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October 20, 2020

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. Certain foods high in phytonutrients, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins may reduce cancer risk.


A black jack-o-lantern mask, bottle of sanitizer, and two pumpkins on a wooden backdrop.

Spooky Safe Halloween Alternatives

October 16, 2020

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in everyone’s plans. Creating a sense of normalcy while keeping safety measures in mind can be challenging. Just because the holidays aren’t traditional this year doesn’t mean they can’t be fun and memorable.

Three corn pancakes on a terra cotta plate.

The Food Factor: Corn Pancakes

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.

Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup

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

The Food Factor: Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Spinach Noodle Casserole

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!

A large, red mum.

Why Should I Water Mums from the Bottom?

October 2, 2020

Did you know that watering mums from the bottom is best? Watering at the base of the plant keeps water off the leaves and reduces the chances of fungal problems. Check out our other tips to keep your mums looking good all season.

A hand with a a grey glove on planting a series of bulbs in the soil.

Gardening Tasks for October

September 29, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker

We’ve finally made it to fall! The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and I can’t wait to purchase pumpkins and mums for my front porch! 

If you’re trying to stay on top of what tasks you should be doing in your yard and garden, check out these four for the month of October.

  1. It’s time to plant your spring flowering bulbs, such as daffodil, daylilly, & iris! Hold off on planting tulips and hyacinths until later in the year. If you purchase them now, place them in the refrigerator for
  2. ...
A person using their foot to shovel dirt from a trench.

How to Install a French Drain

September 25, 2020

Backyard drainage problems are not fun to deal with. A big rain comes and suddenly your backyard turns into a puddled mess! Having standing water in your yard can lead to turf diseases, mold, or wood rot to your home. Nobody wants to have to deal with that! Consider installing a French drain in your yard during the upcoming fall and winter months. A French drain allows water to naturally drain from your yard. 

Strawberry cookie dough balls coated in coconut on a plate

The Food Factor: Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Balls

September 22, 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!

An assortment of litter retrieved from a watershed displayed on a wooden dock.

How to Reduce Pandemic Litter

September 18, 2020

Are you tired of seeing used masks and gloves dropped in the parking lot at the grocery store? Me, too!

“Pandemic litter” is a relatively new problem, but pollution is nothing new. I grew up watching the ad that admonished, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!”

Battling the coronavirus requires the use of some single-use items, but they don’t have to end up on the ground!

Here are three tips to help keep Mississippi beautiful!

Potato salad in a small clear glass bowl

The Food Factor: Ranch Potato Salad

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.

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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