National Ice Cream Month

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Did you know that more ice cream is consumed per person in the USA than in any other country in the world? It should come as no surprise then that this beloved frozen favorite even has its own national observance. July was designated National Ice Cream Month in 1984, and─needless to say─Americans are more than happy to celebrate with their favorite flavors.

While you can easily buy a quart around the corner, there’s something a bit magical about making your own, which is remarkably simple with an inexpensive ice cream machine. You’ll have a great time creating such favorites as Creamy Vanilla, Easy Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup, Truly Key Lime, Lavender, or Butter Pecan: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/desserts/frozen-treats/ice-cream/main.aspx

You can also jazz up your homemade ice cream with tasty additions like granola, crumbled cookies, toasted nuts, fresh berries, apricots, peaches, dried fruit, etc. How about some grown-up flavors like Kahlua-spiked vanilla, or chocolate infused with Grand Marnier or Peppermint Schnapps?

Other innovative treats to get you chilling on hot days include popsicles, frozen yogurt, granita, sorbet, gelato, frozen cakes, pies and more. Imagine such mouth-watering delicacies as Frozen Raspberry Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust, Gingersnap-Banana Frozen Yogurt, Melon & Apple Granita, or Watermelon-Blueberry Ice Pops? Find these and many more here: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_frozen_dessert_recipes

If you’re feeling health-conscious, bravo! Summer is bikini season after all. You can savor your ice cream guilt-free with some minor adjustments. For example, use nonfat condensed milk, low-fat milk, almond or soy milk in lieu of heavy cream or whole milk. You can also delete two egg yolks, or even add gelatin to keep it rich and creamy sans the extra fat. Here’s a major fix: swap sugar for stevia, agave nectar─or a blend of both─and you’ve just created an amazing make-over that will taste as good or better!

Healthy recipes include Lemon-Buttermilk ice cream─refreshingly tart, yet creamy─made from fat-free buttermilk combined with whole milk. You might also like Fresh Peach Ice Cream made with low-calorie sweetener and a dash of almond extract. Sprinkle with cinnamon and crown with almond biscotti for a truly elegant dessert. Feeling adventurous? Try Warm Oranges in Sake Ice Cream with Sesame Brittle. Find these and others at: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/thumbnails/0,,20307307,00.html

Feel free to experiment with these ideas and expand from there. All it takes is an ice cream machine, some basic ingredients, and a little imagination. Now that’s cool.

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