New Castle News

September 5, 2013

Lori Brothers: It’s time to say goodbye to summer

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The summer holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day areover. I’m so sorry to have to deliver the sad news.

I decided to track down some interesting facts about summer, even though it’s behind us, to cheer us all up. Remember, good attitudes result in better health.

Believe it or not, there’s been worse weather recorded than we had this year in the past. In 1816, there was a historic decrease in solar activity because of a large volcanic eruption of Mount Tamboura in Indonesia. During that summer, extremely low temperatures were recorded in the U.S., Canada, and Northern Europe.

During July and August of that year, lakes and river beds iced over as far south as Pennsylvania. So even though we’ve known better summers, I guess we can be grateful we didn’t see ice in July.

Of course, each month of summer holds a special qualityof its own.

June was named after the Roman goddess Juno. Another interesting note, the Romans were the ones who began the tradition of summer weddings, often choosing June to receive Juno’s blessing. This tradition continues with June being the No. 1 month for weddings, followed by August. September and October come in third and fourth.

July is National Ice Cream Month because it’s the month that the most ice cream is sold in the U.S. Americans eat an average of 5.5 gallons per year per person. I sure hope that’s fat-free ice cream.

August is the most-traveled month of the summer. So if you didn’t get your vacation in yet this year, it may be time to use September as your catch-up month. I actually know people who have said to me they were getting in their August vacation in September. Maybe this is becoming a new trend.

This next fact blew me away because I didn’t know it. Maybe some of you do. I knew that a tomato was a fruit and not a veggie — but did you know that watermelon is a veggie, and not a fruit!

Watermelon, which is made up of 92 percent water, is part of the cucumber, pumpkin and squash family. According to statistics, that makes watermelon summer’s most popular veggie. Who knew?  The average American eats 15 pounds of watermelon each year.

OK, this one’s for the scientific minds out there. The frequency of a cricket’s chirps fluctuates with the temperature. If you count a cricket’s chirps for 15 seconds and add 37, you will have the approximate outdoor temperature. Check that out.

Lastly, I want to wish all of the teachers and students who are getting back into the school schedule a great year. Kids, I hope you all read books throughout the summer. Stats show that reading four to five books during the summer can prevent a decline in a child’s fall reading scores, and improve retention of what they’ve learned the previous school year. Meanwhile, teachers address the non-readers by spending an average of four to six weeks re-teaching material that students have lost during the summer.

Let’s all head into fall with a great attitude, and hopefully a smile. It does a mind and body good.

Chili Red Bean Patties

Serve on buns or in a wrap or by themselves with vegetable side dishes.

Servings: 4

• 1 teaspoon olive oil

• 1/2 cup minced onions

• 1/2 cup chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes

• 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers (more if you like it hot)

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon ground chili powder

• 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

• 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

• 1 egg white, beaten

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add to the pan the onion, tomato, jalapeno, garlic and chili powder and sauté 5 minutes.

Cool slightly. Using fork, coarsely mash beans in bowl. Combine with onion mixture, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce and egg white.

Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Cover and chill.

If grilling, spray grill rack with nonstick spray, then heat up coals to medium heat. If cooking on stove top, heat a 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Place patties on grill or in skillet and cook until golden brown and heated through, about three minutes per side.

Serve burgers on whole wheat buns if desired. Serve with more barbecue sauce, fat free cheese, tomato, lettuce or avocado if desired.