Turkey, Apple, & Bacon Paninis

Turkey Apple Bacon Panini It’s fall, and apples are glorious, and these paninis are really the most delicious, easiest meal. And I really will tell you more about them, but first I need to tell you about something that was not easy.

In the true spirit of blogging, I’ma get my rant on:
How is it possible that on an average airplane, changing tables are not a standard feature? Our recent flight to San Francisco was four hours. Our trip home was four hours. And neither airplane had even one changing table built into it. Here’s how that went down.

Turkey Apple Bacon Panini

On the way there, Owen started to stink about two-thirds into our flight. I buzzed the flight attendant to our row as I looked apologetically at the person sitting next to us: “Excuse me, miss, just wondering if any of the bathrooms have changing tables.” She responded that she had to check; we waited, with Owen’s stink growing by the minute, until she came back and with a sort of grimace, said, “No.”

I sighed. Gathered up our changing mat, a diaper, wipes, and my child, who basically smelled like a pig farm by this point. I scooted by the gracious person next to us and started the stinky walk of shame towards the back of the plane.


Then Owen, my extra six inches of babybelly, and I entered the bathroom, which was about the width of a cutting board. We looked at our reflection in the mirror as I explained to him what we had to do. Praying against the germs of the thousands of people who had used the toilet before, I closed the lid and laid down our mat on top. And then, I laid my 32″-long baby down on the mat. And two-thirds of his body rested on that toilet lid, while the last third – his stinky business third – hung towards the floor.

He immediately started writhing like a snake giving birth, twisting his body in his desperation to not be in the situation he was currently in, meanwhile screaming like I’d just ripped the last cookie on earth out of his hands.

Using my left forearem to pin him down, I used my right hand to wrestle wipes out of one of those poorly-designed soft packs, repeatedly bumping my elbow against the wall.

immediately started sweating and soon found myself saying, over and over again, “It’s okay, baby. I’msosorryI’msosorryI’msosorry. Let’s just get through this and I’ll give you M&M’s.” Owen, unfortunately, was less focused on my soothing words than he was on using both his hands to push himself off the toilet seat, with all of his mustered strength (which apparently equals that of a thousand angry octopi).

Turkey Apple Bacon Panini

After about four minutes of this, we finished. I could literally feel sweat dripping down my back and could pretty much see the germs crawling all over him. Then, to further protest, I washed his and my hands for like eight minutes with that tepid water, using all of my mustered strength to keep him from splashing in the non-draining water accumulating at the bottom of that dirty sink.

End scene.

Turkey Apple Bacon Panini

The flight back was worse. Twice as bad actually, because Owen’s belly was a little upset, probably due to the food tour we’d put him through the day before. The first time he went, I again, with fingers crossed, asked the flight attendant what the changing table situation was. And again, she apologetically said there wasn’t one.

So I headed for the back again, this time planning to use the floor of the curtained off flight attendant area rather than rehash the toilet-seat disaster of the first flight. As soon as I laid him down, a different, more snarky flight attendant, rushed back and said, “Ma’am, Ma’am, you can’t change him here; there’s too many sharp things.”


So, back to the toilet seat we went, with its germs and writhing and sweating and promises of M & M’s. And then an hour later, we did it once more, just so Owen could complete his poopy hat trick.

I mean, really? Really? We have engineered a victory over gravity, but can’t find space in this miracle of industry for a 2-foot by 3-foot flat surface?  Not one airplane designer, with a toddler at home, said, “Hey guys, what about a changing table?” Is this the airline industry’s not-so-subtle way of telling parents to keep our toddlers out of the air? Are there really no laws requiring this very simple accomodation?

Turkey Apple Bacon Panini

Have any of you had this experience? What did you do? I seriously want to know because otherwise, our little family is probably going to be flight-free for the next decade or so until everyone’s out of diapers.

Before Carpé Season turns into a mommy blog, and before my blood pressure rises to the point of rage/80mmHg, I better end this rant and tell you about these paninis. Basically, I took all of my favorite panini ingredients – pepper-crusted turkey, bacon, sharp cheddar, onions, honey mustard, lettuce – and added thinly sliced apples. That tiny touch of sweetness and crunch pretty much made my fall worthwhile. These taste like fall and are super easy to throw together, very much unlike diapering a toddler on the toilet seat of an  airplane. The end.

Turkey, Apple, & Bacon Paninis

Turkey, Apple, & Bacon Paninis

(recipe by Carpé Season)

(yields 1 sandwich, easily multiplied)

The measurements given for this recipe should be interpreted loosely. Play with them as you please, based on your sandwich preferences!


2 slices sturdy bread (peasant, sourdough, etc.)

1 tbsp. butter

3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

1/8 c. onions, thinly sliced

2 slices bacon, cooked crisp, and drained on paper towel

1/4 of a medium apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 slices turkey

1 tbsp. honey mustard* (+ more for dipping)

2 crisp lettuce pieces


*Dont' have bottled honey mustard? No problem. Take about and 1/8 c. of dijon mustard and add 1/2 tbsp. of honey. Mix. Add more honey to taste.


Assemble the Panini:

Cook your bacon crisp, draining on a paper towel. Set aside.

Butter the exterior of both pieces of bread.

Place one slice, butter side down, on your work surface. On it, put 2 of the 3 oz. of cheddar. Top the cheddar with the onion slices, bacon, apple, and turkey. Over the turkey, lay the slices from that last ounce of cheese. (This acts like a glue for the panini). Spread the honey mustard on the non-buttered side of your second piece of bread, then place this piece, honey mustard side down, over the top of your sandwich.

Cook the Panini:

Option 1: Heat a frying pan over med-low heat. Cook each side of the sandwich until golden brown (flipping about halfway through).

Option 2: Heat an electric griddle to 300*. Cook each side of the sandwich until golden brown (about 3 mins. per side), flipping halfway through.

Option 3: Place sandwich in a preheated panini press and grill for about 3 mins.

(updated: Option 4: grill it until golden brown on your George Foreman grill.)


Once cooked, slice in half and insert lettuce pieces.

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18 thoughts on “Turkey, Apple, & Bacon Paninis

  1. Oh yum Liz! I can’t wait to throw a batch together. I also do not relish the thought of diaper changing in the air when Jonny and I embark on that next stage of kids, we have family in California and that flight is sooo long.

  2. PTSD is about right! I went through this myself a month ago on a flight to Denver with my son Max who is almost 2. Since that flight, I’ve become much more consistent and diligent with potty training!

    I direct a holistic wellness program at a hospital in Quincy, IL and our dietitian uses quite a few of your healthier recipes for her cooking demos. This one looks delish! Our fav is the sweet potato black bean taco recipe. Love your blog!

  3. You poor gal! The only time I flew with my daughter was when she was 6mths old and small enough to lay her across my & my husbands lap to change her right there in front of everyone. If she was bigger, I could see where the problems would have risen. Sharp things? Please! Not even ONE attendant could have stayed with you for 5 min to monitor? Gheesh!
    I would love to try the sandwich, so I will get my Gluten Free bread together and make a grilled version!
    YAY you made it through!! Would love some pumpkin recipe love?

    • Aw, thanks for the pity! I know…seriously…”sharp things?” On the floor? When I’m right there? C’mon.
      As for the pumpkin love…I’m probably the only food blogger around who isn’t pumpkin’s biggest fan. However, I’ve got a killer appetizer coming up in a week or so using pumpkin, so stay tuned!

  4. Oh, Liz. I feel so sad (and frustrated!) for you. I have had to change diapers in crazy places. And it never once was fun. But it was never on a plane!
    The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking about when Owen is going to the prom or something, and this post somehow comes up! Lol!

    On to the panini! I want that now. Sure, it’s almost 10pm. And yes, I just read a whole post about poop. Don’t care. Looks amazing! Loving the apple on it especially! Mmmm … honeycrisp or sweet tango!

    • I’ll take the sympathy! :)
      I also think often about when Owen’s older…we have a little family blog, and I have been writing him letters, and I just wonder what his high school girlfriends will think :)

      Glad the poop didn’t totally kill your appetite!

  5. I feel your pain! We did alot of traveling when my daughter was in diapers. There are also a shocking amount of restraunts and gas stations with out changing tables between the twin cities and the small towns in Iowa where my husbands grandmas live. If you serve kids meals you should have changing tables!

  6. I had the “pleasure” of running out of diapers due to a overnight weather delay in Denver airport with my first child. Did you know they don’t sell diapers in airports……you never know what will happen when traveling with a baby.

    • Oh my gosh – what a nightmare. What did you do?! A friend with older kids once told me that just before boarding a plane with their two littles, she and her husband had turned up their noses at the $5 per diaper the airport was offering, even though they didn’t have one left. They thought….”short flight. How bad can it be?” It got BAD. And they were dying for one of those $5 diapers. I can imagine you felt the same!

  7. Oh, Liz! I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry for you! My husband used to work for Boeing and I have to tell you, not once has this ever come up! And really, I can’t believe it hasn’t! Maybe they are trying to limit the under potty-training age travel or something. Anyways, I hope if you do travel again, someone will have addressed this and it will make your journey and many others’ travel much more pleasant!

  8. I nearly peed my pants imagining that scene. Hilarious!! Kind of like the time I brought 4 preschoolers to use the bathroom at a big outdoor concert….and we walked and walked to find said restrooms which were like 10 miles from our seats and in fact were not bathrooms but a porta potty… I couldn’t leave any of my little girl charges outside to be snatched so we all went into ONE regular size biffy. Not handicapped size.

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