Guest Blog–Fran Spiegler

I am not a writer by trade, though I am a semi-retired teacher, so I guess that counts for something.  Allan (my husband) has been struggling physically since his dad’s illness and death.  Most of you don’t know that Allan has fibromyalgia, which is quite debilitating especially since he has a sensitivity to the available drugs that are usually prescribed to help it. So he is pain most of the time and writes when he can.  Therefore it is so ironic that he, who wrote about Father Julian and his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, also has a condition in which he struggles to maintain a “normal” quality of life.

We said a fond “farewell” to Dad last Friday–a slideshow that recalled all of the highlights of his long life, with a military honor guard salute at the end of the service.  We appreciated those who knew him from long ago in Illinois to  the past year in Arizona who shared their memories with us. We enjoyed spending time with the extended family after the service, catching up on the latest goings-on and renewing our bonds of kinship. And then it was time to crash and burn–letting the stress of the past month catch up and wash over us again, this time to begin the healing from the loss of such an important person in our lives.

Allan will get back to writing very soon–in the meantime we appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers that have been sent out way.

Apple Braid

kolaches and apple braid

(Apple Braid–center)

This recipe was developed by John Goodell.  The braiding of the pastry dough across the chopped apples and cinnamon followed by a honey glaze after baking makes a very attractive way of serving this fruit.

Sweet pastry dough:


1/4 cp. lukewarm (105 – 115oF) water

1-1/2 tsp. dry yeast

1 cp. scalded milk, room temperature

1/3 cp. honey

4 cps. whole wheat flour

1-1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cp. melted butter or oil

1 large egg, beaten


  1. Pour the lukewarm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Allow 10 minutes to pass for yeast to dissolve and begin to foam.
  2. Pour scalded milk, cooled to room temperature, into the bowl. Add honey and stir to dissolve.  Add 2 cps. flour to mixture, place salt on the flour and then add the butter or oil and beaten egg.
  3. Mix all ingredients together to form a homogenous mixture. Continue adding flour and stirring to form a solid dough, reserving ¼ cp. of flour for kneading.
  4. Dump the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Incorporate loose flour and fragments of dough and knead for 10 minutes to form a smooth, elastic dough, using as little extra flour as possible when the dough becomes sticky.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. oil in a clean bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm, non-drafting place for 1-1/4 hours, or until about double in size.
  6. Remove the towel and deflate the dough gently by pushing on it. Place dough on a work surface and allow to rest 10 minutes.  Dough is now read to use.  If making ½ of a recipe, cut the dough in half and double wrap the unused dough and place it in the freezer for use at another time.

Apple Braid:


1 sweet pastry dough recipe                                               Glaze

6 cps. peeled, cored, and chopped apples                           2 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. lemon juice                                                                  2 Tbs. hot water

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cp. honey

2 Tbs. turbinado sugar




  1. Place the risen pastry dough on a work surface and cut it into 2 equal pieces. Take one piece and roll it into a rectangle 12” x 9”.
  2. In a bowl mix the chopped apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Mix in the cinnamon, honey, and turbinado sugar.
  3. Taking ½ the apple mixture, place it in the center of the rectangle going lengthwise from end to end, taking up about 3” of the center strip of the rectangle. On the rolled out dough on either side of the chopped apples, cut diagonal strips 1-1/4” wide down the length of the rectangle.  Alternately fold one strip from each side over the mound of cut apples, sealing the end of the strip on the dough under the apples to create a braided effect over the apples.  Once this is done, pinch and seal the ends of the apple braid.  Repeat this process with the other half of dough and apple mixture.


  1. Place the apple braids on oiled baking sheets, cover with a damp towel, and place in a warm non-drafty place for 25 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 375o
  2. Once the dough has risen and become puffy, remove the towel from the braids and place the pans in the center of the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 26-28 minutes until light brown.  Remove braids from the oven, mix the honey glaze and water in a small bowl and apply to the braids with a brush, and place braids on wire racks to cool.  Serves sixteen.