Today, Daughter #1 came home from playing at the park, upset because while at the park, one of the girls with whom she was close friends with last year basically snubbed her. This girl continually left her out of the game, told another girl that they didn't want to play with Daughter #1, and basically just left her out in the cold. Daughter #1 came home saying that she had been excluded and was hurt by the whole experience. Truthfully, even from a while ago, this particular friend of hers was not one of my favorites due to the fact that I found her nature to be petty and overbearing, but I let Daughter #1 choose her friends and deal with the consequences thereafter. I cannot choose with whom she wants to spend time.
But I did use this experience to talk to her about the friends she keeps. In first grade, it seems that so much time is spent trying to "exclude" certain people and making this small exclusive groups, a practice I strongly discourage Daughter #1 from participating. I've told her that she needs to stand up to those who want to exclude others and to always stand up to those who are making nonsensical rules. It's easier said than done of course, but I do want to point out to her that even if she is included, it is her job to make sure that others are included as well. I asked her how it felt to be left out, and she said she didn't like it. I then gently pointed out that this particular friend does it ALL the time, and that she says things to Daughter #1 like, "I'm not your friend anymore" or "I don't like you." I asked her if those things felt good either and of course she said no. When I gently said that maybe she needs to find new friends that truly value her and who she is and don't make her feel that way, Daughter #1's response was, "But I like her. And she's my friend."
I cannot do anything about the day to day choices that Daughter #1 makes. But I do know that I was once in a similar situation as a young child and it was the wisdom that comes from being hurt too often and growing up that has taught me the lesson that guides me in my friendships as an adult; I choose to surround myself with good people. Poisonous, difficult, high drama, ugly, and selfish relationships I simply don't do. I choose to surround myself with wonderful people, for whom I truly would do anything and vice versa, and that is how I like to live.
Over the weekend, I called up one of my old friends and her daughter to come over and have dinner and playtime with us. She was excited to come and talk and cook with me while her wonderful daughter entertained Son and Daughters. As this friend, SS, is gluten-free, I planned a gluten free menu for her, which included and Asian Fried Chicken, Ginger Slaw, and roasted potatoes and a mochi cake, topped with fresh blueberries. SS brought me a beautiful orchid plant and together we laughed and caught up with each other on our daily lives, the paths that God was leading us down, and how God was revealing Himself to us through prayer. It was a sweet time of companionship and friendship and I know that I was with good people.
The other blueberry mochi cake recipe on the blog is much more cake-like and this one is distinctly much more chewy and mochi-ish. I love the combination of subtle vanilla bean and blueberries, and went with the technique of just sprinkling the blueberries on top and allowing them to slowly sink into the cake.
Blueberry Vanilla Bean Mochi Cake
adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Makes one 9X13 pan, or 24 squares
1 lb box of mochiko flour (3 cups equivalent)
2 1/2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 14 oz cans of coconut milk - not lowfat (I used two cans of 13.5 oz)
4 large eggs
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup of butter) melted and slightly cooled
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
2 cups of blueberries, washed and picked over
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup (4 cup capacity), beat eggs, then add coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla bean. Mix together until vanilla bean is well distributed.
Carefully pour the wet ingredients over the mochiko flour mixture and whisk until mixture is smooth and uniform in texture.
Pour batter into greased 9X13 pan. Carefully smooth out the top. Sprinkle blueberries over entire surface.
Bake for 90 minutes, until top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes on a rack, and then carefully flip it out and cut into 24 squares, or the size of your choice. Can store mochi cake for three days, covered.
For all of the good people that surround me.