Monday, October 30, 2006

Create a PDF File with Adobe

I was looking for a free program or software to add a .pdf file to my web site so my customers and visitors could download a free recipe collection.

My search led me to Adobe. You can create five free files using their trial offer.

Create a .pdf file from a document on your hard drive or from a web page. Browse your computer for the document and hit submit. In seconds your .pdf file is created. You can then save, distribute, or print it.

Creat a .pdf file from a web page. Enter the url and hit submit. In seconds a .pdf file is created that you can save and upload to your site or distribute.

There are several other free .pdf file creators online but most of them have strings attached or charge a small fee if your document is over a prescribed number of pages.

The Adobe PDF Creator free trial offer has no strings attached and is quick and simple to use.

I definitely recommend this free trial offer.

Go to my web site to see the free holiday recipe collection.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rolled Soft Sugar Cookies

Use cookie cutters in Halloween shapes to make these cookies for your little ghosts and goblins.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Lemon Extract, if desired

Combine 2 cups flour and all other ingredients in large bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Stir in remaining flour by hand.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Wrap each in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on well-floured surface, one portion at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters.

Place cookies 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with decorator sugars or leave plain for frosting, if desired. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely. Decorate with frosting.

Purchase extracts and spices for your holiday cookies at My Watkins Store

Subscribe to Around the Kitchen Table - Watkins Newsletter for recipes and cooking tips Watkins Newsletter

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Bake this yummy cookie for your Halloween party.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)
1 egg
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Watkins Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup raisins

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
3 tablespoons milk, cream, fresh orange juice or rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into butter mixture until well blended. Add nuts and raisins. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool.

Cream confectioners sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. (If icing is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar; if too thick, add more milk, cream, orange juice or rum.) Drizzle over cookies.
Yield: 6 dozen Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Purchase extracts and spices for your holiday cookies at My Watkins Store

Subscribe to Around the Kitchen Table - Watkins Newsletter for recipes and cooking tips Watkins Newsletter

100% Organic Herbs and Spices

Watkins has added organic herbs and spices to its product line. They will continue to offer the current line of Gourmet All-Natural Herbs and Spices in bottles and Cinnamon and Black Pepper in 6 oz and 12 oz tins while meeting the demands of the growing consumer base that prefers organic foods.

Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled, and processed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers this definition of organic food:

“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”

Watkins Organic Spices are certified organic by the USDA National Organic Program under its most stringent standards: 100% organic.

Founded in 1868, America’s original natural products company has been the pioneer in spices and extracts for over 100 years. The same company that has brought you award winning all-natural Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract now introduces a new line of USDA certified
100% organic spices in trademark gold medal tins.

Organic Black Pepper – We have searched the globe and found the most flavorful pepper from Sri Lanka.
Organic Cinnamon – Our flavorful cinnamon from Indonesia is the best quality available anywhere.
Organic Nutmeg – The hard kernel of the peach-like fruit imparts a rich nut-like flavor. Watkins selects only the finest seed from Indonesia.
Organic Chili Powder – Our balanced blend of Chili Powder will be superior in any dishes you cook. Blended with quality spices from around the world.
Organic Cumin – Cumin is indispensable to Mexican and Southwestern cooking. The best seeds from Turkey are carefully sorted and ground to create the best finished product for your kitchen.
Organic Ginger – We have found the very finest ginger roots from Indonesia. They have been carefully dried to preserve their warm, spicy flavor.
Organic Dry Mustard – The pungency of the mustard is not released until it is added to water or another liquid. Watkins only uses the finest oil-rich North American mustard seed.
Organic Oregano – Watkins has chosen only select Turkish oregano, which has a strong flavor.
Organic Garlic Powder – Our garlic powder will enhance any dish needing great garlic flavor. We have selected only the best garlic from China.
Organic Paprika – Paprika is ground from dried red chilies. Watkins selects only the best Mexican variety, which is a brilliant color and is sweeter in taste.
Organic Sage – Sage is excellent in poultry stuffing and its flavor and natural tenderizing properties make it perfect for pork and other rich meats. We have found the most flavorful sage from Croatia.
Organic Parsley – We have selected only the finest parsley from Egypt to bring a bright flavor to any dish.
Organic Ground Cloves – Our ground cloves from Indonesia are one of the world’s most aromatic and important spices.
Organic Onion Powder – Our Onion powder will enhance any dish with delicious onion flavor. We have selected only the best onion from China.
Organic Thyme – We have selected only the finest thyme from Turkey to bring an irresistible flavor to any slow cooked dish.
Organic Basil – Our sweet basil is the most prominent of many varieties of basil. We sourced the very best basil from Egypt.
Organic Rosemary – Rosemary is a pungent combination of mint and evergreen and is best when roasting meats. Our rosemary is from Argentina and is the best quality available.
Organic Dill – Dill is best known for its use with fish and other seafood dishes. We have sourced the very best dill from Egypt.
Organic Curry Powder – Use small amounts to enhance and support other herbs and spices while cooking. Blended with quality spices from around the world.

Note: These 19 spices represent approximately 70% of the total spice demand for the everyday consumer

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wahms United, a Resource For Work at Home Moms

Wahms United provides work at home moms resources, tools and information required to start, build and grow their home based business. Dianne Fratscher, a work at home mom, is the founder of Wahms United.

As a Gold Club Member you receive:

  • Discounted Marketing Services
  • Free Member Profile Page
  • Members Directory Listing
  • Private Networking Group Access
  • Button Rotation Exchange
  • Free Software Downloads
  • Free Business Ebooks
  • Free Business Tutorials & Guides
  • Discounted Website Hosting
  • Free Store In Our Online Mall
  • Discounted Website Services
  • Free Use Of Our Chat Rooms For Parties and Other Events!
  • Free Participation in Networking Events

Visit Wahms United today for information and tools from an experienced and caring work at home mom. Find out how to become a Gold Club Member.

Decorative Jars for your Holiday Gifts

Use paint, labels, stencils, decoupage, and embellishments to make your jars look special. Match gifts and jar decorations to the person receiving the gift. Then attach a matching gift card to your jar.

Use glass canning jars, glass bottles, old-fashioned wire bail jars, recycled jars, antique jars, or plastic storage jars. Jars must have tight fitting lids.

Sterilize Jars for Food Gifts
The jars you use to package food gifts should be glass and sterilized before use.
1. Check all jars for chips and cracks. If chipped or cracked, don’t use for food. Use new lids.
2. Wash with hot, soapy water; then rinse.
3. To sterilize jars, place on a rack in a large pot and cover with water. Let water come to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from boiling water and let dry. Jars and lids can also be sterilized in your dishwasher.

Methods to Decorate Your Jars

Decorate With Paint
Always wash jar in hot soapy water to remove grease or residue.

Select a paint intended for use on the surface you are decorating. Read the label on the paint container to determine the paint’s compatibility with your surface. This rule goes for painting on glass, metal lids, or plastic jars and lids.

Acrylic craft paints are not permanent and can be rubbed or washed off.

1. Acrylic Glass Paints are best for glass jars. They come in a wide variety of pre-mixed colors in convenient squeeze bottles to decorate your gift jars. These types of paints can be baked in a home oven to make them more durable and washable. (Read the label) To bake, let the paint dry on the jar for 48 hours. Place glass jar in a conventional oven (not preheated) and heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow jar to cool in oven before removing. After baking painted jars can be hand washed. Washing in a dishwasher is not recommended.
2. Air-Dry Enamel Paints for Glass are opaque, brush-on glass paints available that air dry to a high-gloss, waterproof finish. Choose a brand that is water-based and non-toxic.
3. Paints for Plastic are brush-on paints especially formulated for adhering to plastic and dry to a durable, waterproof finish. Water-based types allow you to clean brushes and spills with soap and water.
4. Paint Pens are available in craft shops and come in a wide selection of colors. They are great for detailing and simple jar decoration.
5. Fabric Paints can be used for special effects like wording or facial features. They
squeeze directly from the bottle.

Paint a design on the jar using pre-cut purchased stencils or a design you cut yourself from freezer paper. You can also paint the design on your jar free-hand. Draw the outline with a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker or draw completely free-hand. Use caution as the Sharpie marker will smudge on glass.

Decorate With Labels
Make paper labels created on your computer and then printed, or draw label on your choice of paper.

To give your labels an aged appearance spatter with brown acrylic paint thinned in water. Use an old tooth brush for spattering.

Lightly sponge the edges of the label using a dense foam sponge and the spattering mixture.

Allow labels to dry; then glue or decoupage to jar.

Decorate with Decoupage
Use Mod Podge Gloss Lustre decoupage medium for your jars.

Decoupage is done in three basic steps: cutting, gluing, and sealing.

1. Trim away excess paper from the image or picture you wish to use.
2. Using a foam brush, lightly coat the back of the image with decoupage medium. Position the image on the surface and smooth it with your fingers, pushing out wrinkles and air bubbles. Allow to dry.
3. Apply two or three coats of decoupage medium over the image with a foam brush to seal the paper. The image appears cloudy when wet, but will dry crystal clear.

Decoupaged jars can be wiped with a damp cloth to clean but cannot be washed in a
dishwasher or submerged in water.

You can create a paper collage jar using decoupage. A collage is a group of pictures or images layered and overlapped to form a display. Use printed photos, interesting paper, stamps, and stickers. Arrange the images by overlapping them for a decorative display. Attach and seal them with two or three coats of decoupage medium.

Decorate with Fabric
If you prefer not to decorate the outside of the glass or plastic jar, add decoration to the lid.

Cover the top of the jar lid with fabric or a small lace fabric or paper doily. Use holiday or gingham fabric cut with pinking sheers. Add three to four inches to the diameter dimension of the jar lid for coverage and decoration. A circular piece of batting can be used under the fabric for a stuffed appearance. A counted cross stitch design can also be used on top of the jar. Place the fabric over the lid on the jar or place over the lid seal and then add the screw-on band. Lace or braid can be glued around the band.

A variety of items can be used to embellish your decorated jar. Make your embellishment compliment the contents. If your gift jar contains a Gingerbread Cookie Mix attach a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Add a holiday cookie cutter to a Sugar Cookie Mix. Attach a tea ball or infuser to a jar of tea. Attach a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or wire whisk to other mixes.

Make a tag or card to coordinate with the jar decoration or contents and attach with a ribbon or raffia.

Embellishments include ribbon, holiday garlands, gold braid or cord, raffia, lace, buttons, beads, charms, tassels, or bandanas.

Choosing Glues
For gluing items to jars, silicon-based glue for glass works best. It also works well for gluing wood to glass, metal to glass, or plastic to glass. It can also be used to attach items to metal or wooden lids. Silicone-based glue dries slowly so you will have to prop the jar carefully until the glue is dry.

A glue gun can be used for attaching light objects such as ribbon to the jar for instant hold.

White craft glue is used for gluing unbaked polymer pieces to a jar or lid before baking in the oven.

Gift Jar Contents
Use your imagination and consider who the gift is for when deciding on the contents. Food mixes are very popular. Gift jars can also contain sewing notions, keep sakes, games, snack foods such as trail mix, nuts n’ bolts or chex mix, candied nuts, candied popcorn, Christmas candy or jelly beans, coffee, tea, flavored vinegars and oils in glass bottles, potpourri or fragrance gel, bath salts, and a baked cake-in-a-jar.

If you plan to give a food mix, first choose the recipe and ingredients. Food mixes often look better when the ingredients for the mix are layered in the jar. The recipient can mix the ingredients before using them.

If you plan to give a mix you will need:
1. A small bottle to tamp down the ingredients as you layer or place them in the jar.
2. A canning funnel or piece of card stock to make a simple funnel for filling jars.
3. Paper towels to wipe powdery ingredients off inside of jar.

Tips for Packing Food Ingredients
1. Layer ingredients in the jar in the order given in the recipe.
2. Wipe down the sides of the jar with a clean paper towel after adding powdery ingredients such as sugar, cocoa, or flour before adding the next ingredient for a better appearance.
3. Pack down all ingredients firmly as they are added. If you don’t, you won’t have enough space to fit in all the ingredients. Generally, a quart holds 6 cups of packed down ingredients; a pint jar holds 3 cups of packed down ingredients.
4. If ingredients do not come to top of the jar, fill space with crumpled plastic wrap or waxed paper to prevent the ingredients from shifting and mixing.
5. After packing ingredients into jar, seal with the lid. Attach a card with the recipe, instructions, a list of any additional ingredients, and a holiday greeting.

Baked Cake-in-a-Jar
Use a pint-sized wide-mouth canning jar with a two-part lid (flat seal and screw-on band) when baking a cake-in-a-jar. The wide mouth allows the cake to slide out of jar. Choose a cake-in-a-jar recipe or adjust your favorite cake recipe to make in jars. Place one cup of prepared cake mix in pint jar. Bake according to directions. Jars and lids must be sterilized before using. (Use new lids) Bake cake and add lid as soon as cake is removed from oven. Carefully place flat seal on top of jar and then the screw-on band. Jar is very hot so do not burn yourself. Allow jar to cool and then test to make sure the jar is sealed. If the cake does not seal properly, eat cake, refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. The sealed jars of cake can be stored without refrigeration for up to two months. Attach a tag with the name of the cake and that says, “Best eaten before (two months from date the cake was baked).”

Give yourself plenty of time to decorate your gift jars and plan the contents for each person on your Christmas list. Fill the jars, then sit back and relax. Sip a cup of hot spiced cider and enjoy the holidays.
Eleisia Whitney is a Watkins home business owner. She publishes a Watkins Newsletter - Around the Kitchen Table
Visit her at and

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kudos to

I've been changing the design of my business web site, Watkins Products and Home Business Opportunity located at
I was so absorbed in designing and updating my site that I let my domain name expire. Can you believe it! Here I am laboring over my site, racking my brain, learning how to apply the correct code to get a specific design and improving search engine optimization. And I let my domain name expire!

This morning I received an email from my domain registrar,, saying that my domain name had expired. After the initial shock I immediately renewed It was my fault that this happened. offers auto renewal but I had disabled this option because I had another domain name I didn't want renewed.

Within just a few hours my web site was back on the internet. I breathed a sigh of relief. Kudos to for their prompt and efficient customer service. I recommend this domain registrar if you are planning to register a domain name. This company, founded in 1998, is a leading domain registration service and provider of self-service domain management tools. They will register your domain name for just $8.50 per year.

Lesley's Internet Tips

Today I came across a web site with internet tips about search engine optimization, meta tags, pay-per-click advertising and a variety of other internet topics.

If you have a business web site these tips will help you improve your site and possibly increase your search engine rankings.

The internet tips are at Lesley's Internet Tips

Customer Rewards - Earn a $10 Watkins Gift Certificate

I'm always thrilled when I hear from my online friends and customers.

I recently received this email from one of my online Watkins friends who placed an order for over $100 and earned a $10 Watkins gift certificate as a Customer Reward. She not only earned the $10 gift certificate to use on her next order but her order was shipped free ($75 US, $99 Canadian) .

"Thank you so very much! Although, I don't order often, I do manage to stock up on some things that we use regularly. Like that gallon of organic cleaner lasts me for a year. I love that stuff. It is wonderful especially when you have pets. Well, now, we can't live without the chicken soup. I use that for so many things it's unreal. As for the beef, I use it but not as much but both are the best i could find anywhere. Nothing in the stores are comparable to either of them. Thanks again for the gc. I will use that on my next order. I am printing it so hopefully I won't lose it in the meantime." Lilly in Pennsylvania

My Customer Rewards Program rewards customers when their Watkins order(s) total $100 or more (before shipping and tax) during one year January 1 through December 31. The orders are accumulative; I keep a record of the amount each customer purchases and send a $10 Watkins Gift Certificate when their orders reach $100.

So ask your friends, relatives, and neighbors to place an order with you; get your order shipped free and earn a Watkins gift certificate to use on your next order.

Visit for monthly specials, our complete product line, and our holiday gifts and entertaining products.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why Choose VanillaSage as the Title of My Blog?

I chose "VanillaSage" as the title of my blog for several reasons. First, I like the way it sounds.

Second, Vanilla and Sage are both Watkins products. Our vanilla is one of the best that you can buy. It is made from the world's finest Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. It takes nearly a pound of these precious beans to make just one gallon of vanilla extract.

Original Double-Strength Vanilla is made from a special formula that contains less alcohol so it doesn't bake or freeze out of your food. Our Pure Vanilla is all natural, made from the best vanilla beans, and contains 35% alcohol, a requirement for a vanilla to be called pure vanilla. Our vanilla products also include Double-Strength Imitation Clear Vanilla Extract. Clear Vanilla is colorless, bake-proof, freeze-proof, with double-strength flavor. It is formulated for wedding cakes and frostings and other baked goods that need to be pure white.

Sage is a Mediterranean herb that got its name because of the ancient belief that it strengthened the memory and imparted wisdom. Sage is an ingredient in poultry seasoning and poultry stuffing. Its flavor and digestive properties make it perfect for pork, sausages, and other meats. Watkins chooses only the best sage from the world's best growing regions, prepares it to retain the essential oils for maximum flavor, and uses strict quality control for superior quality and flavor. Sage is packaged in glass bottles or tins, not plastic, to preserve quality.

Webster's Dictionary defines vanilla as

1. any of genus (Vanilla) of tropical climbing orchids (family Orchidaceae).

2. a capsule that is the fruit of a vanilla widely distributed from Florida southward throughout tropical America, that has the form of an elongated pod, and that is an important article of commerce for the flavoring extract that it yields; a flavoring extract made by soaking vanilla pods in a mixture of water and grain alcohol.

Webster's Dictionary defines sage as

1. wise through reflection and experience; preceding from or characterized
by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment.

2. a mature or venerable man, sound in judgment.

3. a mint (Salvia officinalis) with grayish green aromatic leaves used especially in flavoring meats.

Third, I don't profess to be a sage or wise person but I hope that some of the things I've learned through past experiences and the information I provide will be helpful to you.

Visit Eleisia at

A Little About Me

I'd like to begin by telling you a little about myself. I live in northern California with my family. I grew up in Idaho and enjoy the wide open spaces.

One of my hobbies is bird watching and feeding my backyard birds. Providing bird seed, peanuts, and water, as well as, planting bird friendly plants has enticed a variety of birds and other animals to our yard.

One squirrel became very friendly and couldn't overcome his taste for peanuts. Here are some pictures.

Welcome to VanillaSage - News about Watkins Products and Home Based Business

Hi! My name is Eleisia Whitney. I am a Watkins Associate. I'm writing this blog to share information about Watkins products and our home based business opportunity. I'll also share recipes, cooking and health tips, and resources and advice about building any successful home based business.

I chose Watkins because of the products and the integrity and long-standing reputation of the company. Watkins offers consumable products of high quality and value for your money. Every product has a money back guarantee.

The company strives to provide superior quality products for its customers and a proven business model with unlimited earning potential for its associates. How many companies can you think of that have been around since 1868?

Visit me at
Shop at
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