Friday, May 24, 2013

refreshing rosewater

I bought myself a small spray-bottle of rosewater when I stopped by a charming country store in Tagaytay.  I love the clean, delicate scent of rosewater, and I thought it would make a lovely linen spray.  I looked around and found that aside from its fragrance, there's so much more rosewater can be used for.

the many (other) uses of rosewater

1. Rosewater is a mild disinfectant.

Who knew, right?  (Well, I sure didn't) In effect,  it can be used as a non-drying, sweet-smelling alternative to hand sanitizer.

2.  It can be used as a facial toner.

Given its antiseptic properties, rosewater is also an effective moisturizing toner.  It's a non-toxic, alcohol-free alternative to commercially-bought toners or astringents.  Simply dab on with a cotton ball.

3. It de-frizzes and moisturizes hair.

This was another pleasant surprise.  I swear, a few spritzes of rosewater into my hair made it softer and more manageable.  It's lighter and a lot less sticky than leave-on conditioners.

4. The scent of rose helps you get a more restful sleep.

Known to be relaxing, rose fragrances can help people (like myself) who have trouble sleeping at night.  So it's an absolutely clever idea to use it a linen spray!

Food-grade rosewater can also be used in recipes, but I've never tried that yet.  I have no experiences to share about cooking with rosewater ... but that's a thought for a future blog entry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

no-cook fruity oatmeal

Here's a clever way to enjoy oatmeal - without any cooking required.  This really works for me, since there are so many things to do at the start of the day, and I really appreciate a nutritious breakfast that spares me the unnecessary hassle. All I have to do is prepare it the night before and refrigerate it so I can eat it in the morning.

"Why opt for this when there are instant flavored oatmeal packets available from the supermarket?,"  you might ask.  Good question.  My answer is that those instant thingies are often loaded with sugar and preservatives, and they have much less nutrition than good old classic oats.  Furthermore, their oat bits are near-pulverized, so they don't provide the same satisfying texture.  More importantly, no brand carries the delicious flavor of fresh, succulent, Philippine mango - which is waaaay different from what imported products try to pass as "mango".

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice or milk
  • slices of fresh or dried fruit  of your choice

  • a little bit of cinnamon, honey or brown sugar, or whichever sweetener you prefer
  • whichever nuts or seeds you like
  • 6 tbsps plain yogurt.

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix together.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

That's it! No cooking required - soaking the oatmeal in milk or juice will make it nice and soft by breakfast time.  In the morning, you could stick it in the microwave for a minute or two if you want it hot; but it's nice as a cold treat too, especially on scalding summer days.


  • Apple-cinnamon oatmeal:  apple juice + bits of apple + a pinch of cinnamon + a pinch of brown sugar
  • Mangoes and cream:  milk + mango slices.
  • Banana-walnut:  slices of banana + milk + honey or brown sugar + crushed walnuts
  • Honey-almond:  almond milk + honey + slices of almond
  • If you're watching your weight, pass on the sugar and dried fruits (which often have a lot of sugar).  You could ditch dairy milk for almond milk (or your preferred substitute), or choose all-natural fruit juice with no added sugar.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

newspaper seedling pots

Here's a brilliant recycling idea, which is particularly handy if you have a garden at home: seedling pots made of old newspaper.   It's an eco-friendlier, biodegradable option to the usual material  (e.g. plastic cups, tin cans, or the often-used plastic seedling bag).  It's pretty convenient too - you can drop a "potted" seedling right into the soil.

It's surprisingly sturdy, and once you fill it with soil, it's stable.  And it's real easy to make, so voici --

How To Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

You will need:
  • old newspaper
  • a can or bottle


step 1.  
Open up your newspaper and separate it into sheets.  Tear a sheet in half along the crease, then tear in half again, like so:

All you need is half a page, or one-fourth of a sheet to make one pot.

step 2.
Fold this lengthwise, leaving a margin of about 1-2 inches from the ragged edge.

step 3.
At the folded edge, and make another fold to create a "lip" about half an inch wide.  La la la ...

step 4. 
Next, roll the folded newspaper snugly around a can or bottle.

It doesn't really matter whether the "lip" faces, just make sure the folded edge of the newspaper is parallel to the rim of the can.

step 5.
Holding the newspaper in place with your fingers, turn your can (or bottle) so the ragged edge of the paper faces upward.

step 6.
Fold the ragged edge in, like you would a parcel.

Keep folding.  As tightly as you can.

step 7.
Now, slip the can out, and flip your little newspaper cylinder over.

step 8.
Remember the half-inch lip you made earlier?  Simply tuck your newspaper into itself to lock your pot in place.

Ta-dah!  It's ready to use.

Repeat the process to make several paper pots.

Pepper Potts

er, paper pots!

Fill with dirt and plant your seedlings.   ^_^ Here are the ones we have at home, poised right where they will be transplanted soon: