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---"I want to add my praise for WiggleLegs Frog toy.  My cat loves to play with WiggleLegs No other toy will do.  When I ask her to find WiggleLegs she goes right to it!  I just ordered 3 more as I'm afraid you will stop making them and then I don't know what we will do!"

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Each MetPet FlyToy is handmade by skilled artisans with great attention to detail.  They come in the form of bugs, amphibians, mammals and more in three very reasonable price points.

---"I can't believe how your company understands cats so well"

Thanksgiving Turkey 101

The easy holiday dinner for people and pets Staff Writer

You're busy in the kitchen or rushing off to be with friends and relatives for Thanksgiving?  STOP!   Someone with a cold nose would like to remind you that your loving pets deserve a treat also.  Therefore, in the interest of good pet-people relationships, here is our super easy, almost never-fail dinner recipe. 

The simplest turkey possible
Tip #1:  Make sure you get one that is already trussed and ready to go.  Leave the farm-raised, hand-fed, massaged-daily ones to those who don't have pets to care for.   Most importantly, it should have a pop-up timer so you won't have to keep poking it to see if it's done.  Pound-for-pound turkey is one of the most economical, low-fat and nutritious main courses.

Tip #2: If the turkey is frozen, place it (still in its sealed plastic wrap) in a bath of tepid (room temperature) water.  When the tepid water becomes cold, replace it with more tepid water.  This way the turkey is constantly immersed in water and will eventually stop feeling like an iceberg. 

Please do not put it in the toilet so that you can just keep flushing the water!  No one will ever come back to dinner at your place ever again!  You can also defrost it over several days in the refrigerator which is apparently the correct way to do it.  We're just assuming this is all at the very last minute and that nasty headache is starting to get worse.

Tip #3:  Use a disposable aluminum baking dish.  In fact, you may wish to use two stacked together since they're not very sturdy and the turkey is.

No one has time to clean up pans.  You have to walk the dog after dinner remember.  Place your hand inside the turkey cavity in the front and the back.  Remove the package of giblets and the neck and whatever else you find inside there that looks out of place. 

Stuff the turkey very loosely (see dressing below) remembering to add some into the neck cavity that you can have on your own when everyone else is asleep.  Bake the turkey until it's golden brown and the meat thermometer (or little pop up timer) registers - DONE!  Sometime during baking you may need to cover the tips of the drumsticks and the top of the turkey with foil to prevent them from burning. 

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil until ready to serve. 

The Dressing & Gravy
Tip #1: Don't fool around with anyone else, get the Pepperidge Farms traditional stuffing in the familiar blue and white wrap.  Again, leave the oyster-shallots-truffles-cognac extravaganza to someone who has nothing better to do.  

Tip #2:  Don't fool around with the stuffing too much.  Add some sautéed onions, finely chopped celery and (if you have to) dried cranberries to the stuffing.  Use only real butter, never margarine because it's never the same.  Make twice as much stuffing as the package directions for your size turkey.  There is never too much left over stuffing. 

Follow the package directions, combine all the ingredients and place some stuffing into the cavity of the turkey.  If you pack it in too tightly, the turkey could burst.  This has never, ever happened to us but who knows?  Take the rest of the stuffing, add some extra broth (see gravy below), place it in an oven-proof casserole, cover it with aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for the last hour your turkey bakes. 

Tip #3:  Don't use cornstarch or water in the gravy.   Always use white flour (never, never whole wheat it's just hideous) and canned chicken broth.  Never use a spoon to stir, always use a medium-sized wire whisk to break up lumps. 

To make the gravy, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Before it burns, add the flour and stir quickly.  Add a little bit of the broth and mix up everything with the wire whisk.  Then slowly add the rest of the broth until everything is nice and thick.  You can add turkey drippings from the pan for flavor at the end. 

If you find that the gravy is too thin, place some flour and cold broth into a small bowl or cup and stir with a fork or whisk until the flour is dissolved.  Add the mixture into the gravy, whisk until incorporated and repeat until you get the desired consistency.  If the gravy is too thick, whisk in some additional chicken broth. 

Tip #4:  Always hide some of the stuffing and gravy in the back of the refrigerator for later.  There is nothing worse than leftover white meat turkey that is bare and lonely.

Everything Else
Tip #1:  Festive salads should have no fewer than 10 ingredients only 3 of which should be different shades of lettuce.  This is where you can be really creative.   Forget the iceberg and try exotic veggies.  Add dried fruits, nuts, canned exotic veggies, shredded hard cheeses, crumbled blue cheeses, croutons, fresh fruits, etc.  

MetPet favorites include canned baby corn, green & black olives, julienne red peppers, chopped green onions, greenhouse cucumbers, dried cranberries, Roma tomatoes, walnuts, pinenuts, pecans, bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce, arugula, endive, mandarin oranges and marinated artichoke hearts.  Artichoke hearts are really impressive cut into quarters.  Make sure you place them on top of the salad so that everyone can oooh and ahhh.  Use Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing for a slightly sweet but light dressing.  The traditional kind in the nontraditional plastic bottle.  Use enough for lots of flavor without drowning the veggies.

Tip #2: Anything else goes from old family recipes to strange concoctions.  As long as everyone has the basic turkey-dressing-gravy-salad combination, just one other edible starch dish is called for.  This could mean homemade mashed potatoes (with or without minced garlic), sweet potato casserole (with or without marshmallows, brown sugar and orange juice that great 50's throwback), French bread warmed in the oven or anything else your taste buds desire.

Dessert, cognac, cigars, etc. are completely optional.  If you're waddling like a plump duck, a stiff glass of plain water may be more than you can manage.  It's better to bundle up and walk the dog.  This way, you'll burn those extra calories and make room for seconds.  If you don't have a dog, play interactive games with the cat or walk the cat in a quiet corner of the park. 

Really Important Serving Instructions
Dogs: Slice some turkey (no bones please), add some dressing, add some salad, pour on some warm but not hot gravy and voila!  It's the perfect holiday doggy meal. 

Cats:  Shred some turkey (no bones please), pour on some cooled gravy and voila!  It's the perfect holiday kitty meal.  If you're adventurous, try dicing cooked vegetables or bits of lettuce into tiny pieces to mix into the gravy. 

The average Thanksgiving Day meal is around 3000 calories
Well, it's not every day that all of the United States gets to indulge in a guilt-free, high-fat, high-calorie, nutrient-dense holiday meal.  Eat a lot, burp a little, walk the dog, walk the cat and take a nap. 

When in doubt, do as 10,000 other people do, call the experts at's turkey talk line at 1-800-butterball.

Happy Holidays!




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