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March 26, 2020

A person spreading mulch in a flower bed.

Everyone’s normal routine is being flipped upside down. Employees are working from home, kids are out of school, and social gatherings are postponed. Boredom and stress are setting in. Gardening to the rescue! 


A group of house plants sitting next to a window.

Tips for Growing Indoor Plants

January 10, 2020

If you need something green to brighten up your space or get you through the winter months, there is a plant out there for you. But efore you shop for plants, understand the environment of your home or office because different plants have different needs. You must consider six factors when choosing indoor plants if you want to be successful: light, temperature, water, humidity, soil, and fertilization. 

Kale topped with pecans and dried cranberries in a colorful bowl.

How to Make a Kale Salad

January 9, 2020

Kale is a healthy leafy green vegetable that you’ll find year-round in the grocery store but grows abundantly in winter. While it’s great chopped up in soups and stews, it can also be delicious as the base of a tasty salad.

I've discovered two tricks that help make kale better as a salad green. Let’s be honest: kale can be tough to chew and bitter in taste. The first trick is to remove the kale leaves from the stems and massage them. The stems are typically stringy and crunchy, so that helps with the chewiness. Massaging the kale leaves gives them a softer, more silky texture and also reduces the bitter flavor.

A green recycling bin sitting next to a black trashcan.

Easy Ways to Start Recycling

January 6, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker

At the beginning of a new year, everyone makes goals and resolutions to keep throughout the coming months. If you want to make more eco-friendly decisions, here are a few tips to help you become intentional with recycling. 

  1. If you are fortunate to have curbside recycling or drop off locations in your community, take advantage of the opportunity! Be sure to check when recycling is picked up and where drop off sites are.
  2. Know what can’t be recycled. Batteries, electronics, plastic bags, clothing, garden hoses,
  3. ...
Almonds in a white bowl.

Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes

January 2, 2020

The holiday season is finally over and life is slowing down a bit.  Everyone has made their New Year’s resolutions to be the best versions of themselves for 2020. 

Natasha Haynes.

The Food Factor: Top 5 Posts for 2019

December 16, 2019

To wrap up 2019, we wanted to share with you our most popular posts this year.

It's always fun to see what resonates with our food-loving friends. We strive to share recipes we think are healthy, fun, and realistic -- no 25-ingredient recipes here! 

A person with green gloves pruning a tree with yellow leaves.

Gardening Tasks for January

December 16, 2019

Do you have improving your garden or landscape on your New Year’s resolution list? If you don’t, you should! Each month, we are going to offer a few suggested tasks to do. So, without further ado, here are four tasks for you to complete in your garden and landscape during the month of January:

 
Sweet potato muffins on a white plate

Sweet Potato and Orange Muffins

December 12, 2019

Photo by Jonathan Parrish.

Sweet potatoes are healthy, delicious, and grown right here in Mississippi. What’s not to love? Well, I don’t love all the fat that most people add to them, whether making casseroles, baking pies, or deep-frying sweet potato fries.

These muffins are a healthy breakfast food you can enjoy at home or on the go. The recipe pairs the rich flavor of sweet potatoes with a bright splash of citrus. The golden color hides the grated carrot, and whole wheat flour boosts your fiber intake even more. With a mere 120 calories per serving and 50 percent of your vitamin A for the day, you’ll start the day off right! You could add chopped pecans for a little extra protein, or dried cranberries for extra flavor, but know they’ll both add more calories. (In my opinion, it’s worth it!)

A Christmas tree decorated with white lights.

Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

December 10, 2019

If just the thought of the holidays sets off a sense of dread, consider approaching the season differently this year.
Dr. David Buys, Mississippi State University Extension Service health specialist, has some simple, practical tips to help you. 
Photo credit: Michael Voroshnin – Unsplash

Cooked, shredded pork roast in cranberry sauce.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast

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!

Wreath with Santa hat and white tulle shaped to look like a beard hanging on a wooden door.

How to Make a Santa Tulle Wreath

December 3, 2019

Christmas is my favorite time of year! We wanted to share a fun DIY craft to make with your family this holiday season. Natalie Ray, Extension agent in Clay County, made the cutest Santa wreath with her 4-H’ers and we had to share the instructions!

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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.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Keri Lewis, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. 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