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About Rita Heikenfeld

Rita Heikenfeld

Rita Heikenfeld

About Rita Heikenfeld

Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH*, is an award-winning syndicated journalist, accredited family herbalist, author, cooking teacher, media personality and the founding editor of Rita writes a syndicated weekly column for Community Press Newspapers that reaches almost a quarter of a million people each week in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Rita Heikenfeld is Resident Herbalist for Fox 19 Morning Xtra, Natorp’s, Earthineer and Granny’s Garden, and is listed in Who’s Who in American Women, Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in American Education for her culinary and community achievements. Rita is a former adjunct professor at The University of Cincinnati 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.

Rita lives “in the sticks” outside of Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs.

*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 and medicinal uses. Focusing on overall wellness through natural methods.

If you’d like to share a recipe, offer a suggestion or contact Rita Heikenfeld, please use the form below.


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  1. Charlotte

    I have been listening to you on EWTN radio, doing a presentation on ‘Eating from the Garden of Eden’ where you discuss bible foods, their qualities, how they were used at the time, and recipes for how we can use them now.

    I am in love with this concept. I assumed it was a book and was hoping to purchase 3 or 4 of them for friends/relatives this Christmas. Regrettably I have not been able to find it, and am wondering if such a book exists.

    Could you please direct me to a site where I can purchase your book, and if you have not written it yet, can you please? :D

    Thank you very much for your work, I enjoy the program and look forward to hearing more from you.


  2. Andy

    How do you find recipes? I heard you on the catholic station and want to check out your mash potato recipe, but I can’t find the link?

    1. jrwall68

      Hi Andy. Sorry for the delay. We’re relaunching and have added the make ahead mashed potatoes recipe. Make ahead mashed potatoes

  3. Heather Gaudet

    Hi Rita. My name is Heather Gaudet and I am a listener of the Son Rise Morning show. A couple weeks ago I hear you talk about 2 recipes that I would love to try. I have searched on your website for them, but I cannot seem to find them. The two that I am interested in are Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and a French Toast dish that you make in the oven. If you could direct me to where I could find these recipes, I would appreciate it. Thank you so much. I really enjoy your segment on the Son Rise Morning Show! God Bless!

    Heather Gaudet

    1. Rita

      We’ve been working a ton on the site lately and finally added the make ahead mashed potatoes recipe.
      I’ll work on getting the french toast recipe up soon!

  4. Jesse

    Hi Rita. I need your help!!!!! I want to make a vanilla ice cream in cuisinart maker but I don’t know the ingredients and quantities.

    Thanks for helping me


    1. jrwall68

      Hi Jesse. I’ve added a couple of recipes and a video that should help. Enjoy the ice cream!
      Ice Cream Maker Recipe

  5. Jacob

    Hi Rita,
    I heard you talk on the Son Rise Morning Show about an apricot recipe for a spread or dip that you use apricot jelly or jam in. I can’t find this recipe anywhere and I’ve really wanting to try it. Thanks and God Bless Jacob

    1. Rita

      Hi Jacob. I’ve added the recipe for Swiss Apricot and Cranberry Dip to the site. Let me know if you like it!

  6. Dorothy Richardson

    I would like to listen again to the radio show that aired this morning, May 9, around 10am on am 1000 here in San Diego county.the Son Rise program where you talked about all the herbs of the bible. I was driving and would love to listen again.
    Thanks, Dorothy Richardson

    1. dorothy richardson

      How can I listen to the radio program Son Rise that aired this morning concerning herbs in the time of the bible?

      1. Rita Heikenfeld

        Hi, Dorothy,
        Go to Sacred Heart Radio and then to the Sonrise Morning Show. I also post the info on my blog: Cooking with Rita at


    Rit a, I just read about the lasagna recipe in this past weeks paper from a Laurie B cannot find it help thanks dasie

  8. joe

    any recipe that has chicken , andouille sausage
    ,Monterrey jack cheese, deep fried in a soft taco, with mushrooms, sweet onion and heat , jalapenos

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Joe, I’m putting this out to my readers – anybody have something similar to what Joe wants? Sounds like a party on a plate!

  9. Charlene Castle

    Rite,rite, I saw you on Fox 19 this morning with your tortilina soup. Had already cut out recipe in Community Journal this week. Made it for supper. We now have another yummy soup for these cold winter days. It was DELICIOUS. Thanks!!!! Charlin Darlin

  10. Bob Wait

    Dear Rita,
    I’d like your thoughts about a version of preserved lemons. I’ve made my first batch and am using them but I wonder if I can replenish the lemons I’ve already made with lemon halves that are left over after extracting the juice for other recipes. Since the object of preserved lemons is the peel and not the juice or pulp do you see any problems with just adding the lemon halves to the brine? Actually, I’ll collect the lemon halves in the freezer and add them to the jar when the first batch runs out. Paula Wolfert’s book on Moroccan cooking suggests that the brine can be reused but doesn’t include any specifics as to how much, if any, salt is added to the brine. I’ve scanned quite a few web sites for an answer to using lemon halves but have not come up with anything so far. I will try the preserved lemon with chicken and olives very soon. Up until now, I’ve used the lemons in sauteed kale (with some onion, garlic and sweet red pepper for color). I think that kale and preserved lemons were made for each other and if kale were the only use for preserved lemon, it would be worth the trouble to make them. I also used the lemons in making Charmoula as a topping for fish (also quite good). I had been getting preserved lemon at the olive bar at Jungle Jim’s and those lemons seem more round rather than the common oval-shaped lemons. I also wonder if the flavor is a bit different. I saw something called “Sweet Lemons” in a Middle-Eastern market in the Detroit area and they are also more round than oval. I’m back in Cincinnati now but wish I had bought a few to try (but they weren’t cheap = $2.79 per pound).
    I’ve been to at least one or two of your cooking classes over the years and listen to you on the radio; thanks for your teaching work.
    Bob Wait

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Bob,
      Wow, it sounds like you’re really into preserved lemons. I haven’t made them for a long time, but remember when I did that I made them with Meyer lemons in season one time and regular lemons the other. Both were nice but the Meyer lemon was more round with a sweeter, milder flavor. As far as reusing the brine for your juiced lemon halves, I think it would be OK but I’m not sure it would be strong enough since the brine would have been diluted by the lemons as they preserve. But if Paula Wolfert says it can be done, then it can. What I would do is add a teaspoon more of salt and then more lemon juice if needed to cover and also to add a bit more acidity for preserving. Let me know how your chicken turns out.
      And thanks for the nice comments – I love what I do!

  11. Anne (Maj) Robinson

    Wondering if you have a recipe that you could share for Lebna? I have enjoyed it when Cafe Mediterranean was nearby. Always good to see you and learning from you!

  12. Janis Binzer

    Rita, I read your allergy drink recipe in my 05/28/14 Delhi Press. Have a question. You suggested buying local “organic raw apple cider’ but in the recipe you said to use apple cider vinegar. Which is it…apple cider or apple cider vinegar. I would imagine they are different items but I’m not a great cook. Let me know.

    Thanks, Jan

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Oh gosh, Jan, thanks for catching that – I meant apple cider vinegar, organic – and it can be from anywhere – I buy Bragg’s – it’s the raw organic honey that you need to purchase locally. I’ll put in a correction. And you are right, they are not the same!


  13. Diane LeRoy

    Can I have your tabbouleh recipe?

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi Diane. My mother made wonderful Tabouleh. I’ve posted her tabbouleh recipe here on my site.

  14. mary a. benoski

    Dear Rita,
    I have recently been given some dried hibiscus flowers for making tea. Have you ever made hibiscus tea from the dried flowers? If so what is your recipe and do you know of any special nutritional benefits from this tea?
    Mary Ann

  15. mary a. benoski

    Rita, about the hibiscus flowers after they are re-constituted. Do you have a recipe for using these unique blossoms after I have made the tea?
    Mary Ann

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mary Ann,
      Some background: if they are Hibiscus sabdariffa that’s the true Hibiscus flower that contains vitamin C, helps lower blood pressure, is a cooling agent, and a gentle diuretic. Plus it’s full of antioxidants. I make a tea by infusing a scant teaspoon of petals in a couple cups of boiling water. Pour boiling water over, let infuse for a few minutes and strain. It tastes sort of tart, and is delicious sweetened with stevia or raw honey. I also make a lovely vinegar: place about 4 tablespoons petals in a glass jar. Pour 4 cups white wine vinegar over. Let infuse until the flowers bleed red into the vinegar which will take about a week or less. Strain and use in viniagrettes, etc. especially one that calls for lemon. Hope this helps. One more thing – a colleague of mine worked with Marcus Samuelsson who requested some of the dried petals for a dish he was making.

  16. Amy

    Rita, I have a friend that would like “Stuffed Green Peppers.” But he said, “Please no rice stuffing, I get rice in almost every one of my Meals on Wheels. Enough Rice.” I have not been able to find any other stuffing, can you help with this request? I have already ate the first pepper in a salad and this one is heading that way. Looking forward to a great recipe, thanks!

  17. Gerr

    How can I get a copy of gardening with herbs and vegetables that compliment each other.

    Thank you,


    July 4, 2014

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Here you go!

      Companion planting is not a new idea to the gardening world. There is evidence of farmers using these same techniques dating back to Bible times.

      A companion planting plan integrates Mother Nature’s traits as well as your choice of what you want to grow.

      Basil – Not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but Bible scholars believe it was a used extensively throughout the Mediterranean.

      Good companion for tomatoes, basil makes tomatoes taste better and it’s also good for peppers. Likes to grow next to oregano. Basil’s aroma repels flies and mosquitoes, so place some potted basil on your outside decks and by house entrances; and you will also be protected. Basil acts as a fungicide.

      Cilantro/Coriander – Coriander is referenced in Exodus 16:31 ….”And the food became known as manna – meaning “What is it? It was like coriander seed.”

      Helps spinach and repels or distracts white flies and aphids. Coriander seeds stay viable for a long time.

      Chives/Garlic – Numbers 11: 5-6 A member of the onion family.

      Chives help carrots, tomatoes and members of the cabbage family grow well. You can make a spray out of chives steeped in water to kill powdery mildew. Plant a few cloves of garlic around your roses to repel chewing insects. Garlic also repels rabbits!

      Parsley – an ancient herb that some Bible scholars believe originated in Lebanon.

      Growing parsley in your garden will attract butterflies. Adult swallowtails, that yellow & black butterfly will lay their eggs on the leaves so parsley does not have to be flowering to attract butterflies to your garden. It also helps tomatoes grow well.

      Dill – (Matthew 23:23) – Woe to you Pharisees… pay tithes of cumin, mint and dill, but ignore the important things like justice, mercy and faith. You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.”

      Helps cucumbers (plant cukes first, then dill a week or so later), lettuce, onions). Repels squash bugs. The flower heads of dill are one of the best nectar sources for beneficial insects in the garden.

      Fennel – Galbanum is mentioned in Exodus 30:34-38 when the Lord told Moses to use it in a recipe for making incense.

      Botanists believe this is a giant fennel and it was probably used in the composition of incense to drive away insects from the sanctuary. Attracts ladybugs and repels aphids. Don’t plant too close to dill.

      Rosemary – Legend has it that rosemary will never grow more than 6 feet in 33 years so that I would never be taller than Christ. A great one to plant near sage and eggplant. It repels black flea beetles that attack eggplant.

      Oregano/Hyssop – Exodus 12:22 – We know Moses told the Israelites to dip a branch of “hyssop” in lamb’s blood to mark their doorposts. Some scholars believe hyssop to be a type of oregano/marjoram.

      Helps tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. It acts as an insect repellent for cucumber beetles.

      Mint – Plant a container near the kitchen door to keep ants away. Attracts beneficial insects. Mint, with its white flowers, attracts pollinators like bees and is good for plants in the mustard family..

      Marigolds – called “Mary’s Gold” – French or Calendula species.

      Tomatoes love marigolds, and so do peppers, and cucumbers. French marigold produces a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone. Pests don’t like the strong smell of marigold at all.

      Lavender – it’s said that Mary put her cloak over a bush of lavender which had white flowers. The flowers turned blue in her honor. Lavender will help repel fleas, ticks, moths and even mice.

      Thyme – Thyme’s scent acts as a deterent to most pests, and may help keep deer away. Thyme attracts bees to tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.

  18. Carol F.

    I made the cherry bounce. However, I used sweet bing fresh cherries. Is that what you mean by dark cherries? Also, do I leave it sit on the counter or in the refrigerator for the 4-6 months? Thanks!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Carol,
      Depending upon where you purchase them, they’re called Big or dark sweet cherries. They should be dark red, not yellowish like Queen Ann cherries.The ones I use for cherry bounce are in season now, so you should be good to go. And when I was talking to Ron Wilson on his radio show about it, I couldn’t think of the name of the sugar on a string/stick. It’s sometimes called string or stick candy/sugar. Let the bounce age in a cool, dark place like in the pantry, where it will do it’s magic. After a couple weeks or so, taste it and see if it needs more sugar. Again, depending upon the kind of bourbon/whiskey you use, you may need more sweetening, or not. Let me know how it turns out!

  19. Jennifer Wietmarschen

    Dear Rita,
    The Lakeshore Women’ s Club would like to invite you to come and speak to. Us about cooking with herbs. the program would be approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period of 10 to 15 minutes. The date would be April 23rd at 7:30pm. we are located in Springfield Twp. On Lochcrest Rd. I am Jennifer Wietmarschen, the Program chair, and I can be reached at771-3932. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Jennifer,
      Give me a call at (513) 73202108.

  20. mary

    Yesterday, July 17, 2014, I heard Rita giving a recipe to Matt – zuccini plus and was not in a position to write it down.
    I just went to ABOUTEATING.COM

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mary,
      It’s on my blog under Goat Cheese Rollups.

  21. mary

    ABOUT EATING.COM does not have the recipe Rita gave to Matt yesterday – 7/17/14. The website has changed..
    It was lots of veggies and sounded good but I was unable at that moment to write it down.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mary,
      It’s called Tabouleh and it’s on my blog here. It is really delicious, and thanks.

  22. Alane

    Help! I have lost your recipe for pickled peppers!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I’ll put it on my blog today!

  23. Jennifer Wietmarschen

    Dear Rita, I am thrilled that you will come and speak to the Lakeshore Women’s Club next year on April 23rd at 7:30 pm. The meeting will take place at 446 Stonehearst Rd 45231, which is located in Springfield Township. Our honorarium generally is between $50 – $100; sometimes we are flexible so that our budget and our guest’s speakers compensation are mutually satisfactory.
    As I stated in my initial e-mail, we would enjoy hearing you discuss the use of herbs in cooking and generally we recommend a 30 minute talk with a question and answer period of 10 – 15 minutes.
    The number of women would be about 25 – 30.
    We also plan to give about 4 – 5 pots of herbs as a door prize and would welcome your recommendation as to what to get.
    I will be out of town from July 26 to August 3rd. If you have further questions please e-mail or call 771-3932.
    Jennifer Wietmarschen

  24. Peter garcia

    Rita while reading the daily for last Friday July 18, out of Isaiah 38: 21, ” Isaiah then ordered a poultice of “figs” to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover”. I’m sure you have covered figs in the past, but please consider sharing some old or new testament insights regarding figs. I have eaten them as fresh fruit and in the “Newtons”, what are other ways to enjoy this healing fruit?
    May our Lord continue to bless you in the good work you do.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Peter,
      I do have some other good fig recipes. Give me a bit of time to sort through the files and send them.
      Blessings to you, too

    2. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Peter,
      I love to smear fig jam on a cracker, then top it with a shaving of Manchego cheese. Really good. And dried figs are tasty in homemade granola or granola bars. Thanks for your interest – next time I do figs I’ll research them more so I have some interesting facts to share again.

      Thanks for listening, too, to the Sonrise morning show. I so enjoy working with Matt, Annie and Grant – good people!

  25. Kathy

    Cherry Bouce calls for a bottle of bourbon. There are lots of sizes of bottles. Please give me amount of bourbon before cherries run out.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      My bourbon bottle says 750 ml – it’s the regular size bottle that you find at the store. You need enough to cover the cherries and this amount usually works for me.

  26. Rita Heikenfeld

    Regarding the amount of bourbon for cherry bounce recipe: my bottle says 750 ml which I think is average for the big bottle of bourbon. What you need is enough bourbon to cover the cherries. Hope this clarifies the recipe.

  27. Jack

    Great read, really informative, I love natural products so much and i’m always learning new tips! Thanks.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Glad you like the site. Check out the lavender moisturizer oil a reader just shared.

  28. Marlene Feagan

    I work at St. Elizabeth Healthcare as the Coordinator for the Health Ministries Program. I am interested in doing s “special” event for the coordinators at the churches in November, a THANK YOU for their volunteering in theri faith communities.
    I am wanting to find out about the possibilities of you doing a food demonstration. I would be most interested in talking to you. Here is my contact information:
    Marlene Feagan, MA, BSN, RN
    Health MInistries/Faith Community Nurse Coordinator
    St. Elizabeth Healthcare
    85 North Grand Avenue
    Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
    (W) 859-572-3679 (C) 859-992-4848 HAve a Blessed Day!

  29. Betty O'Neal

    Would you please give me your recipe for Rice Krispie Treats. Thank you.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Betty,
      Nice to hear from you. Here you go – it’s the basic recipe but with more butter & vanilla. And I like to butter the 9×13 pan instead of spraying it.

      Best Rice Krispie Treats

      6 tablespoons butter
      10 oz bag big marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
      1 tablespoon real vanilla
      6 cups Rice Krispies
      “Sprayed” spatula – spray w/cooking spray so mixture doesn’t stick

      In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Low is important so butter doesn’t burn. Add marshmallows keeping pan on low heat. and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add cereal. Mix well and press into buttered (my choice) or sprayed 9×13 pan. Cool before cutting.

      This is a fun mixture for the little ones to shape with sprayed hands when the mixture is cool enough to handle but not yet set up.

  30. Michele

    I’m pulling together the program for my garden club. You spoke to us about herbs and their uses about three years ago at a luncheon in Milford. I’m not sure what your speaking fee is or more importantly, your availability.
    If you ever do this, could you please contact me? Thanks so much. Personally, I am very “into” edible flowers and am foisting them on my friends.

    Thanks for any info!

  31. Barb

    Hi Rita,

    I love your cooking shows ••> and I’m looking for the recipe for Indian curried chicken, saffron rice and cooked spinach that you had on a recent thursday night show. Can you let me know where to find it?

    Thank you,
    Barb =]

  32. Fyre Fyter

    In your 9/24 Community Newspaper article you were relating the growing of wheat during Biblical Times. I believe you misinformed your readership. The development of wheat is a recent phenomenon. Two thousand years ago emmer, eikorn and perhaps Kamut were grains used by the Egyptians to brew beer and maybe make bread. Non or low gluten grains like barley and legumes such as lentils were used much more frequently than emmer or similar grains, which btw are low in gluten.

    If you wish to use grains from that era, Jungle Jim’s carries whole grain Kamut and emmer. They’re both delicious additives to a whole kernel wheat bread recipe.

    Peter Reinhardt, in his ” While Grains Breads” has a great history on the grains used in bread baking. This recipes are top notch too.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I appreciate your input in clarifying what “wheat” meant in Bible days. Because of space constraints in my column, I can’t always go into detail, although in my presentations I talk about the Bible days wheat as most likely being emmer, a type of hulled wheat which stored well. I have talked about emmer, durum, spelt, farro, etc. on Sonrise morning show on Sacred Heart Radio. I’ll be talking about it again in the future, and will mention your clarification.

      BTW I’m the culinary professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate and agree w/you – they have an awesome selection.

  33. Peggy Piccola

    Hi Rita, We have a Women’s Harvest Tea at our Parish (November 15, 2014). We were wondering if you are available to be one of our speakers? Our tea begins at 12:30 and is over around 3:30. Please let me know if your schedule allows and if you are interested. We’d love to have you!
    my email is or phone 859-392-1500 x 1546.

  34. Jim

    Do you have a copy-cat recipe for Izzy’s Beef Barley soup?
    Please provide a link to it.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I don’t but I’ll ask if they’ll share or give me ingredients.

  35. Patricia Frederick

    I am looking for a recipe my mother made using squash instead of pumpkin in her pie. It had a custard base. Hoping you or someone you know would know what kind of squash she used. She would cook the squash and freeze it for later use in her pies.
    I read your column and love clipping the recipes.
    Patricia Frederick

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Pat,
      I am thinking it could have been butternut which cooks up like pumpkin and freezes well. The custard base is easy, you can take your favorite pumpkin pie filling and substitute the cooked, pureed squash. Let me look through my files and I’ll see what I can come up with.

  36. Maria

    Hi Rita,

    I’m interested in interviewing you for Family Foundations magazine. Could you please email me at mcwiering(at) to discuss further?

    Thank you!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I will do that, Maria.

  37. Jeannie

    Hello Rita,
    I am very interested in attending any cooking classes in the Batavia/Clermont County area that you have scheduled. Please let me know where you have these classes posted so that I can sign up and attend. Thanks so much!
    Jeannie Tinurelli

  38. Jeannie Tinurelli

    Hello Rita,
    I am very interested in attending cooking classes that you have scheduled in the Batavia/Clermont County area.
    I would appreciate knowing where I might find where you post this information. I attended one of your classes and was so impressed. Thanks so much!
    Jeannie Tinurelli

  39. Diane Johnson

    My 83 year old aunt had a copy of your Cottage Cheese Pie. She wanted me to make this for her and when she looked for the recipe she had misplaced it. She got it from the Northwest Press quite a while ago. Where can I possibly find your recipe. I would love to find it and surprise her.
    Thank you-
    Diane Johnson

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Diane,
      That is too cool – love to hear she’s still baking & cooking for loved ones. Those retro recipes are all coming back, so tell her she’s still trendy at 83!

      “Back in the late 1950′s and early 60′s my Mom had a recipe for Cheese Pie using cottage cheese. If I remember it correctly, it was more of a custard pie consistency instead of cheesecakes being made today. I’d surely appreciate finding the recipe.” Well, here’s one from my files which I have not tried. If any of you have what she’s asking for, please share.

      1 cup granulated sugar

      2/3 cup cottage cheese

      1 generous tablespoon flour

      1-1/2 cups whole milk

      2 eggs

      1/8 teaspoon salt


      1 unbaked pie crust

      Mix and pour in unbaked pie crust. Dot with butter. Bake at 400 degrees until top is golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

  40. Kathy Wagner

    I heard you on Ron Wilson and you had a recipe for spa water. I did not write it down and would like the recipe as I drink a lot of water. How long does it have to infuse etc.


  41. Nancy Kenkel

    Hi Rita,
    This note is to congratulate you on your induction into the Cincinnati Culinary Hall of Fame! You have been such a mainstay in the Cincinnati area for your wonderful articles and recipes, your interest in nutrition/cooking education and your friendliness and warmth to the public, and so much more! So very happy for you that you have been recognized in this outstanding way. Again, CONGRATULATIONS!

    Nancy Kenkel

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Thanks, Nancy. When Chef Kinsella gave me the news on my cable TV show, I was flabbergasted, really. It is very nice to be recognized for something I consider my mission. I love what I do and it’s folks like you who inspire me.

  42. Mary Lee Williams

    Rita, I know that you do guest appearances and I was wondering if you would be able to come to my house for my friends club night? What would be the fee and would you be available for Friday Dec. 5, 2014?


    Mary Lee

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Mary Lee,
      How many people and what time frame?

  43. Mrs. T

    HI Rita,
    I heard your recipe for stuffing with sage, white and wild rice, and sausage on the the Son Rise Morning show. Could you tell me how I can find it on your website. I am having trouble locating it.
    Thank you. It sounded delicious.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      It’s getting on the site now!

  44. Annette

    I would like to know if biblical herbs as well as other herbs that you cook with can be used in oils for healing aromatherapy and will they have the same effect as in food or teas?
    Do you have a web sight on how to prepare these herbs for medicinal purposes as they are/have been used for?

    Your response is appreciated.
    Blessings, Annette

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Annette,
      May Bible herbs can do double duty and are made into essential oils. Take fresh basil for instance. It makes a healing steam for a facial. It’s hard to make essential oils from herbs at home. But you can make spritzers easily, like a peppermint spritzer made with distilled water and peppermint leaves (or you can use peppermint essential oils – use about 20 drops of oil to 8 oz. water or so). This spritzer is very energizing while cleansing the air. I believe that every herb you ingest has particular healing qualities. I need to expand on this on my site….

  45. angela

    I want to know if you might be able to speak at an evening event in 2015. Grand Rapids, MI
    Please email directly at
    Thank you

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Angela,
      I would enjoy doing that – we go up to Glen Arbor each year during the summer to my daughter-in-law’s family lakehouse. How far is Grand Rapids from there? And what is the date and venue?

  46. Mary

    Hi Rita,
    I thought about you & your program on Sonrise Morning Show last Sunday morning. I was listening to the first reading at Mass (EZ 47: 1-2 8-9 12) where it speaks about fruit trees growing on the banks of the river whose fruit shall serve as food and their leaves for medicine. Are there trees in the Bible lands you know of that fit this description or are used this way?

    Thanks for all of your great recipes & knowledge!


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      As far as I know, the “fruit” could be a fruit, a nut, or whatever – I’m translating this very liberally. Anyway, right off the only trees I can think of Bible days that have benefits in the leaves are pine from which a healing tea is made for colds & flu, and olive – olive extract may be helpful w/arthitus, lowering cholesterol,and controlling blood sugar. I’ll research more for you.

  47. Amy Chapman

    Dear Rita,
    My mom listens to Sacred Heart radio all the time. She heard a part where you work with teas and herbs for stress and anxiety. My mom made the suggestion that I check into this, but I don’t know where I can find your information on this topic. Could you please guide me to that?


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Amy,
      First tell Mom thanks for listening. Are you interested in both regular teas, herbal teas or both?

      1. Amy Chapman

        Dear Rita,
        I am willing to try anything natural before hitting the pills.


        1. Rita Heikenfeld

          Hi, Amy,
          If you have a health food store near you, visit that and they will have some wonderful, organic teas that help with all sorts of ills.. Here’s a few that come to mind, but always check with your health care provider first:

          Ashwagandha, Catnip, Fennel, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Rose Hips, Valerian. I also love mint for its digestive, yet “peaceful” qualities.

          1. Amy Chapman

            Thank You.

  48. Heidi Saxton

    Dear Rita: I was listening to you on Relevant Radio the other day and thought I’d like to get in touch with you to talk about a book idea. If you’re interested, please contact me at


    Heidi Saxton
    Editor, Ave Maria Press

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Heidi,
      I would love to talk possibilities with you.

  49. Milissa

    Hi, Rita
    Saw you on Fox 19 this morning and you made a cranberry side dish that looked wonderful. Not the Cranberry Celebration one – I’ve found that one, but instead the first one you made that Tracey said tasted like a cobbler
    It’s not up on Fox 19′s website yet

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      It’s up on the site now. And, yes, it’s really good!

    2. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Melissa,
      Both are up on the site now – and the baked cranberries is what she thought tasted like a cobbler!

  50. Candy

    Will you be at the Batavia Catholic Church this Dec. for the holiday cooking class? If so, when is it? I attended 2 yrs ago, but could not find info for last year. I learned so much from you & tried many of your recipes.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I’ll check w/Deacon Jim to see if we can fit it in. Glad you like the classes. St. Vincent De Paul benefits from them, as you know.

      1. Rita Heikenfeld

        For all of you who are wondering when our next class at Holy Trinity in Batavia is, it’s January 7! More details later….

  51. Karen

    Rita, I was reading your column in the Milford Advertiser about making homemade vanilla. Sounds like fantastic gifts! You mentioned to check out your website to find vanilla, orange, and mint extract instructions. Going to, I found your “Homemade vanilla makes kitchen smell heavenly” article, but when I hit the “continue reading” button, it directed me to a page that said “error 404 – page not found.” Did several other searches on the site for the orange and mint extract directions to no avail. Any way I can get to these directions? Many thank you’s in advance.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Karen,
      It’s up on the site now. Sorry about that – I’m so low tech that sometimes I mess up.

  52. Karen

    Thank you very much. Really wanted to get that orange extract recipe to make for Christmas goodies. As my hubby says, we’re luddites when it comes to technology, so figured I had poked the wrong button or something. LOL
    A very Blessed and Merry Christmas to you and your family . . .

  53. Betty Armontrout

    Last year I got your recipe for Buckeye candies out of the Northwest Press and made them for the first time ever. Everyone loved getting them as gifts for Christmas and I was going to make them again this year but I lost the recipe. Can you please email it to me again? My family and friends will all thank you. Have a great day!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Betty,
      Love the “nana” name. Yes, I’ll repost today – save some for me!

  54. Judy

    Dear Rita,
    Just saw in the Western Hills Press, that you were going to publish a recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls. While visiting the Penzey spice store, my friend and I discovered, “Unstuffed” Cabbage Roll Casserole. It is so easy and very tasty. Here is the recipe in case you are interested.

    1 1/2 lbs ground beef
    3/4 Cup uncooked white rice
    1 onion, chopped
    1 TB Mural of Flavor
    1 tsp Pepper
    2 eggs, whites only
    2 1/2 Cups ginger ale
    1 1/2 Cups ketchup
    1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
    1/2 head cabbage, grated (8 Cups) (I used one 16 oz. slaw pkg.)

    Heat oven 350*. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the meat, rice, onion, spices and egg whites and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the ginger ale, ketchup and tomato sauce. Place 6 cups of cabbage in the baking dish. Spread the meat-rice mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle with remaining cabbage. Pour the ketchup mixture over the top. DO NOT STIR. Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until li

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Judy,
      I’m going to mentions this awesome recipe in my Community Press column soon. One question – did you use regular or diet ginger ale?

  55. Judy

    The Cabbage Roll recipe serves 8. It is so easy. And I have made it as a 1/3 recipe and it works well. Sorry it sent without all the information. Hope you enjoy this easy version. Thanks for all your recipes, Judy

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Oh, Judy, this sounds really good – if I don’t have room in the paper, I’ll share it on my blog and share your story, as well.
      Thx & Happy New Year

  56. Susan Quinn

    Hello Rita. I read your column in the small local paper each week and enjoy your comments and recipes. A couple of yeas ago, I went to several of the church festivals in small towns in Indiana. Most of them offered a Mock Turtle Soup that I found delicious. I used to purchase 2 quarts to a gallon when it was available but since I don’t have the opportunity to go anymore, I would like a recipe. I’ve searched on line for a recipe and found several but they all make such a large batch, I haven’t tried any of them. And there is a great variance in the recipes. Do you have a recipe for this soup, or could you direct me to someone who makes it who would be willing to share their recipe. I did notice that it was most usually the men of the church that made the soup and gallons of it!! I need a recipe that I can handle at home.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Susan,
      I just put several good ones up for home cooks.

    2. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Susan,
      Check out my Community Press column for next Thurs Jan 21 – all about mock turtle soup!

  57. Carol Ritter

    A while back you were kind enough to clone a recipe for Nalley’s French Onion Dip. I made it using your recipe, then made some changes. Over the holidays I tried this version out on a bunch of friends and it got great reviews! Here it is:
    1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
    2 cups sour cream
    1/4 cup Miracle Whip
    1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
    1 teasp. honey
    1/4 teasp. balsamic vinegar
    dash lemon juice
    dash garlic powder
    Blend all together. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Carol,
      Sounds so good. Thanks for adding the “Carol” touch. I’ll share w/my readers.

  58. Amanda

    Do you have any crock pot recipes? Would love to see what you have?!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Yes, Amanda, I do and will dig them out for you.

  59. Dawn Perry

    Thank you so much for the great, Pasta class at Living Spaces Design in Batavia. I know I will use those recipes time and time again! I especially can’t wait to make your mac&cheese that one is a ‘game-changer!’


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      You all were so much fun, Dawn. And I agree – the mac & cheese with Gruyere, Fontina, Mozzarella and Gorgonzola – UMM, UMM, UMM!

  60. kathy

    Rita, We have a senior group at St. Dominic’s in Delhi called the Goldenaires. I was just inquiring about how much is your speaking fee & if you are available in afternoon or evening hrs. I enjoy your segments on Sacred Heart Radio; you help to bring the Bible more alive. GOD bless, Kathy

  61. sam perry

    Our paths with Rita crossed a few yrs ago at Krogers [Mt Carmel or Eastgate] produce dept. My wife and I were discussing when & How to select Swiss Chard ! (would you believe an Italian & a Polack in our 60,s had not ever eaten or purchased ! RITA OVERHEARD OUR DISCUSSION AND helped us choose the Chard..
    Now I love the Chard (better than the spinach i also use) with Northern Beans,Olive Oil,Garlic,salt & Pepper. We call it Minestra-Fasolo [Greens & Beans]. to me its better than a Steak !!
    Our sincere thank to Rita.
    PS: My question on Storing Banana peppers will come in a new e-mail.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Yes, I do remember you and your wife. I meet the most interesting people who love food as much as I do!

  62. Judi

    Hi Rita,
    I’m the Judi from Sweet Williams Garden Club. Truly enjoyed your Lebanese menu! We so look forward to our special day each year when you broaden and enlighten our cooking knowledge and recipes! Thank you so very much!
    I had requested your donut recipe to make with my grandkids. You mentioned you replied on your blog, but I still can’t seem to find it. Sorry! Is it possible to email your recipe to me?
    So excited to make them with the babes!


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      It’s under “Most requested recipes”. I just checked it out. I enjoyed you ladies so much – what interesting food histories we all have!



  63. MaryAnn

    I am eager to try your salt free Italian seasoning. How would you say that this compares to the Heritage Restaurant’s Heritage Herb Blend. My children used to love a spread made with the Herb blend and cream cheese on fresh bread.

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, MaryAnn,
      It’s not the same, but I am posting Janet Melvin’s Heritage Herb Blend that is Salt Free. She graciously shared that and other recipes a while back. Nice memories we all have of this restaurant. That’s where my husband and I met….best to you and yours. Bill keeps me up to date once a year on your family when I go for my annual eye exam!

  64. Tom Averwater

    Rita , Love your column in the Community Journal . I saw your mac n cheese recipe from BBQ Review , going to have to try it . Bill Thomas used to do a pig roast at a club I belong to . He gave me the reipes for his rub and bbq sauce . I have since misplaced them . I was just wondering , asking , begging , pleading for you to see if he would give out those recipes . Thanks Tom Averwater

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      I’m checking on this with Bill now.

    2. Rita Heikenfeld

      One more thing, Tom,
      I do have the recipe for the rub but am still waiting on a reply from Bill for the sauce.

  65. Trish McCormick

    Hi Rita,
    Great Scott restaurant made the best potato, corn and jalapeno chowder. I’ve tried to duplicate it but it’s just not the same. I know they have closed but is there any chance you can get the recipe? It was one of our families favorites.
    Thank you,

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Trish,
      The former chef was my guest on my cable show a while back. I’ll see if I can sleuth out the recipes through my readers in my Community Press column. Maybe he and/or the former owners read my column…..

  66. John R

    First, I want to say I read your column weekly in the Delhi Press and agree with most of what you say. But this week you gave a recipe for diabetic rolls. You are so far off and need to learn about diabetic diets before posting something like this! I estimated the carbs in these rolls and they are loaded with about 26.5g carbs per roll. Diabetics should be only eating about 100g carbs a day if they want to lessen their insulin. Neither, insulin or carbs are your friend. I just ask if you are going to give a recipe and list it diabetic, please make sure it is. It is misleading and make people think these rolls are ok. They are not!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, John,
      First, thanks for input. I do not write the titles of my columns, my editors do. As far as the suitability of the rolls for diabetic, I had a colleague who is a registered dietician check the recipe and she advised one could eat them as long as the rest of carbs come from nonstarchy vegetables. She suggested keeping carbs to 20-35g per meal or slightly less as I’m sure you are aware. I am careful about making sure the information I share is correct and I will let my editors know of your concern.

  67. Lisa Laugle

    Hi Rita.

    I’m an average cook. I’d like to be better and have often used recipes I’ve obtained from you via the Community Press with mostly successful results. (I don’t tackle the more involved projects!) I also enjoy going out to dinner on occasion with my husband. One of my favorite dishes is the Ishmael Special at Cancun restaurant. It is a shrimp, chicken, rice and cheese sauce combination that is very delicious. I’d like to be able to make it at home, but I’m not sure how to replicate the cheese sauce. Can you help me? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks and love your column/blog!


    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Lisa,
      I’ll see what I can do here and give them a call.

      1. Lisa Laugle

        Thanks for checking into this for me. By the way, I’m childhood friends with one of your neighbors ( think roosters and diabetes). We were just talking about you when we went bowling together recently. Any help you can provide me with to replicate this dish will sincerely be appreciated!


  68. Cheri

    Dear Rita,

    I’ve looked all over but cannot find your Bible soup in a jar recipe. Please help ! I enjoy listening to you on my way to work on the SonRise Morning Show with Matt & Annie. God bless you !

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Cheri,
      It’s up on the site now. Glad you like my morning show segments!

  69. Joe

    Hi Rita I heard your recipe for brisket on EWTN but am having a hard time finding brisket. Is there another cut of meat that I could use? Thanks!

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      Hi, Joe,
      You can use a chuck roast, trimmed to about 3# but I would roast it, covered, at 325 degrees for 3 hours or so until it’s fork tender.

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