turkey dinner tips for chow hounds

That big turkey dinner won’t just put you to sleep this year; it’ll also cost you an arm and a wing. According to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will rise 13 percent this year. That means an average meal for 10 could set you back $49.20, up $5.73 from 2010.

Tom Turkey is the main culprit behind the biggest increase in 26 years. A 16-pound bird will run $21.57, up more than 22 percent from last year.

Note, we bought a small turkey from Safeway for $5… we had to spend $25 to get it but they had plenty of turkeys on display.  I’d say, shop around and look at coupons to get the best deal. Of course, if organic is the only way to go, then you are going to spend a lot more than $5 for a turkey.

a seriously doggie dream turkey, bacon wrapped turkey, oh my…

http://www.squidoo.com/bacon-thanksgiving-recipes

Note: You  might consider NOT eating turkey this year and having a Vegan or Vegetarian meal instead.

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/shoppingproducts/tp/Vegetarian-Turkey-Subsitutes.htm

And if you don’t want to share any of your turkey meat with your dog, you could always give them Honest Kitchen’s Keen made with cage free turkey, gluten-free.

Dehydrated cage-free turkey, organic oats, potatoes, organic flax, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa, organic kelp, apples, honey, garlic, rosemary, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

My dog eats better than I do… If your dog is anything like Cici, she will eat until she explodes. When giving treats and pet food, don’t overdo just because you have had a little too much holiday cheer… spiked eggnog, wine or whatever.

Here are some turkey dinner tips for pets 

From Lucy Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen:

Sharing a moderate amount of holiday leftovers with your pet can be a great way keep her included in the festivities. There are lots of ‘people foods’ that are fine for most pets to eat, and they can add some healthy variety and extra nutrition to her regular meals. Here are some seasonal holiday ingredients that can be added safely to your dog’s usual fare to make her feel special and part of the family.

Be sure that guests understand what foods you do and don’t want your pet to be fed. If she’s hanging out with the guests, a ‘no scraps’ rule might be simpler to enforce than trying to train guests on which foods are pet-safe.   Reassure and confine your pet appropriately to help reduce stress, especially if she’s likely to help herself to food from unattended plates.

Don’t switch diets when you travel, and also be sure to prevent pets from gorging excessively on holiday leftovers, which can trigger GI upset and pancreas problems when fed in excess. If your pet gets into the holiday trash or decides to counter surf at your host’s abode, keep a close eye on him for signs of bloating or impaction (cooked meat bones can be especially tempting and problematic during the holidays). For general gorging and overindulgence, the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica is worth considering.

Fresh, growing wheatgrass (available from many health food stores) is a good option and well worth the investment. You could also add a little fresh mint or parsley to his food, to help settle the digestive system.

If you do decide to share holiday foods with pets, here are some specific guidelines…

Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib and other meats. These can all be added to Fido’s food in moderation. The key things to remember are that dogs should never be fed any type of cooked bones because they can splinter and damage or impact the GI tract.  Too much fat and gristle can be problematic and can lead to pancreatitis, which is very painful and potentially dangerous. Try to avoid prepared meats that have added nitrites and preservatives if possible. Whenever you can, choose free-range, natural and grass-fed meats, which are better for you and your pet as well as the animal who provided the meat in the first place.

Green Bean Casserole. A natural creamy sauce with the green beans is okay in small amounts, but don’t include the onion topping. Alternatively, just add some fresh raw or cooked green beans to your dog’s usual food. Most dogs love the naturally sweet taste – just be sure to trim them to a manageable size for smaller dogs.

Sweet Potatoes. These are an excellent source of beta carotene and make a highly nutritious meal addition for dogs. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are ideal; raw root vegetables can be difficult to digest unless completely pulverized in a blender or food processor. Avoid giving your dog the kind of holiday-themed sweet potato side dishes that contain lots of maple syrup, melted marshmallows or candied nuts.

Cranberries are a great addition to your pet’s meals at any time of year and especially during the holidays. Many dogs enjoy fresh cranberries but cranberry sauce and jelly can be full of sugar and other ingredients that Fido doesn’t need. Dried cranberries are a nice alternative, provided they don’t have lots of added sweeteners. Cranberries contain natural compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, so they are an excellent choice for cats and dogs who are prone to urinary tract infections.

Pumpkin & Squash are great foods to share with cats and dogs in moderate amounts. Most pets love the taste of these nutritious, fibrous vegetables. If you’re making a soup, consider setting aside some of the gently cooked cubes of squash before you begin adding wine, cream, onions and other less pet-friendly ingredients to the mix.

Winter greens like chard and kale are a super source of vitamins and antioxidants. Brussels sprouts and cabbage are also loaded with nutrients, but they tend to cause gas. These can be added raw, lightly steamed or sautéed. Avoid serving your pet large amounts of winter greens that contain lots of added salt, wine, soy-sauce or butter.

White potatoes are fine in moderate amounts. They contain fiber and minerals. Try to avoid serving your pet potato dishes that are prepared with lots of cream, ranch dressing, oil or butter. Potatoes provide a good source of Vitamins B3 and B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, Iron, Copper and Fiber.  Potatoes have been associated with some adverse publicity in the past due to their content of glycoalkaloids, which can develop in the stems, shoots and green parts of the skin of potatoes that are improperly stored and where the skin is subjected to excessive or prolonged exposure to light. The shoots and green parts of potatoes should not be consumed by people or animals for this reason and should be removed before serving.

Stuffing and corn pudding  should be avoided for most pets, because they tend to contain onion and sometimes raisins, as well as ingredients like bread and cornmeal which aren’t very nutritious and can actually exacerbate ear infections and skin problems.

Desserts and Cheeses should be avoided too, because they can cause tummy upsets, especially when eaten in excess.

Relishes, pickles and sauces are also best left out of your pet’s bowl because they tend to contain heavy spices, sugar, onion and other ingredients than can unsettle their GI tract.

The following foods are toxic to dogs and cats and should not be offered in the form of leftovers or people-food additions to her usual meals: onions, chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins & candies containing the sweetened xylitol.

If you do decide to share your holiday meals with your dog or cat, ensure that you make additions gradually to ensure he or she can tolerate what you’re serving. Don’t allow your pet to gorge excessively either, because this can lead to health problems such as pancreatitis and bloat. If you do have an incident where your pet gets up on the counter or into the holiday trash and consumes a large amount of leftovers, keep a close eye on him. The homeopathic remedy nux vomica can be helpful for the side effects of minor overindulgences but if you notice any sign of bloating, vomiting or other digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation, a visit to the vet office is recommended, without delay.

And here’s a great idea from our good friends at BadRap… Thanksgiving Stuffing

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-stuffin.html

Now back to the people fixin’s portion of our post…

If you’re a perennial chef, or just cooking your first turkey dinner, consider the following tips to avoid economic indigestion.

1. Smaller Can Be Better
If you’re not a fan of leftovers, buying a smaller turkey will save you some cash, since guests often fill up on side dishes anyway.

2. Buy Early
Got extra space in your freezer? Then buy the bird now. Supermarkets tend to stock up early, then offer some excellent prices per pound. Shop early sales and keep an eye out for printable grocery coupons at websites like CouponSherpa.com.

3. Go Traditional
You can either end up with a wine cellar full of hostess gifts or ask guests to bring their favorite dish instead of a bottle. If you’re cooking the big bird, they might be willing to help with the smaller sides.

4. Be a Borrower
Borrow serving dishes and specialty cookware, instead of purchasing them. That particularly applies to that tin-foil turkey roaster you end up buying each year to avoid cleaning. If you don’t feel like scrubbing into the night, try this Cooks.com recipe for roasting the perfect bird in a brown paper bag.

5. Bulk Up Your Drink Purchases
Stock up on wine and beer from bulk retailers like Costco. They have a great selection and offer deals of up to 30-percent less than grocery stores.

6. Bring Nature Indoors
Use decor inspired by nature, like pine cones and intertwined twigs. Pumpkins spray-painted gold offer a festive touch, one that would cost over $30 if purchased at a specialty store. Plus, they’re cheaper after Halloween. Or you could cut holes in fruit, insert tealights, and create a natural and inexpensive centerpiece. Check out FreshHomeIdeas.com for more concepts.

7. DIY
Avoid prepared foods, which are typically marked up over 40 percent. Besides, you didn’t really believe boxed stuffing tastes as good as the real stuff.

8. Save at Dollar Stores
Buy paper goods, napkins, favors, etc. at dollar stores. You’d be surprised how many party fixings you can buy for just $1 apiece.

9. Do Your Own Prep
Buy your veggies whole and do the prep yourself. Pre-cut and pre-sliced produce are more expensive and often not as fresh. You can enlist a friend to help handle all the prep and chat while working.

10. Homemake Desserts
Pre-made desserts are marked up 100 percent, so it really pays to make your own. Try this Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie recipe from SimplyRecipes for down-home goodness.

11. Stick to Your list
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit while shopping for Thanksgiving goodies, and supermarkets guide you in the direction of overspending with these sneaky strategies. Before heading to the store, make a detailed list of what you need and stick to it. And also fix yourself a sandwich; there’s nothing more dangerous than holiday grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc.

2 Comments

Filed under badrap, food, four paws up, Happy Thanksgiving, holiday tips, turkey, Uncategorized

2 responses to “turkey dinner tips for chow hounds

  1. Do you have a Facebook Fan Page I could subscribe to?

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