Happy Birthday America!!! This Fourth of July, stay cool with a chilled fresh fruit and youghurt parfait! I make homemade soy youghurt, and flavour it with vanilla bean.  It's fairly easy and really tasty.  

The rest of the ingredients are simple and wholesome: dark cherry halves, rolled oats and blueberries. When I'm in a rush, I just throw all the ingredients in a bowl and stir, but today's special, so let's get fancy!

First, I like to add a layer of youghurt, then oats, then berries.  The oats help keep things in layers - they add a dryness and stability. Sometimes, the sugars in the fruit draw out moisture from the youghurt, making a watery pocket in the parfait.  The oats soak up the separating water and keep things texturally consistent. 

Keep layering the youghurt, oats and fruit until about an inch from the top.  Then, place a row of cherry halves around the top of the glass, followed by a bit more youghurt and a row of blueberries. You could add a sprig of mint, or a few oats to the top.  My favorite thing, however, is a few toasted slivered almonds.  

You can customize this for your tastes.  Use strawberries or raspberries instead of cherries.  Try granola instead of oats.  Any way you make them, parfaits are refreshing summer treats.  

*Despite my European, Asian and Brittish tendencies, I'm really proud to be American.  Happy Fourth!