Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

Elegant Pineapple Cake

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 11:35 AM
White or vanilla cake mix is prepared then poured over butter, brown sugar and pineapple rings in an oval Le Creuset baking-dish, and baked at 350° for forty-five minutes.  After fifteen minutes of cooling, an oval platter is placed on top of the pineapple upside-down cake, then turned over and the cake is elegantly inverted to reveal the delicious topping. The pineapple creates steam that makes the cake rise a little higher than usual, and imparts a lovely texture to this classic American dessert. ©M-J de Mesterton Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival

Laundry Symbology

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 11:10 AM


I received a beautiful dressing gown for Christmas. I looked at the laundering label and was a bit puzzled about what some of the symbols there represented. Then I found a good page on laundry, ironing and dry-cleaning symbols:


Easy, Economical Spuds

Posted on November 8, 2015 at 6:15 PM

Boiling a Whole 10-Pound Bag of Potatoes, Economizing on Energy ©M-J de Mesterton 2015 Boiling a Whole 10-Pound Bag of Potatoes Uses Less Energy than Many Little Batches
©M-J de Mesterton 2015

To boil a whole sack of spuds at once, I added a tablespoon of salt and a quarter-cup of vinegar to the water in this huge stock-pot. The potatoes came out of the sack clean enough to dump directly into the pot. I turned on the gas and waited for them to start boiling, then let them simmer for thirty minutes.  Reserve the Potato-Water to Use as Fertilizer for Your Garden ©M-J de Mesterton Reserve the Potato-Water to Use as Fertilizer for Your Garden
©M-J de Mesterton

When the boiled potatoes were soft enough to eat but still firm enough to slice, I turned off the gas. I then transferred the potato-water to a more manageable pot. Because the large stock-pot filled with potatoes and water was too heavy for me to handle, I used a heat-proof pitcher to ladle it out, and poured the remaining hot water into a bowl in the sink. Later, when this nutrient-rich water is cool, I shall take these vessels of liquid to the garden and water plants  with them.

The potatoes, after having been drained of hot water, sat covered in the stock-pot to cool for a few minutes. To peel them, I simply throw some ice and cold water over the potatoes, let sit for ten minutes, then the jackets will slide off easily, leaving a very attractive spud indeed, ready to be frozen for later use. I developed this method of preparing potatoes for the future when an economy-sized bag of them threatened to sprout. To prevent the spuds from going bad, I boiled and peeled and froze them. They are perfect when turned into gratin Dauphinois, hash-browns and mashed potatoes.

©M-J de Mesterton 2015

Austerity Cookery

These boiled potatoes are ready to be doused with ice-water for easy peeling. When the spud-jackets are removed this way, there is no waste like there is when a peeler is used on raw potatoes. These particular potatoes have such delicate skins that, testing them for softness, I smashed one in a bowl, seasoned it with Himalayan salt and pepper: the little spud, jacket included, was delicious!

Elegant Blanched Potatoes


Pre-Boiled and Peeled Potatoes in the Freezer

Elegant Bouquet

Posted on June 3, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Pink-Tinged White Roses and Fluffy White Carnations are Combined to Create a Delicately Beautiful, Fragrant Bouquet ©M-J de Mesterton 2015

The Best Crepe Pan

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 5:50 PM
  The simple, old-fashioned iron pan  made in France by de Buyer is the traditional kitchen-tool for making light and crispy crêpes.©M-J de Mesterton 2015
  Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival


Posted on July 5, 2014 at 12:55 AM

Waffle-Weave Towels Dry Quickly in the Sun

©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Decorating with Roses

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Cleaning Carrots

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Carrots are washed in one sink and dried in the other. I use vinegar, water and a little brush to scrub carrots after soaking them a bit. Then they are set in a dish-rack to dry before storing in a refrigerator drawer. Red onions are peeled, rinsed and dried, then put away in their original mesh bag, from which the label has been removed. These two health-promoting vegetables are always ready to process into a salad or cooked dish.
Chopped Carrot, Red Onion and Lettuce Salad with Umeboshi Plum and Safflower Oil Vinaigrette

©M-J de Mesterton 2013 

Peaches and Cream

Posted on August 18, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Elegant Simplicity: Peaches and Cream

Make a Wreath

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Ranch-Style Eggs

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 6:05 AM
Fried eggs are placed on lightly sautéed tortillas, then covered with red chile gravy and Cheddar cheese. ©M-J de Mesterton The Elegant Cook

Ales from Wye Valley, et Cetera

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Toothbrush-Safety Soak your toothbrush in 3% hydrogen peroxide between brushings to kill bacteria

Shower Keep a spray bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the shower for spraying walls and floors of the shower, to kill bacteria bugs and viruses.

Dishwashing Add 2 ounces (or more) of 3% hydrogen peroxide to the regular washing formula to safely reduce the transmission of colds and diseases.

Cleaning Meats Use salt and 3% hydrogen peroxide in chilled water for washing fish, chicken or other meats to kill bacteria and viruses before cooking.

Cleaning Vegetables Add salt in addition to 1/4 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. Wash vegetables thoroughly, rinse with cold water and drain. This process prolongs freshness.

Leftover Green Salad Spray with a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Drain, cover and refrigerate. Eliminates use of chemical preservatives.

Kitchen Keep a spray bottle of 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide in the kitchen. Use this liquid to wipe off counter tops and appliances. It will disinfect and give the kitchen a clean, fresh smell. Use for cleaning refrigerators and lunch boxes.

Humidifiers Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water. This helps to keep them clean and germ-free.

Laundry Add 8 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash instead of chlorine bleach.

Pets For small animals (dogs and cats), use 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 quart water for their drinking water and bath.

House-Plants Put 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide in a quart water., then feed or mist plants with this solution.

Sprouting Safety Add 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide to one pint of water and soak the seeds overnight. Add the same amount of hydrogen peroxide each time you rinse the seeds.

The Green Pan, Made in Belgium

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Frying Eggs Neatly in the Revolutionary Green Pan
The foods that I have cooked in my Green Pan slide right out; resultant residue is easily rinsed off, making clean-up easy and water-efficient. ©M-J de Mesterton

Click Here to Read M-J's Latest Elegant Survivalist Posts

Simple Flower Arrangement

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Late Summer Garden Roses and Lavender ©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Roses

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM

A pitcher by Le Creuset makes a lovely vase for garden roses.
©M-J de Mesterton

Kill Hotel Bedbugs and Fleas

Posted on September 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Now that hotels world-wide are infested with bedbugs and dog-fleas, 

don't travel without a little bottle of CEDARCIDE

Home-Grown Radishes

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 10:07 AM