Meg Makes: Pumpkin puree makes for smooth chili

I love chili as a weeknight dinner because it's easy and has plenty of variations.

I stumbled across the idea of using pumpkin puree in chili years ago, and tried to explain to my husband how it provides a smooth texture and subtle flavor. He had trouble imagining it, so I put together this version for dinner recently.

Sandra Mason: Gardeners are a thankful bunch

In an article earlier this year, I highlighted the writing of Dr. William Sullivan, a professor and the leader of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois. I referenced his chapter "In Search of a Clear Head" in the book "Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing out our Best," edited by Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu.

Meg Makes: Meat pie the Quebecois way: delicieux

My friend and neighbor, Cynthia Voelkl, often writes about food on her blog, The Sandwich Life.

This time of year, she talks about French Canadian meat pie, or tourtire.

"My great-grandmother was French Canadian," Voelkl said, "and as is traditional for many French Canadians, tourtire (although we grew up just calling it meat pie) was always served at the holidays."

My Amish Home: Nice fall days mean it's laundry time

"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Catlin, Oakwood IGAs closing on day before Thanksgiving

The grocery stores in two Vermilion County communities are set to close the day before Thanksgiving.

Employees at the Oakwood IGA, 100 S. Scott St., and Catlin IGA, 102 N. Sandusky St., confirmed both will close Nov. 23.

"We've known for a while, but he just made it public today," said Catlin employee Connie Baker, referring to Jesse Mitsdarffer, who owns both businesses.

Sandra Mason: Insects on the menu

As you plan your Thanksgiving feast, is caterpillar custard or grasshopper gravy on the menu? Likely not; however, much of the rest of the world figured out long ago that entomophagy (insect consumption) can be a healthy, environmentally friendly gastronomical option.

Today's Special: Slice Factory expands to Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — The Slice Factory is coming to Campustown.

The pizza eatery, based in the Chicago area, is planning to open a downstate location at 625 E. Green St. in Champaign, next to Zorba's.

Opening day: TBA.

Meg Makes: Hearty casserole a fruit-vegetable combo

My household is experimenting with new applications for fall flavors. My husband came up with this recipe when he decided to combine apples, pumpkin and corn-muffin mix.

The resulting casserole is decadent and hearty. This is perfect for an occasion when you're feeding a crowd on a chilly evening. It makes quite a bit, but at our house, the leftovers didn't last very long.

My Amish Home: Yard still needs mowing, but pantry is clean

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Something's cooking

Trained chefs don't always work in restaurants in cities or larger towns. You can find them nearly everywhere. Here is a look at five chefs in unexpected places:

Dan Montgomery

Harvest Market, Champaign