Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools and Techniques for Unwinding

Month: November, 2014

The Power of ONE

My One and Only

My One and Only

If you come from a family of siblings as I do it’s easy to think that as a parent of an only child you are not giving your child enough because they spend so much time alone.  as far as social queues and interaction go.  Sure, as far as social queues and interaction go those of us with only children have to work a little harder to create more of what we see in the world — lots of little children running and playing together.  Even though that may seem like the norm and can trigger guilt on your part because your child has no siblings. Instead consider the opportunities your child has for personal growth because of all the extra undisturbed play time and otherwise creative time.  How many of us would have loved to be able to shut out our peers we grew up in the same house with and expand our creative time?  This for sure is a luxury of only children.

Here are a few general rules to remember when guilt sets in over not being enough of a mother to your only child or not providing your only child with siblings.

1.  Children are naturally imaginative and creative- give them the time and space to explore that. If you find yourself getting agitated with their free time consider what information that discomfort is conveying to you. Perhaps it’s time to add creative time to your routine.  Set up an easel and dust off a plank canvass or steep a cup of tea and write some words on a page.

2.  Only children don’t know what their missing – sure there comes a time when most only children beg for a sibling.  With my daughter, though, a little bit goes a long way.  After 3 or 4 days with the cousins she’s ready for some ‘me’ time just as siblings get over being with each other. She may not have the option of constant companionship the way those of us with siblings experienced it but given the space they develop a strong sense of companionship with their own inner world thus building self confidence and a very strong inner compass.

3.  Children are our greatest teachers. Let your child be your guide into the territory of imagination.  If you find yourself hitting up against a wall that says, “Nobody ever gave me this space of creation and imagination when I was little,” recognize that this bruise on your heart that can be soothed by diving deep into your creative expression. Just as an archaeologist dives into the Maya centers of Central America and pieces together stories of the past, let your pen, paper, paints and clays help reconcile those old hurts in you with acknowledgment and love.

Chili for your chill: Vegetarian Frito Pie

First couple of cold days in a row here.  Had to share this recipe. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t share this with any of my fellow Texas relatives.  If my dad finds out I’m making no-meat chili with beans and texturized vegetable protein I will never hear the end of it.  (Shhh…thinking about serving it to him at Thanksgiving!)










1 ½ cups Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)

1 cup water or broth heated



2 ½ Tbsp. oil

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped

6 cloves garlic, preferably roasted


Make Dry Spice Mixture

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2-3 Tbsp. chili powder*

2 tsp. cumin powder

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 piece Mexican chocolate**, broken into pieces or grated

1 Tbsp. fresh ground coffee, dark roast or espresso


Add Liquids

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sugar or maple syrup

1 chipotle pepper, diced and 2 Tbsp. adobo sauce (optional)

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water or broth


Blend With These 

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 can black beans or kidney beans, rinsed (optional)


Then Add These

½ cup purple cabbage, chopped

1 yellow squash, chopped

1 zucchini squash, chopped

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 can black or kidney beans, rinsed (optional)

1 cup water or broth


Top With These 

1 lime, juiced

Handful of chopped cilantro

Bunch green onions

1 avocado, chopped, sliced or mashed

Spoonfuls of Greek yogurt

Grated cheddar cheese

Corn chips

  1. Soak TVP in warm water or broth 30 minutes
  2. Heat oil and sauté, medium high TVP, onion, celery, garlic, bell pepper and carrots, 2 minutes. Then turn heat to medium, cover for 2 minutes to let veggies sweat.
  3. Add spice mixture and stir together, 2 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce, sugar, chipotle pepper, adobo, and diced tomatoes and ½ beans if using.
  5. In food processor blend half chili mixture and 1/2 cup corn with ¼ cup water or broth.
  6. Add blended mixture back into pot.
  7. Mix in vegetables – squash, cabbage and corn***
  8. Add 1 cup water or broth
  9. Heat on medium high until chili bubbles, then turn to low and let simmer 30 minutes mixing regularly.       Add ½ cup liquid if needed.
  10. Turn pot off and leave lid on letting flavors meld for 20 minutes.
  11. Before serving add 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lime juice.
  12. Serve on a bed of chips with your choice of toppings lime wedge, cilantro, green onion, avocado, yogurt and cheese.

*You can use any red chili powder, ancho, pasilla, chipotle, cayenne, New Mexico or variety of them.

**Today I used Mexican chocolate with chipotle

***If you prefer your vegetables al dente then add them in 10-15 minutes into the simmering process.


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