Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Noteworthy performance

Upcoming Allerton events include hikes and spirits

MONTICELLO — The Allerton Park and Retreat Center will host a variety of events over the next few weeks, inviting the public to enjoy what's typically the off-season at the park south of Monticello.

Today's Special: Hatching an Idea

CHAMPAIGN — When word began spreading last year that Champaign Central graduates Sean Baird and Alec Gillespie were teaming with good friend Mark "Shades" Hartstein to open a chicken restaurant downtown, excitement among folks in the area began to grow.

Entertainment listings, Feb. 4-11, 2016

A listing of events, provided by the venues. Here are 

Meg Makes: Chili cook-off spawned many favorites

I recently had the pleasure of judging a chili cook-off at Prairie Winds of Urbana, an assisted-living community.

I can absolutely get into the spirit of competition when it comes to cooking, but it was nice not to feel nervous. Instead, I enjoyed a wonderful variety of chili with two fellow judges: Urbana police Chief Patrick Connolly and Prairie Winds owner Paul Tatman.

My Amish Home: Around town with a bunch of guests

"Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgements are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." Psalm 36:5-7

Entertainment listings, Jan. 28-Feb. 4, 2016

A listing of events, provided by the venues. Here are 

A trip to the big city I'll never forget

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, death and evil; in that, I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgements, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it." Deuteronomy 30:15-16

Meg Makes: Start week off right with simple soup

Sunday nights deserve a special sort of meal. It should taste great, but also give you a healthy boost so you can start your week right.

This recipe is a refreshingly different and flavorful take on vegetable soup, and it fits my Sunday night criteria.