Sandra Mason: Take the purple plunge

Add more color to our diet. Eat our veggies. I doubt chocolate brown and potato-chip beige are what dietitians have in mind. Dark green, red, orange and even purple vegetables are more than willing to do their part to provide color. Eggplant is not the only veggie with a preponderance of purple. Many other vegetables present passage into the passion for purple.

My Amish Home: Battling the snow with warm wishes

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." 1 Corinthians 3:16-18

Meg Makes: Homemade Hostess CupCakes brighten all birthdays

My best friend, Erin Lippitz, is a baking genius. Every year for my birthday, she delivers cupcakes to my office.

This year (and not for the first time), I requested her homemade version of Hostess CupCakes. I can't begin to describe how good they are, but read on for a general idea.

Champaign council clears way for bringing alcohol with new liquor licenses

CHAMPAIGN — Patrons at Champaign nail salons, "paint and sip" classes and restaurants can now bring their own bottle of alcohol, after the Champaign City Council unanimously approved two new liquor license types Tuesday night.

The licenses will allow patrons to bring as much as a bottle of wine, three bottles of beer or up to three ounces of liquor per person.

Today's Special: Bacaro mixes things up for barbecue pop-up

CHAMPAIGN — Downtown's Bacaro Restaurant is known it for its fine-dining options and contemporary American cuisine with a lean toward Italian options. "We try to stay within those realms," chef/owner Drew Starkey said.

My Amish Home: Thinking of spring, unfinished projects

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." Romans 13:10-12

Meg Makes: Short ribs make winter tolerable

Sometimes, a slow-cooked stovetop dinner is just the ticket, especially as we soldier through the last few weeks of winter.

These beef short ribs come from Champaign resident Carol Timms, and she especially loves to cook it on a cold night.

Serve with roasted vegetables (Carol suggests Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) or mashed potatoes.

Beef Short Ribs

Meg Makes: Champion chili a departure from norm

Today's recipes are a second installment of chili dishes I snagged after judging a chili cook-off at Prairie Winds of Urbana, a local assisted-living community with a passion for food.

I ran the first two winners' recipes earlier this month.

My Amish Home: A somber reason to head out of town

"Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but be willing to associate to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense no man evil for evil. Provide all things honest in the sight of all men." Romans 12:14-17