California Cuisine: Cooking with the Grape

  Painting of Grapes by M-J de Mesterton Hangs at the Tiny Bar of Her California Kitchen Below: M-J’s Meat Sauce with Red and White California Wines Cooks Eight Hours in a Crock Pot, with Bottles Nearby for Adding More at Random Intervals For a casual supper at my beach house, I once made meat…

Tiny, Highly-Functional Kitchen

One doesn’t need lots of space to have an elegant, organized kitchen like the one pictured here. Things just need to co-exist in coherent fashion. Large, white appliances combined with lemon yellow, orange and lime green cookware can give a unified appearance; I call the effect “harmonious clutter”. All the many tools in this kitchen…

Luxury-Line

Line-drying your clothes in the sun is one of life’s low-cost luxuries. Your clothes and towels will last longer than if they had been dried in a machine, which gradually weakens their constitution. Here on the internet at my main website, Elegant Survival, I have been promoting outdoor line-drying since 2006. ©M-J de Mesterton 2014  …

Elegant Water Conservation

Flowering in the Desert M-J’s Dry-Climate Garden with Cactus Zinnias, Sedum and Sunflowers Water-Wise Gardening Photo ©M-J de Mesterton 2010 The price of water is going up, and its availability in some locations is scarce. There are some things you can do to keep whatever water you do have from going down the drain in…

Good, Old Reliable Brillo; M-J’s Citric Acid Scrub

Still the most effective cleaning pads, Brillo will make your housewares look like new, when combined with a little elbow-grease. For steel wok pans in which stubborn oil and food stains persist, I have made a discovery: they will disappear quickly when you sprinkle them with a bit of granulated citric acid (available at drug…

Economical, Cooler Use of Your Dishwasher

When the weather is hot, use your dishwasher in the late evening, and turn off the heated drying feature. The glasses and dishes will dry naturally overnight. Your place will not heat up as much, and because heat has a bad effect on polymers, rubber and plastics, the items made with those components will last…

NEW from M-J: The Elegant Survivalist

My new site may be found here: ELEGANT SURVIVALIST–please visit it for regular updates on elegant dressing, elegant living, elegant cuisine, elegant gardening, elegant culture, basic survival tips and all things elegant.  Thank you! M-J de Mesterton, Author of Elegant Survival

Economical House-Cleaning with Vinegar

I have been recommending white vinegar for cleaning and other purposes for five years. It is both non-toxic and a natural deodoriser. Here is an inexpensive source of high-quality white vinegar: Sam’s Club, less than four dollars for two gallons. White Distilled Vinegar From the Vinegar Institute, these Uses for White Vinegar Cleaning No-wax floors: To wash…

Economical House-Cleaning with Vinegar

I have been recommending white vinegar for cleaning and other purposes for five years. It is both non-toxic and a natural deodoriser. Here is an inexpensive source of high-quality white vinegar: Sam’s Club, less than four dollars for two gallons. White Distilled Vinegar From the Vinegar Institute, these Uses for White Vinegar Cleaning No-wax floors: To wash…

M-J’s Home-Made Microfibre Dust-Mop

Because Swiffer-type cloths are expensive, and not re-usable after a certain point, I now use large microfiber cloths for dusting furniture and floors. They pick up just as much dust and hair as the aforementioned product. Large microfiber cloths are available in bulk at Sam’s Club, in blue, yellow, chartreuse and orange. They’re soft and…