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March 1, 2021

Zucchini and tomatoes in a colorful bowl

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.


A mixture of spices and salt in a clear glass bowl

The Food Factor: Italian Dressing Mix

June 16, 2020

Making your own mixes is a favorite topic here on The Food Factor. We’ve shared recipes for Ranch Dressing Mix, Taco Seasoning Mix, and Magic Meat Mixes. Today we’ve got a recipe for Italian Dressing Mix!

True confession: I don’t usually make this dressing mix for salads. I put it in the slow cooker with roast beef, onions, and peppers for a delicious alternative to traditional pot roast.

A close-up of a white-tail deer's face.

Top Deer Resistant Plants

June 12, 2020

Oh, deer! White-tailed deer can be quite the nuisance in the garden. It’s disheartening to see deer ate the flowers in your back yard for a snack. 

A person off-camera pours water into a glass.

How to Get More Water in Your Diet

June 9, 2020

Staying hydrated plays a key role in keeping our body systems working. How much water should you drink daily?

A baby smiling.

A Lead-Free Home is a Healthy Home

June 5, 2020

June is National Healthy Homes month! To celebrate, we’ve created a blog post to focus on an important health concern that could happen in and around your home. 

Frozen yogurt-dipped grapes sit on a baking sheet.

Quick and Healthy Snacks

June 2, 2020

Do you need some quick and healthy snack ideas for the office or to pack the pantry and fridge for the kids this summer?

A cluster of blackberries on a bush.

Gardening Tasks for June

May 29, 2020

It’s starting to get hot out there, y’all! Don’t let the Mississippi heat deter you from taking good care of your garden and landscape.

Clear glass parfait cups with lemon pudding layered with graham cracker crumbs topped with manadarin orange slices

The Food Factor: Lemon Velvet Supreme

May 26, 2020

Lemon Velvet Supreme is very low in fat and relies on fruit as a primary ingredient. Be sure to choose fresh fruit, such as blueberries, or canned fruit packed in natural juices, not in heavy syrup! To keep the graham crackers crispy, put this together right before you’re going to serve it. The original recipe serves six and calls for assembling the ingredients in a serving dish. If you go this route, I’d use an 8”x8” square pan.

For fun, we decided to make individual servings in pretty dishes! Note: we used 8 whole graham crackers, and that was quite a bit for our individual dishes, but would make a good bottom layer in a serving dish. Also, the graham crackers do not form a crust, so this is not a dessert you cut into squares. You just spoon it into small bowls and enjoy!

Liquid drench is poured from a watering can on a fire ant bed.

How to Manage Fire Ants in Your Yard

May 22, 2020

This is the time of year to start a good fire ant management plan that can reduce the number of beds in your yard by 80 to 90 percent.

Spicy tuna on top of mixed greens, in a bowl as a dip, and in a wrap on a plate.

The Food Factor: Spicy Tuna Three Ways

May 19, 2020

Do you ever get tired of eating the same old healthy salad? I do! That’s why I was excited to find this recipe for Spicy Tuna that can be used three different ways: as a dip with baked tortilla chips, as a wrap with lettuce leaves or tortillas, or as a topping for a green salad made with lettuce, mixed greens or fresh spinach.

Closeup of someone spraying mosquito repellent on their arm.

How to Manage Mosquitoes Around Your Home

May 14, 2020

With all the rain we’ve had this year, mosquitoes have plenty of places to breed. But you can take some easy steps to keep their numbers down.

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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