On Free Gifts

Not all free gifts with purchases are created equal; there are those that are stowed away in the cupboard for months and end up taking up space.

Then there are those that keep appearing on the kitchen counter every other day.  Here are 8 free items that I’ll absolutely use over and over again:

++ oo1 lasagna ceramic dish ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// for baking brownies,

On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// and honey granola.


++ 002 stainless steel spoon ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// bundled free with condiment, fits nicely in my zero-waste takeaway lunchbox.


++ 003 porcelain spoon ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

//  originally for jams, now for scooping everything delicious.


++004 cotton dish towel ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// workhorse in the kitchen, extra brownie points for the hanging loop.


++005 mug ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// that have been around for a long long time.


++ 006 4pc cutlery ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// because I never own a branded one before, not that the logo matters. The point is it’s free AND useful.


++ 007 plastic container ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + CoOn Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// the handle on the cover made it a handy snack carrier, minus the need for plastic bags.


++ 008 tote bag ++
On Free Gifts // Mono + Co

// simply useful, for avoiding plastic bags.


Are you equally choosy about accepting the free gifts into your house?
Have you ever ended up NOT buying something because the bundled gift was not desirable?

Simple Pleasures

over new year’s eve & new year’s day

// reusing this holder with a new calendar.

// and the metal tearing guide component from the new calendar becomes a binder for unused sheets from kids’ school exercise books.

// washed and ironed these square tenugui for wrapping lunch boxes or packing finger food takeaways without disposables etc.

// rinsed and air-dried tiny honey jars that came with our tea order, too wasteful to be recyled or discarded.  Think lipbalm containers.

// scent of the month : lime.  Infused white vinegar with leftover lime peels to make a safer all-purpose cleaner.

// 2.5 cups of rolled-oats-turned-honey-granola fit a reused 680ml pasta bottle nicely.

// stowing away this handmade Xmas wreath away with recycled log cake toppers and hamper ornaments.  Green CNY decorating ideas up soon.

Simple Pleasures

just a gather of some random shots of things that caught my eye, made my day, or meaningful enough to make me press the shutter, but just don’t seem to fit in anywhere or significant as a post.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// basil is probably the only plant I always harvest from my parapet garden.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// sterilizing, at 100 degrees celcius. Because it’s not plastic.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// school uniform: the most hardworking piece of apparel, rendered unwearable and unmendable, thank goodness she’s graduating.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// washing an empty oil bottle using the least amount of water.  My trick : teaseed powder.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// trash level report: low.  Keep trying.

Simple Pleasures

 

// repurpose my old bamboo toothbrush as plant pot markers, the bristles are made with horse bristles, composting them directly inside the soil.

// upcycled my raisin tub into a handy tea seed powder dispenser.

// glass bottle collection getting uncontrollable.

// another glass-bottle-turned-beaker to serve my homemade zero waste ginger black molasses tea in, more on this tea recipe later.

// when all the honey is gone, the tub turns itself into a useful container for soaking 2 cups of soy beans over night in the chiller.  Homemade soy milk!

Simple Pleasures

a few incidents that made me realize how the my eco-conscious habits have rubbed off on the kids. nothing complicated, just start with no wasting of food at home and go shopping together with reusable shopping bags.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// because someone didn’t want it, she brought back and we shared it together after dinner so that the untouched buttercream cake would not be wasted.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// because her friend finished the bubble tea and was about to bin these disposables, she carried these all the way home to be rinsed and recycled.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// because the top is still wearable after mending, she asked for help with my limited sewing skills to extend its wear longer.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// because this was to be discarded after a pomelo peeling competition, she brought back the peeled fruit for me to make pomelo pulp juice.  I shared with her how to make great smelling citrus infused vinegar so that she will bring back the peels as well next time.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// because the little one felt “lucky that we bring along our reusable cutlery set”, so she can have a last minute ramen treat without the standard disposables.  We were too slow to stop the drink that came in a set but took for no straw.  I told her: “we take note this time, we’ll definitely do better next time.”

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

I have quite a number of wooden kitchen items at home but I have never thought of applying oil over them to moisturize and protect their surfaces.  I always thought that wooden products, being a natural material and subjected to much abuse in my kitchen, are meant to split/turn moldy/breakdown/wear and tear and eventually be replaced due to hygiene reasons.

I was so wrong.

While going through some of the methods to clean and restore my chopping boards, I stumbled upon this post that detailed how to give old wooden salad bowls from the thrift store a total makeover. Another one here.  My wooden spatulas and spoons need more than a thorough nightly air dry as maintenance.  And they have the potential to outlive me and gain vintage status if I just give them regular TLC sessions with spoon butter, which is nothing more than a mixture of beeswax and a neutral flavor oil.  The super brief ingredient list only means that I am going the DIY route instead of buying a big jar that I can’t use up.

There are many recipes out there when you search for “spoon butter recipes” and they are really similar to how I have been making my lotion bars and lip balm.  So I am going to make just enough to buff my wooden utensils and use up the leftover as hand moisturizer for the next few days. I hate leftovers that linger for months.

After eliminating mineral oil, and a number of cooking oil that turns rancid easily, I decided to turn to this recipe that uses coconut oil, something that I have been using for my homemade skin care products.  According to other sites, walnut oil and olive oil are great choices too.  Pick something food grade that you already have in your pantry instead of buying a bottle for a single purpose.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

I made a really small initial batch for testing, with just 3g beeswax pellets and 10g coconut oil, since most instructions mention “1 part beeswax/ 3 parts oil.”  I have covered almost every wooden items in my drawer except for 3 large chopping boards.  If you need more, simply increase the portion of ingredients accordingly, especially for chopping boards.  I will give my boards the royal treatment over the weekend and let it cure longer.

I made the spoon butter directly inside a small glass jar that I am storing it with, hardened wax is really messy to clean up.   I learned that the hard way after making my beeswax wrap, so I will avoid making it a separate vessel to skip the transferring and pouring steps altogether.  For this reason, use a glass jar instead of a plastic one since we will be heating it.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

Place the glass jar with beeswax pellets and coconut oil in a pot of water over low heat and let it simmer.  Once the beeswax pellets melt (in my warm house, coconut oil is always in liquid state), stir to mix well.  I usually hold the bottle by its rim (wear a mitten and be careful) and swirl to mix.  Then leave the spoon butter on the kitchen counter and let it set at room temperature.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

To use, rub the spoon butter over the clean and dry wood surfaces, either with dry cloth or bare hands.  Leave them to sit over night.  The next day, wipe away any residual grease that is not absorbed by the surface with a dry cloth.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

I always thought my spatula handle feels unfinished and dry.  After treatment, the wood grains even start to look more beautiful.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

The difference before and after on my bamboo chopping board.

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

Homemade Spoon Butter : A Wood Preserver // Mono & Co

Bamboo toothbrushes getting a treatment too, especially the ones with unfinished surfaces that gets moldy really easily inside the bathroom.  See the difference before (below) and after (top).  But I can’t seem to find a way to reach the part between the bristles.

Reapply whenever the wooden surfaces start to look or feel dry.  I won’t wait until they crack or split anymore.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Simple Pleasures

just a gather of some random shots of things that caught my eye, made my day, or meaningful enough to make me press the shutter, but just don’t seem to fit in anywhere or significant as a post.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// all these in 5 days, by the window sill.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

//  food safe cotton fabric, ready for making soy milk.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// almost bought a $10+ bread scoring lame, then I found razor blades in Chinatown selling $1.20 for 5.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// glass tooth mugs kept sparkling clean with vinegar.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// hello due date sheet, long time no see! try creating your own library/ reading system from here and here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// after learning that the glass has become a worthless commodity in the recycling industry hence jars & bottles are sent to landfills instead, I added a Pinterest board for “glass bottles and jars upcycling ideas”.  I wrote about how I repurpose some of mine last month here.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// glass thermal bottle for my daily tea habit.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// these desiccant sachets start popping up inside all our bags of Menglembu groundnut snack!  Till I figure out how to tell if these are still effective, I will be reusing them to keep my tea leaves dry.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// reviving my neglected sourdough starter…. it’s still alive!!!!!

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// diy single-ingredient toothpaste with only baking soda, coconut oil is simply too messy for me and too oily for my basin.  Just add water and it becomes a natural mouthwash.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// make extra crispy fried shallots and shallot oil to give away when I buy too big a bag of shallots.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// bring-your-own-container desserts, always more appetizing than eating out of a single use plastic bag.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// switching to loose tea leaves.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// going back to wired mouse and keyboard when I learned that alkaline batteries are not recyclable and incinerated here.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// this pair of abandoned drinking glasses, washed and sterilized in a pot of boiling water.

Save