While I am writing this, the U.S. Open is on right now and I’m in the in the office writing a column. (It’s being recorded, but you knew that. I can’t miss one hit ball!) I’m waiting for the second week to come to see if my predictions come true.

Sometime before the Open is over, we usually get a cool front headed our way. One can’t come too soon for me. I have not enjoyed this hot weather any more than anyone else.

When I went to visit my aunt in Cedar Park, it was like a concrete jungle. Reminded me of Arizona! (But, Arizona is a dry heat. That’s what I always hear when I mention going to Phoenix to visit Cheryl when she is there chillin’.)

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Our friends at Zatarain’s have some new stuff hitting the grocery store. We all love Zatarain’s, so I’m glad to hear about these new dishes that are easy and healthy. Here is what Kacey from Zatarain’s sent me.

Hi Gin,

There’s a new meal hack on the shelves at your local supermarket. Zatarain’s Garden District Kitchen brown rice with beans mixes come in five bold, crave-able flavors inspired by New Orleans’ global culinary heritage that you didn’t know your pantry was missing until now.

Create your own signature “power bowls” by topping one of five Garden District Kitchens flavors with your favorite veggies and chicken or pork for even more protein.

Parmesan Garlic Brown Rice With White Beans: Topped with baby arugula, bell pepper strips, zucchini, chopped tomatoes, green onions and chopped parsley.

Roasted Garlic Adobo Brown Rice With Black Beans: Topped with red onion, corn, avocado, sprouts, baby spinach leaves and chopped tomatoes.

The best part is, Garden District Kitchen rice and bean mixes are ready in just 10 minutes and are packed with plant-based protein and fiber for a filling and nutritious addition to your meal whether starring as a side, the main event or a base for meal prepping. For a super hack, add toppings straight from your grocery store salad bar because who has tine to chop all those veggies after a long day?

Salsa Verde Brown Rice with Red Beans: Bright, tangy lime, zesty cumin and jalapeno combine with brown rice and red beans to express New Orleans cuisine’s Latin influence.

Spanish Style Brown Rice with Bell Peppers and White Beans: The Spanish left their mark on New Orleans as enjoyed in this combination of perfectly spiced brown rice, bell peppers, and white beans.

Easy to prepare whole grain brown rice and white beans flavored with rich butter, fragrant basil and zesty lemon, showcasing French influence on New Orleans cuisine and culture. Garden District Kitchen mixes are perfect alone as a meatless meal, on the side or mixed into an easy weeknight dish with just a few ingredients that will become your family’s new favorites like Parmesan Garlic Rice with chicken and spinach or a Savory Mushroom, Bacon and Roasted Garlic Adobo Rice. Create your own signature “power bowls” for lunch or dinner by topping the prepared rice mix with your favorite veggies and proteins, so everyone gets what they want.

Kacey,

Thank you so much for letting us all look for these new ways to prepare an easy and healthy meal for our families. And another thank you for the ideas.

I would urge everyone to look up these dishes. They look delicious!

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I was talking to my childhood friend Peggy Miltenberger the other day when she mentioned to me how she washed her car. So I took notes. Because, like Peggy, I like to hand-wash my little red baby car.

She said she put a bucket in a wagon and filled it up with water and car washing soap. What a great idea! You just pull the wagon around the car without having to lift up a bucket of water.

She also said she uses a bottle washer to get in between the spokes on your wheels. Another great idea. I even have a wagon, so why didn’t ever think of doing that? It must be because I would rather bend down and haul up a heavy bucket of water. So good for the old back! Duh!

Thanks, Peggy, for the tips. You always were the smarter one of the two of us!

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX 77531 or ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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