"It's not just about the food, but who shares it with you."
We found Rita on our friend Ron Wilson's website for Natorp's Garden Center (Cincinnati's Place for Plants!). We've admired her easygoing, home style recipes and attitude towards using all the good things that come from our gardens. Although our seasons are not "in sync", we'll be checking in with Rita every few weeks to see what's cooking in her kitchen and share it with you. We'll also be searching her archives for previously published goodies she has shared in the past. Read on to get to know our new guest Rita a little bit more. Then continue on to view the first two recipes we're sharing with you. Enjoy!
About Rita Heikenfeld: Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP*, CMH*, is an award-winning syndicated journalist, accredited modern herbalist, author, cooking teacher, media personality and the founding editor of www.Abouteating.com. Rita writes a syndicated weekly column for Community Press Newspapers (http://www.cincinnati.com/communities) that reaches almost a quarter of a million people each week in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
Rita is Resident Herbalist for Fox 19 Morning Xtra, Natorp's, Earthineer and Granny's Garden, and is listed in Who's Who in American Education for her culinary and community achievements. Rita is a former adjunct professor at The University of Cincinnati, where she taught comprehensive herbal studies, and can be found on Sacred Heart Radio. She has just been inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame for her work with herbs and natural foods.
Most importantly, Rita is a wife, mom and grandmom who lives "in the sticks" with her family, where they grow and preserve their own produce and herbs, raise chickens for eggs, and heat with wood they gather themselves.
*CCP (Certified Culinary Professional) - The CCP (Certified Culinary Professional) designation is awarded by the International Association of Culinary Professionals to individuals who have demonstrated and maintain comprehensive knowledge of the culinary arts and sciences. Members include the late Julia Child and Francois Dionot.
*CMH (Certified Modern Herbalist) - An intensive program of study focusing on herbal practices, medicinal uses, and overall wellness through natural methods.
LAVENDER LINEN SPRAY:
If there's one herb that evokes feelings of serenity, it's lavender.
One of my most popular items made with lavender is a special spray for linens.
Lavender linen spray is a beautiful, aromatic spray for linens. I like to spritz it on bed pillows for a clean, calming sleep or on clothes right before I iron them.
Here's the super easy recipe:
1/4 cup vodka or witch hazel
Lavender essential oil: 20 drops or so
3//4 cup distilled water
Put everything in a jar and shake well. Pour into spray bottle. The witch vodka/witch hazel helps distribute the essential oil into the water and also helps the spray dry after applying. Pour into a spray bottle.
Tip from Rita's kitchen:
- Take the lavender spray when you travel to spritz motel pillows, etc.
- Lavender contains antiseptic and anti-bacterial qualities.
Lavender Linen Pouches:
These are pricey at the store, but you can make your own with dried lavender flowers and/or leaves. Toss into the clothes dryer when drying your clothes. Along with the disinfecting qualities of lavender the faint lavender aroma will make dressing a pleasure!
For every pouch, use a small paper teabag.
- Fill it with a tablespoon or so of dried lavender flowers and/or leaves.
- Iron it shut.
Tip from Rita's kitchen:
I buy these teabags online. You can get different sizes.
Classic Cherry Bounce:
I couldn't resist buying an extra pound of dark cherries from the farmers' market. Not to eat out of hand or put into fruit salads, but to make cherry bounce. It's an old fashioned liqueur with true heirloom status. I believe the Shakers used to make something like cherry bounce and used it as a medicinal for sore throats, etc. I've known friends to use it as an after dinner cordial and to spoon the cherries from the bottom of the bottle onto ice cream or cake.
- 1 pound dark cherries stemmed but not pitted
- 6 pieces of crystal sugar string candy or more to taste OR 2 cups sugar
Put cherries in glass jar. Place string candy in or pour sugar over cherries. Pour whiskey over, making sure it covers the cherries. Put lid on. Shake each day until sugar dissolves. Here's the kicker, though. Wait about 4-6 months before drinking. I keep mine in my pie safe. Great as a holiday gift. Be sure and put on the label that the cherries have pits.
Tip from Rita's kitchen:
- Crystal sugar string candy sometimes is on a stick and sometimes on a string.
- Cherry bounce is good for just about any upper respiratory illness, since the cherries have anti-inflammatory qualities.
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Are you looking for ways to save water? The Water-Wise Home explains how to use water smartly and efficiently, increasing supply and fulfilling your home and garden needs. Described are proven conservation techniques, how to create a water-wise landscape, as well as systems to reuse greywater, harvest rainwater, and more.
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Enjoy easy care or almost no care designs to brighten your home today!”
Save Our Water and Our Trees!
Why you should save your trees:
As you cut back on water use during this historic drought, you may not realize the impact this will have on your landscape trees.
- Trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering. When watering is reduced--and especially when it's stopped completely - trees will die.
- Tree loss is a very costly problem: not only in expensive tree removal, but also in the loss of all the benefits trees provide. Your trees provide an immense range of health, energy, environmental and economic benefits:
- Trees improve air and water quality
- Trees provide shade to the landscape and reduce water needs
- Trees help keep your home cooler
- Trees slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater
- Trees reduce soil erosion
- Trees add value - sometimes thousands of dollars' worth - to your home and neighborhood
- Trees take a long time to grow. Without helping our trees through the drought, we risk losing these benefits. While the drought may not last long, it can harm or kill trees, and it will take 10, 20 or even 50+ years to grow trees and get back the benefits.
How to save your trees:
Lawn trees can and must be saved during the drought.
What you can do:
- Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1-2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy - NOT at the base of the tree. Use a Hose Faucet Timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
- Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2-4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
- Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees as long as it is free of non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.
- Do not over-prune trees during drought. Too much pruning and drought both stress your trees.
Mulch, Mulch, MULCH! 4 - 6 inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.
What else you can do to save water and your trees:
If you prefer, instead of soaker hoses or drip lines, you can put out several 5 gallon buckets with 5 holes drilled into the bottom of the buckets.
Set the buckets under the tree toward the edge of the canopy area and use a hose to fill with water.
This water will then seep slowly into the ground. The number of buckets will depend on your soil type as well as the size and species of tree.
Trees in sandy soils need to be watered more frequently than trees in clay soils.
Convert your spray irrigation system to a drip system so you do not have to depend on the manual hose timer. If you want help with converting your system
, consult the manufacturer's manuals and website for your irrigation system or talk to an irrigation specialist.
This information is brought to you with the support of the following organizations: California ReLeaf, California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection - Urban Forestry Division, California Department of Water Resources, California Urban Forests Council , Canopy , Davey Tree Expert Company, Friends of the Urban Forest, Governor's Office of Planning & Research, Inland Empire Urban Forest Council , Local Government Commission , Oracle Oak Nursery, Sacramento Tree Foundation , TreePeople, University of California Cooperative Extension , Urban & Community Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Urban Tree Foundation , Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture (WCISA) and West Coast Arborists.
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Two participants that attend all 4 sessions will be offered free one-on-one nutrition consulting services! Feel free to email Margie with any questions.
Slightly immature fruit taste best. Try to know the approximate size the fruit should be at maturity. The fruits should be firm and shiny. Cut rather than pulling from the plant.
European pears (such as Anjou, Bosc, Comice, and Bartlett) ripen best off the tree. They can taste mealy if allowed to ripen on the tree. Wait until they are the correct size for the variety, then lift the fruit upward without twisting (a Bartlett may need a slight twist). If the fruit slips from the stem, it's ready, if not, wait a few days and try again.