Indulge even when you aren't on vacation!

Even if you can't be on vacation every day, you will be able to feel like it with this indulgent dessert!

Hi Everyone,

I was fortunate enough to be able to get away for a few days to St. Maarten. Although I was thrilled to get away from the cold, I must admit that I had a bit of anxiety about this trip since I heard there were a lot of stray dogs on the island. Since some of you may know, I am a huge animal lover and advocate and it would have broke my heart to see this and not do anything about it. Before I even left on the plane I was plotting how I would be able to bring one or more animals back home with me. The good news is that the few dogs I saw seemed to well taken care of and just out on a stroll. They were not fearful, skinny or appear to be homeless which definitely eased my mind. The people there were wonderful, so friendly and helpful. Even though the island had suffered such devastation from Hurricane Irma, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of making it even better than it was prior to the storm. There was a lot of rebuilding going on which was great to see. Since the island is half Dutch and half French, it was interesting to see the diversity in food and culture.It is definitely a tropical paradise.

There were many great food options on the island, I especially liked a smoothie bar across from where we were staying. There is nothing better than sipping the juice out of a freshly cut coconut. The options for tropical smoothies were endless. Another favorite of mine was a cafe where they made Acai Bowls.

This is the version I made last night as a snack.
Pomegranate base, bananas, strawberries,blackberries, blue berries, raspberries (all frozen) shredded coconut and a dollop of peanut butter = Easy, healthy and delicious! It is a vacation for your taste buds!
 Although it may not be exactly what I was served while I was on vacation. I recreated it with my own personal spin. This is something I often do and always encourage everyone to do the same. Cooking is almost like being an artist with each creation being unique to you. The inspiration for this dish is an acai bowl. There were many different types of bowls at this
one place we frequented. So I decided to get creative and use a base of pomegranate. I used Roots plant based frozen dessert. I had previously froze some bananas, I  always have frozen berries on hand as well as shredded coconut. Some of the bowls offered peanut butter, nutella, almond butter and various tropical fruits. Imagine the possibilities, add mango, pineapple, kiwi, or papaya, the choices are endless, There is no right or wrong way and the best part about this is everything is right in your freezer or cupboard so as long as you are prepared you can have this amazing snack whenever you want!

For those of you that have never heard about Roots Frozen Desserts, these are 100% vegan and handcrafted from fruits and veggies with flavors like Vanilla Beet, Mango Berry, Chocolate Hazelnut to name a few. They even have an Acai Bowl flavor which is fabulous and all the work is done for you, With this flavor you don't have to add a thing, just open and eat it. It is a party in your mouth. I encourage you to check out their Facebook page for more information.

Just to change gears a little. When I finally caught up on my Facebook news feed, I saw some information on the horrible ways dogs are treated in puppy mills and thankfully a big rescue was done to save these animals from the cruel and inhumane conditions where they were forced to live. I am not talking about the reputable breeders out there that love and care for the mother dog and her offspring. I am talking about the people that treat animals as a commodity with no human contact, filthy conditions and insufficient veterinary care as well as those individuals that claim they are adopting out rescue puppies for large sums of money that really are from puppy mills. Please if you even consider buying a puppy ask to see the mother, ask questions about where she is and how many litters did she have. If it is a reputable place they should be able to provide answers. Many of the breeder dogs in puppy mills have issues that can be passed along to the puppies. They are usually over bred, in poor physical shape, abused and even  malnourished. I want to share my own personal experience with unscrupulous people selling dogs that had genetic issues. The cost is monumental but the heartbreak is even worse.

I walked into a pet shop in my area a number of years ago and the cashier was holding a tiny chihuahua that had kennel cough so bad it looked like his little body was convulsing every time he coughed. I asked them what they were going to do with him, they said they were giving him medicine and if no one bought him, they would ship him back to the breeder in Oklahoma. I live in NY so this poor puppy would surely have been dead long before he would reach his destination. I asked if I could hold him and once he was in my arms I knew I had to help him. They charged me $1,000.00 for a half dead dog that didn't even have papers. I took him to my vet, he already had a myriad of problems and we didn't even think he would last through the night.Luckily he did and he started getting better in time. Some how this sick little guy wound up impregnating my female chihuahua right before we were going to have her fixed and she had three puppies. We delivered and kept them all but they all had genetic issues, the two males had all of the father's issues including diabetes and thyroid problems as well as they needed knee replacement surgery.Unfortunately Riley (our puppy mill dog and the father) as well as his two male offspring passed away at a young age. Our girl Gia passed this past year, she was the mom and the remaining female pup is now 13 years old and suffers from seizures. She will actually faint is she gets scared.

Puppy mills breed animals with no concern for genetic issues. They are all about the money. They use and abuse the females and once they are done with them they either dump them or in some cases kill them. These places are no better than slaughterhouses. Some of these animals have never had any human contact, don't know what love is, have never been outside a dirty cage or have even seen grass.

Let's put them out of business!!! Sign petitions for legislation to outlaw puppy mills, support legislature to make this a crime, share posts and most of adopt don't shop. Unfortunately many people don't know what goes on behind the scenes, please share this information far and wide. The more people that become aware can use their voice to help make changes to laws and protect these innocent animals.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and comments.

Hope everyone has a great week!


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