Cioppino: An Italian-American Classic

cioppino, easy recipe, family friendly, kid friendly dinner, easy dinner, gluten-free,

cioppino, easy recipe, family friendly, kid friendly dinner, easy dinner, gluten-free,

Cioppino (pronounced “chee-oh-PEE-noh”) is an Italian-American dish, likened to the various regional fish soups and stews of the Old Country; however, it’s not actually an off-the-boat traditional Italian. Cioppino itself hails from… San Francisco!

Often served at Christmas time, cioppino is an easy-to-make dish and even easier to customize for various food allergies, as you’ll see. We had a shrimp allergy in our  midst, so that ingredient was cooked separately with many of the same flavors as the stew to conceal the fact that it had been cooked in a separate pan away from the smorgasbord of seasonings. If you have gluten free and non-gluten free friends and family, cooking the pasta separately is a cinch and will not compromise the delicious flavors for any of your guests.

Here’s another little secret. Cioppino calls for mussels, clams, and in some recipes, calamari, none of which I know how to cook, nor were they easy to find in the hubbub of preparation, so these items were conveniently left out of our dish:) I’ve included these succulent seafoods in the recipe for those of you who are epicurean masters.

As you can tell from my tale of preparing this one for my family, and as with all the dishes you’ll find on the website, the trick is to use the recipe as a guidepost and tailor to your own tastes. Have fun and make the dish your own!

Buon appetito!



photo 1
Preparing the pan.
photo 2
Sauteeing the onions, garlic and parsley.
photo 3
Beginning to prepare the broth with tomatoes and vino.
photo 4
Beginning to cook the shrimp separately while the broth begins to take shape.
photo 5
Whether cooking with white or red, sometimes an Italian chef needs a little vino 🙂
photo 6
The ingredients are coming together to form an amazing, rich seafood stew!
photo 7
photo 9
Almost done. Adding the pasta, will give it one or two more stirs, and ta-da!
photo 10
Buon appetito!!


Serves 6-8

1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (2 1/2 tablespoons if dried)
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if dried)
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves(1/2 teaspoon if dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups gluten free pasta (spaghetti noodles are my favorite)
1 1/2 pounds raw extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds fish fillets (halibut, cod, tilapia or salmon; if tilapia, note: it cooks quickly and falls apart more easily, so add it later in the process)
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
12 small hard-shell clams in shell
12 mussels in shell
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


For the Broth:
In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter.
Turn the heat up to medium, then add the onions, garlic and parsley. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning.
Let the onions and garlic start to brown.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Bring the dish to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you’re doing the full-boat seafood version:
Scrub clams and mussels with a small stiff brush under cold running water; remove beards from mussels.
Discard any open clams or mussels.
Cover with cold salted water; let stand 5 minutes and then pour off the salted water.

For the pasta:
Begin to cook your pasta by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil and adding the pasta noodles.
Cook pasta until al dente. (You can tell it’s al dente, but taking a noodle, biting/cutting in half and seeing a wee little white dot in the middle, which is the uncooked part.  You want to prevent the pasta from overcooking. It will cook a little more when you add it to the broth, so undercooking is favorable at this stage.)

Back to the Broth:
Gently stir in the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets into the prepared stock.
(If you have any food allergies, like we did, cook that seafood separately using butter, garlic and parsley.)
Cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams pop open and shrimp are opaque when cut.
Add the pasta into the stock, turn it off, and you’re done!


So Fresh & So Clean, Clean: A New Smoothie Recipe

smoothie, wheatgrass, vegan, glutenfree, breakfast, anti-inflammatory, internal cleanse, detox, cleanse

smoothie, wheatgrass, vegan, glutenfree, breakfast, anti-inflammatory, internal cleanse, detox, cleanse

Check out this new smoothie for a fresh nutritional powerhouse with anti-inflammatory ingredients, internal cleansing agents and yummy flavor. You’ll love this new take on an old fave. As with any recipe, explore and experiment! Make it your own and just have fun with it!

So Fresh & So Clean, Clean
In your blender, combine:

– 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
– Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
– 2 knobs of ginger (1-2 inches, depending on your preference)
– 5 mint leaves
– A few sprigs of parsley
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1/2 tsp maca powder (can be found here)
– 1 cup spinach
– Handful of wheatgrass (watch out with this one; too much, and the texture goes awry!)
– 2 inches of peeled aloe leaf
– Your protein powder (my fave is this one)
– 1/4 avocado
– 1/2 cucumber
– Approx 1/2 cup of ice
– Approx 1 cup of water


vegan, detox, cleanse, whole food, wheatgrass, parsley, anti-inflammatory, ginger
Bon appetit!

Fear, that Fickle Mistress

Fear, courage, reframe, positive thinking, parenting
photo cred:

Stress. Anxiety. Worry. Whatever you name it, however you frame it, wherever you feel it, fear can wreak havoc on your life and your health. Consider a few of the classics: Fear of aging. Fear of loneliness. Fear of not having _(fill in the blank)_. Fear of losing _(fill in the blank)_.

Fear is one fickle mistress who can certainly work to our benefit at times, compelling us to action or helping us avoid real danger, but more often than not, it is nothing more than us simply dreading the worst case scenarios that may, let’s be honest, never happen. Even so, fear can leave us, at minimum, dejected, at worst, paralyzed by the anticipation of losing something important to us or not receiving our desired outcome, object or relationship in some arbitrarily self-imposed timeline.

Think too much and you'll create a problem
photo cred:

Lately, fear has been a big thing for me. I’ve been stumbling upon blog posts or conversations around fear, which was quite timely, I must say, as I have been picking my own fears apart as of late. Most recently, my fear flaunted its cagey nature, and I found myself in the throes shortness of breath, anxiety, impatience, general discontent, and emotional eating. And like most of you are probably also familiar, I noticed this antsy discomfort leak into other areas of life and start to take a serious toll.

Here’s the sitch: Four months ago, a pipe broke and a moderate flood ensued; the necessary repairs have only just kicked-off. Then, the dishwasher broke. The vacuum died. A sliding glass door was in such dire need of replacement that tending to it could no longer be postponed.

These projects require financial outlays, as well as emotional, mental and time investments. (Not to mention a good bit of emotional support from family & friends, and maybe a little, ahem, wine… Just sayin’)

With all of these events, I felt … off.

If we pick it apart, we can easily see that most of my frustration lie in having no control. I had no control over the contractors who, only in my perception, should have moved a little faster; of course, the actual expenses of the work, though affordable,  still caused me worry, and I heard the all-too-familiar voices pipe up, “what if something else happens, will you have enough? You won’t be able to have all the other things & experiences you want to have. You’ll be trapped by lack of money. What if you’re always trying to catch up? What if it’s not good enough? You’re supposed to be farther ahead than this… etc. etc. etc.”

Worry, fear, spinning, emotional, sprout and rosebud, maytag man
Should’ve had this guy on speed dial! (photo cred:

You might as well have called the Maytag man because I was on a non-stop spin cycle, worrying, and with no end in sight!

Yet, as I waded through the muck, I was <gasp>  in complete denial about my level of stress and fear! Can you believe that?!

It wasn’t until I began experiencing irrational anxiety in other unrelated areas (work, relationships, self-image), and my chiropractor voiced her concern  over my obscenely tight shoulders/upper back and severe adrenal dysfunction, that I knew I really was in the midst of a fearfest.

So, I had to wonder: What can I do? What can any of us do when the inevitable weight of life bears down? It’s inevitable, so how do we cope for a healthier, happier well-being?

First thing’s first, BREATHE. When fear catches you on our heels, breathe. Recognize fear is not reality, but a defense mechanism – often driven by our ego – to protect us. Pause, acknowledge your feelings, realize this reaction is in some ways a blessing, and carry on.

parenting, healthy, breathe, cope, coping, namaste
photo cred: SUALIZE.US

Journal. Explore your fears through writing and see what comes up. Whether you write a letter to yourself offering advice, or writing to yourself from your Higher Power reassuring you that you are cared for and provided for, grab a pen and see where the words take you!

Meditate. For those of you who enjoy sitting quietly with your thoughts, update your mental talk-track with mantras like those from Martha Beck found here. Replace any fearful statements with loving-kindness wishes & blessings for yourself and breathe easier with some of the weight lifted from your shoulders.

Choose different words when thinking or talking about your fear – whether self-talk or commiserating with friends. Our fear is a story we tell ourselves. Substitute the all-too-common “why is this happening to me” with “why is this happening for me?”  What can I learn from this challenge, or what can I  learn about myself by looking at why I may fear the outcome? Reframe, reframe, reframe.

Fear, curiosity, breathe, curiosity, parenting
photo cred: imgfave

For those of you with kids, here is an opportunity to help them expose their fear for what it is, like a monster in the closet. Ask questions, like What color is it? Does it have a name? Where do you feel it? Encourage them to look at the fear in the face and experience it, knowing they are safe, supported and out of harm’s way. This exploration is like peeking behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz. It removes the veil of mystique, dissolving the fear in most cases… Come to think of it, shouldn’t we all do this, no matter what our age?

Fear, uncertainty, disappointment, unpredictable twists and turns, they’re all part of the show. The up’s and down’s are inevitable, and we have very little control over much more than how we respond. That FDR knew what he was talking about, “the only thing to fear, is fear itself.”

Why not lift the veil off our fears, let them unravel, and allow ourselves to be joyfully & fearlessly surprised by the adventure as it unfolds?

Stop thinking, peace, calm, namaste, fear, breathe
photo cred: