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February 21, 2020

Corn chowder in colorful bowl

Who says soup takes a long time to cook? When it’s cold outside and you want a quick, satisfying soup for supper, try this Ten-Minute Corn Chowder. I love the combination of sweet and savory flavors, and it features ingredients I usually have on hand. I like to stock up on frozen corn kernels when they’re on sale and toss them in a variety of wintery stews and soups.


A person pruning a tree branch with red shears.

How to Prune Apple and Pear Trees

February 17, 2020

Although we still have some cold weather in store, now is the time to start thinking about pruning. Late winter and early spring are the times to prune fruit trees, including apple and pear trees. 

berry cobbler in a bowl.

The Food Factor: Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler

February 12, 2020

Most of us think of using the slow cooker for soups, stews, or budget-friendly cuts of meat, but the slow cooker can also make desserts!

Fruit-based desserts help keep your sweet treats on the healthier side through fiber, vitamins, and natural sugars. This recipe comes together very quickly and if you buy berries on sale, you’ll typically have the ingredients on hand for last-minute get-togethers. And it makes your house smell wonderful!

A close up picture of a person's foot stepping on a scale.

Tips for a Healthy Heart

February 10, 2020

Did you know February is Heart Health Month? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. That’s one in every four deaths! 

A group of blueberries.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Q&A

February 7, 2020

The invasive species of fruit fly, Spotted Wing Drosophila, can wreak havoc on the state’s largest commercial fruit crop – blueberries. But homeowners likely won’t find it to be a significant problem.

A red pruning tool cutting a branch.

How to Prune Crape Myrtles

February 4, 2020

If you’ve got landscape chores on your mind, pruning is no doubt on your list. Crape myrtles are a staple in landscapes across the state because of their low-maintenance beauty.

Rows of spices in clear jars with silver tops.

Tips for Reducing Added Sugar in Your Diet

January 29, 2020

Has anyone heard about the ‘freshman fifteen’? During my first semester of college, I gained more than fifteen pounds. The main culprit was added sugar in soda drinks and desserts

A person with yellow gloves on planting a shrub.

Gardening Tasks for February

January 27, 2020

It may be chilly outside, but don’t let that deter you from going outside and working in your garden and landscape. Grab a jacket and your gardening tools, there is plenty to be done during February! 

Hand with meat thermometer chicken middle of 3 chicken breasts on outdoor grill.

The Food Factor: Freezer Meal Prep for Orange Teriyaki Chicken

January 23, 2020

Freezer meals are all the rage as everyone looks for ways to save time in the kitchen. This recipe is a simple, marinated chicken recipe that you could easily double or triple.

A tree planted in green grass with brown mulch around it.

How to Mulch

January 21, 2020

If you are planning your spring garden chores, mulching is likely on your list. But you may not know that there is a right and wrong way to apply mulch.

Venison burger on a bun sitting on a white plate.

Spicy Venison Burgers

January 16, 2020

Video by Jonathan Parrish

You may not know that our “set” for The Food Factor is a real kitchen in the home of one of our team members. Her husband loves to hunt and share food, so while we are working on the show we often get to sample a variety of venison dishes.

We found this flavorful recipe for Spicy Venison Burgers in a venison recipe booklet from Cornell University Cooperative Extension and thought it would be perfect for The Food Factor!

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Keri Lewis, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu