Today's Special: Thumbs-up cookies a hit for Pekara

CHAMPAIGN — Three years ago, in an effort to connect to the visitors who descend upon downtown for Ebertfest, Pekara Bakery came up with the idea to make cookies featuring a lasting symbol of Roger Ebert, the late film critic and Urbana native.

When the film festival hits town April 12, sugar cookies in the shape of a thumbs-up — Ebert's go-to gesture — will be on the menu.

Meg Makes: Franken-salad can sate monstrous hunger

To me, spring and summer mean salad. I recently put out a call for excellent salad recipes for a family gathering and was thrilled to get great responses.

I have trouble sticking to a recipe, though, so I ended up combining pieces of suggested recipes with some items I had on hand.

I ended up with a zesty, sweet, crunchy result.

My Amish Home: Tending to chores while husband heals

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one, no, not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth.

Today's Special: Wait is almost over for opening day

SIDNEY — Sitting at his desk at a Champaign car dealership on Friday, Dennis Riggs dug into a big piece of chocolate cake.

Something, though, was missing.

"We were just saying 'Wouldn't it be nice to have some Dairy Barn ice cream to go with this chocolate cake?' " Riggs said.

Another step closer to brewing beer in Urbana

URBANA — Urbana's first microbrewery is moving closer to becoming a reality.

After the city council signed off on a liquor license this week, Riggs Beer Company's co-owner said the plan is to start brewing in May and open by June.

"That's our goal," Matt Riggs said. "There's obviously quite a bit of things to do between now and then."

My Amish Home: Husband Erwin gets an ambulance ride

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among Gentiles that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may be your good works, which they shall behold; glorify God in the day of visitation.

Meg Makes: Use up frozen berries in great dessert

It's hard to believe, but the growing season will soon be starting anew.

So my baking friends and I recently got together to use up some of the frozen raspberries and peaches my mom grew in her garden last summer.

We started with raspberry cupcakes. For the first time in our crew's history, the end result was not spectacular. They tasted good, though!

Entertainment listings, March 17-24, 2016

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

Meg Makes: Making a good chocolate-free dessert

I love delicious, rich desserts that aren't chocolatey. Not that I have anything against chocolate — I just think it sometimes takes a bit more creativity to make a decadent dessert without it.

These nutty bars include both pecans and walnuts. A sprinkling of sea salt on top makes them extra delicious.

Nutty Bars

1 cup brown sugar

My Amish Home: Windy welcome to wonderful season

"Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. A stone is heavy, and the sand is weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both." Proverbs 27:1-3