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Food Blog Posts

Homemade pico de gallo in a white container placed in the center of a wooden bowl of tortilla chips.

July 13, 2018

Summertime means homegrown tomatoes, or tasty tomatoes picked up at the local farmers market. One of my favorite ways to use these seasonal treats is a fresh summer salsa that’s delicious on top of grilled fish or chicken, a healthy addition to a baked potato, or the perfect match for tortilla chips and taco salad. I personally love tortilla chips with lime! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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Two ears of seasoned grilled corn on a platter.

July 6, 2018

Sweet corn is a popular crop in Mississippi, and different varieties grow throughout the warm months. It’s an affordable, fresh, and locally grown treat. Whether you like to cook it in the microwave  or cream it like your grandma taught you, corn is one of those foods that sings summertime! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A pint glass jar filled with homemade taco seasoning sits on a kitchen countertop.

July 3, 2018

It’s TACO TUESDAY! Don’t you hate reaching into the cabinet for that little packet of taco seasoning, only to find you forgot to buy any? 

Save yourself an extra trip to the store, and mix up your own taco seasoning! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A product display of Greek yogurt, buttermilk and kefir.

June 21, 2018

If you’re lactose intolerant, you may roll your eyes when you think of dairy. Yes, June is National Dairy Month, but what good is that to you? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A sliced, ripe watermelon sits on a table outdoors.

June 19, 2018

Choosing a ripe watermelon at the market is easy if you know what to look for.  (Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A graphic depicts a woman preparing to clean a refrigerator after storing a recalled food item.

June 15, 2018

June is National Healthy Homes Month! Do you know all the steps to take to ensure your home is safe and healthy for your family?

A regular cleaning regime can keep your home free of dust, dirt, mold and pests. But did you know your refrigerator should be in this regular lineup? (Graphic by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

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A parfait made of seasonal, locally grown blueberries, strawberries, granola, and yogurt.

June 8, 2018

June is National Dairy Month, and what better way to enjoy a healthy dairy treat than a fast, easy fruit and yogurt parfait? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish)

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Natasha Haynes, an African American female wearing a plaid dress shirt stands in a kitchen and uses tongs to mix food ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. A tall bottle of olive oil is on the table.

May 25, 2018

If you want an inexpensive vegetable, this time of year you can find zucchini *everywhere.* If you have friends with big gardens, they might even give it away. Some of my Extension agent friends in other states joke about locking their car doors to keep people from putting bags of this versatile squash in there when no one is looking! 

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A white bowl contains red grape tomatoes, sliced strawberries, sliced red apples, green sugar snap peas, orange carrots, and a dark purple grape.

May 15, 2018

Every weekend before I go grocery shopping, I clean out the refrigerator and experience guilt.

Partially full yogurt containers past their expiration date. Shriveling squash. Browning celery. Leftovers I saved with good intentions but never ate. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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The Food Factor Logo

May 4, 2018

I love cooking eggs for breakfast. However, my omelets end up being more scrambled than the fancy folded-over works of art served in restaurants. With that in mind, I’m usually looking for quick and creative scrambled eggs ideas. (Photo by Zac Ashmore and Jonathan Parrish)

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A pan of prepared Italian sausages with onions and green and red peppers.

May 1, 2018

Everybody loves to save time in the kitchen. Sheet pan suppers have become a very trendy topic lately – Pinterest is LOADED with recipes and ideas. For me, a sheet pan meal is a surefire way to clean up in a hurry, because I line the pan with foil.

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The Food Factor logo is a light green pear with a chemistry beaker in the place of the A in the title, The Food Factor, on a peach-colored background.

April 27, 2018

I never knew how much I learned about cooking from my mother and her mother, whom we called Mou, until I grew up and started cooking on my own. With today’s busy lifestyles, many families no longer have the advantage of experienced home cooks passing their skills to the next generation. (Photo by Zac Ashmore and Jonathan Parrish)

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MSU Extension Agent Natasha Haynes, an African American woman with chin-length straight black hair stands behind a kitchen table displaying a crock of kitchen utensils, a red pot, and assorted home-canned and fresh fruits and vegetables.

April 17, 2018

We’ve been working on a Top Secret Project for several months! Whether you are already a fan of our TV show, The Food Factor, or you are just hearing about it for the first time, we are excited to announce all new, fresh digital content will launch in May. More tips, recipes, and the how-to content you’ve been asking for! (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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Four separate cucurbit crops grown in a field.

April 3, 2018

MSU scientists are on the lookout for a cucurbit crop bandit. And they need your help!

Cucurbit downy mildew is a sneaky thief with the ability to quickly and significantly reduce yields or wipe out entire crops of susceptible cucurbits, including cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squash. (File photo by Rebecca A. Melanson)

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Browned ground beef, chopped onions, celery, and garlic in a non-stick skillet ready to spoon into individual freezer bags.

March 23, 2018

I love to cook, but I’m always interested in learning about shortcuts.
That’s why I was really excited to watch this episode of “The Food Factor” – because MSU Extension Agent Natasha Haynes talks about saving time and money! (Photo by Brian Utley and Jonathan Parrish)

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A piece of hardware cloth encircles a small, layered pile of organic waste.

March 20, 2018

Compost is a great soil conditioner. It helps the soil hold water and improves clay and sandy soils. Starting your own pile is easy and can help keep organic waste out of landfills. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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A green smoothie fills a tall clear drinking glass and has a red and white striped straw in it.

March 13, 2018

Confession: I have made some disgusting smoothies.
Whenever I’ve attempted to simply throw together a few ingredients, I have ended up with something that looked and tasted awful. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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Miniature green bok choi plants grow in small window box containers.

February 26, 2018

Intimidated by gardening? Yes?
Our advice: start small. You don’t have to commit to a half-acre garden. Try planting a few of your favorite vegetables in containers.
(Photo by Gary Bachman)

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USDA graphic explains egg grades and sizes and what the carton labels mean

February 16, 2018

Eggs are a staple in most kitchens, and for good reason. They’re a great source of protein and can be prepared a variety of ways for any meal of the day. They’re even good snacks. (Photo by USDA)

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An assortment of green, orange, and red vegetables are arranged in a heart shape.

February 9, 2018

Wearing red in February isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. It’s also worn to raise awareness of the dangers of heart disease.
The American Heart Association reports about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. 

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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. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). 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

Recent Posts

A plant with light green leaves and white flowers on tall stems grows in the shade under a tree.

Heuchera plants come in a wide range of leaf colors to add variety to the shady areas of your landscape. 

What Plants Thrive in the Shade?
A brown tick is pictured next to a penny on a gray background.

Ticks can be tiny. Be sure to check your entire body after working or playing in an area where ticks are likely to occur. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

Protect Yourself from Mosquitos and Ticks