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Food Blog Posts

 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.

A grilled burrito topped with salsa and a green salad with tomato served on a multicolored plate.

June 13, 2019

With all of the delicious, fresh vegetables available this time of year at great prices, vegetable burritos are a fast, farmers market-friendly meal you can whip up in no time. While Southwest-inspired recipes can hide a lot of calories, a few substitutions can keep you from breaking the calorie bank. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

graphic showing items that need to be refrigerated

June 10, 2019

Ketchup and maple syrup often sit on the table at your favorite local restaurant. But at home, these items – and many others you might not think about – really belong in the refrigerator.

Yellow squash in a paper bowl sitting on a red and white checkered tablecloth.

June 4, 2019

When you visit your community farmers market, you know you're purchasing local produce in its peak season. Fruits and vegetables have more flavor and are typically less expensive when they’re in season. So, when you go to the farmers market, how do you make the most out of in-season produce? (Photo by Michaela Parker)

Tiny brown insects scattered across the underside of a green eggplant leaf.

May 31, 2019

No matter how you slice it, gardening is a risky business.

We have no control over the weather, waves of pestilence, the threat of plant diseases. It’s a wonder we don’t all just chuck our gardening tools and say, “See you at the farmers market.”

A 10-month-old baby eats homemade baby food.

May 17, 2019

Making your own baby food can be a great way to save money and capture fresh fruits and vegetables at their peak flavor. This means top nutrition and exciting new food experiences for your baby. (Besides, you know some of those baby food flavor combinations gross you out. When you make your own, you have full control!)

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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