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December 12, 2019

Sweet potato muffins on a white plate

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!

Homemade applesauce in a blue and white enamel bowl.

The Food Factor: How to Make Homemade Applesauce

November 29, 2019

Nothing says fall like the scent of homemade applesauce simmering on the stove. One of the best things about making your own food is the ability to control the spices, amount of sugar, and texture of whatever you’re making. We found small bags of apples on sale for 99 cents each in the produce department of our local grocery store. Imperfect or slightly bruised apples make great applesauce! (Photo by MSU Extension)

A group of red poinsettias.

What To do in Your Garden in December

November 26, 2019

Poinsettias, a common Christmas plant, are in bloom during December. (Photo by MSU Extension)

A small tree in a black container inside a freshly dug hole.

How to Plant a Tree

November 22, 2019

If you have a certain spot in your yard that you’ve been thinking about planting a tree, now is the time to do it! The hardest part of planting a tree is picking out which type to plant!

Conversation cards. Complete description in link.

Make Thanksgiving Conversation Cards

November 19, 2019

We all know the holidays can bring together family members with a wide variety of opinions. To keep the conversational train on the tracks, try out our conversation cards this holiday season.

Roasted Brussels sprouts on a serving dish.

The Food Factor: How to Roast Brussels Sprouts

November 15, 2019

Eating seasonal vegetables helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Brussels sprouts are wildly popular right now and are easy to prepare. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/MSU Extension)

Ripe muscadines on a vine with green foliage.

Quick Tips for Starting to Grow Muscadines

November 12, 2019

Video by Michaela Parker

Muscadines are a great fruit to grow at your home, especially here in Mississippi. They thrive in warm, humid weather, making them the perfect fruit to grow in your backyard! If you have been thinking about setting up a muscadine vineyard, here are a few tips to get you started.

The first thing you are going to have to do is build a trellis system for the muscadine vines to grow on. A trellis is a single horizontal wire attached five and a half feet above the ground that is attached to posts about 20 feet apart. It’s very...

Multiple sweet potatoes in a box.

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams: What’s the Difference?

November 8, 2019

Sweet potatoes and yams. They’re the same thing, right?

Not really. They look and taste different. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are sweeter with a smooth, thin skin. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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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