Sunday, February 27, 2011

Getting Your Hair to Grow

Some women seem to feel that the only way to get their hair to grow long and healthy is to head to the beauty store or salon for the latest high-end treatment. While these can help, what you put into your body is just as important to hair growth as what products you put on your hair. There are three areas to start working on when trying to grow your hair:

1. Nutrition
Preparing a nutritious meal is hard to do in these busy times, but it's essential if you want a healthy body and a good head of hair. Eat protein-rich foods and increase your fish intake, since fish contains the essential natural oils and fatty acids that your hair needs. I choose organic meats as they don't have any added chemicals which aren’t good for my hair or my body. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. It not only flushes out all the toxins in your body but it also carries the nutrients where they need to go.

2. Vitamins
It's important to make sure you’re getting specific B vitamins in your body. Look for First, seek to get these vitamins in your diet, but if that's not possible I find that a B-complex vitamin works best.

Superfood Multiple

Watkins Superfood Multiple - Complete Multivitamin, #02260

Includes B Vitamin Complex and every important vitamin and mineral in the potencies recommended by leading nutritionists and researchers.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide)
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, or pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride)
Vitamin B7 (biotin)
Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Vitamin B12 (various cobalamins; commonly cyanocobalamin in vitamin supplements)

3. Treatment
When looking for shampoo and conditioner choose Watkins Aloe & Green Tea Shampoo, #23326, and Watkins Aloe & Green Tea Conditioner, #23327, both approved by the National Products Association.

Aloe & Green Tea Shampoo Aloe & Green Tea Conditioner

If you're looking to grow your hair, I'd recommend giving these simple steps a try. They'll save you money over more expensive treatments that may not work, and they're good for your overall health to boot.

Shop at

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Golden Vanilla Pound Cake

This pound cake is a rich, brown outside, with an ultra-fine, golden crumb. If you like a dense, firm, loaf-shaped classic pound cake, then this one's for you. One non-traditional touch: the vanilla-sugar glaze brushed atop the cake towards the end of the baking time, which gives it a crackly-crunchy top crust. Bake the cake in a loaf pan or a bundt pan.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon if you use salted butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Watkins Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Watkins Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Watkins Almond Extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon water

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan, or a 12" x 4" x 4" tea loaf pan. To avoid overflow, be SURE to use the correct size pan!

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; the mixture may look slightly curdled/grainy. After you've added the final egg, beat at high speed for 3 minutes. The batter will still look a little curdled, but will have gained a bit of volume. Once all the eggs are added, stir in the milk.

4) Sprinkle in the flour gradually, with the mixer going at low speed. Mix just until combined. The batter will be smooth and thick (not pourable). Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

5) To make the topping, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is syrupy. At first it'll seem very stiff, but will become "drizzlable" as you stir. Set the topping aside.

6) Set the cake on a baking sheet, for easiest handling and as a precaution against potential overflow (which shouldn't happen if you use the correct size pan). Bake it for 55 minutes (for either size pan).

7) Remove the cake from the oven, and brush with the sugar mixture. It'll be kind of stiff, and may clump up; again, that's OK. Return the cake to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or so. It's a bit challenging trying to figure out when it's done; the center will test done, while the very top, right under the crust, will still be kind of soggy. The center should register about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges. After an additional 5 minutes, turn the cake out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.

Tips from our bakers

Use Watkins Clear Vanilla Extract for a whiter sugary crunch topping.

If desired, substitute 1 tablespoon lemon zest + 1 teaspoon Watkins Lemon Extract for the vanilla and almond extracts.

If desired, bake the cake in a 9-cup tube or Bundt pan. You'll need to bake it a shorter amount of time than in the loaf pan, so start checking at 55 minutes.

Since this cake is so dense, the baking time can be tricky. You want it thoroughly baked, but not dried out. When the cake is done, a cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, and the internal temperature at the center will be at least 200°F. The top 1/4" or so of the top crust may still be moist and sticky; but it shouldn't be batter-like. The finished cake may have some moist streaks near the top crust; that's ok.

You'll find bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature makes them easier to beat without lumps forming. And room-temperature eggs help keep the batter lump-free, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spice Up Your Condiments

With the addition of an unexpected spice or sauce you likely have on hand, you can create bold new dips, sandwich spreads and more with condiments.


•Add pesto: Blend 2 tablespoons of pesto into a cup of mayonnaise for delicious, Italian-style flavor. It’s yummy on your average turkey sandwich, or as a spread for a tomato and mozzarella panini.

•Add lemon juice & Watkins Sea Salt: Create bright, clean flavor when you squeeze a quarter of a lemon into a cup of mayo, plus a dash of sea salt. We love it on white fish, or as a dip for homemade French fries!

•Add garlic: Spice up your next cookout by serving garlic mayonnaise alongside your burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches in an old-fashioned squirt bottle. A teaspoon of minced garlic is all you need for 1 cup of mayonnaise. Or add Watkins Garlic Powder.


•Add curry: It’s a strong, savory herb, so use it sparingly—just a pinch of Watkins Curry Powder will add exotic layers of flavor to 1 cup of tomato ketchup.

•Add barbecue sauce: Combine two classics and create a new condiment favorite! Whether you have a cup left or an entire bottle, mix ketchup with equal parts barbecue sauce and enjoy.


•Add rosemary: Like mustard, rosemary has a slightly bitter, aromatic quality, making the two perfect mates. For a gourmet sandwich spread, add 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary to 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard. Use 1/3 teaspoon Watkins Rosemary instead of fresh.

Tip: Don’t bother plucking each rosemary sprig off its stem—instead, gently pinch your fingers and pull backwards down the steam to easily remove them.

•Add applesauce: For Dijon or coarse-grain mustard, try mixing in a few spoonfuls of cinnamon applesauce. The unlikely ingredients combine to create a sweet, tangy sauce that’s delicious on pork and chicken.


•Add berries: With a bit of butter and a few leftover berries, you can make something truly special. Drop a few berries into softened butter, then mash together. We love blueberry butter on a whole grain bagel or blackberry butter on toast.

•Add honey: A few drops of honey can give butter a whole new attitude—experience something heavenly when you melt it on just-baked bread.

Sour Cream

•Add cilantro: This fresh, leafy herb has bold, distinct flavor, so sprinkle just 1/2 teaspoon of chopped cilantro into a cup of sour cream to instantly dress up fajitas or a taco salad.

•Add chipotle peppers: Look for canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce at your local grocery—they have spicy, smoky flavor; finely chop the peppers, then add 1/8 teaspoon to a cup of sour cream. Yum!


Quick Herb Butters

Whipped with fresh herbs, citrus zest, spices and more, butter becomes more than just a spread. Create your own customized butters with these easy instructions and flavor variations, plus get ideas for cooking with them.

Herb Butter Basics

Start with 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, then flavor it in three easy steps:

1.Soften butter to room temperature.

2.In a mixing bowl, combine butter and flavorings. Mash with a spatula until well combined.

3.Transfer butter to a sheet of parchment paper. Roll it into a log, twist the ends together, then chill for at least 1 hour. When ready to use, simply slice what you need and re-wrap the rest.

Flavor Variations
With compound butter, the possibilities are endless. Experiment with your favorite Watkins ingredients, or try one of our easy combinations:

•Lemon Herb Butter: 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs— or use Watkins herbs such as dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, oregano or a blend.

•Chili Lime Butter: 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1-2 teaspoons fresh lime zest and 2 teaspoons red chili flakes.

•Blue Cheese Butter: 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (optional).

•Cinnamon Butter: 1 tablespoon Watkins Cinnamon and honey (or superfine sugar) to taste.

•Fig Butter: 1 jar fig preserves—chop up any large bits of fig—1/2 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon Watkins Nutmeg.

Cooking with Herb Butters
Pair your gourmet butters with fresh-baked bread, or get creative with them:

•Toss pasta with lemon herb or blue cheese butter—or a little bit of both!

•Sauté cod filets in herb, chili lime or fig butter.

•Whip mashed potatoes with savory butters, or let slices melt atop baked potatoes.

•Melt chili lime butter, then drizzle over corn on the cob.

•Spread waffles, pancakes and scones with cinnamon, fig or butterscotch butter.

•Finish steaks with slices of herb or blue cheese butter.

•Add sweet butters—fig, cinnamon and beyond—to oatmeal and rice pudding.

Tip: Butter isn’t the only condiment you can flavor in unexpected ways. From rosemary mustard to cilantro sour cream, get more ideas in my next blogt post, Spice Up Your Condiments.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Bake Your Family Some Love - Cookies For Valentine's Day!

Heart-shaped cookies are the essence of Valentine's Day. Bake some love for your family with one of these recipes. They'll love you even more!

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Watkins Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a second bowl, combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour into butter mixture 1 cup at a time. Chill dough for 3 to 4 hours.

Roll out dough and cut into heart shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. Bake on a sheet pan or a parchment lined sheet pan in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Frost cookies with your favorite frosting tinted pink with a few drops of red food coloring.

Linzer Heart Cookies
These jam-filled cookies are almost too pretty to eat!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Watkins Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Watkins Nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
Confectioners sugar
1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained or seedless

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy; beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch heart cutter, cut out heart shapes, rerolling scraps as needed. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place the heart shapes 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using a small heart cutter, cut out centers from half of the hearts; remove the centers with a small spatula.

Bake the cookies until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

Set the racks, with cookies still on them, over waxed paper. Sift confectioners sugar over the heart frames. Lightly spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the strained jam over each large uncut heart. Place the heart frames on top of jam-topped cookies.


Happy Valentine's Day!