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January 26, 2021

Chicken tortilla soup in a colorful bowl with a small glass bowl of cilantro in the background

In wintertime, I want to come home to a supper that’s ready to eat and will warm me up, inside and out. This spicy soup hits the spot! If you like more zip in your soup, use hot green chiles or hot salsa instead of mild.

Rinse the canned beans to reduce the sodium in this recipe and keep your broth clear. Don’t forget our handy trick for shredding chicken in a hurry: you can use a hand-held mixer on low speed to shred it!


Red fox in a field.

Critter of the Month: Red Fox

January 22, 2021

“What does the fox say?” That’s a question we may never know the answer to, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the song before!

three zucchini fritters on a blue plate

The Food Factor: Zucchini Fritters

January 19, 2021

Zucchini is a versatile and budget-friendly vegetable, and this recipe takes a popular kitchen staple to the next level without a lot of prep time. I like to make these on nights when I want something a little more fancy than sliced zucchini with my meal. It’s also a terrific entrée for your friends or family members who don’t eat meat but will eat dairy and eggs.

Bright green burweed in a patch of dead grass.

How to Treat Lawn Burweed

January 15, 2021

Having “stickers” in your yard can be quite the nuisance. Stumbling upon a patch of stickers while walking barefoot is a painful experience. Plus it’s painful for your four-legged family members! Formally known as lawn burweed, these winter annuals are no fun to deal with.  

A woman and man walk for exercise.

How to Keep Your New Year’s Health Resolutions

January 12, 2021

A new year often signals a new start or reboot, which is a great thing. For many, this means setting health and wellness goals like losing weight, eating healthier, and being more physically active.To be able to achieve your goals and make your resolutions a reality, your goals need to be realistic and measurable.

Apple pie smoothie in a blender

The Food Factor: Apple Pie in a Glass

January 8, 2021

Some of my favorite winter desserts are fruit-based, including apple pie and apple crisp. But as we begin the new year, I need to get back to healthier eating habits!

If you are looking for a bright apple flavor without the calories found in a pie or caramel apple, try this smoothie! A 1-cup serving is just 90 calories!

Graphic of disaster go box checklist

What Should You Include in a Disaster Go Box?

January 5, 2021

The New Year has arrived. Whether or not you make resolutions, putting together a disaster go box will help you be ready for all kinds of emergencies that may require you to leave home in a hurry.

Seed packets on a display in a garden store.

January Garden Checklist

December 22, 2020

Staying on top of your gardening chores can be quite the task. When do you plant shrubs? When do you prune crape myrtles? That’s why we’re here!

Real Christmas trees piled with curbside garbage

How to Recycle Christmas Trees

December 18, 2020

If you celebrate with a real tree, you’ll have to decide how to dispose of it once the holiday is over. You have some good options for recycling the tree instead of sending it to the landfill.

Omelet ingredients cooked on a foil-covered sheet pan

The Food Factor: Simple Sheet Pan Eggs

December 14, 2020

If you have a large family and need new breakfast ideas, this sheet pan omelet will please a crowd and keep you from spending hours in the kitchen. Best of all, you can customize it for your family's taste preferences.

You don’t have to precook any of the toppings, but they may be a little crunchy. I prefer to sauté the mushrooms, onions, and peppers first to cook out some of the water and get the flavors to blend together a little before adding to the egg mixture. You know I love spicy foods, so I’d even add a little salsa to this for some more kick!

A person wearing a green shirt scraping a stem with a razor bade.

How to Propagate Plants from Cuttings

December 11, 2020

Propagating plants may sound like a hard task to take on, but it’s a cost-effective way to add beautiful plants to your garden. It’s yet another reason you should have friends who are gardeners!

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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