Five days and a new perspective – Live Below the Line 2014

Live Below The Line 2014 - Ingredients for the week.

Live Below The Line 2014 – Ingredients for the week

Live Below The Line was a Big Success!

Gosh. Living on $2 a day was tough and much more difficult than I thought it would be. The thought that some people live with this much or less breaks my heart. I’m really thankful that I completed this challenge because I learnt many lessons along the way.

I shopped at various stores to find the cheapest yummy foods for the week. The promising ingredients that made the final cut were:
$0.75 – Pasta spirals
$0.69 – Can of baked beans
$1.00 – Block of caramel-chocolate
$1.00 – 5 x fresh tomatoes
$1.10 – Bag of baby carrots
$0.47 – 1 onion
$0.15 – 2 cloves of garlic
$2.69 – Dozen eggs
$1.00 – A loaf of bread
$0.99 – 5 x chicken 2 minute noodles

$9.84 – Total spend for one whole week eeeek!

There were some trying moments and times where I had a big case of the grumpies (hangry) but overall it was an enlightening experience. Here was what I ate for the five days.

I cut up the baby carrots into sticks to snack on during the day. I also brought slices of plain white bread to snack on. Before this I had never realised how sweet white bread is. It’s actually yum on its own (but better with generous amounts of butter or nutella of course).

Live Below The Line 2014 - Egg on Toast

Live Below The Line 2014 – Egg on Toast

Sometimes I made egg on toast in the morning or the evening if I was feeling particularly peckish.

Live Below the Line 2014 - Lunch

Live Below the Line 2014 – Lunch

For lunch I had pasta with some baked beans, cooked tomatoes, onion and garlic. It sounds better than it was, It was mainly just boiled pasta. Sometimes on a special day I would add a boiled egg. Mmm. On the first day I was hating lunch but by the third day I had adapted and the pasta was delish (and by delish I mean not so bad).

Live Below the Line 2014 - 2 minute noodles.

Live Below the Line 2014 – 2 minute noodles.

When I got home I would eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Yum! I would dip bread soldiers into the soup, which was pure heaven. Truly, on a cold day, warm soup is perfect.

For my evening treat I had chocolate. I had to ration the block so I was able to eat three squares of caramel chocolate per night. I savoured every bite.

The people around me were very supportive and made the challenge easier. The first day was challenging. I didn’t bring enough snacks so I was starving by the time I got home. On the fourth day I was really feeling crappy in the morning and  I just wanted it to end. I ate the rest of the chocolate to feel better (Thursday AND Fridays portion oops). And by Friday I was running out of food. It was a tough five days but I made it. At 12.01am on Saturday morning it was time to feast.

Live Below The Line 2014 - Saturday 12.01am Time to feast!

Live Below The Line 2014 – Saturday 12.01am Time to feast!

Ding! At exactly 12.01 I open the microwave, and starring back at me is a reheated Huxtaburger ready to be eaten. YUM! YUM! YUM! It was so indulgent, so delicious. I couldn’t believe the intense flavours coming out of this little burger. My taste buds were on overload. It was magnificent.

Live Below The Line 2014 - Microwaved Huxtaburger

Live Below The Line 2014 – Look at this shady character – The Midnight Huxtaburger

Also I had half a kilo of my fave icecream from Geletello. Dark chocolate and Blood Orange yum yum yum! (don’t worry I didn’t eat it all at once).

Live Below The Line 2014 - Dark Choc and Blood Orange Gelati

Live Below The Line 2014 – Dark Choc and Blood Orange Gelati

I’m glad I participated in Live Below the Line this year because it has taught me to see the world as a whole and that together we CAN make a difference. Live Below the line had over 10,000 people participate this year and raised over 1 million dollars which is pretty damn awesome.

Here are a few gems I learnt during the challenge:

Don’t take food for granted – I thought about the masses of food that is wasted every day. I know a lot of vegies that perish right before my very eyes in my fridge each week. Not any more! If I buy them, I’ll eat them.

Money should not be wasted – I thought about where my money could be better spent. Hmm should I buy that sweater that looks similar to another sweater I already have or should I spend that same amount to help a less fortunate young person buy uniforms and text books for 3 years? I realised that I spend money on too many unimportant things.

Be grateful for what you have. I had boring pasta every day for lunch, which was frustrating because it didn’t have much flavour but then I thought about how some people would be grateful to have any food just so that they can survive. That single thought made my pasta instantly taste better.

I’ve managed to raise $348 so far. And you can still donate until the 30th June 2014. You can donate through the following link https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/olivesundays

Live Below the Line 2014 - Donate to a great cause!

Live Below the Line 2014 – Donate to a great cause!

Life is too short to be complacent.

Spend your time on things that matter!

Thanks for all your support x

I heart Live Below The Line!

Olives x

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014 - Chinatown.

Melbourne Chinese New Year 2014 – Chinatown.

So today we ventured out into Melbourne’s 40 degree heat to celebrate Chinese New Year in the city. First stop Chinatown. They had the big dragon and the lion dances. I like when the lion jumps up and eats the lettuce, aww it’s so cute. Lettuce is hung above the doors of the restaurants with a red packet of money. The lion eats the lettuce and red packet. And just for the record, if there was a red packet of money in my lettuce I would definitely eat more of it. The lion jumps up and eats the lettuce and scatters leaves around to symbolize a fresh start for the new year and to spread good luck.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Lion dance.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Lion dance.

The great thing about celebrating the Lunar New Year is that it is tradition to celebrate with delicious food. There were lots of street food stalls setup around the area. There was a variety of skewers available, chicken satay, bbq pork, marinated squid, corn on the cob. Skewers are good because they are a one handed meal. You can eat them on the go. They allow you to continue browsing stalls without difficulty.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Chinese skewers.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Variety of skewers.

No celebration is complete without beer battered potato twists dusted with a generous amount of chicken salt. Yum.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Potato Twists

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Mr Potato – Beer battered potato twists.

They had square chunks of rice noodle fried with an egg, topped with spring onions with a sweet soy sauce which was delicious. It looked like tofu but it was actually rice noodle. Which was strange for me because I’m used to noodles looking long and stringy but I liked the change. I dig it. It’s hip for noodles to be square.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Chinese street food.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Chinese street food – Square rice noodle.

Then for something sweet they had these little mini pancakes (bigger than dutch pancakes but smaller than pikelets) filled with red bean, chocolate or cream. It tastes like something from breadtop. I paired that with sugercane juice which had a squeeze of cumquat juice. It was refreshing but it was particularly sweet, which I should have known, it being sugarcane and all.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Sugarcane juice & Redbean pancake sandwich.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Sugarcane juice & Redbean pancake sandwich.

Second stop. Crown Casino. At Crown they had CNY stalls setup outside along the yarra river with a big stage with CNY events held throughout the day.

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Crown Casino - Year of the Horse

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Crown Casino – Year of the Horse.

We went inside Crown for refuge from the heat. In the food court they had a Hutong Dumpling Bar store. What? My favourite dumplings were available right there in the foodcourt? I was convinced it was a mirage. After all we had been in the heat for an extensive period of time so this idea was totally feasible. To my delight it was no figment of my imagination, there was definitely a Hutong Dumpling Bar standing in front of me in the food court at Crown. The Xiao Long Bao (Soup dumplings) from Hutong are my favourite dumplings ever. I was confused at first and thought the idea of having the dumplings served in a food court seemed to devalue their worth. But after much research (eating them and then eating them again) I realized the dumplings were just as good as at the restaurants only they were more accessible. So Yummy!

Melbourne CNY 2014 - Hutong Dumpling Bar - Xiao Long Bao.

Melbourne CNY 2014 – Hutong Dumpling Bar – Xiao Long Bao.

Today was filled with great food, friends and fun. Wishing you all Good Luck for the year ahead.

I heart Chinese New Year!

Olives x