to email every now and then.


So for now I say "goodbye, and 'see' ya in September!"
xoxox

5.19.2016

The Time Has Come!!!!


With my departure a week and a half away, I think it's time that I let y'all know what my mission blog is lol.  It just dawned on me not too long ago that I had forgotten to share with everyone the link to my mission blog haha.  I apologize about that - my mind has been elsewhere ;p

I will not be updating Alisha In Progress for the next three and a half months.  So if you'd like to keep informed about me, my life, my mission trip, my epic adventures in West Africa, etc., then subscribe to my mission blog!  You will never miss a post - and you can see what I'm up to :)


Look forward to keepin' in touch with y'all!!!

Until September ..............

Alisha
xoxoxox