Artificial intelligence; tasty real-world results

New UI professor's computer 'dreams up' some interesting flavor combinations

Lav Varshney is one of those people who eat food on a daily basis.

One of Varshney's recent research projects was to test if a human trait — creativity — can be encoded on a computer.

It can, and it makes darn good food.

It's Your Business: Heartland returning in two new locations

Heartland Gallery, the Celtic arts, crafts and gift store that recently closed in downtown Urbana, is coming back in two new locations.

Business owner Jan Chandler said she plans to open up a booth space in the new "north store" of Crossroads Corner Consignment inside the Whiteline Building at 723 S. Neil St., C.

Meg Makes: Planning ahead? Freeze a pizza in pieces

I recently started a new job, and as expected, it's also come with a change in schedule.

To make things easier on myself, I decided to test out the wildly popular idea of cooking a bunch of meals at once, then freezing them for low-stress homemade weeknight dinners.

Meg Makes: Don't fight the crowds; this romantic dish is quick

My husband, Rob, and I cooked this dinner for our anniversary about a month ago — and agreed that it was just as good, or possibly better, than a dinner out. Brown butter sauce is really, really decadent (mostly because its basic ingredients are butter and seasonings), so this recipe will be given a home in our special-occasion recipe repertoire.

Meg Makes: Hearty potatoes will erase any lingering chill

I don't like potatoes that much, but I see the "bring a dish to a meal" assignment as a competition. I like to win.

So, when I was assigned cheesy potatoes recently, I went all out.

Meg Makes: If they're playing in snow, try this cookbook-approved mix

A while back, my favorite cookbook company, Gooseberry Patch, chose this recipe to be included in its book, "The Christmas Table."

The recipe is for a sweet treat I created the winter of 2011 after being snowed in.

It is delicious and decadent, two of my favorite snack characteristics — and perfect for munching on while you're watching the big game.

Gardening offers food, fun and fitness

As I contemplate the germination potential of the poppy seeds atop my bagel, I am already looking forward to an early spring. Cabin fever is a common ailment among gardeners. Winter does give us a chance to reflect on last year's garden. Every spring is a "do over." Gardening is the opportunity to reinvent our yards, but also ourselves for a healthier and happier year.

Meg Makes: Last-minute freezer perusal produces comfort food

Sometimes, an easy dinner that tastes really good can make my whole day better.

That was the case when I created this dish, whose title isn't very original. We were going to order a pizza for dinner, and then I remembered these ingredients in our freezer. The dinner was way tastier and probably at least a little healthier than the alternative.

Restaurant offers its take on crab cakes

The Champaign Center Partnership welcomes back the fourth annual Center City Restaurant Week, starting Sunday and running through Feb. 1. Throughout the week, local restaurants in downtown Champaign, Campustown and midtown will have special menus and pricing — with chances for diners to win prizes at each participating restaurant.

Ex-prof has big stake in Super Sunday ad

Homemade Doritos commercial is finalist for $1 million prize

On Super Bowl Sunday, when you're glued to the tube and your fingers are sticky and orangey from salty snacks, you might look up to see a familiar face.