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May 4, 2021

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

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.


An Eastern mole.

Critter of the Month: Eastern Mole

February 19, 2021

If you’ve noticed irregular, snake-like raised ridges throughout your lawn, Eastern moles have most likely found themselves at home. They are known for building a network of tunnels underground, and typically spend 90 percent of their lives there.

Eastern moles are around 5 to 7 inches long and are covered in brown or grey fur. At a glance, they look similar to mice. Despite their resemblance, they are actually more closely related to shrews and bats than they are mice! Eastern moles have hairless snouts, paddle-like claws, and poor eyesight. Their eyes are sensitive to the light...

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

The Food Factor: Quick Hot Cocoa for One

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 person wearing yellow gloves using a pair of loppers to prune roses.

How to Prune Roses

February 12, 2021

Video by Michaela Parker

Pruning your rose bushes is one late winter chore you shouldn’t overlook! It’s so easy to neglect yard maintenance, especially during cold weather. Pruning helps shape the bush, remove dead canes, open the center for air flow, and stimulate new growth. 

Pruning any plant can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite easy. Before you get started, it’s comforting to know that roses are very forgiving plants. They will grow out of many mistakes you may make. Whew!

You’ll need three tools: sharp pruners (never use...

A woman stands outdoors on a grassy lawn.

Cholesterol: What It Is and How to Manage It

February 9, 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 pen lies on top of a will.

Do I Need an Estate Plan and Will?

February 5, 2021

Death isn’t something we like to think about. I personally would rather concentrate on living, but I learned something recently. Almost everyone needs an estate plan and a will. Spending the time and effort it takes to put your wishes in writing and having it legally declared will save your heirs money, time, and heartache.

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

The Food Factor: Chocolate Angel Food Cake

February 2, 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!

Four pots of soil on a blue background.

February Garden Checklist

January 29, 2021

Everyone’s favorite yellow daffodils will be popping up soon and you know what that means! Spring will be here soon! While you wait, there are a few things you can start doing in your yard and garden to get ready for spring.

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

The Food Factor: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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!

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.

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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