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Food Blog Posts

Cooked, shredded pork roast in cranberry sauce.

December 4, 2019

Our Facebook fans have asked for healthier holiday recipes and slow cooker recipes, so The Food Factor team has combined both requests into one new video: Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast!

Homemade applesauce in a blue and white enamel bowl.

November 29, 2019

Nothing says fall like the scent of homemade applesauce simmering on the stove. One of the best things about making your own food is the ability to control the spices, amount of sugar, and texture of whatever you’re making. We found small bags of apples on sale for 99 cents each in the produce department of our local grocery store. Imperfect or slightly bruised apples make great applesauce! (Photo by MSU Extension)

Roasted Brussels sprouts on a serving dish.

November 15, 2019

Eating seasonal vegetables helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Brussels sprouts are wildly popular right now and are easy to prepare. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/MSU Extension)

Multiple sweet potatoes in a box.

November 8, 2019

Sweet potatoes and yams. They’re the same thing, right?

Not really. They look and taste different. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are sweeter with a smooth, thin skin. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A woman holds a smoothie while standing in a kitchen.

October 25, 2019

When you need a boost of protein before you dash out the door, try this quick smoothie. You can experiment with different fruits, add ice if you prefer a frozen drink, and swap out peanut butter for an alternative like sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

 Green lettuce and cooked chicken wrapped in a wheat tortilla.

October 11, 2019

Fans of The Food Factor know I love rotisserie chicken. I’ve added this quick recipe to my repertoire for using a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You could also use canned chicken breast or even sliced chicken or turkey from the deli.

Cooked noodles, vegetables, and beef.

October 4, 2019

I’m always looking for recipes that cook up fast and reheat well. This Asian Beef and Noodles recipe gives me a delicious dinner and fabulous leftovers for my lunch.

A pink blended raspberry dessert in a green cup.

September 20, 2019

Eating healthy foods doesn’t mean saying no to all desserts. For me, it means finding recipes that satisfy my sweet tooth but also help me meet my goals for daily fruits and vegetables. This recipe for a frozen treat is low in fat and loaded with fruit and fiber.

Spinach dip in a ceramic bowl centered on a plate surrounded by cut celery, baby carrots, and sliced red bell pepper.

September 13, 2019

It’s tailgating season, and there’s nothing like a buffet of snacks to rack up the calories. The Food Factor to the rescue! Here is a healthier take on your favorite spinach dip. Instead of chips, serve with cut-up veggies.

Extension for Real Life banner.

September 6, 2019

September is National Rice Month! To celebrate, we made this fast and filling Caribbean Casserole. It’s perfect as a quick weeknight entrée served with a side salad and fruit, or as a potluck dish. 

Cauliflower and cheese tots on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

August 30, 2019

If you have little helpers in the kitchen, put them to work making these tots. I love how versatile this recipe is – it can be an afterschool snack, an appetizer, or a healthy side dish. Bonus points for making vegetables FUN!

A clear glass pitcher and glass with watermelon punch.

August 23, 2019

In Mississippi, the summer heat goes on forever. If you are ready for a break from the same old beverages, try this tasty and refreshing watermelon punch. You get the health benefits of fruit and hydration at the same time!

Baked fish with spinach, tomatoes, and onions sits on a plate.

August 16, 2019

August is National Catfish Month! There are many delicious ways to cook catfish, and this recipe helps you get those daily vegetable servings checked off your list. Support Mississippi’s catfish producers and buy locally raised catfish.

Foil wrapped potatoes in a slow cooker.

August 9, 2019

Who says you can’t have “baked potatoes” in the summertime?

I love baked potatoes, but I hate heating up the oven when the summer sun is sizzling. That’s when my slow cooker comes to the rescue! It’s fast and easy to wash, oil, and foil potatoes before work in the morning. Then, when I come home, I can add my healthy toppings and have a meal in no time.

A wooden stake is wrapped with white string to support the adjacent tomato plant. A man stands behind the stake and points to the string.

August 6, 2019

If you planted fall tomatoes, soon you’ll need to install a support system to keep the branches and fruit off the ground. There are three different systems for supporting tomatoes: staking, trellising, and caging.

An array of ingredients in glass bowls, including romaine lettuce, onion, diced red pepper, Mexicorn, diced tomato, black beans, salsa, cooked diced chicken breast, and mozzarella cheese, surround a blue and white plate bearing four halves of whole wheat pita bread.

July 26, 2019

When the weather heats up, it’s good to have a plan for those nights when you just don’t want to heat up the kitchen. This recipe is perfect for summer nights, for picky eaters (because everyone can decide what they want in their pita), and for healthy eaters. #winning

A woman stands in a kitchen while holding a can of reduced fat cream of chicken soup.

July 12, 2019

If you’ve ever been told you need to cut fat from your diet and wondered how to do it, this post is for you!

Fat, especially saturated fat, plays a role in heart health. Increased blood cholesterol is tied to heart disease, so finding ways to reduce saturated fat is important.

Large tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness ranging from light yellow to orange-red hang on green stems filled with green leaves.

July 5, 2019

If you love home-grown tomatoes, you can enjoy them into fall. Get your plants into the ground from July to early August, depending on where you live in the state, and you can harvest into October or November.

A steamed salmon filet sprinkled with onions and dill sits atop roasted vegetables.

June 28, 2019

Have you ever heard someone praise the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, but wondered what to cook? This delicious fish recipe, cooked with an assortment of tasty vegetables, fits the bill! Fish, healthy oils, and plenty of vegetables are key parts of the Mediterranean diet. Served with a side of whole-grain couscous or pasta, you’ve got a feast ready in about 45 minutes. 

Angel food cake with strawberries, cool whip, and strawberries on a green plate.

June 25, 2019

Ever since I started hosting The Food Factor, I’ve been getting curious looks at the grocery store. Other shoppers will recognize me and look in my buggy to see what I’m buying. People assume that I must always eat healthy foods, or I never have dessert.

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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