Food Blog Posts

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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A football referee in a black and white striped shirt blows a whistle while another raises his arms to signal a touchdown. Another illustration uses a thermometer to depict the proper freezing, refrigeration, cooking and holding temperatures for food.

February 2, 2018

I may not be very interested in football, but I love food. So for me, Superbowl parties are all about the snacks! (Photo credit: Karen Blakeslee/Kansas State University Research & Extension)

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A group of ripening tomatoes are shown in a close-up.

January 27, 2018

Bone-chilling temps have you stuck inside dreaming of that first home-grown tomato sandwich? Well, this is a great time to prepare for a healthy crop. (Photo by Alan Henn)

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Close-up of a young leafy green vegetable plant growing in a salad table with other herbs and marigolds.

January 16, 2018

If you are planning for your vegetable garden this spring, a salad table or two might be in order. Salad tables are a great addition to a traditional vegetable garden or wonderful on their own.
​(Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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Five baked muffins loaded with fruit and nuts on a green floral plate. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)

January 12, 2018

Sometimes you need a quick energy boost that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty.

And sometimes your food preferences or allergies don’t line up with the ready-made options available, box mixes, or the recipes you find on Pinterest.

One solution to this problem is a recipe I like to call “Cook’s Choice Muffins.”

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Four Crispy Rice Peanut Butter Bites made with oats, peanut butter, mini chocolate chips, crispy rice cereal, and honey sit on a small dark turquoise plate with a floral border.

January 5, 2018

Need some energy but want full control over the ingredients in your treats? Look no further!
These tasty, bite-sized snacks are quick and easy to make, and don’t require any baking. If you have little hands to keep busy, this is a fun recipe to make together – you can learn about fractions and get them to help make their own food. Learning can be so sweet!
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A mixture of rice, apples, raisins and almonds is displayed in a colorful bowl.

December 13, 2017

Looking for something a little different for your holiday menu this year?

Consider adding Orange Wild Rice with Raisins and Apples to your lineup. Apples, raisins and orange juice add some sweetness to the savory rice, and the almonds give it a bit of added texture. Leaving out the parsley will allow more of the fruity notes to come through.

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Several varieties of lettuces grow in a raised bed.

November 15, 2017

I have a confession to make: I have garden envy.

This week I took a walk and stumbled upon this delicious looking plant.

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Several rows of fruit including apple slices, tangerine segments, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes and a pear are arranged on a white platter in the shape of a turkey.

November 13, 2017

Need a healthy snack to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you cook on Thanksgiving? Or are you interested in skipping the cheesy contribution to the office party? Then check out this fun and easy fruit platter you can build in just minutes. If you have kids, you might get them to build it for you, and even snack on the fruit while they work!

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

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a delicious and healthy snack, but need to be eaten soon after purchase to keep them from going to waste. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

Food Tossed is Money Lost: Tips for Saving Food and Money