RICHMOND, Va. – School closings due to COVID-19 have likely left you and your children with stress and anxiety that is challenging to process. Allison Carver of A Taste of Therapy, LLC joined us by Skype to teach us how to use cooking as a way to help children cope and communicate during this trying time.
She also shared her recipe for peanut butter balls and some questions that will help you and your family communicate through these challenges.
QUICK AND EASY PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
PEANUT BUTTER BALLS:
· 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (smooth)
· 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
· 1/3 cup coconut flour softened
· pinch of sea salt
· 4 ounces dark chocolate (about 1 heaping cup of dark chocolate chips)
· coarse sea salt , for topping (optional)
· Go into the kitchen with your kids and tell that you are going to make these balls together and have a conversation while you make them. In each step they will each answer a question and Mom and Dad will also answer the question. Everyone will be talking! In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the balls. Stir until a dough forms that is easy to handle and roll into balls. You can add another tablespoon of coconut flour to the mixture, if needed to get the right texture for rolling. As you make the balls ask your kids: Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel about the virus and about how school has closed. What are the three biggest feelings they are feeling right now. Dig as deep as you can get them to go and don’t allow them to simply say, “fine.” Keep asking until you get a real feeling!
· Scoop the dough by spoon fulls and roll the dough between your hands to make balls. Place the balls on a pan lined with parchment paper, then put them in the freezer to set until firm, about 20 minutes. Ask them if they have any specific questions that you could help answer. Tell your kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you can. Tell them that the lines of communication are always open. Empahazie that even though you don’t have all of the answers you will all work them out together as a family. Ask them how they feel about their school being closed. Give you three feelings about it. Again, allow them to state how they feel without giving you the canned, “I feel fine answer.”
· When the peanut butter balls feel firm to the touch, melt the chocolate. In the microwave melt in batches and make sure to melt slowly without allowing the chocolate to burn. Microwave in 15 second increments. During this step: Ask kids what is one part of school they feel they will miss the most?
· Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, and dip each one into the melted chocolate mixture, coating each one thoroughly. Top the chocolate with a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired. (Work quickly, as the chocolate will harden soon.) Return the chocolate-covered balls to the parchment paper. You can always place them in freezer to set completely if they do not seem to be setting. Ask your kids, is there a celebration or ceremony we can have at home to help you feel special and bring their school year to a close? Set a date for this event and make it fun and family friendly! Get dressed up and play special music too!
· Serve cold, from the fridge to keep the chocolate firm. These should keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, not that you will have any left overs. If you have a peanut allergy try substituting almond butter if you are able to eat that. During this step, ask two of these questions:
1. Is anything worrying you?
2. Who do you wish you were spending time with?
3. How is your body feeling? Are you having stomach or headaches?
4. Is it easy for you to fall asleep?
5. Is something making you scared?