Expressing my sincerest gratitude the only way I know how...
As you all know, the Live Below the Line Challenge is finally over. The first day was the hardest. I had to wake up for work at 5am, go straight after to a medical checkup before having a full day of class till 7:15pm. I swear that in between I almost passed out and wanted to give up because I didn't have time at all to go back for food! Eating under $2/day is one thing, but not being allowed to buy food when I'm out is another.
I mean, usually I would be able to buy a snack when I'm out if I wanted to. And I realised early on that one of the most fortunate thing we can have is the CHOICE to be able to eat or not. I never realised it was a luxury until then. So even though it was only a few hours into the start of the Challenge, I already felt really empathetic towards the people who were ACTUALLY living in extreme poverty.
We shared the same, painful hunger too but what made me really sad was the fact that most of the time, there was NOTHING they could do about it. Just as I had experienced myself. They simply didn't have the money to eat and had to bear with it. It really was the first time I was honestly put in the shoes of my fellow global citizen who had been suffering like this all this time. I was in pain, but ironically I was thankful that it really helped me see the purpose of why I chose to take up the Challenge in the first place. It was a hard but really, really good start.
That's why when the Challenge finally ended, I couldn't help but still feel quite guilty inside (even though I tried to come across happy that it was over). There I was, celebrating the end of my hunger since Friday midnight by eating a lot of amazing food. The more I ate, the more I thought about them. Then I realised it wasn't that I was guilty about the food I got to eat, but it was that I was sad because my fellow brothers and sisters in poverty did not have the luxury of "moving on" from the challenge like I did. Their hunger was NOT for a known, finite period of time.
Later, I realised I was being too hard on myself. Because if it weren't for my fortunate position of living in a First World Country and having all of you people in my life, WE wouldn't have been able to raise SO much money to help them out and give them a chance for a better Life!! I see now how we all really played a part to make a difference, no matter where we came from. Whether you've donated or even reading this post...
A lot of my worldviews have drastically changed from the Challenge and to say that I am grateful for this experience would be an understatement...
A word of Thanks...
First of all, I really want to take this opportunity again to thank EACH and every one of you who showed your support throughout the Challenge. The response has been really overwhelming! With all your help, I've managed to raise a total of $731 towards the cause. And it is a collective, team effort. Only possible because of YOU. HURRAHHHHH...!!
On top of that, this experience was quite different in a sense that I was getting a number of donations from the blogging community as well! I mean, even though we've known each other for a while, but I'm still SO touched by the fact that a lot of them are from people that I've never even met before! It was so gracious and generous of them to drop in a donation to show their support. Man... I know that I've always felt that this community is so encouraging but this just takes it to a whole new level. You know who you are!!
Also, I really do mean it when I say that every donation, comment and like on my Facebook and Twitter page really spurred me on even further, especially on days when I felt like giving up. THANK YOU.
And finally, to my team awesome teammates: Leaf, Bryan, Jade and Daisy. I've got so much love and respect for each of you and I'm so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to go through this together with you. THANKS.
Now, the Cookies...
To show my immense gratitude, I wanted to bake some cookies (even though I've never made them before!) and write a personalised thank you note to each person that donated.
Personally, I LOVED how they turned out. I baked 8 batches of these in total and could not find any way to improve them. I thought they were absolutely delicious. And I was even more glad to hear that people enjoyed them a lot too! Phew~! The best part was definitely the flavour and the crunch. NOTE: It's not me, but the recipe that's fantastic!
There's so many other people (that are interstate or I haven't got the chance to meet yet) that I didn't get to give cookies to this time around, but know that I do remember and cherish each of you and will definitely return the favour and kindness one day...!
Anyway, hope you give this recipe a go. Couldn't have asked for a better outcome, especially for a first attempt! Goes to show how simple/straightforward this recipe is. Now... GO BAKE!
Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies Recipe
(adapted from this recipe by Canary Girl, makes 60)
250g butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup peanut butter (use chunky!)
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C. Line cookie sheet/baking tray with baking paper.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs (one at a time at low to medium) and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.
4. Add peanut butter and continue to beat until combined.
5. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat at low to medium until combined.
6. Add the chocolate chips and beat until combined.
7. Use a measuring spoon (if possible), drop 1 tablespoon of dough onto the lined tray. Flatten the centre slightly with a spoon.
8. Repeat until you have 12 in one tray (as shown).
9. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until just golden. (My 1st, 2nd, 3rd batches were baked at 20, 19 and 18 minutes respectively).
10. Remove from oven and allow to rest in tray for 2 minutes before letting them cool on a wire rack.
NOTE: You can bake them at 180degC for 12 minutes instead if you prefer chewy cookies (but I don't and honestly think these cookies are better crunchy)
SO good with a nice, cold glass of milk...