Hip, hip, hooray! July's a month of fun and frolic. The kids are out of school. The calendar's chocked full of activity. Parades and picnics abound. Vacation is either right around the corner, or already a fantastic memory. And really the only hitch in this whole blissful season is, it's so unbelievably hot!

So, I'm coming to the rescue. Car dealer by day, heat avenger by night. Can you tell I just got back from Man Of Steel? Yes, I'm having superhero delusions again.

And now as I swoop down to rescue you from the heat, I land in everyone's favorite place to hang out, the kitchen. Now, open the freezer and stick your head inside. (Just a joke. Do not do that, or at least don't tell anyone you did that. It did feel good, though, I give you that.)

Instead, take a gander at these "sure to beat the heat" treats, and pick one or two to enjoy and share. After all, we're all in this "heat" together.

COLD DRINKS

There's nothing like chugging a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade or a nice glass of extra special iced tea on a hot afternoon.

Strawberry Spritzer Lemonade

• 3 cup(s) seltzer
• 2/3 cup frozen strawberries
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• Ice cubes
• Sugar to taste (start with 3/4 cup)

Combine seltzer, strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a small pitcher. Pour over ice. Add an ounce of rum or vodka for a spiked adult version.

Peachy Pleasing Mint Tea

• 2 cups cold water
• 5 green tea bags
• 1 12 ounce can of peach nectar
• ½ cup fresh mint leaves, slightly crushed
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• Ice cubes

Bring water just to boiling in a large saucepan. Remove from heat; add tea bags. Steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bags. Stir in nectar, mint, and sugar. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Strain tea mixture; serve over ice. Makes 5 servings.

COLD TREATS

"I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!" A summer staple and a favorite among young and old, ice cream is always a sure way to make the summer swelter a little better. Here are a few clever combos that are sure to put a smile on your face, and an extra notch in your belt. Ha, ha, ha. Not really. Well, not if you eat just eat a little bit.

PB and J Sundae
www.NoblePig.com

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1/4 cup strawberry or grape jam (use jam not jelly)
1/4 cup butter
2 slices white bread, crusts removed, sliced into 1/2" cubes
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

Transfer ice cream to a mixing bowl and add jelly. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the jelly so it is streaky and not uniformly mixed. Return the ice cream and jelly mixture to the pint container and freeze until set, about 2 -3 hours.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and stir to coat bread on all sides (I used my fingers to flip the cubes around, making sure they all soaked up some of the butter). Continue stirring, until bread is golden brown on all sides. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, stirring well to make sugar gets on all sides of the bread and set aside.

Combine heavy cream and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add peanut butter and stir until combined and melted.

To serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls, drizzle with peanut butter sauce and top with croutons.

Root Beer Sherbet
www.SeriousEats.com
*this recipe requires an ice cream maker

2 cups root beer, chilled
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 cup "light" (clear) corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together root beer, cream, corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla until very well combined. Whisk in salt to taste. The root beer bubbles may form a fizzy raft in the bowl when combined with the cream; this is fine, and churning will fully incorporate it into the base.

If root beer and cream were not chilled, refrigerate mixture for 2 to 3 hours until very cold. Churn mixture according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sherbet to container and chill in freezer for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving.

COLD EATS

Since, it's clearly not the time to share my award-winning chili recipe, here are a couple of cool and easy things to whip up this weekend while you chill out with friends.

Cucumber Salad
www.food.com

2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream or 2 tablespoons yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste (I like a lot of pepper)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Mix cucumbers and onions together. Mix rest of ingredients together in a closed bowl and give a shake. Add to cucumbers, chill till very cold & serve.

Bacon, Broccoli, Raisin Salad
www.food.com

1 (2 1/8 ounce) package fully cooked bacon, prepared according to directions
2 bunches broccoli, chopped
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 1/2 cups coleslaw dressing

Prepare bacon according to package directions. Crumble into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine bacon, broccoli, raisins, pecans and onions. Pour dressing over and toss to combine.

OK, time to get out of the kitchen and head for the next stop on our heat fighting adventure—the couch, for a nicer, newer nap. ZZZZ. Until next time. Stay cool!