ltalian Butter Cookies

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but yet Christmas is a week away and I can’t seem to get in the true Christmas spirit. I’ve tried to listen to my Christmas music every day, but today I gave in and went back to my recent obsession, Taylor Swift. I put up a Christmas tree, but I’m never home long enough to keep it turned on more than 20 minutes and it just seems out-of-place. I even had a Christmas cookie party with some of my friends, but it seemed like a typical Sunday, except we were eating cookies and drinking wine instead of having cocktails and going out to the bars after. Hopefully once I am home and with my family the Christmas spirit will kick in, but for now all I can say is, “I’m cold and it’s winter time.”

For my Christmas party I wanted to make an Italian Christmas cookie, but none of my friends really like fig, which is what my family typically makes for the Holidays. I found a recipe in my family cookbook for Italian Butter Cookies, and thought I would make those and add in a snowflake shape and christmas icing! I am glad I ventured to another recipe because they were so good and easy to make. Definitely something I will make again when I need to decorate cookies because they were easy to ice and were quick to make.

Pastafrolia (Italian Butter Cookies)


1 lb butter (I used a little under a pound)

2 cups powdered sugar

4 egg yolks

2 lemons, grated

6 cups flour


See Cream Cheese Icing in my Recipes!

Mix the butter, powdered sugar, egg yolks, and lemons. Slowly add the flour. Roll the dough on a flat, floured surface until desired thickness. Cut into favorite Christmas shapes and sprinkle with colored sugared (or opt to ice them after they are done!). Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.

I forgot to buy the lemons so I had to go with lemon juice. I definitely think the cookies would have been less dry if I had used actual lemons, so make sure you don’t skip that and use lemon juice (from a bottle…) like I did. It was a slacker move on my part, but Chicago was in the midst of getting 8 inches of snow, it was about 1 degree outside and I had no intention of going back outside once I was back in my apartment.

At the request of my lovely roommate I also made my Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies, which were once again a hit! She decided to make sugar cookies and all of our guests helped her ice them. For fun we decided to make a christmas cocktail and we went on a whim and used ingredients we found in our kitchen and it actually turned out to be SO delicious!

Laura & Lucia’s Christmas Cocktail

Absolute Citrus Vodka

Pomegranate Crystal Light

Soda water


Sugar-free Instant Apple Cider

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher, add ice and serve!

I am headed home this week for Christmas, so I am bound to have a lot more kitchen adventures along the way. If you read “An Italian Thanksgiving,” stay tuned for an “Italian Christmas” because Christmas time in my family is taken seriously, and always accompanied by a lot of laughs, a lot of wine, a lot of cards/gambling, even more food, and overall a lot of love – if all of that doesn’t get me in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will….

I also want to wish a very happy birthday (I won’t say the number) to my wonderful mother, friend, and role model. I love you mom (sorry I won’t be there to celebrate with you!!) and I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for you – so since I won’t be there on your birthday, Cheers to you!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


An Italian Thanksgiving

Growing up in an Italian-American family, I often found myself saying and doing things that I thought to be 100% normal. A lot of the time, it turned out that my friends had no idea what I was saying, referring to, or even doing. I thought everyone knew what “mangia” and “andiamo” meant. It wasn’t until I was in about the third grade that I realized I was speaking a different language every once in a while.

I also thought that everyone had a family that screamed, shouted, gambled,  swore and ate Italian food during the holidays. Also untrue. American’s don’t have homemade ravioli for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They don’t have huge bowls of pasta, meatballs and sausage on the Thanksgiving table. At least not any other family I am aware of.

I was invited to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and as I sat and ate, I realized that I do not eat many of the things my friends call their “holiday favorites.”  My roommate, Laura, thought I was crazy when I said I had never had pecan pie or green bean casserole. I usually go straight for the turkey and pasta at Thanksgiving. Dont’ get me wrong, we do have the typical staples such as mashed potatoes, turkey, ham and sweet potatoes, but we include our Italian staples in the mix and usually add a little Italian flair to the typical American dishes. I don’t recall ever even having stuffing on Thanksgiving and I don’t think I saw any gravy on the table this year. I just use my Grandma’s sauce for the turkey and pasta. There is this oyster dressing/stuffing on the table, but it never appealed to me so I’m not sure if that is “normal” either.

My dad’s family thinks of Thanksgiving as their “ravioli holiday” and not “turkey day.” They spend hours making the filling, and the dough. A fight usually occurs about who gets to take their own personal box home to store in the freezer. We make enough to last us through Thanksgiving and then for Christmas Dinner. They are delicious and something I definitely look forward to having twice a year.  This year my Aunt Theresa got creative and made red pepper dough and stuffed them with cheese. They might be a new favorite, but it’s nice to keep a variety. If you really want to see an untraditional Thanksgiving just spend the evening with my Dad’s family. I saw a turkey and mashed potatoes somewhere, but there wasn’t a lot of either and I don’t think any one even noticed. Everyone was too concerned with the ravioli and stuffed shells.

Here are some  photos from my Italian Thanksgiving Weekend!

I started the week off baking apple pies, apple turnovers, berry turnovers, and sweet potato casserole with my mom. I wanted to make the dough homemade, but she didn’t feel like all the fuss, so here is a shot of the apples, the pie and the turnovers! My cousin Andy also stopped by to give my dad an apple pie he had made him. Andy is a great cook and made some really tasty treats for Thanksgiving. I think he should guest blog and share some of his recipes soon!

Apple seasoned with cinnamon, vanilla extract, sugar, and lemon juice

Apple Turnovers

My Dad and Andy – Andy knows how my Dad loves all things sweet!

Sweet Potatoes

My Mom’s family has Thanksgiving lunch, not dinner so I spent all afternoon taking pictures at my mom’s parents house. Once I got to my Dad’s Thanksgiving I forgot to document dinner , but here is a glimpse into my first top on my Italian Thanksgiving!

Kristen with Matthew and Lucas – I think Lucas was afraid of my camera! I am not sure about Matthew though…

The Appetizer table

Grandpa Carving the Turkey

The Thanksgiving Feast!

All the kids eating lunch

The leftovers

So I didn’t end up making ravioli before thanksgiving due to a very fun weekend and the lack of energy to actually cook, but it’s still something I want to tackle on my own. I have become slightly ADD when it comes to my kitchen adventures and  I need to get back on track. I still have yet to make homemade pizza as well. Hopefully now that winter is officially here (we just had the first snow of the season!) I will be more inclined to stay in every once in a while instead of trying to fill my week with as many plans as possible. Until the next kitchen adventure!