Oprah, Parenting & Meatball Tortellini Chowder

Oprah’s SuperSoulSunday guest is Dr. Shefali Tsabary who sparks some wonderful tips on what it takes to be a fully present parent.

I have always believed that my two children are the two children I was meant to have. Dr. Tsabary agrees, saying ‘we call our children into our lives’ and they in turn, raise us as parents. Compared to my friends and family, I was quite young when my children were born and so I would often make the statement that we ‘grew up together’. This wasn’t that I was a kid raising children – it meant that I grew fully and gloriously into being a parent as they grew fully and gloriously into being young people.

One idea Dr. Tsabary explores that hits home with me is the concept of being a conscious parent. So much of the advice for parents is about the ‘behaviour modification’ of your children, or how to cajole, manipulate and ‘fix’ your children into being perfect beings. A conscious parent is present in the journey of raising a child and in turn raising themselves. The parent child relationship forces you to look at your ego, especially if we believe that being the best mother has a direct correlation to a certain type of success in our children… having perfect children will allow us to be the idealized versions of ourselves. Instead, being a conscious parent  is actually allowing ourselves to be reflected in the mirror of our relationship with our children; the parent/child relationship illuminates our undeveloped selves.

Parenting is indeed a journey. Looking back on my parenting journey there are wonderful memories of activities, trips, parties, friends, busyness..but my favourite, most conscious parenting days, were those when we would just hang out. Nothing on the schedule but lazy mornings, late breakfasts, books, tv, pyjamas for most of the day  and on the stove – soup. One soup that I never tired of making, and one that could simmer all day (on the stove or in the crockpot!) is our family’s Meatball Tortellini Chowder.  The ideal soup for this SuperSoulSunday program.

Meatball Tortellini Chowder


-All vegetable amounts are just suggestions, as are the vegetables themselves. Use whatever vegetables your family prefers!

This recipe can be easily converted to vegetarian – just use vegetable broth, veggie meatballs, cheese tortellini and omit the bacon.

Onion – 1 med

Celery – 2 stalks

Carrots – 3 large

Broccoli – 1/2 bunch fresh or frozen

Corn – 1 cup fresh/frozen or small can

Green Beans – 1 cup fresh/frozen or small can

Tomatoes – 2 med or 1 can chopped (use the juice too!)

Italian meatballs – 1 package of frozen or homemade

Tortellini – meat or cheese, frozen or from the pasta section of the grocer

Bacon – 6 slices – actually use as much as you would like – you can never have too much bacon! Also, Bacon is optional in this recipe!

Beef Broth – 1 or 2 cartons

1 can tomato paste or 1 can tomato soup


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Parmesan – I like alot!

Italian Seasoning

Salt & Pepper

How to Make it – EASY PEASY!

1. Cook bacon in the soup pot. When cooked to desired crispness, remove bacon but keep juices in the pan.

2. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil to cover pan bottom, with the bacon juices.

3. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Approx 4 minutes.

4. Add all chopped vegetables, broth, paste/soup and if needed, water to cover the vegetables. Also add any Italian seasonings – oregano, thyme, parsley – plus salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add more broth or water if needed, plus seasonings if you think it needs more.

6. Add the tortellini and give a really good stir. Simmer until the tortellini is cooked.

7. Once all ingredients have reached their desired tenderness, add grated or fresh Parmesan to cover the top of the chowder. Stir it in and it will melt.

8. Ladle the chowder into bowls, sprinkle with more Parmesan and then top with the bacon.

This chowder just gets thicker and thicker as the tortellini soaks up the liquid so you may need to add more water/broth the next day.


On the parenting journey with my daughter – a few years back!

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