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Food Blog Posts

a small bowl with a serving of fruity French toast casserole with a 9x13 pan in the background

April 30, 2021

Using up extra bread has never been so tasty! Whether you want to make something special for your family’s weekend breakfast or you are entertaining company, this Fruity French Toast Casserole is loaded with flavor.

I love incorporating fresh seasonal fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, into this recipe. But you can also use canned or frozen fruits, which you can often find on sale. By choosing a healthy whole-grain bread, you’re starting your day with a hearty serving of fiber that will see you through a busy morning. And you can use leftover whole wheat rolls or hamburger buns, which helps you avoid food waste and save money.

Chicken alfreado in a colorful bowl

April 19, 2021

Alfredo sauce is a favorite comfort food in my circle of friends and family. Loaded with butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, traditional alfredo sauce packs a lot of calories and unhealthy fats into one dish. So I was excited to find this recipe for Chicken Alfredo with a Twist! It’s a Food Factor Makeover!

A lady stands in a kitchen.

April 12, 2021

Growing up, I was always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is essential.But all our meals count. Here are a few tips to help you get a nutrient-filled lunch.

Hamburgers, chicken and hotdogs on a grill.

April 8, 2021

Warm weather is here, and it’s finally time to fire up the grill! Barbecues are fun and result in delicious food.

Veggie quiche muffins on a blue plate

April 1, 2021

For people who need something quick for breakfast, these Veggie Quiche Muffins are both healthy and convenient.

You can use 3 cups of your favorite veggies if you prefer something different from what is in the original recipe. Chopped zucchini and mushrooms are great options! You can also use your favorite cheese, but note that changing from a low-fat cheddar will alter the calories. 

Airtight jars of cereal, rice and flour sit in a cupboard.

March 24, 2021

We’ve experienced some spring-like weather, and that may have you thinking about refreshing some areas of your home. When you’re doing your spring cleaning, don’t overlook the kitchen pantry where stored-food pests can thrive.

strawberry-banana cheesecake wrap cut in half and displayed on a decorative plate

March 22, 2021

Whether you want a healthier dessert option for yourself or for the little ones who like to help you in the kitchen, these strawberry-banana cheesecake wraps are perfect! The fruit and whole-wheat tortillas are loaded with fiber and will keep everyone feeling satisfied far longer than a store-bought cookie. And the cream cheese mixture will make you feel like you’re indulging in cheesecake, without all the calories. Best of all, they are easy for kids to make themselves.

homemade meat pizza on a teal plate with white floral border

March 12, 2021

If you want to make homemade pizza crust but don’t have any yeast, this recipe is for you! You probably already have all of these ingredients in your pantry. Try using half whole-wheat flour for extra nutrition.

A woman stands at a kitchen island.

March 9, 2021

You’ve probably heard that shopping the grocery store's perimeter is the best way to pack your cart with healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. But the center aisles actually provide a lot of nutritious options.

Zucchini and tomatoes in a colorful bowl

March 1, 2021

Video by Jonathan Parrish.

I’m always looking for easy vegetable dishes with a lot of flavor, and this one hits the spot!

This recipe serves four, so you may need to double it, depending on the size of your family.

Did you know you can save some calories and fat by cooking your vegetables in water or broth instead of butter or oil? At about 100 calories per teaspoon, fat can add up quickly.

Food Factor host Natasha Haynes holds a mug of cocoa while standing in a kitchen

February 16, 2021

Many recipes—on The Food Factor and elsewhere—make multiple servings. Typically, I’m a fan of leftovers, but hot chocolate just does not warm up well in my opinion. That’s why I was excited to discover this fast, microwavable option for a single serving.

A woman stands outdoors on a grassy lawn.

February 8, 2021

High cholesterol increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Lifestyle change is a key component that can prevent or help manage high cholesterol. 

A slice of chocolate angel food cake on a small saucer with the entire cake on a blue platter in the background

January 29, 2021

Last year, our recipe for Tropical Angel Cake was by far our most popular post. So, when we found this recipe for a different take on angel food cake, we knew we had to try it!

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

January 26, 2021

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!

three zucchini fritters on a blue plate

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.

A woman and man walk for exercise.

January 11, 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

January 5, 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!

Omelet ingredients cooked on a foil-covered sheet pan

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!

Hot cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon in a terra cotta mug

November 30, 2020

Nothing says “happy holidays” like a cup of hot cocoa! This year, treat yourself to a homemade treat—spiced cocoa from scratch!

Sure, opening a premade mix is easy, but once you try these delicious homemade options, it will be hard to go back to the packets!

Enjoy, and happy holidays from The Food Factor crew!

Yellow flowers turned brown.

November 24, 2020

12/12. We’ve finally reached the end of 2020. I think everyone can agree that it’s been a heavy year. Here’s to 2021, right? I hope staying active in your lawn and garden has brought you a sense of normalcy during this crazy year. If anything, hopefully it’s been a good distraction!

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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. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). 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