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Fancy Frugal Life: December 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies (Copy Cat recipe)

My favorite cookies in the history of EVER are the sugar cookies from the chain Paradise Bakery. Years ago I found the copy cat recipe online and have made them every Christmas. I only make them once a year because they are completely unhealthy...but oh so great tasty! Isn't that how it always is?!

The two ingredients that separate these cookies from most are cake flour and shortening!

Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies Recipe by Recipe Goldmine

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup confectioners' sugar 2 cups shortening

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

4 1/3 cups cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Sugar/Sprinkles for decorating


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.In a medium bowl, mix together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer. Mix on slow speed for 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Slowly add vanilla extract and egg while mixing.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not overmix.Dough may be rolled out on lightly floured board and cut with cookie cutters or scooped with an ice cream scoop and placed directly on cookie sheet. If scooped, flatten with palm of hand.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear. Ideally, the edges do not brown.

Sprinkle liberally with sugar after baking.Makes 3 dozen cookies.

These are PERFECT for SANTA...if they last that long :)

Merry Christmas!!



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Candy Cane Centerpiece (Teacher's gift)

Here's a fun, easy, and inexpensive gift idea I put together for my son's Kindergarten teacher. A few other parents and I presented her a gift card and this cute centerpiece at the "Winter Party" last week.

I was inspired by this image off Pinterest via Ecopolitan Bride.

I started with a plain round glass container. This actually held a scented candle. It was close to being gone so I cleaned out the wax and made sure it was dry.

First I hot glued three packs of candy canes to the glass (found at Walmart for $1 each). Then I finished with some red ribbon. My local Fry's grocery store had small poinsettias on sale for $3.99.

It turned out to be a super cute way to present an inexpensive flower!

Ms. D loved it... (see it on her desk?), and my son was also super proud to give her the stamped clay ornaments we made! :)

I just loved attending both my kids' holiday parties. That's one of the the most fun part of parenthood! Here are a few of my fav goodies they have made this year.

Thanks for stopping in and do have a fantastic day!



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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blackberry Mini Tarts

Wow we are full swing into holiday events and I'm loving it! I made these mini blackberry tarts two days in a row...Once for a fun holiday "mommy coffee" and my daughter's preschool Christmas program last night! They are super easy, fast and a HUGE great big hit! Plus they look fancy smancy. My sweet grandma Bonnie taught me how to make these and today I am passing them on to you...

I package Pillsbury Pie Crust
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 bar of room temp cream cheese
2 Tbsp room temp butter
1 10 oz can of blackberry preserves
You will also need:
star shaped cookie cutter
mini muffin pan (greased)


1. Get out your pie crust and roll it out. 2. Cut out your star shapes and place in the greased mini muffin pan. 3. Fill the entire muffin pan. 4. Bake for 9 min on 350 degrees. Let cool. 5. Mix your cream cheese, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar. 6. Spoon on each with a little bit of preserves and top each with a little of the cream cheese mixture. I was fancy here and used a pastry tip..(You don't have to, but people think your a french pastry chef if you do).

These go prefect on my fav thrift store plate stand. It's my prized possession cause I used it so often :)

I'm taking in every second of this busy holiday and enjoying my family! I wish you the same :) Enjoy the tarts!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Stamped Clay Ornaments

Every year I try to find a craft booth to buy a great personalized clay ornament. I think they are such a neat way to remember the holiday.

This year my kids and I made some simple ones for gifts.

I was inspired by this fantastic clay ornament off Pinterest from Pine Feather.

I know there is a ton of clay options out there, but I just used this bucket of Air Dry Clay by Crayola. Making these was super fun..just like playing with Play-Dough!

I rolled some dough out on wax paper and used cookie cutters for the shapes. Then I used a straw for the hole at the top, and regular rubber stamps for personalizing. (I found a set of letters for around $5 with coupon at Joanne's.) Also Michael's had a whole bin of $1 holiday stamps. Notice how I used that snowflake ornament as an imprint!
After they air dried, I spray painted both sides of mine. The last thing I did was add ribbon and a bell to some of them, and raffia to others.

This cute group are for my brother and his new bride. They got married a few months ago so I thought these would be great for their first married Christmas!...Notice their wedding date on one?....Cute!

We made some for the kids' teachers too!

My fav is the angel for Ms. D...cause she is one! :) 18 full day kindergartners by herself!

They are BEYOND excited to give these to their teachers.

This one is on my burlap and white tree :)

So to be very honest this was definitely a messy project (especially with the kids), but so worth it.....We had a blast!

Happy Holidays!



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