All posts by Natalie

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Someone asked, “What are your Thanksgiving traditions?”, so I’ll ask you.  I had to laugh because here is the answer.  Is yours similar?

An Italian family Thanksgiving pretty much goes like this; it starts with a big spread of antipasto, salami, prosciutto, lots of cheese, and marinated veggies, olives, some dips, etc.

Then you take a little break, watch some football, shoot the sh*t around the table, and drink some wine. Next up, is some kind of macaroni/pasta , meatballs, sausage, salad, wine.

You would think that was enough BUT…out comes the traditional American meal complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, escarole sauteed in garlic. Then everyone unbuttons their pants.

Kids are pretty much falling asleep because you let them drink wine. Then ALL the men would leave the table for the chicks to clean up, make the coffee and get dessert ready.

Dessert is pumpkin pie, ricotta cheese cake, apple pie, cannoli from Isgros, a pound cake, a big-ass bowl of nuts, a cookie tray someone made, tons of Bella’s Biscotti, butter cookies, chocolates galore and some cordials.

Next comes your older Italian relatives telling stories of the horrifying way someone back in 1942 screwed the family over. Everyone laughs, hugs and kisses and says goodbye till next time. All the while feeling sorry for their non-Italian friends who only have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and a pie. So I’m thankful for being a Sicilian-American with a holiday focused on all this food!

Ciao, Bella!

Sweets for your mommy!

An offer you can’t refuse!

Sweets for your mommy!!  We will ship them to her anywhere!

Choose any of the classics!  (Chocolate Cherry, Classic Anise, Lemon, and Pistachio Vanilla).

Choose two lbs for $25 or send her a pack of all four flavors for $18, plus shipping or, pick up if you’re local 🙂

They’re delicious!  Winner of BEST OF SOUTH JERSEY!

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page for updates and Italian culture quips & recipes!

~ Ciao!


Mine Again

I couldn’t be more proud of my son for serving his country in the United States Army, but as a mother, I must tell you, it was gut wrenching. From the time he said he wanted to do it, signed on to do it, took his oath, got on the plane, the letters from basic training, the letters they withheld from sending in basic training (they do that!), all of it-ugh!!! IS he eating ok? (not like he’s used to) Is he sleeping? (nope, not in three and a half years) Then the dreaded deployment. I can’t put into words how that felt.

I try not to think about any of it because when I do I get the lump in my throat. The tears well up, and my body-heat is like fire from the anxiety. You hope they didn’t change him too much, but they did.  Some things for better, some things for worse.  He’s more detached. I’ll have to undo some of the HOOAH with a nice Italian mother’s love and prayer.  It worked to get him through it.  He will never know the tears all dried up in those pews at Saint Mary of the Lakes, or the Michael Jordan precise aim I had for the little pieces of paper I threw in the prayer basket for him.  I don’t need him to know, I’m glad he’s on U.S. soil.  He’ll be home tomorrow.  He’s safe…and he’s mine again.



I Give To You, My Son

I held him as an infant; I hugged him as a boy
and through the years he has become my greatest pride and joy.

I love him more than I can say, his life more precious than my own,
but gone are the whims and notions of the little boy that I had known.

For the years have passed so quickly since the time it all began
and now he stands before me with the conviction of a man.

He wants to serve his country, he states aloud with pride
as I try to sort out the emotions that I’m feeling deep inside…

a union of the uncertain fear, which I cannot control
and the allegiance which lies deep within my patriotic soul.

I trust that my years of guidance will serve as a strong foundation
as he performs the duties requested from his beloved nation.

God please guide him as he travels to the places our soldiers have bled
and walk with him through pathways where those heroes’ feet have tread.

Oh Sweet Land of Liberty, humbly I give to you, my son
praying you’ll return him safely home when his work for you is done.

—Author unknown—

Don’t ask

Let’s face it.  If you know me, you pretty much know by now I say what’s on my mind.  I can not tell a lie and my guts churn when I’m “supposed to” twist the truth.  Lying just isn’t in me.  It makes people uncomfortable. They squirm.

Blame it on Montessori school. They told me at three-years old  to stay true to my essence and it stuck.  So sue me.  People have liked it so far and it hasn’t hurt me.  Well, not with any consequence I’ve felt anyway.

So today I’ve had a hell of a day at sea, if you will.  Yeah, I’ve had a hard time with “go along to get along ” but I FEEL BETTER.  I mean, it may not satisfy others, but it satisfies my soul, ya know?  Anyway, somehow, somewhere, somehow, the world thinks that “pretty girls” have it easier.  Well , they don’t. I cried all day, and I’m drinking tequila now just to calm the frig down and I don’t care who in corporate America knows it.  The equality thing is bullshit.

Since I hit puberty  I’ve had men making lewd gestures towards me to the point where my dad had to threaten them with a bat and my mother get in their face in traffic with no uncertain Sicilian mother terms what she would do to them if they looked at me sideways again.  

Now, I’m no writer, and I don’t begrudge my good looks, but can I tell ya?  I don’t really want to contain myself from kicking some 70-year old in the balls when he asks me to sit on his lap and asks me for my phone number, when all I really want is his information to process his paperwork.  Really!  Who raised you?  Is this some secret?  Would you talk like this if your sister, mother or wife were around?  And do the other women in your life put up with this shit like it’s normal, like your waitresses or sales girls anywhere else?  Cause my first instinct is to punch you in the face or kick you in the balls, but that’s not the way to do business so instead I suck up your harassment.  I lock myself in the empty office and cry like an asshole and drink some tequila when I get home and wish that your dick falls off.  Seriously.  It’s not my fault that I have the sex appeal of Sophia Loren.  It’s your fault you’re a cave man with no manners.  I just wanted your address for the contract, dude.

So after three, four, five passes at me, I politely ask you if you want a male manager to deal with, cause clearly you can’t handle a broad.  You decline and apologize.  You say you do this all the time and are just kidding. Well, buddy, maybe  this will be your last.  Shame and humility may be something you felt today.  That will serve you well in the future and can I tell ya that I’m the furthest thing from a feminist you can get?  I WANT the door opened for me!  I WANT to be home and pregnant!  I want to do the laundry and be waiting at home for my man with dinner on the table!  

Anyway, it was uncomfortable. Boys, don’t do that.  Don’t touch me.  Don’t ask me to sit on your lap.  Don’t ask me for my phone number.  And by all means, don’t tell me how happily married you are for 35 years after I politely tell you no, no, no, no, no.


floatSO guess what? I get a call today from Barbara Ann Zippi, niece of the famous Al & Stella Alberts, and I’m going to be in a float!

On Sunday , October 11, 2015 I’ll be riding with Ms. Zippi down Broad Street Philly in the Columbus Day Parade! With Mandolin Players! And local actors and singers! and Daddy and My Anthony! haha. So trippy.

Don’t tell me every little girl doesn’t picture herself riding a float down” whatever” street waving to the crowd…well for South Philly natives, it’s BROAD STREET!  I’m so excited. I’ll be taking my daddy and husband along with me on the Fizzano Concrete/Ciao Bella LIS Truck with Saint Padre Pio’s Fiat next to us.

SO for a nice Italian Catholic girl who occasionally acts and bakes and loves and lives for Italian Culture, food , wine and film, THIS IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL. SO if you’re down in “SOUFFILLY ” that day, catch a wave!! We’ll have copies of the Italian Newpaper and you never know, I may throw some biscotti at yous.



Every once in a while I’m surprised by some article or something online about either a long ago acting gig or the biscotti biz that I never saw coming or was notified that I was being written about. It’s strange and gives me a little ego boost, this I can’t deny! Sometimes I need one and this is one of those times. We all have our struggles in life and I’m having the lions share it feels like lately so to see something like this does brighten my day. Correction -no biggie and I’m not going to break the authors stones about it-Rocco’s Dinner Party aired on BRAVO, not the Food Network.

It’s not easy to balance a family that needs me , a small business and a career in the car biz with my voracious appetite to be creative. Sometimes I want to belt out show tunes in the showroom ( I am not a singer) but I think “maybe this  wouldn’t be well received by my peers”. Haha in my head it’s a FABULOUS  idea!  I miss being available to do acting gigs when they come up but lo and behold, Barbara Ann Zippi is filming her pilot season of “Ciao Bella-Living Italian Style” a regional Italian themed TV show in PA that is making it’s way to NJ soon, and  she wants me to do an episode next week on women and business. I was going to get a little therapy but frig it, I’d rather be on TV.

Lemme tell ya a little something about Barbara Ann Zippi. She and two of her friends about 4 years ago said “hey, let’s do an Italian Festival in the park!” well the first year they had 50 people show up, the 2nd 10000, and the 3rd it grew to 15000 attendees !! So I’m pretty sure she will make this show a success. If three “little Italian ladies” can do it and make their dreams come true, I’m not going to give up hope yet!

Who am I even kidding? I never give up hope. I’ll give up hope when I’m dead. Anyway stay tuned, We’re going to film next Tuesday and I can even bring my beautiful Bella with me. She’s gonna say no, but I’ll drag her with me anyway. These years go by so fast and if I don’t force her sometimes to hang out with me , I fear my days are numbered until she’s like 25 or something.

The Proposal & Ooh & Ah Face

From time to time I have to do a tasting for an event.  The oohs, and aaahs, and mmmmmmms are quite complimentary!   So this morning, I’ve just been asked if I would leave my husband for another woman. haha.  While I don’t think I can handle living with another chick and I am actually in love with my husband, it was a nice compliment!! She also said every bite is a mini orgasm! HILARIOUS!

Between people hiding them from their kids, locking them in safes, and eating the whole bag in the car on the way home and yelling at me for it like it’s MY Fault – baking and sharing is a pretty good time. SEriously , the stuff these things inspire in people is wonderful. Which is why I love feeding people, it speaks to their innate sense of what is delicious and sensual and pleasing, and it’s pretty damn funny to watch the oooh and ahhhhhh faces. OHH, Aaaaand She tasted my tiramisu and said it was better than Bindi desserts. SO UUUUUGH.

Bella’s Biscotti Wins Best Biscotti of South Jersey!

bellasjbellasj2Woo Woo! Can I tell ya? I was sooooo excited when the editor in Chief of South Jersey Magazine emailed me to give me the good news! So to whomever voted us the best of the best-I humbly thank you. I’m sitting here with Tamer, my webmaster, feeding him lemon blueberry and he tells me that “these are not biscotti, they’re dessert, they’re something the devil gives you before you give him your soul”.  I’m going to take that as a compliment and can see it goes with the article’s sentiment that they’re “sinfully delicious”.  I REALLY APPRECIATE THE HONOR. As Sally Field said-You like me! You really like me!! hahah.

Medford Lakes woman and her home star in crowd-funded film

By Alexis Sachdev, Staff writer

Natalie Stone is the archetypal Italian mom. The proof is in the pudding. Or in her case, the Caesar dressing.

In Stone’s Medford Lakes house, she recently fed a visitor a Parmesan-drenched homemade salad, cannoli cheesecake and hoagies, most likely an experience that wasn’t too far off from how she treats any other guest who crosses the threshold into her home.

See full article…