Esther’s Friendship Cake

My blog has been defunct for quite a while, however, I have discovered a new use for it. Here, I’m sharing a recipe, so that it can be easily pinned. The recipe is from Esther’s Kitchen, and Chef Linda is amazing. They don’t yet have their website set up for sharing recipes, so maybe this will be helpful to us Pinterest fanatics! You can learn more about Esther and her inspirational life at
Esther’s Friendship Cake – From Chef Linda of Esther’s Kitchen

Cuisine: Esther Approved  

Serves: 8×8 cake

Prep including Cook Time: 1 hour

Cake Ingredients

1 cup organic granulated sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt

1 (16 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained

Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.  

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a spoon. Stir until smooth.

2. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While the cake bakes, begin to evaporate your almond milk.

4. Method for frosting the cake-Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the hot frosting over the hot cake. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake. The milk will absorb into the cake. Allow to cool before slicing. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Frosting Ingredients

3/4 cup evaporated almond milk(see recipe below)

1/2 cup organic granulated sugar

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread

1. Once your milk has evaporated to half way below the scald line to the bottom of the pot (20 minutes), stir in the granulated sugar and Earth Balance into the milk. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut, almonds and vanilla extract. Turn the heat to warm or low to keep the frosting hot.  

2. Pour the hot frosting evenly over the cake. Use the back of a spoon to spread out the frosting.

Evaporated Almond Milk Ingredients  
1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1. Pour the almond milk into a medium size pot. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. The milk will evaporate to a half quantity that will yield 3/4 cup evaporated milk for the frosting recipe.

Maybe later I can figure out how to share a printable!



Producing Produce

Anyone who knows He and She would know they aren’t experienced gardeners. It’s not that they don’t really appreciate fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s just that there is a really great fruit/vegetable stand with a lot of local produce within a mile of their house.

Well, this year, for some reason, She decided She wanted to try her hand at growing some tomatoes. So, they purchased one lonely tomato plant in a pot and added it to the flower bed.

They were very pleased when they started seeing little yellow blooms and tiny little green tomatoes appear.


As the tomatoes grew, so did their excitement at the prospect of having their own home-grown tomatoes. This I find to be rather odd, since neither of them profess to be big tomato-lovers. But, hey, “ours is not to question why”…I only nap and write the occasional blog post, here. Anyway, the first tomato that was really showing progress was doomed when a rain storm came through and the plant was knocked over. Unfortunately, that whole stem was broken off. The subsequent tomatoes were much later in developing, and several of those did not survive, as they were stricken with blossom end rot. However, the plant has kept on trying until it finally yielded this!
It might not be a prize-winning-beauty, but they were very proud of it.

Following a couple of bacon, tomato and cheese sandwiches, there was nothing left of it.


They expect to get several more tomatoes off the plant, and then they think they will leave the producing produce to someone else.

She will continue to dabble with this kind of thing, though.



Smooth(ie) Talker

He ees a smooz talker. She tells heem zat all zee time! He ees also zee exzeleent Smoozie maker! Zey recently purchazed a Food Saver, and zey have been stock-piling zee berries, pineapple, bananas and peaches for zee smoozies zat He loves to make and drink. Here are some peectures of hees latest concoctshun. Eet ees Coconut Extract and Strawberries. Zey call eet zee Coco-berry.

First, zee berries:

Fresh Berries

Food Saver

Ready for zee freezer:

Ready for the Freezer

From zee Freezer:

Frozen Strawberries

Blending the Berries

All Churned Up

Smooth & Frothy

She has a favorite Smoozie – eet ees zee Chuck Berry. Eet ees Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries. Zey call eet zee Chuck Berry, because he chucks all zee berries een and zat makes zee smoozie!

Zey are loving zese tasty and healzy dreenks, eef only I could mas-tair seeping zru a straw, I would eenjoy zem, too!


As Luck Would Have It

Every now and zen, He and She are blessed wiz a leetle good luck. I mean, look at how very lucky zey vere zee day I showed up on zee doorstep. Zey zink zey have done me zee favor, but ve all know I am zee one who geeves and geeves een zis relationship. 

He and She have been making zee very strong effort to eat more meals at home. Zee new stove has vreally been getting broken in. As a part of zee plan to eat at home more, zey have been hafing breakfast een as vell. Yesterday, vhen She opened a new box of Honey Nut Cheerios, She vas thrilled to find a prize eenside. And, not joost any prize, but a cash card!

As Luck Would Have It

She had not even noteeced zee box een her sleepy state, and came vreally close to zrowing eet avay! Zee values of zee cards zey are geeving avay are $5, $10 and $25. Zee card She got ees only for five doll-airs, but She got twenty-five doll-airs of excitement out of it.

Seence zis all came about as a vresult of zee commitment to eat at home, as luck vould haf eet, zey vill probably use zee card at zee grocery store. Een zat case, I say “tuna for everyvone!”


In the Kitchen with Sammy

Barny Looking Up
Okay, I know that sounds like new programming from our friends at Food Network, but actually, it’s our way of introducing you to a new member of our family. She finally has a working stove! Before we tell you too much about our new Samsung range, however, we want to fill you in on all the details leading up to this new addition.

Back on February 28th, thanks to a bad thunderstorm, a power surge took out our Whirlpool range.

"J" Stove

Because we had an extended warranty on the range through Lowe’s, He placed a call to the warranty department and had a technician scheduled for a service call on March 4th. When the repairman took a look at the stove, he confirmed the warranty would cover the replacement parts and labor. Unfortunately though, the part had to be ordered. The item was to be shipped here to The House of 9 Lives, and a return visit was scheduled for March the 13th.

As of March 12th, no parts had been received, so She made a phone call to the appliance repair company and spoke with a representative who told her the part was actually on back-order, and they did not know when it would be in. Later in the day, she received a call from a representative of the “scheduling” department who said the part would ship on April 30th. Yes, APRIL 30th. Keep in mind, at that time, it was March 12th. Being somewhat skeptical, She got on the phone and placed a call to the manufacturer and verified the fact that this part was unavailable until the end of April. So, She heaved a heavy sigh and resigned to wait, as there seemed to be no other option.

On May 1st, there had been no communication from the repair company as to whether the parts had shipped, or, if a date for the service call had been scheduled, so, once again, She made contact and spoke with a very nice representative who very hesitantly deliverd the bad news that the part was now scheduled to ship JUNE 1st!! She very politely thanked the young woman, took a deep breath this time instead of a heavy sigh, and called the Lowe’s warranty department.

After a (nice, calm – I’m so proud of her) recap of the situation, the operator said she was “escalating” the issue and we should hear something back within one business day.

On Monday, May 4th, She got a call stating that after review, we were approved for replacement of the item covered in our extended warranty. We could expect a gift card in the amount of the full purchase price of the stove, plus tax. She was ecstatic! Not only was she going to have a fully operational stove again, She was going to have a brand new one! It almost seemed a little too good to be true!

Tuesday, May 11th. In the mail: One gift card from Lowe’s to cover the purchase of a new stove. 

Thank you Lowe's Warranty!

On the back porch: One box containing a part for the repair of the old stove. Wild, huh?

What? A Part?

She made a call and spoke with the repair company, as directed by the Lowe’s warranty office, about the receipt of the part. The outcome: the parts will be picked up, and She can shop for her new stove.

On Thursday, May 14th, He and She took off work early and made the trip to pick up the brand new stove. She had done some internet research and found one she wanted. For just a little bit more than the cost of the old stove, She could get a couple of new features, like convection cooking and a warming drawer. They happened to have the one she wanted at the Lowe’s store in Opelika, about an hour away. So, they hooked up the trailer, jumped in the truck and headed over there.

Once they were home with the stove, it was just a matter of getting it in the house and all hooked up. (Ironically, the ill-fated parts had been picked up while they were gone).

Sammy comes home

Of course, nothing is ever glitch free, and the plug for the stove had to be moved, as it was placed a little too high for this one to be pushed back completely against the wall.

Moving the Power Supply

Once that was taken care of, the new oven was put into place and (ta-da!), the clock was set! In our house, the clock is definitely the most-used part of a stove. The next step: removing all the packing materials.

Brand New Stove

Because She just had to bake something, right away, on the way home, she picked up some ready-to-bake cookies.

Ready to Bake

Once these were put in the oven, it was just a short wait to test the success of this new purchase.

That really hopeful stage

Rise and Shine

Fresh from the Oven

Let’s just say milk was drank and lips were licked. I think they were very happy with the results.

Because the new stove is a Samsung (model # FTQ3521WUX), they are calling it “Sammy”. She was very hopeful that because both the range and her cell phone are both Samsung models that maybe they could talk to one another. That way, She could just call up Sammy and tell him to have supper ready by the time they get home.

Well, yes, She does live in an alternate universe, why do you ask? Here, have a cookie!

Mmmm-White Chunk Macadamia


Bloom Where You are Planted

Flirt at the Door
He and She were off work recently for an extended weekend during which they did a lot of motorcycle riding. The weather was really beautiful each day, and they were able to officially kick off the bike riding season in style.

On one of their day trips, they had dinner at a restaurant in Opelika. They’ve been wanting to try it for some time, so they stopped in at Cock of the Walk.

Cock of the Walk

On the way into the restaurant, they encountered this proud fellow:

Proud as Peacock

He was willing to pose, but he wouldn’t show off his beautiful plumage for the camera.

Cock of the Walk is a very unassuming place. You are fed from tin plates and tin cups as if you had just gathered around the campfire after a long day of riding the trail. (They had been riding the trail, so to speak, except their trusty steed has Harley Davidson written on the tank). Here are the grilled chicken fingers and white beans he orderd. That slice of onion you see is pickled. That was a neat departure.

Grilled Chicken Tenders & White Beans

The atmosphere is rustic, and the food plentiful. She was a little disappointed to find out it is basically a Catfish restaurant (she doesn’t eat fish – what’s up with that?), but ordered the Fried Chicken Fingers as an alternative. One of the sides they offered was cheese grits, so she couldn’t pass up that opportunity.

Fried Chicken Tenders & Cheese Grits

She really enjoyed those grits! And, they had cornbread, just like Mawmaw used to make!


Not pictured here was the wonderfully delish coleslaw. She is not usually a colelsaw fan, so it was a pleasant surprise for her.  All in all, the food was pretty good.

The view from their table looked like this:

View from the Table

The pond surrounds the dining area, and is inhabited by these:

Canada Geese & Pond

Just outside their window in the pond, she saw this:

Bloom Where You are Planted

It made her think of the quote by Mary Engelbreit, “Bloom Where You Are Planted”. These old logs must have served for years as supports for a once sturdy pier. Over time, the pier deteriorated and disappeared, but the pilings still stand. Not only do they stand, they thrive. Somewhere in all of this, I’m sure there is a life lesson about finding contentment and adjusting to one’s circumstances.

I guess I can understand that. Just look at Alley. She has certainly found a way to be happy here at the House of 9 Lives, where she has been “planted”!

Alley in the Sunshine

See how she blooms in the sunshine? 


Working Title

We usually try to keep everything upbeat here on The House of 9 Lives blog, but, we thought we would share with you just how things are really going for He and She lately. Last weekend, they began re-roofing the house. They got half-way done and hoped to complete the job this weekend. However, it doesn’t appear the weather is going to cooperate. Rain showers are expected both Saturday and Sunday. Not good weather for roofing. So, they won’t be working on that this weekend.

Also, you might have read of the demise of the stove. The repairman came on Friday March 4th, and parts were ordered. He was scheduled to return on Friday the 13th (yes, we recognize the irony) to install them. However, we found out yesterday, the parts are on backorder and the earliest ship date will be APRIL 30th. That’s a really long time to be without a stove, however, She would probably be the first one to tell you, She actually misses the clock more than anything!

The recumbent bike is still out of commission, too. They are waiting for the representative to come by the house and look at it to see if it can be repaired here, or if it needs to go off for service.

On top of all this “happy” news, the Jura Capresso Espresso machine has stopped working. Now, doing without the stove is one thing, but this has really hurt them! They are going to see if they can get some help from technical support at, which is where they bought it. If that fails, the other option is to ship it to the manufacturer for service. Unfortunately, it is well out of the warranty period.

It’s beginning to feel like the only thing working around here is the title of this post! Why, I don’t even feel like working much, myself!