Friends, it has been quite a long time since I’ve added to The Townhouse Homesteaders. When I stopped posting in 2012, I thought it was just to be a brief hiatus. Our two year old had stopped taking naps and I suddenly found myself without that early afternoon solitude. At the time, I fully intended to revisit my fledgling blog once my daily schedule settled down. Instead, I found myself without time to spare. And the first thing to go was The Townhouse Homesteaders.

The last eight years (yikes… it HAS been a long time!) have seen many, many changes in our lives. As they say, time marches on…

Goodbye Townhouse

Our biggest change was saying goodbye to our townhouse nearly three years ago. Those 1280 square feet were good to us but we had long outgrown it. Our new house provides us an extra 700 square feet to live in. But more importantly, it is nestled on a 1 acre parcel. From my first posts, you know that we dreamed of living off the land as much as possible. And this property sure helps!

Goodbye Patio Garden

We still have those barrels we converted to self-watering containers, though we un-converted them. Now they are home to our herb garden on the north side of our home. They keep our fruit trees and bushes company. On the south side, we built 15 raised garden beds. We grow everything from sweet potatoes and garlic to tomatoes and, of course, zucchini.

While I still purchase some fruits and veggies from a family friend who is a CSA farmer, we grow and preserve about 70% of the produce that we eat. This gardening success is key to our lifestyle because that’s something else that’s changed…

Goodbye Meat & Dairy

Yep. We’ve gone vegan. Like so many others, the Netflix documentary Forks Over Knives convinced us to go vegan. However, it wasn’t a stark transition. I had been a vegetarian for many years before we’d gotten married. Quite the carnivore at the time, Jon got me back on chicken, fish and the occasional pork product. But right around the time we moved, neither of us were really enjoying meat. And as we were getting older, we started to notice dairy didn’t love us as much as we loved it. So we gave pescatarianism a try. We loved it!

Then, one night when Jon was traveling for work, I watched Forks Over Knives. And that was it. As we say, we aren’t militant vegans. It’s not for everyone. But it works for us.

Hello Homeschooling

We’d toyed with homeschooling from the time Matt was born. After all, I had experience in the classroom. And who else would be as passionate about his education that his parents? But what really sealed the deal for us was our little boy himself.

Matt has an autism diagnosis. He’s a happy kiddo but has a communication delay. He struggles to converse and have relationships with his peer group. But he’s also a twice-exceptional child. His intelligence is off the charts. Homeschooling allows us ample time for services and still affords him the time to excel in school. In fact, he’s ahead of others his age in quite a few subjects.

Why Now?

Wondering why I’m posting now? In truth, it is completely because of my chocolate custard post! Despite my sharing that recipe in 2012 on a blog that has been virtually defunct since, that post remains incredibly popular… it least by my standards. Astoundingly, in my long absence, nearly not a day has gone by where someone didn’t pop by the site to see it!

Today, someone commented on their excitement to make that chocolate pudding. Seems they, like most of us, are cooped up in our homes awaiting the end of The Great Pandemic of 2020. So it got me thinking, if I can share just a bit of myself with just a bit of you, it might make getting through this health crisis just a bit easier.

I hope to see you again soon!

Happy Homesteading,


We have new neighbors! 

Two or three weeks ago, a nice, young couple moved into our neighborhood.  Within a week of taking up residence, they added three new members to their family.

Their home has a lovely view of our back patio.  I’ve tried to take a picture of their little love nest, but I don’t want to disrupt their privacy by getting too close.

I hope they are happy here and come back next year.

I wonder how much their homeowner’s association fees are?

One of the best things about eating seasonally is the anticipation and excitement about eating vegetables.  Never in my days of non-conscientious eating could I have imagined opening a box of CSA vegetables and being utterly thrilled at the sight of zucchini.  But sure enough, that happened yesterday.

Zucchini is on my top five favorite vegetable list, in company with beets, asparagus, spinach and peppers.  Thank goodness tomatoes are fruit, for something would have to get bumped…  While the concept of eating seasonally means I lose out on my precious favorites for the majority of each year, it is counterbalanced by the enjoyment of eating the flavors as nature intended. 

We’ll eat zucchini in many forms this summer, as always.  From roasted to raw, it will grace our plates at least twice a week.  But the recipe today is one of our favorites.  My mom used to make this casserole during the summer when I was growing up.  As my father has a significant aversion to most vegetables, Mom and I got to enjoy the whole thing.  We found it even makes a great cold breakfast the next day.  And a great snack.  And on bread for lunchtime sandwiches.  And…


4 cups zucchini – grated

½ small onion – chopped

6 slices provolone – torn

1 c. breadcrumbs

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 eggs – beaten

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease a 9×13 pan.

Combine all ingredients.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is set.

Perfect for dinner with an open-faced tomato sandwich.

Happy Homesteading,


Tips & Tricks:

This recipe is easily multiplied.  Adjust cooking times accordingly – continue to bake until center is set.

This works great in muffin tins to create individual servings. 

Provolone works the best for this recipe.  I like Applegate Farms since it is hormone free and made with vegetable rennet.

This entry is a departure from regular Townhouse Homesteader fare.  But it will tell you a bit about someone we want to homestead for.

Today, our little guy turned two.  Jon and I had been married for a little over 3 years when we found out that I was pregnant.  We were thrilled.  From the get go, we knew that I was not going to have a run of the mill pregnancy.  In the late 1990’s, I had experienced a hormone related pulmonary embolism.  As a result, I was going to have to give myself two shots of blood thinners every day, for the duration of my pregnancy.  We took that news in stride and continued reveling in our excitement.

For the first few months, everything went according to plan.  We eagerly anticipated the new arrival that was due on August 29th.  Ah, yes.  I did say August 29th and this entry is posted on June 11th

In the very early morning of May 26th, I woke up thinking I was developing an incontinence problem.  Within 30 seconds I realized that my water broke.  I went downstairs and called my OB/Gyn who advised me to get to the hospital ASAP.  When I went back upstairs, I woke Jon to tell him what happened.


“Honey, get up.  My water broke.  We have to go to the hospital.”


“Can we just change the sheets?”

As soon as the grogginess faded, he hopped up and was all action.  We got to the hospital and, long story short, my water had broken and I was to be admitted until our little one arrived.  This certainly wasn’t in our birth plan.

Two and a half weeks later, he was born.  I was 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  Just a couple of weeks into my third trimester. 

He was big for a 28 weeker – 3lbs & 14 oz.  His lungs were extremely immature and he was sporting a vicious lung infection.  But he was perfect.  And he was ours.

He was a resident of our local NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for 82 days.  Two days after his original due date, he came home – on oxygen and a monitor – but he came home. 

Our journey home from the hospital came with none of the usual celebration of a baby homecoming.  Our parents seemed to realize that we just wanted to be alone with our baby.  In our home.  On our couch.  Without the beep of monitors and the busyness of nurses in the background.  To be the family we did plan on.

Today is his birthday.  He is still perfect.  One would never know that he was so early.  He was just so excited to meet us, that he couldn’t wait until August.


Jon and I started actively cleaning up our diet nearly 3 years ago.  On a whim, I had picked up an issue of Clean Eating and was instantly smitten with their recipes.  I quickly got a subscription and ordered all of their back issues.  When they arrived, we sat at the table and paged through each magazine, marking the recipes that sounded yummy.  Not being a beef eater, I virtually ignored each and every beef recipe.  Jon, who never met a piece of beef he didn’t like, seemed to tag virtually each and every beef recipe.  What to do, what to do…

Ever the woman of compromise (cough, cough), I decided I’d try a recipe he wanted but with chicken.  I decided on the Soba Noodle Salad with Flank Steak from the May/June 2009 issue.  At the time, I prepared it exactly like the recipe but I substituted roasted chicken for the flank steak.  It worked!  Since then, with a few tweaks, it has become a household favorite. 

When I saw the beautiful head of Napa cabbage in my CSA box this week, I knew this was one meal that would certainly grace our table.

Salad Ingredients:

2 to 3 roasted chicken breasts – cubed

1 package soba noodles – cooked to instructions

1 head Napa cabbage

4 carrots

2 cups pea pods

1 generous handful chopped cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 inch nub of fresh ginger – grated

2 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. sesame oil or olive oil

1 tsp. Sriracha

Slice Napa cabbage into thin strips.  Place in very large bowl.

Finely grate carrots.  Trim ends from pea pods.  Add to cabbage.

Add chopped chicken and cilantro.

Combine dressing ingredients.  Whisk until honey is fully incorporated.

Add soba noodles and dressing to cabbage.

Toss to combine.

Happy Homesteading,


Tips & Tricks:

I slice up my Napa cabbage and then wash and spin in the salad spinner.

This salad is great warm, room temperature or cold.  It’s just great.

We have two Friday traditions in our home.  On Friday nights, we watch TV while eating dinner.  Also, with the exception of special events or occasional Mommy cravings, Fridays are the days I make dessert.

This chocolate chip coffee cake is one of my favorites.  My regular readers might notice that this is yet another recipe that includes cream cheese.  And what you’re thinking is true. This girl loves her cream cheese!



1 cup softened butter

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1¼ c. sugar

2 eggs – beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

¼ c. milk

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips


¼ c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9” springform pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Whip to combine.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir gently.  Add milk and combine.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared springform pan. 

Stir topping sugar and cinnamon together.  Sprinkle over batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Happy Homesteading,


Tips & Tricks:

To make this cake slightly leaner, I usePhiladelphia’s Neufchatel instead of regular cream cheese.

Source: Unknown

Our CSA, Lancaster Farm Fresh, does not operate like the traditional CSA.  To my understanding, most CSA’s work with one farm and you get a share of what that farm grows.  Lancaster Farm Fresh works with many different organic, transitional and IPM farms to give its members a huge variety of produce.  Becoming members has broadened our horizons and introduced us to produce that we had never heard of before.  Garlic scapes are one such example.

Garlic scapes are the greens that grow above ground while a head of garlic is growing below.  They have a slightly less pungent garlic flavor than the bulbs and don’t give you “don’t kiss me” breath.  Sadly, scapes are only around in the late spring and early summer when they are cut to keep more nutrients in the actual garlic bulbs. 

Linguine with garlic scape pesto is, by far, our favorite early summer meal.  Quick and easy and oh, so delightful! 


6-8 garlic scapes

5 basil leaves

1 c. grated pecorino romano

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

½ c. olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup pasta water

1 lb. linguine – cooked to package instructions

NOTE:  Generally, pesto contains nuts.  Our little guy has not yet had tree nuts, so I did not use them in our pesto.  We didn’t miss them.  If you’d like to include them, ¼ c. would be perfect.

Prepare pasta to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, cut garlic scapes into 1 to 2 inch segments.

Place scape, basil, pecorino romano, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in food processor.  Pulse to combine.

Add pasta water in ¼ c. increments until desired consistency is achieved.

Toss with linguine and serve.

Happy Homesteading,