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Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011!

Declare your commitment to a preserving the planet by using all-natural products all year long

Sure. You recycle. You conserve natural resources by turning off lights when not in use, in addition to using those screwy-looking bulbs that use less wattage. You take shorter showers, and don’t run the dish washer unless it is completely full.

This year, why not take your conservation goals up another notch or two? You can do so with the help of J.R. Watkins, one of this country’s first “green” companies. 

For more than 140 years, Watkins has been one of America´s pioneers in natural living, using only the finest natural ingredients in its products.  Whether you are looking for personal care, home care or gourmet food products, Watkins has what you want to feel better and live healthier, AND protect the planet at the same time.

J.R. Watkins Naturals are produced using
ingredients made from renewable resources, avoiding chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. It is one of the very few companies in the United States and Canada certified by the Natural Products Association.  To gain certification, products must be formulated with at least 95% natural ingredients from renewable resources. Watkins is one of the first companies in the United States and Canada to gain this coveted certification.  

Back in the 1860s, people on the Minnesota prairie didn't have ready access to doctors, and most couldn't afford to see one anyway.  J.R. Watkins Apothecary provided quality products folks could rely on to make them feel better and keep them feeling better. And unlike some of the "snake oil" vendors out there, J.R. backed his products with a money-back guarantee.

Of course, Watkins wasn’t the only apothecary company back then - but it’s the only one left!  With Watkins, you don't just get a glimpse into the past; you get real tried-and-true products that have been helping people for more than 140 years.

Watkins proudly formulates with natural raw materials such as:

  • Menthol
  • Capsicum
  • Thymol
  • Eucalyptus Oil

Natural Freedom Code - 95% Natural and Above:

  • Benzene Free
  • Boron Free
  • Dye Free
  • Formaldehyde Free
  • Isopropanol Free
  • Paraben Free
  • Phthalate Free
  • DEA/TEA Free
  • Propylene Glycol Free
  • Silicone Free
  • Sulfate Free

They are also:

  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Not tested on animals

Natural cleaners have also been a large part of its diverse product mix as far back as 1917, when the company first introduced Natural Vegetable Oil Soap made with pure vegetable oils and no animal bi-products, fillers or colors. Almost a century ago its advertisements boasted "Just pure soap, that's all"... and "Pure enough to eat!" As globally-minded as its customers, Watkins now aims to make household chores a little easier with its newest line of J.R. Watkins Natural Home Care cleaning products. Made with refreshing lemon and lavender oils and highly effective plant derived surfactants, Watkins diverse line of cleaners are safe and effective for your home and your family.

Responsible manufacturing processes are as important as its commitment to providing natural, consumable items for everyday life. By utilizing gravity-fed filling, biodegradable packing materials, as well as recycling programs and much more, Watkins is devoted to leaving the smallest environmental footprint possible.

As we tell folks who stop by the Big Bear Farmer’s Market and ask us about Watkins’ commitment to quality and the environment, any company that has been around for more than 140 years must be doing something right! You could almost call Watkins itself a natural resource!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

They’re multiplying!

Every year, more family and friends show up for Easter dinner knowing that Watkins recipes will be on the menu.

We felt like we were at a class reunion when we pitched our Big Bear Country Store tent for the first time this spring at Big Bear Farmer’s Market. The market opens at 8:30 when the parking lot of the Big Bear Convention Center begins to fill with customers wanting the first pick of fruits and vegetables.*

Our customers welcomed us back with open arms. Nothing beats a bright spring Tuesday morning at the Farmer’s Market after a long winter’s hibernation when Big Bear is covered with snow. This is our third season at the local open market, but many of our customers grow up with the Watkins label. They know every jar, bottle, package and tin of Watkins foods and spices maintain that same quality the company has been known for during its last 143 years.

No wonder so many grandmothers and mothers have passed the Watkins name and their favorite Watkins recipes on to their children. More than one customer today was asking for our recommendations on how we plan to dress up our Easter dinner this year using the array of products we had on display.

My nose would grow longer than it already is if I said I had all the following Watkins recipes on the menu for this Sunday. Instead, I pointed out our website, http://www.bigbearcountrystore.com/, where customers can click on the “Recipes” link in the left-column directory. There are literally hundreds of amazing dishes you can find by searching through various categories. Or you can just type in what you are looking for in the “Recipe Search” box in the upper right corner of the screen.

To make it a bit quicker for all those seeking compliments from family and friends around your Easter dinner table this Sunday, here’s just a few dishes we feel would make a meal they will be raving about till Thanksgiving:

Deviled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs
1/2 tsp/2.5 ml Watkins Dry Mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp/1.2 to 2.5 ml salt
1/4 tsp/1.2 ml Watkins Black Pepper
3 tbsp/45 ml mayonnaise or salad dressing
Watkins Paprika

Cut peeled eggs in half lengthwise. Slip out yolks and mash with a fork. Mix in dry mustard, salt, pepper and mayonnaise; mix well. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping slightly. Arrange on serving platter and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours.

Spicy Herbed Biscuits

1 Watkins Bread Mix
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Paprika
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Garlic Powder
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Oregano
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Thyme
1 cup/250 mL Andouille sausage, cooked and chopped into small pieces
2 cups/500 mL Parmesan cheese
12 oz/355 mL beer
2 tbsp/30 mL melted butter
Watkins Sea Salt from Sea Salt Grinder

Combine bread mix, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme. Stir in sausage and 1 1/2 cups/375 mL cheese. Add beer, stir just until moistened. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto well-greased baking sheet. Drizzle butter over biscuits and sprinkle with remaining cheese, and a grind of sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C for 35 to 40 min.

Biscuits taste great with or without the sausage.

Simple Appetizer

Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and Watkins Black Pepper to Garlic & Parsley Grapeseed Oil and dip fresh bread for a delicious appetizer. Serve in small individual dipping dishes.

Balsamic-Maple Glazed Ham

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
1 teaspoon Watkins Dry Mustard
1 bone-in skinless smoked ham, shank or butt end portion (approximately 7 lb.)

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix dressing, syrup and mustard. Place ham, fat-side up, in roasting pan. Diagonally score ham; cover with foil. Bake 1 hour.

Remove foil. Brush ham with 1/3 of the glaze. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until heated through (140 degrees F), brushing with remaining glaze every 20 minutes.

Remove ham from oven; transfer to cutting board. Tent with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Slice and serve.


• If the weight of your ham varies from the weight in the recipe, bake ham for 10-15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F.

• After carving the ham, reserve the bone for making split pea or bean soup.

Holiday Glazed Ham

1 boneless fully cooked ham (about 6 pounds)
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 can (20 ounces) sliced pineapple
1 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon Watkins Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Ground Cloves
Maraschino cherries

Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Score the surface of the ham, making diamond shapes 1/2 inch deep; insert a clove in each diamond. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours.

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. In a small saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, preserves, mustard and ground cloves. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Spoon half of the glaze over ham. Secure pineapple slices and cherries on top and sides of ham with toothpicks. Bake 30-45 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 140 degrees F, basting twice with remaining glaze. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Yield: 16 servings.

Serve with mashed potatoes or glazed sweet potatoes and vegetables.

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

1/2 cup/125 mL graham cracker crumbs
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup/60 mL cold water
3 packages (8 oz/227 g each) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup/250 mL sugar
1 cup/250 mL fat-free sour cream
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Lemon Extract
1 tsp/5 mL Watkins Vanilla Extract
Sliced fresh fruit or canned pie cherries or blueberries

Coat a 9-inch/23-cm springform pan with Watkins Cooking Spray. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over bottom; set aside. Sprinkle gelatin over water in small saucepan; let stand 1 minute. Place over low heat and stir until granules are completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Remove from heat.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sour cream. At low speed, beat in dissolved gelatin mixture and extracts. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm. Loosen cheesecake from pan and cut into slices. Serve plain or with fruit arranged over top. Makes 8 servings.

Pecan Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup reduced-fat butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 to 1 1/2 cups coarsley chopped pecans
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) butter pecan cake mix
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract or Watkins Vanilla Nut Extract

In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and pecans. Spread evenly into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with Watkins Cooking Spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; beat with a mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 20 servings.

This recipe was tested with Land O'Lakes light stick butter.

A yellow cake mix can be substituted for the butter pecan with a slightly different cake flavor.

Tropical Dessert Bars

Bottom Layer

1 (17.5 oz.) package sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, melted

Cream Cheese Pineapple Layer

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice

Coconut Layer

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.

Stir cookie mix and melted butter with fork until crumbs form. Press evenly in bottom of prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Beat cream cheese in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs just until blended. Beat in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice. Pour over warm crust. Sprinkle drained pineapple evenly over top.

Stir coconut, macadamia nuts and butter in small bowl until evenly moistened. Sprinkle over pineapple layer.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set and coconut is lightly browned. Cool 1 hour on wire rack. Chill 1 hour. Cut into bars.

* The Big Bear Farmer’s Market is held every Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Big Bear Convention Center parking lot at the corner of Big Bear Boulevard and Division Drive in Big Bear Lake. Put the address 42900 West Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 in your GPS device or Smart Phone, or just stop any local walking down Big Bear Boulevard.

We’re multiplying, too!

Our Easter wish for all our customers is that your friends, good times and fond holiday memories will continue to multiply throughout the year.

We also hope you will consider joining our growing Big Bear Country Store team. Just call Alan at 888-881-7372. He’ll explain how a few hours a week telling family & friends about Watkins can help multiply the greenbacks in your wallet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Uncle Sam Wants Your Money on Monday!

The big-hearted guy has given you a few more days to get it all together!
How’s that working for you? From the looks of things here in Big Bear, California, not very good. Sure, they say the economy is improving, unemployment is down, and more Americans are beginning to have some disposable income they can use to enjoy life.

From our vantage point of managing vacation rental cabins in this resort community, that has yet to happen here. We did not receive one inquiry from potential guests who were considering a weekend getaway to Big Bear this weekend. True, many of them may have been working to get those tax returns done by Monday. And, yes, spring is our slowest time on the mountain, where the majority of our guests come up in the winter for ski and snowboarding on the slopes, or in summer to enjoy boating and fishing on the lake. But to not receive one e-mail or phone call to take advantage of our discounted spring rates, well, we can’t help thinking it may take a bit longer for the recovery to reach Southern California.

Fortunately, the Big Bear Country Store managers don’t rely solely on rental income from the cabins to keep our households humming along during these traditional slow months.  One of the reasons the Big Bear Country Store was created some time ago was to create another stream of income, as well as to increase business expense deductions when tax-time rolled around every year. Today, there is no more scrambling around to find receipts, tabulating columns of expenses or wringing of hands wondering how to pay what’s due Uncle Sam. He actually sends us a nice refund check every year instead.

You, too, could experience this same tax relief next year by considering the creation of your own home-based business now while it’s on your mind. For just $39.95, and a few hours of work each week in your spare time, you could be writing off a long list of tax deductions in 2011, AND have some disposable income of your own to enjoy life. Perhaps a weekend in a nice Big Bear rental cabin! We provide a 50% discount on the nightly rate to those who join our Big Bear Country Store Power Team in the next 30 days! Call store manager Alan at 888-881-7372, and he will guide you through the simple steps on how to get started.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Outrageous Deductions

You Could Have Taken if You Only Had a Home Business

Sure, there are the obvious: a portion of your mortgage or rent payment, the phone, the utilities, the gas and vehicle expenses, the computer, the office supplies, even the bank charges you grumble about.

Had you just spent the measly $39.95 to establish your own Watkins business during 2010 (plus your local tax – all deductible), you also could have written off the full amount you paid to “Watkinize ” your own home, the costs associated with establishing your own web site, any expenses in advertising, any samples you gave to prospective customers, even any Watkins “gifts” you gave to friends and family that had your business label on it. And the cost to print that label, of course! Other than owning your own home, tax advisors tell their clients that establishing a home business – any business – is the second most beneficial way to increase the size your tax refund. Imagine, getting tax breaks just by being your own boss!
Tax write-offs are wonderful things. Some people – like the managers of the Big Bear Country Store – look upon them as “gifts” to ourselves for all the time spent building our business during the past year. If you are looking for a home business, why not go with a proven winner. Entrepreneur Magazine named Watkins one of the top 10 home-based businesses in America. As we like to mention to individuals contemplating joining our team, “A company that has been in business for more than 140 years must be doing something right.”
So this week, as you struggle to find ways to reduce your tax obligation to Uncle Sam, we suggest you strongly consider clicking on the button below that will save you hundreds of George Washingtons when tax time rolls around next year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Did you hear the one about a door-to-door salesman who sold a meat tenderizer to a vegetarian?

This is no joke. Bill Porter did just that. He was a Watkins door-to-door salesman with cerebral palsy, who was so persistent – and motivated – that he overcame his adversity to become one of the company’s most effective associates. His story even inspired an award-winning TNT movie starring William Macy, Helen Mirren and Kara Sedgwick.  It’s called Door to Door and available through Block Buster. A book followed written by Porter’s one-time assistant Shelly Brady titled “Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter” that became a New York Times bestseller.

The film and book tell of Porter’s reluctance to give up his direct sales approach and begin using a new contraption called a computer. It was his age, his expanding customer route and growth of the Internet rather than his disability that led Bill to develop his own Watkins web site. Yes, he’s still at it today.

There are now thousands of associates across North America spreading the word about an exceptional product line that has propelled Watkins to become one of the leading names in quality today.  From a handful of products Porter was able to offer his customers in the mid-50s, there are now more than 350 various spices, all-natural body and cleaning products, as well as pain liniments and lotions being sold coast-to-coast and throughout Canada.

Many folks in and around Winona, Minnesota – home of the company’s headquarters and production plant – still enjoy regular visits from their door-to-door Watkins salesperson. Winona is that kind of quiet, neighborly small town where citizens still feel safe opening their front door when the door bell rings.

So it is in Big Bear, California, where a young couple are following in Bill Porter’s footsteps, going door-to-door in this mountain community to peddle the Watkins product line. Brian Campbell and DJ Wilson don’t have to overcome a disability. But they have other obstacles that challenge anyone beginning a home-based business today. Topping the list is the economy in resort communities like Big Bear that rely heavily on folks with enough disposable income to buy a vacation cabin, or rent one for a summer vacation by the lake, or just a winter weekend on the ski slopes.  

But that hasn’t stopped Brian and DJ, who are willing to knock on doors, make cold calls and hit up family and friends to place an order with them.
“Sure, it’s tough,” says Brian, who has difficultly getting his sales pitch out before he hears “No, thank you” and the door closes in his face. “But that didn’t stop Bill and it won’t stop us either.”

He just turned in their first list of orders totaling more than $150. The next goal is becoming “Gold Associates” before the year is out. Yes, Brian and DJ believe in the quality of the Watkins product line, and know that once a person tries Watkins vanilla, cinnamon or pain liniment, they will buy it again and try other products. Bill Porter would be proud; his door-to-door spirit is alive and well in Big Bear.