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September 21, 2020

Strawberry cookie dough balls coated in coconut on a plate

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.

A bowl of uncooked brown rice.

Celebrate Rice Month with Tasty Recipes from The Food Factor

September 11, 2020

September is National Rice Month! So, let’s celebrate with some great tasting rice recipes that have been featured on the blog.

A woman stands in front of a brick wall.

How to Slow Brain Aging

September 8, 2020

Research shows that eating certain foods may slow brain aging. Here are some power foods to include in your diet.

Close-up of a fire ant mound

How to Reduce Fire Ants in Your Yard

September 4, 2020

If you want fewer fire ant beds in your yard, the best way to achieve that goal is to maintain a consistent management plan throughout the year.

Grilled sweet potato slices on a bright turquoise blue plate

The Food Factor: Grilled Sweet Potatoes

September 1, 2020

Just because sweet potatoes are harvested in the fall doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them year-round! With this recipe for Grilled Sweet Potatoes, you don’t even have to heat up the oven!

Four house plants in white pots.

Gardening Tasks for September

August 28, 2020

And just like that, we’re three-fourths through the year! Cooler temperatures will be here before we know it, hopefully sooner rather than later. Even though we all know the heat will stay around a little longer, it’s time to start preparing for fall and winter.

Grilled marinated chicken breasts

The Food Factor: Sweet and Tangy Chicken Marinade

August 25, 2020

Have you ever fallen into a cooking rut, using the same spices and flavorings on all your foods?  There’s nothing wrong with relying on a few faithful flavors—I love lemon pepper!—but trying new recipes can open up your taste horizons and renew your enthusiasm for cooking.

Marinades are a fun way to experiment with flavors, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on premade options. Combining different oils, acids (citrus juice, vinegar, soy sauce), and spices can take your taste buds on an adventure.

Two wooden chairs on a porch underneath a tan shade sail.

How to Install a Shade Sail

August 21, 2020

If there’s one thing all Mississippians can agree on, it’s that the summer sun can be brutal. I enjoy spending time on my back patio, but it’s hard to enjoy without shade. I’ve noticed several restaurants, parks, and pools have installed shade sails to provide shade to visitors. Why not install one in your own back yard? 

Beef and potato kabobs on a stainless steel platter

The Food Factor: Beef and Potato Kabobs

August 18, 2020

Grilled kabobs just shout summertime! The best part about kabobs is getting to choose your favorite vegetables to include. This traditional take on kabobs includes potatoes and zucchini. But you could easily add other veggies, including mushrooms or peppers.

You may be thinking, “Potatoes?! I’ll burn up my steak before the potatoes are done!” Never fear! You will microwave the potatoes before grilling to be sure they’re properly cooked!

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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