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Practice Turkey.

Chris and I are both from big families with piles of aunts and uncles and cousins at every birthday party.  Part of being part of a flurry of people means big holiday gatherings, and Chris and I are prepping ourselves to start hosting some of the holidays.

Problem is, I’m a terrible cook.  Or, better stated:  an inexperienced cook.  Cooking hasn’t ever brought me joy or satisfaction, and I’m not interested in the time it takes to perfect a recipe.  I cook for form and functionality (read: make sure my family doesn’t survive on garlic salt and overripe bananas), not for fun.  I’m not good at making the effort to learn.

But if we want to start hosting holidays, we need to learn how to prepare some of the main courses.  Which brings me to the Practice Turkey:

Practice Turkey is currently taking up residence in our freezer, and my goal is to use him to teach myself how to properly prepare a whole turkey.  (Sidebar:  Animal is in our freezer because Birdy is afraid of him, but refuses to let us donate him or throw him out.  She wants him in the house, but entirely contained.  So he lives in our freezer and has been there about a year.  I always forget that he’s in there, until someone comes over to visit, opens the freezer, and subsequently goes, “OOH!!”) In the next week, my plan is to practice my culinary witchcraft on Practice Turkey so that when we host holidays this year, I’m not in a huge panic because I can be all, “Oh, the turkey?  I know how to do that.  I’m all over that!”

I need to actually do it in order to make sure I can do it.

Same goes for technology hiccups in my diabetes management plan.  I use an insulin pump and a CGM (hellooooo, disclosures), and with that convenience and data comes an influx of autonomy and the sacrifice of my autonomy, if that makes sense.  The devices give me a lot of flexibility and freedom, but if I rely on them too heavily, I forget how to manage my diabetes on my own.

I need to be my own Practice Turkey, relearning the details of diabetes.  I need to make sure I know how to calculate a bolus, check my blood sugar regularly by finger prick, and finagle basal insulin doses if my pump ever breaks, or if I ever want to take a CGM break, or if my will to wear devices breaks a little.  And over the last week, I’ve been on a bit of a device break (thank you, winter skin issues), realizing once again that a refresher course on how to drive the stick-shift version of my diabetes (so to speak) helps me take better care of myself overall.  Taking an injection before I eat makes me think twice about the food I’m putting into my body, and also help me remember to pre-bolus (because it’s a process, not just the push of a button).  Using the treadmill instead of a correction bolus to fix a 180 mg/dL keeps exercise fresh in my mind.  3 am checks aren’t always necessary, but doing a few of them helps me spot-check my overnight basal rates.  I appreciate my devices, but I needed a reminder on what they do for me, and how to continue to do for myself.

Practice (turkey) makes perfect.

[Also, today has been unofficially designated as a “day to check in” (hat tip to Chris Snider) with the DOC blogs that we’re reading.  I read a lot of diabetes blogs, but I don’t often comment because I usually want to say something meaningful, instead of “I like your post.”  (But I do like your post!)  But instead of finding that meaningful comment, I usually roll on and forget to return to comment.  NOT TODAY!  Today I’m commenting on every blog I read, because that’s the name of the game.  I love this community, and today I’ll show that through comments.  So please – if you’re here, share what your favorite word is, or just say hello.  And thanks for being here.]

82 Comments Post a comment
  1. Good luck with your practice turkey!

    03/10/15; 9:47 am
  2. I have to admit that I’m disappointed in your blog today, because when I saw the picture and clicked over, I was REALLY REALLY REALLY hoping that this was going to take the “bowling with frozen turkey” angle… but sadly, I’m off my rocker on that. And you have a very logical post here. But now, I want to go bowling with turkeys. And I’m afraid of what could be lurking in my own freezer, like animals seeking sanctuary…

    In all seriousness, because that’s a thing — good luck with the Practice Turkey and holiday prepping. 🙂 (#dblogcheck)

    03/10/15; 9:51 am
  3. Flipper #

    Hi!! :o))

    03/10/15; 9:54 am
  4. Samantha #

    I just might consider this “stick shift” version you speak of. I recently had a pump failure and because it had been so long since I was without the technology I was so lost. You make a great point about doing it before you have to DO IT. Thanks Kerri! 🙂

    03/10/15; 9:57 am
  5. Susan #

    Love it! I have to make muself practice on occasion cause I get sloppy with my Dex and OmniPod and just ride the waves with corrections. Not using the OmniPod definitely puts the timing back into thought a lot more than it is otherwise!

    03/10/15; 9:58 am
  6. I am so putting somethings in my freezer when I get home, like a few bills I’d rather not pay!! I wonder if that would work?! I really enjoyed your blog, you have a really nice, engaging writing style. I’m keen to hear how the turkey turns out, 🙂

    03/10/15; 10:05 am
  7. Plan on roasting the turkey upside down. Google will provide the details.

    But I’m with Mike. Bolus for Dollars, Turkey Edition. (Maybe only Baltimoreans will get that.)

    03/10/15; 10:05 am
  8. Can I come for dinner for your practice turkey? (Also, I hope my ski lodge low comment isn’t too weird for you.)

    03/10/15; 10:06 am
  9. Raquel #

    You’re brave, Kerri taking on the turkey! I still can’t make a roast chicken well, let alone a turkey! Good luck, I’m sure it will be delicious!

    03/10/15; 10:06 am
  10. Tammy #

    I used to feel the same way about cooking. Then somewhere along the way it just clicked and I actually liked it. I needed several practice turkeys though! Good luck to you! If you can manage T1D you can surely figure out this cooking thing. 😉

    03/10/15; 10:21 am
  11. Kathy #

    LOVED seeing Animal in your freezer! My (40+ year old) brother-in-law had Kermit when he was a kid… Kermit had been known to do inappropriate things when he was a pre-teen, and my mother-in-law still finds Kermit in unexpected places, including the oven. Which is a problem if you preheat before cooking things, like the Practice Turkey. The freezer is much safer!

    03/10/15; 10:30 am
  12. Don’t take this the wrong way . . . . but . . . . . I feel the need to make absolutely certain that someone has taught you to take the giblets (icky packet of guts) out of the turkey before you put it in the oven. I vaguely remember that if you don’t, the turkey is poison. I”m not sure that’s true but even if it isn’t, a turkey filled with baked icky packet of guts can’t be good.

    Other than that, you’ll be fine!! Enjoy your turkey!!

    03/10/15; 10:37 am
  13. “Using a treadmill instead of a correction bolus…”. That concept brings up a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas — I’d bet you could write a whole blog post (or book?) on it, and it would be fascinating.

    If I had Animal in my freezer, it might make me inclined to cook MORE, simply because I get to see Animal. Of course, he would probably end up getting displaced in favor of the massive warehouse-sized box of faffles I tend to buy, because my freezer (just a side-by-side in the kitchen) is quite full. Also, Leggo my Eggo.

    03/10/15; 10:42 am
  14. Rebecca #

    Your internal dialog always makes me laugh, even if it’s something as simple as Animal in the freezer. Good luck with that practice turkey!

    03/10/15; 10:59 am
  15. Every so often I get annoyed at my pump and stash it in a drawer some where for a day and go back to MDI. It reminds me of how awesome my pump is and how much I enjoy munching my way through my day!

    03/10/15; 11:05 am
  16. I have a backup pump in case of pump failure, which means I haven’t used long-acting insulin in over 14 years. Since I’ve never practiced using lantus or levemir I’ll admit that I would be quite lost. I’d rather cook a turkey. 🙂

    03/10/15; 11:15 am
  17. k2 #

    Girl, you can cook that turkey!

    03/10/15; 11:18 am
  18. Megan #

    I don’t think I even know how to drive diabetes stickshift. I went straight from using Regular and NpH insulins with 2 shots a day to a pump. I never did the Humalog on its own or in conjunction with a long acting.

    Maybe I should ask and learn this…just in case. I have been lucky so far not to have any severe breakdowns with my technology.

    03/10/15; 11:31 am
  19. It’s important to practice. “Fake it ’till you make it.” That’s what I always say.

    03/10/15; 11:36 am
  20. Checking in…
    LOVE that you have a muppet in your freezer. Muppets are AWESOME!
    Also, I think you need to do a follow-up of this post with a picture and reviews of the turkey experiment.
    Good for you for stepping outside the box to try something new an different.

    03/10/15; 11:50 am
  21. Hah! My husband is the cook in our family. The only thing I do on Thanksgiving is eat!

    03/10/15; 11:54 am
  22. I like your blog, you turkey.

    03/10/15; 12:24 pm
  23. I actually had a “practice turkey” in the freezer one time, too! Aaaaand, it was there for so many years I ended up throwing it away. Now, I just order a turkey from our local BBQ joint, or we skip turkey altogether and order a Honey Baked Ham. YUM. #dblogcheck!!!

    03/10/15; 12:32 pm
  24. Doug Conmy #

    On the real turkey, I am a big fan of this cookbook line http://www.amazon.com/Best-Recipe-Cooks-Illustrated-Magazine/dp/0936184744. Not only do you get a recipe,but also a story of how they arrived at the recipe.

    As a T1D, I enjoy your blog. I recently jumped on the CGM bandwagon with DexCom. Oh what a difference it makes. I hear you on how we can get too used to technology. I was reminded of that when I recently swam with my pump. It did not like the swim.

    03/10/15; 12:32 pm
  25. Tim Steinert #

    My brother-in-law John is the turkey-in-chief–scratch that— the turkey cooker-in chef whose culinary batting average is .950. And of course my sister can make anything and make the original writer of the recipe say, “how did you make it taste like that–mine never tastes so good?! (Usually it involves garlic or wine). So I’m never THAT motivated to actually cook.

    The strangest thing about Practice Turkey is that “practice, turkey” was a phrase I used to remind myself to practice trombone in college (and beyond). Thanks for all the laughs and for all the times I got dust in my eye while reading a story.

    03/10/15; 12:34 pm
  26. Keri #

    Hi 😉
    Also, its unhealthy as all get out. But if you slather that turkey in butter and then some garlic salt, you can’t mess it up. And yes, I’m from Georgia. Butta baby!

    03/10/15; 12:37 pm
  27. David #

    Hi Kerri! Good luck with the turkey. (Do you bolus for the protein in turkey?)

    03/10/15; 12:50 pm
  28. Sarah #

    I’m also on a device break (unintended broken pump + snow stopping UPS from delivering). It’s always a learning curve to get back to doing the math on my own!

    03/10/15; 1:02 pm
  29. Hello! Good luck with the turkey. Make sure you tuck that butter under the skin, it makes it much better. There used to be a McCormick seasoning especially for turkey that was awesome. Right now I really like Weber beer can chicken seasoning so that might be good on a turkey, but I’ve only used it for chicken. 🙂 Have you mastered gravy too? Gravy scares me. I learned at our first make it myself Thanksgiving (just our family thankfully) that turkey breast doesn’t have enough drippings/fat/grease to make good gravy.

    03/10/15; 1:09 pm
  30. Practice turkey! I love it! I need a practice turkey. Turkeys are intimidating.

    I like your post.

    03/10/15; 1:31 pm
  31. I was a little freaked out too before cooking my first turkey for holidays some 16 Thanksgivings ago. But it really isn’t that bad, as long as you remember to take all of the “extra” things they give you out of the bird before cooking. Why they give you all of that I’ll never understand!

    Good luck!

    03/10/15; 1:33 pm
  32. What Karen said about the giblets. Also it takes a couple of days in the refrigerator for a frozen turkey to thaw completely.

    Check!

    03/10/15; 1:58 pm
  33. I know those turkey can seems complicated to cook. I try to brine my turkey in advance and they always turn out great. It is really simple but does take up room in the fridge but at least the turkey turns out great. I know I am always trying to improve my cooking I guess practice really does help.

    03/10/15; 1:59 pm
  34. I think it would have been hilarious if the Animal photo-bomb had gone unmentioned.

    Someone comments and you reply “Wow – he does pop up in unexpected places!”

    03/10/15; 2:04 pm
  35. Our practice turkey is when we let our daughter take a break from Dexcom. It is a bit unsettling, especially at night, but good practice for her to tune into her body more and check more frequently, and we all get breaks from alarms for a few days.

    Also, bike trainer is our preferred way to administer our daughter’s correction bolus 🙂

    Lastly, I completely outsource turkey prep to my husband or other more culinary-able friends.

    03/10/15; 2:36 pm
  36. Great post! I can really relate to the practice turkey, my parents are coming to visit next week and I’ve been practicing since January! Also, I recently had to go about 2 weeks without Dexcom since the transmitter battery died and it reminded me that I shouldn’t lean on these Diabetes devices as much as I inevitably do.

    03/10/15; 2:46 pm
  37. Who would have guessed I’d learn so much about cooking (and thawing) a turkey from reading the comments on your blog?

    xo from lady, who’s never attempted to cook a turkey but did know there’s a bag of yucky stuff in there. Good luck!

    03/10/15; 3:06 pm
  38. Sharon #

    Saw Animal in the freezer and was hoping you’d address him, thank you. My T1D son is probably close to your daughter’s age and I am constantly finding toys in awkward locations (why are there action figures in my high heeled shoes? those are the battleships mom!)
    And favorite word: antepenultimate

    03/10/15; 3:18 pm
  39. Marie #

    My daughter has Animal living under her bed behind the extra mattress we store there for sleepovers. For the same reason.

    03/10/15; 3:28 pm
  40. Pam #

    Love the practice turkey analogy. Love Animal in your freezer even more.

    03/10/15; 3:29 pm
  41. ria #

    hope Animal is a vegetarian ………..

    03/10/15; 4:15 pm
  42. Johanna B #

    I read every post but seldom comment. So here I am today.

    03/10/15; 4:44 pm
  43. Laurel #

    Yours is the blog that I most consistently read, and I never miss a post. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, from site changes to turkeys.

    03/10/15; 5:53 pm
  44. Rachel #

    Kerri – I read your site everyday! I love hearing what you say as we are similarly situated. Thank you SO much – you are awesome!

    03/10/15; 5:56 pm
  45. animal in the freezer reminds me of how on friends joey was so afraid when he read the shining that he put the book in the freezer. hilar.

    also I thought the practice turkey was gonna be something weird like using it to do practice injections of glucagon on oranges, but with a more realistic skin, like the mythbusters do when they use sides of ham to simulate human flesh.

    I watch too much tv.

    03/10/15; 6:02 pm
  46. Riboflavin

    03/10/15; 6:37 pm
  47. Practice turkey is a good idea. My husband makes the most delicious turkey I have ever tasted. The key is BRINING beforehand and do not baste – unless you want the turkey to take hours longer than it should because every time you open the oven door you drop the temperature in the oven and it takes a while to regulate again, slowing cooking time and drying out the turkey, defeating the purpose basting is supposed to provide.

    03/10/15; 6:38 pm
  48. Megan #

    Hello!! Love it, as always! 🙂 Thank you!

    03/10/15; 7:10 pm
  49. Cary Calhoun #

    Love your blog…keep them coming. Newly (3 years) diabetic and love hearing/reading the experiences of others – the reality makes me feel normal.

    03/10/15; 7:18 pm
  50. Amy #

    good luck with the cooking thing. I suggest starting with roasting vegetables because it’s easy

    03/10/15; 7:26 pm
  51. Tamara #

    Thanks, Kerri. Yours was the first blog I found after my 6 year-old daughter was diagnosed 5 years ago. You were then pregnant with Birdie and blogging about managing your diabetes while pregnant. You put to rest the fear that I had that my daughter wouldn’t be able to have children….and you’ve given me lots of advice and reassurance along the way.

    03/10/15; 7:31 pm
  52. I’ll never look at Muppets On Ice the same way again. lol

    03/10/15; 7:51 pm
    • Tim Steinert #

      When I first heard the phrase “Disney On Ice” I had a parallel thought. Did Walt have himself cryogenically frozen?

      03/11/15; 4:05 am
  53. I love your blog. Every post, keeps me informed, smiling and inspired! I don’t have a diabetes blog, yet, but may just have to start one soon.
    Enjoy your turkey! I’m not much of a cook, but turkey is really quite easy.

    03/10/15; 7:54 pm
  54. It’s been awhile since I checked in on you. Good luck with the holiday prep! You can do this! Need simple turkey help, I gotcha.
    I was just reading a post you put up a couple days ago about going back to the the “old school blogging”. I was around for those days on your blog. I stopped blogging almost three years ago but boy going through some struggles and just decided it was time to fire the blog back up, PWP and for myself only. Probably would have been just as easy to go even more old school and bring up a word document and save it that way. HAH!

    All that to say, glad you are hanging in!

    03/10/15; 7:57 pm
  55. My favorite word is shenanigans. The fun, cheeky shenanigans. Not evil shenanigans.

    Shenanigans.

    03/10/15; 8:50 pm
  56. Kathy W. #

    more unsolicited turkey advice: If you happen to practice on a self-basting one, don’t assume a regular, nothing-added turkey will turn out the same way. Especially if it’s an organic turkey with huge honkin’ thighs. Overdone breast and medium-rare thighs dripping (supposedly deadly) pink juices for Thanksgiving dinner? Been there, served that.

    03/10/15; 9:01 pm
  57. Jesse Marie #

    I have been meaning to drop a note for some time and your call for comments today seems like a great time….I want to say thank you! Thank you for sharing your experiences – diabetes or otherwise. Your blog is the first diabetes blog I found when I started searching the DOC about a year ago. As a fellow T1D (20 years), I’ve found the DOC to be inspirational, encouraging, comic, sympathetic and many other things that I’ve needed. So thank you for writing all that you do!

    03/10/15; 9:14 pm
  58. if that turkey has been in the freezer that long, brine it for 24 hours. You can buy premixed brine in almost any culinary store, or William Sonoma. It keeps the bird from drying out while cooking particularly if it’s…. aged.

    03/10/15; 9:33 pm
    • It’s a new bird. Soon to be cooked. But if I wait too many days, I’ll brine the hell out of it. 🙂

      03/10/15; 9:37 pm
  59. Adrianna #

    Your blog is a favorite, and the only diabetes one I read on a regular basis. I like it so much I sometimes read at least parts of it aloud to my very supportive husband. I sometimes forward a post to my T1D friend. That was true when you wrote about the man who has been diabetic for 80 years. This friend was diagnosed when a teenager, which was 50+ years ago.

    03/10/15; 10:21 pm
  60. Kerri, I read many different blogs every day, but yours is the only diabetes blog that I read because I enjoy it so much. Good luck with your “practice” turkey. From personal experience, I suggest you make sure it’s completely thawed before you start cooking.

    03/10/15; 11:00 pm
  61. Charity #

    Yours was my first and still favorite D blog. I love that you are real – not put on or pretend. And you speak what I’m thinking way more often than I can admit.
    My favorite word is discombobulated. And it’s fitting for a D blog since D so often makes me feel discombobulated. Thanks for making me feel that I’m at least not alone!

    03/11/15; 12:40 am
  62. Constitution is my favorite word to write in cursive. So many i’s to dot, so many t’s to cross!

    03/11/15; 1:57 am
  63. Ali #

    Daily reader from little New Zealand “checking in”

    03/11/15; 4:27 am
  64. Mike #

    Thanks for sharing! I am a competent cook due to my LCHF way of eating to help keep my BG under control. I also go “old school” with my insulin and calculate my boluses. However, I greatly enjoy your blogs, it makes diabetes more human! Good luck with the turkey. Just follow the directions and you’ll be fine.

    03/11/15; 4:35 am
  65. Kristine V. #

    Ice cream 🙂

    (which i normally dont eat unless it’s lowcarb but I absolutely freakin’ love it:))

    Hugs from Norway

    03/11/15; 6:53 am
  66. Brenda #

    Thanks for your posts and sharing. You’ll have documentation of things your daughter said that most of us forget but wish we hadn’t by the time they’re asking for the car keys! (That’s an awkward sentence but oh well). Happy cooking!

    03/11/15; 7:41 am
  67. Vera #

    Haven’t commented on your blog in ages, but I’m still reading. As I have been for now, what, 7 years? (When did you marry? Definitely before you were married.)

    I love the old school blogging!

    03/11/15; 8:15 am
  68. vera #

    Oh, one more thing: Frozen stuff thaws way quicker in cold water than surrounded by air. Sounds counterintuitive, but I promise, it works!

    03/11/15; 8:20 am
  69. Work completely hijacked me yesterday, so I’m doing #dblogcheck a day late. THANK YOU for everything you do for all of us, and good luck with both of your Practice Turkeys. BTW, I may have a turkey thigh recipe hiding somewhere on my blog. Thanks!

    03/11/15; 9:09 am
  70. David Carlisle #

    Alton Brown’s turkey method is fantastic and easy. He doesn’t say this in this video but does elsewhere: in the cavity, add herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme), roughly chopped onion, celery, carrots.

    For the past six months, I’ve gone back to shots after using a pump for ten years. My Dexcom shows me that a shot bolus works faster than a pump bolus, so better for preventing highs after eating. I prefer getting my basal from a quick morning injection instead of on a drip-by-drip basis 24/7 from a pump. A 31-gauge syringe needle doesn’t hurt by the way, and some syringes show half units.

    But it would be difficult for me to go on a CGM break, even though I know that the adhesive can irritate the skin for some: I watch my CGM very closely so I can hopefully learn how to anticipate future blood sugars. The CGM helps us achieve low HgA1cs, while it alerts us to those really severe hypos.

    The fact is that we all drive a stick shift, whether we get our insulin from a pump or shots. Being Type 1 for 35 years, I know that we are “on our own” managing our minute-to-minute blood sugars – even with loving, supportive family and friends. Sixuntilme is a nice place to share with other solo stick shift drivers – thank you, Kerri.

    03/11/15; 3:16 pm
  71. Ashley #

    I made my husband read the first half of this post, because one of our dogs is in an Animal tshirt today (the other Kermit), so it seemed super relevant to share – and sometimes it’s nice NOT to talk about diabetes. 🙂

    03/11/15; 7:13 pm
  72. Michelle #

    I check your blog everyday at work. I love it! I just started using the pump last Nov with a good friend who is diabetic. Thanks for your practice turkey reminder.

    P.S. I stared at the pic for ages wondering why the turkey was in the toy box!

    03/11/15; 11:22 pm
  73. M. #

    I just love that Animal is in your freezer. 🙂

    03/12/15; 12:39 am
  74. I am laughing right now because I did a practice turkey and it turned out…yeah not so good. Thinking I knew what I did wrong I did a real turkey and it turned out…yeah not so good. I feel your pain. And now I do a crockpot turkey. 🙂 I borrow everyone else’s crockpot and fix it in the morning and forget about it until dinner. It turns out perfect every time and only those I borrow a crockpot from know the truth.
    http://burntapple.com/2014/10/01/slow-cooker-turkey-breast-sandwich/

    03/15/15; 8:36 pm
  75. I too love that animal is in ur freezer and that Birdy won’t let u get rid of him!!

    I’m an inexperienced chef too but I did recently cook my first Turkey Day bird and after thorough research online, I did well (and yes, even I knew to take out the guts before I cooked it.). But ur idea for a practice turkey is a good idea!! I wish I had thought of that instead of freaking out that morning and driving my family crazy w checking and rechecking the bird. Our oven door squeaks so I couldn’t get away with my constant checking w/o everyone knowing what I was up to.

    Thanks for writing ur blog. I always look forward to ur daily posts!! Keep up the good work & let us know how the turkey practice goes!!!

    03/17/15; 6:33 pm
  76. Aaron #

    Try’n t’comment ’cause y’asked 🙂
    I wish other D’s we’re so accessible as you are. Saw y’in person at TCOYD. Yrr’website’s great what with the picture icon place holders’n’all. hang in there

    08/8/15; 11:15 am

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