Reaching out while we’re apart


During these tough times, we all have to think of new ways to deal with this new world we are in.

I’ve been with Mike for a couple of his daily press conferences. On Wednesday I spoke for a few minutes about what we can do for our children during this time. We can look at part of this time as an opportunity to do some fun things with our children. One thing we can all do is read to them — or let them read to us! I introduced my 9-year-old granddaughter to the “Little House” series of books, which was always a favorite of ours. I talked once again about getting the small children signed up for the Imagination Library at On that very day I talked about it, we had nearly 5,000 children sign up!

Another thing that we can all do is cook. It is such a fun thing to do as a family — old or young. And we all have to eat. This week I posted a play dough recipe that you can make with and for your children. I also shared my Grandmother Struewing’s recipe for chicken and noodles, our family favorite comfort food. Today I am posting a recipe for whole wheat soft pretzels. These are so much fun for the kids to make. My 10-year-old grandson (who is working his way through my cookbooks, making what he can) called to ask if he could use white flour instead of whole wheat and I told him that was perfectly fine. He and his brother and sister rolled them out into “snakes” and then made letters of the alphabet shapes and animals and all sorts of things out of the dough. They enjoyed eating them, too! I always keep yeast on hand just so I can make bread or rolls or fun things like this. I buy the bulk bag or jar and keep it in the freezer so that it will keep a long time.

As I’m sure many of you are doing, I have been going through the freezer and just seeing what I have to cook. I still had some fish left from one of the “Fish Ohio” days that Mike had, so that is what is for dinner tonight. Many years ago my sister Cindy gave me this recipe for Fish Florentine and it has been a favorite. You can use fresh or frozen spinach in it. I’m leaving out the mushrooms since I don’t have any. After I make it I can take some to my mother and some other shut-ins. It’s a good Lenten Friday night meal, too.

Speaking of all the shut-ins, another thing we can all do is write letters. We received a beautiful letter from our oldest grandson yesterday, telling how this virus is affecting his schooling. I realized that writing letters is something we all can be doing. So now my grandkids are all busy writing letters to their great-grandma! She will be so pleased.

We are all in this together, not just in Ohio but our whole nation. Put your flag up if you can. Make a meal, call a friend, or just write a letter. It all helps bring us together even if we’re apart.

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels


2 cups white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 package yeast


1 1/3 cup hot water

3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 tablespoon honey

Add 2 cups of flour mixture to water mixture, stirring to make soft dough. Add remaining flour gradually. Knead 3 to 5 minutes, until elastic. Make 16 balls (golf ball size). Roll each 18 inches long. Shape into pretzel. Brush with water. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cindy’s Fish Florentine

In bottom of buttered casserole, put:

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

salt and pepper to taste

Top with:

6 small filet of sole, flounder, or any good Ohio fish

Saute in 1 tablespoon butter:

1/4 pound mushrooms (or 1 can), sliced

1 small onion, chopped

Put this over fish.

Make white sauce of:

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

When thick, add:

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pour over fish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Fran’s Favorites’s Favorites

By Fran DeWine

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

No posts to display