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Well, so far so good on the butter experiment. I haven’t really tested it to any great degree. The wildest I’ve gotten is eating turkey that had butter on it and a roll with the thinnest coat possible on the top. And that’s enough. After nearly 8 months a little goes a long way.

I’m by no means recommending anyone try butter or any other dairy product. Just sharing what I’m doing. Again, there are very few guidelines on when or if your little one will outgrow this. But you never know until you try.

I think the holidays are fueling my campaign for dairy. It’s tough seeing a festive spread and knowing you can’t dig in with wild abandon. Or maybe that’s just me… 

What about y’all? Anyone else getting weary of the dairy-free diet?

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Well, I did it. I ate butter.

No, I’m not a sick or sadistic person. I just have the feeling Fuss might be outgrowing this intolerance. My doctor tells me a rough guideline is to add soy back around six months and dairy at nine. And while I absolutely adore our doctor and think she’s the smartest pediatrician around, we all know that every expert will offer a different suggestion. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase, “every baby is different,” I’d be penning this from my villa in Italy. Instead, I’m still in Tennessee.

We’re a little ahead of the nine month mark. Ok, so she’s not even eight months, but I tried soy last week and we had such success, I decided to try butter. After all, some doctors recommend trying dairy at four months, and I’ve heard of babies outgrowing this as early as six months old.

And, well, I miss butter. Of all the things I’ve had to give up on this diet, butter has by far been the hardest. I thought cheese would be the one, but I hardly even miss it except for the convenience of pizza night. 

I miss butter so much I’ve thought about writing it a love note. That makes me sound a little wacko, but so be it. I cannot hide my feelings.

A couple of months into this diet an errant waitress slipped some garlic buttered pita bread in with my hummus plate. I took one bite and knew it was too good to be olive oil. I can tell that rich, unmistakable taste anywhere. I don’t know what upset me more, the fact that I’d have a fussy baby or that I was reminded of what I was missing.

Remember that scene in Julie & Julia when she leaves the pound of butter under Julia Child’s portrait? Well, that’s how I feel about it too. Butter is the secret to culinary happiness. When I first starting eating my in-laws cooking, I wondered why their food was so much better than mine. Everything was so rich and delicious. I finally discovered, much to my midsection’s chagrin, that it was butter and cream. And while we don’t eat like that all the time, when the mood or occasion calls for it you must answer! But I haven’t in seven long months, and believe me, it’s been calling.

I talked to a mom the other day who gave up all five of the common offenders (dairy, soy, egg, peanuts and shellfish) for a YEAR while nursing. It’s called the elimination diet and the idea is to add items back in to see what’s making your baby upset. Only thing is, she was too scared to add anything so she ate who-knows-what for a solid year.

Now I love my child more than anything in this entire world, but, as you’ve probably gathered from this blog, there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’d survive doing that.

So, after seven long months of living off butter-flavored grape seed oil and Best Life buttery spread, I slathered a very conservative sliver of the real stuff on my toast this morning and I ate it. I was wracked with guilt, second guessing myself the whole time, but I did it.

Remember, this intolerance is a matter of quantity, so if you try a tiny amount and your precious little one reacts, you can pull the plug. They might be fussy or even have loose stools, but there’s little chance it will be anything near what it was because you’re not going to eat three servings of dairy for two weeks before you realize there’s a problem. I believe you’ll know within 24 hours. That’s at least the measuring stick I’m using.

So after my seven-month drought, the experience was, well, not what I expected. You know when you’re the very last person on earth to see a really great movie, and the experience has been so blown up in your mind that you’re a little let down? Yeah, it was kind of like that.

If she does react, I will of course feel terrible, but I’ll try not to beat myself up too badly because you never know until you try. In the end you just have to go with your gut and do what you think is right.

I guess we’ll know tomorrow…

turkey while you sleep

Excuse me, can someone please tell me what happened? How is it possible that Thanksgiving is less than one week away?

When I tested this recipe two weeks ago, I was so proud of myself for being ahead of the game. The holiday seemed like something in the very distant future. Funny how time flies… 

Anyhoo, if you haven’t already made your turkey plans, I urge you to check this one out. You could do it in your sleep…literally. When I invited my two friends over for a casual get-together, they were floored that I had made a turkey.

Once they read this post, the secret will be out. Let’s keep it between us, okay?

I stumbled across this recipe in the Jackson, Mississippi Junior League cookbook, “Come on In.” (It’s a good one if you’re in the market for a new book.) I don’t know who to thank for this marvelous recipe, but if I could track her down I’d squink on and on to her about how fabulous this turkey is.

The term squink was coined by a Yankee transplant in Mississippi and refers to a Southern woman’s uncanny ability to fuss over people. You have to hold your face really tight, flex one hand downward, and draw your words out like, “Oooohhhhh, I just loooooove this recipeeeeeee.”

I’m not nearly as skilled at this as my mother, but for this recipe, I’d try. I mean, the bird isn’t exactly a taste bud revolution, but the technique is so brilliantly simple it must be praised. One disclaimer – the author says this isn’t a carving turkey because it’s so moist it falls off the bone. I didn’t find that to be true, but if you’re making it for the big day, maybe plan to preslice and serve on platter.

So without further ado…here’s how you make a turkey while you sleep…

First, you have to clean the bird. This task isn’t for the faint of heart. (Don’t worry, no picture.) Remove the neck and giblets, wash it and pat dry with paper towels. Warning: be sure to remove items from BOTH sides of the bird. I almost missed one. Also, if you’re using a frozen turkey you’ll need to factor in a defrosting time of about 3-4 days in the frig. You can do it faster with cold water in the sink but it’s a pain because you have to change the water out.

All you need for this recipe is celery, fake butter and salt.

butter celery salt

Oh, and a turkey.

turkey before

Sprinkle the salt inside the turkey cavity and insert 2 celery stalks. Include the leaves if you’ve got them – mine were lacking foliage.

turkey w celery

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and, if you haven’t already done so, place your turkey on a rack in a roasting pan.

Do you love my vintage one? It was my grandmother’s.

Next give it a good rub down with melted MSPI-friendly margarine. (Side note…mine was a little dry, so maybe olive oil would be better???)

Pour boiling water into the pan, cover it tightly and cook for 2 hours.

After the cooking time is up, turn the oven off but DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. If you do, catastrophic things will happen.

Ok, not really. But I bet that makes you really want to open the door. Oh, that’s just me? Okay…moving on.

All you do now is go to sleep! Leave your turkey tucked in the oven until the next morning (8 hours). When you get up, it’s ready to slice. Because there’s nothing better than slicing turkey with your morning coffee.

turkey done

That’s not true, but we do what we have to do, no?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Turkey While You Sleep:

  • 1 uncooked turkey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted MSPI-friendly margarine, melted
  • 2 cups boiling water

Remove neck and giblets, wash turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt inside turkey cavity and insert celery stalks. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan and rub with melted butter. Pour boiling water around turkey, cover pan tightly, and cook 2 hours for 14 pounds or less, 2 1/2 hours for more than 14 pounds. (If you’re on the cusp, go with less time. As I mentioned mine was a tad dry.)

After cooking time, turn off heat, but DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR. Leave turkey in closed oven overnight (for 8 hours). Turkey is ready to slice the next morning with drippings for gravy if you like.

spaghetti final

Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll ask Turbo to do dinner.  I’ll lie in the tub with a glass of wine and deep condition my hair, leisurely flip through my magazines or paint my nails. 

Oh, I’m sorry, I think I dozed off there for a moment.  I had the loveliest dream…

So as I was saying, I’ve got a stack of magazines waist-high, I haven’t had a hair cut since the baby was born and I only get to file my nails when they’re a hazard to myself or others.  And while I don’t send my hubbie into the kitchen nearly enough, I am pretty fortunate that he enjoys making his world-famous spaghetti sauce.  In six years of marriage there have only been a handful of times when we didn’t have a stockpile of it in our freezer.  It’s my go-to dinner when Turbo asks what’s for dinner and my first response is, “Uhh…”  It’s become particularly important since MSPI put the kibosh on my former go-to option: DiGiorno pizza and a salad. This spaghetti freezes like a dream and it’s so good we’re still not sick of it. (I tend to say “Uhh” a lot).

This is a great weekend dish because it requires some simmer time, but overall it’s pretty easy.  You start by browning Italian sausage…

Italian Sausage

Meanwhile, dice up some onions, bell pepper and throw in a large stock pot with a boat load of garlic.  Let that get acquainted over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic

Your sausage should be done, so drain and set aside and brown ground turkey in the same pan.  That’s not for some special flavoring technique, it just prevents dirtying another pan.

Turkey Meat

Now chop some celery.  This gives a nice peppery flavor.  Celery?  Pepper?  I swear it’s true.

Celery

Throw it in with the other veggies, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, onion powder and bay leaves. 

Tomato and Celery

Give a healthy stir and check on your turkey meat, which should be browning nicely by now.

Any vegetarians brave enough to make it to this point might want to avert their eyes for this next step. 

Adding meat to sauce

Give it a good stir…

Sauce
Much better.  Now let this simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.  Then add a 12 ounce can of tomato paste and diced mushrooms and simmer for yet another half hour.  You can see why this is good for the weekends.

But the finished product is worth the wait. 

finished product

Tear off a piece of crusty bread, pour a generous glass of red wine and mangia!

Turbo’s World Famous Spaghetti Sauce

  • 4-5 links of Italian sausage
  • Ground turkey meat, approximately 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. garlic
  • 3 (14.5) ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5) ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12) ounce can tomato paste
  • Approximately 20 button mushrooms, sliced

Brown sausage over medium high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to large stock pot with olive oil and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Meanwhile, drain sausage and brown turkey meat in same pan. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, celery, onion powder and bay leaves to stock pot.  Stir and cook on medium. When hamburger is browned, drain meat and add to stock pot along with Italian sausage.  Simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.  Add tomato paste and mushrooms.  Simmer for another half hour, stirring occasionally.