“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
I have to be honest here. I enjoy a day off just as much as the next guy. I especially like a day off when it comes in the middle of the summer, and it allows me to go to the beach or pool, BBQ with friends, watch fireworks, and cash in on some awesome sales. Heck, who doesn’t love 4th of July?
But when I stop to think about it, I feel sort of guilty that I’m relaxing, reveling in my “freedom” from work and daily obligations, and not really thinking at all about how we got here. So this year I’m making a conscious effort to think, even just for a few minutes, about all the people who fought for our nation’s independence, and how they built the foundation for the incredible country in which we live today. I spent some time reading about personal accounts of freedom and this beautiful excerpt from Pat (Beanie) Camunes, a Vietnam Veteran, really underscores the meaning of independence.
As a Vietnam Veteran, I have considered the personal meaning of the 4th of July. I realize the heart of the 4th of July resides within the great documents and framework of this Republic, but the spirit of the 4th was best summarized by the Prisoner of War who scratched on a wall at the Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam: “Freedom has a taste to those who have fought and almost died for it that the protected shall never know.” That “taste”, or lesson, is the truism, also inscribed in stone, of the Korean War Monument in D.C.: Freedom Is Not Free.
So, on this 4th of July, I pray our protected citizens recognize that our country’s freedom was won by the blood of veterans, is retained by the blood of veterans, and shall exist so long as we, the American people, stand fast against any enemy who would challenge our right to be free, and are willing to pay the price in blood . . . Freedom is not, and never will be free.
Our personal happiness and successes are only possible because of the daily freedoms we enjoy, and this will only last as long as we continue to fight for it, and protect it. So, as you prepare your BBQ menus, lather on sunscreen for your family trip to the pool or beach, think just for a few moments about our nation’s independence. I know I will.
Red, White & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Adapted quite a bit from The Perfect Scoop
16 oz nonfat plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup sugar**
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries
juice from 1 small lemon (to taste)
zest from 1/2 lemon (to taste)
Puree the blueberries, strawberries, Greek yogurt and sugar in a blender. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest to taste and mix well. Pour the mixture over a fine mesh strainer to remove the skin and seeds. Chill again in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour. Transfer to the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for me, this was 15 minutes, a bit shorter than the normal 20 minute churn). Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze for approximately 1 hour so that the yogurt hardens just a bit. Remove from freezer and enjoy immediately.
**This recipe originally calls for 3/4 cup of sugar. I didn’t want to include that much, so I deliberately cut the sugar to 1/4 of a cup. Remember, though, sugar is essential to the flavor and consistency of ice cream. If you use too much sugar (like alcohol) it won’t freeze. If you use too little, it will be grainy and hard to scoop. Therefore, I don’t suggest that you reserve this frozen yogurt for later. Eat it right after churning, because if you try and eat it the next day for breakfast (which I’ve been known to do, hey, it’s yogurt and fruit, right?) it will be hard as a rock. If you want this frozen yogurt to last in your freezer, I suggest following the original recipe and add 3/4 cup of sugar.
The Verdict: Delicious and refreshing! I love the combination of berries and lemon, so adding the lemon zest and extra lemon juice really enhanced the flavor! Because it’s 93 degrees in NYC, this frozen treat really help us beat the heat. I served the yogurt with fresh blueberries and strawberries and The Hubby and I devoured it in one fell swoop. I told you it won’t last until the next morning!
Happy 4th of July!