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Food Blog Posts

A woman stands on a sidewalk.

October 20, 2020

Being a Registered Dietitian and daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I understand the importance of using a healthy lifestyle and nutrition to reduce cancer risk. Certain foods high in phytonutrients, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins may reduce cancer risk.

Three corn pancakes on a terra cotta plate.

October 13, 2020

I love versatile recipes, and these corn pancakes fit the bill! You can use canned, fresh, or frozen corn, so whether you slice it off the cob or use some of the bags of frozen corn you bought during a major sale at the grocery store, you’ll have a great side dish in no time! I also love that I can make the batter from scratch or use a ready-made pancake mix.

A slow cooker filled with a meal sits on a counter.

October 9, 2020

Slow cookers are great for quick and easy meals any time of year. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, this small appliance can help you when you are too busy to cook or you need to free up oven space when you’re cooking a large meal. Check out these recipes from The Food Factor previously featured on the blog.

Cooked chicken, noodles, and spinach in a clear glass bowl

October 6, 2020

Who says comfort food has to be unhealthy? This delicious casserole is loaded with flavor, and best of all—you don’t have to heat up the oven! Before you start putting all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, please note: the noodles, spinach, and cheese are added *after* the chicken cooks for 6–8 hours. You’ll cook the noodles separately, so this is not technically a one-dish meal, but it’s pretty close!

Strawberry cookie dough balls coated in coconut on a plate

September 21, 2020

Fresh fruit is a delicious and healthy snack, but sometimes you need something more portable and less messy. That’s when homemade snacks, like these Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Balls, come in handy!

What makes these healthier than regular cookies? The ingredients are high in fiber, natural sugars, and healthy fats. And they are loaded with flavor!

Potato salad in a small clear glass bowl

September 15, 2020

If you aren’t a fan of traditional potato salad, give this Ranch Potato Salad a try! Low-fat mayonnaise reduces the calories and fat to make this a healthier choice.

A bowl of uncooked brown rice.

September 11, 2020

September is National Rice Month! So, let’s celebrate with some great tasting rice recipes that have been featured on the blog.

Grilled sweet potato slices on a bright turquoise blue plate

August 31, 2020

Just because sweet potatoes are harvested in the fall doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them year-round! With this recipe for Grilled Sweet Potatoes, you don’t even have to heat up the oven!

Grilled marinated chicken breasts

August 25, 2020

Have you ever fallen into a cooking rut, using the same spices and flavorings on all your foods?  There’s nothing wrong with relying on a few faithful flavors—I love lemon pepper!—but trying new recipes can open up your taste horizons and renew your enthusiasm for cooking.

Marinades are a fun way to experiment with flavors, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on premade options. Combining different oils, acids (citrus juice, vinegar, soy sauce), and spices can take your taste buds on an adventure.

Beef and potato kabobs on a stainless steel platter

August 18, 2020

Grilled kabobs just shout summertime! The best part about kabobs is getting to choose your favorite vegetables to include. This traditional take on kabobs includes potatoes and zucchini. But you could easily add other veggies, including mushrooms or peppers.

You may be thinking, “Potatoes?! I’ll burn up my steak before the potatoes are done!” Never fear! You will microwave the potatoes before grilling to be sure they’re properly cooked!

A woman stands in front of a house as children with backpacks appear in the backgroud.

August 11, 2020

No matter how your children go back to school this year, healthy lunches and snacks will provide them with the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and build their immune systems.

Three plates with tortillas, fish, and a completed grilled fish taco with peach salsa on a picnic table.

August 4, 2020

Fans of The Food Factor know I like spicy food, and these tacos bring the heat! What I love about this recipe is how the peach salsa has both sweet and spicy elements that enhance the flavor of the fish.

While the original recipe recommends tilapia, you can substitute Mississippi farm-raised catfish and support your local farmers!

Cubed watermelon with spices and fresh mint.

July 20, 2020

Every once in a while, I get the urge to try a recipe that is totally different from anything I’ve ever tasted. Fire & Ice Watermelon Salad uses sweet, cubed watermelon, but adds savory flavors and fresh mint for a unique and refreshing salad.

A wooden spoon is used to stir mint leaves in a pitcher of lemonad.

July 14, 2020

Hot summer weather is here, and this mint lemonade is just the thing for cooling off! If you’re not already growing your own mint, I recommend trying it. Be sure to plant mint in a pot, because it thrives in Mississippi and will spread like wildfire if you put it in the ground!

A woman sits in a chair outside.

July 6, 2020

Video by Jonathan Parrish

There’s no better time than now to use food to build your body’s natural defenses to boost and help protect your immune system. A healthy immune system helps your body fight illness.

Merriam-Webster defines nutrition as the act or process of nourishing or being nourished. Nourishment focuses on using many nutrients from a variety of foods to give you what you need to be healthy.

So, make sure your kitchen is stocked with an assortment of foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, and plant-based proteins, such...

A family eats at a picnic table in the park.

July 2, 2020

During your outdoor outings, you'll want to take some steps to ensure your food doesn't spoil in the cooler.

fruit salad with whipped topping in a clear glass bowl

June 29, 2020

Fresh, cold fruit and creamy, fat-free topping make this Red, White, & Blue Salad the perfect treat to beat the heat at your next summer gathering. A little bit of lime juice will keep the bananas from browning and adds that zesty citrus flavor I love so much!

Water poured over brown eggs in an electric pressure cooker.

June 25, 2020

Hard-boiled eggs are a quick, affordable, and protein-filled snack. They are the foundation for egg salad and deviled eggs and are tasty in a variety of salads. So use your electric pressure cooker to make easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs!

A mixture of spices and salt in a clear glass bowl

June 15, 2020

Making your own mixes is a favorite topic here on The Food Factor. We’ve shared recipes for Ranch Dressing Mix, Taco Seasoning Mix, and Magic Meat Mixes. Today we’ve got a recipe for Italian Dressing Mix!

True confession: I don’t usually make this dressing mix for salads. I put it in the slow cooker with roast beef, onions, and peppers for a delicious alternative to traditional pot roast.

A person off-camera pours water into a glass.

June 9, 2020

Staying hydrated plays a key role in keeping our body systems working. How much water should you drink daily?

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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 woman stands on a sidewalk.
Being a registered dietitian and daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I understand the importance of using a healthy lifestyle and nutrition to reduce cancer risk.
How Can Nutrition Reduce Cancer Risk?