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News Filed Under Food and Health

A poison ivy vine.
June 18, 2020 - Filed Under: Health, Plants and Wildlife

With many summer attractions closed or limited due to COVID-19, people are heading into the great outdoors. As you’re exploring nature, you don’t want to have a run-in with the dreaded poison ivy.  

A bar graph showing data on coronavirus cases.
June 16, 2020 - Filed Under: Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Knowing the difference between quarantining and isolating is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

On June 15, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the COVID-19 case total exceeded 20,000, with more than 900 deaths. Rising along with those numbers is the seven-day average of cases by date when the patients became sick. MSDH data indicate an average of around 300 cases per day through the first half of June compared to approximately 250 daily at the beginning of May.

A mixture of spices and salt in a clear glass bowl
June 15, 2020 - Filed Under: Food

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 - Filed Under: Food, Health, Nutrition

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

June 5, 2020 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, The PROMISE Initiative

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A health leadership team led by the Mississippi State University Extension Service has received a national award for its work to address mental health challenges in the state’s agricultural community.

Directors of the PROMISE Initiative will receive the Southern Distinguished Team award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, during the organization’s annual national conference in October. PROMISE stands for “PReventing Opioid Misuse in the SouthEast.” Epsilon Sigma Phi is a nationwide organization for Extension professionals.

A gloved hand holds a credit card above a keyboard.
June 4, 2020 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management, Fraud and Identity Theft, Coronavirus

Adding insult to injury, attempts at fraud always increase during times of crisis, a reality many Mississippians are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frozen yogurt-dipped grapes sit on a baking sheet.
June 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Food, Health, Nutrition

Do you need some quick and healthy snack ideas for the office or to pack the pantry and fridge for the kids this summer?

A group of 4-H’ers make silly gestures.
June 1, 2020 - Filed Under: 4-H, Coronavirus

With social distancing measures still in place, Mississippi 4-H’ers will participate in the state’s first-ever Virtual State 4-H Congress in 2020 instead of the traditional in-person gathering.

A basket of catfish hovers above a pond and against a sunset background.
May 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Catfish, Catfish Marketing, Agri-business, Coronavirus

Catfish producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have the opportunity to provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture information on why they should be eligible for economic assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Clear glass parfait cups with lemon pudding layered with graham cracker crumbs topped with manadarin orange slices
May 26, 2020 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Food

Lemon Velvet Supreme is very low in fat and relies on fruit as a primary ingredient. Be sure to choose fresh fruit, such as blueberries, or canned fruit packed in natural juices, not in heavy syrup! To keep the graham crackers crispy, put this together right before you’re going to serve it. The original recipe serves six and calls for assembling the ingredients in a serving dish. If you go this route, I’d use an 8”x8” square pan.

For fun, we decided to make individual servings in pretty dishes! Note: we used 8 whole graham crackers, and that was quite a bit for our individual dishes, but would make a good bottom layer in a serving dish. Also, the graham crackers do not form a crust, so this is not a dessert you cut into squares. You just spoon it into small bowls and enjoy!

An assortment of food items in a box.
May 22, 2020 - Filed Under: Community, Family, Food and Health, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than 19% of Mississippians were food insecure before COVID-19 prevention measures shut down much of the state’s commerce. Now, layoffs and missing paychecks make it even more difficult for many to access proper nutrition.

May 21, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic can now access a guide on applying for monetary relief through a new federal program.

Spicy tuna on top of mixed greens, in a bowl as a dip, and in a wrap on a plate.
May 18, 2020 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Food

Do you ever get tired of eating the same old healthy salad? I do! That’s why I was excited to find this recipe for Spicy Tuna that can be used three different ways: as a dip with baked tortilla chips, as a wrap with lettuce leaves or tortillas, or as a topping for a green salad made with lettuce, mixed greens or fresh spinach.

Closeup of someone spraying mosquito repellent on their arm.
May 14, 2020 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests, Insects-Pet Pests, Household Insects

With all the rain we’ve had this year, mosquitoes have plenty of places to breed. But you can take some easy steps to keep their numbers down.

May 14, 2020 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Coronavirus, Nutrition, SNAP-Ed

As Mississippians continue to practice social distancing, they can learn ways to create shared food and family experiences, prepare meals at home, shop for healthy foods on a budget and be more physically active through the HappyHealthy social campaign.

Orange blooms cover the top of a green plant.
May 11, 2020 - Filed Under: Coronavirus, Flower Gardens

I’m becoming increasingly optimistic about our 2020 Mississippi summer gardens and landscapes. COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind, but an upside to the virus is that more homeowners are gardening than ever before. If you’re looking for summer color that will grow through the summer and beyond, then Profusion zinnia is the plant for you.

May 11, 2020 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Pesticide Applicator Certification, Coronavirus

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There is a new online pathway for agricultural producers and applicators to obtain pesticide use certification.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service Pesticide Safety Education Program, in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), has launched an online Private Applicator Certification program in Mississippi.

Baked boneless porkchops on sliced sweet potatoes topped with orange slices in a glass baking dish
May 7, 2020 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Food

If you are cooking for just one or two, this recipe is for you! It features one of our favorite ingredients – Mississippi-grown sweet potatoes. You can expand this recipe as needed for a larger crowd.

You’ll want to save this recipe for a weeknight when you have a little extra time or cook it on the weekend, as it requires browning the pork chops first, then baking them.

I love the combination of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors! While the recipe doesn’t specify an order, The Food Factor crew put the sweet potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish with a sprinkle of cinnamon, then we topped the potatoes with the chops. Sprinkle the meat with a bit of salt and pepper before the orange slices.

A boy and girl sit at a wooden table and use markers to draw on different colored sheets of paper.
May 6, 2020 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, MSU Extension Head Start, Family Dynamics, Coronavirus

Following nationwide closures of pre-Ks and early childhood education centers due to coronavirus, millions of parents are now caring for their young children at home.

Many Mississippi parents are wondering how to continue their young child’s learning, said Louise Davis, a Mississippi State University Extension Service professor with the School of Human Sciences. With a little bit of structure and some fun activities, young children can continue to develop the skills they need for school and beyond.

A bowl of blueberry baked oatmeal.
May 4, 2020 - Filed Under: Food, Coronavirus, Nutrition

My husband and I cook dinner at home 99 percent of the time. Now that we are practicing social distancing under the governor’s safer-at-home order, our kitchen is really getting a workout.

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