Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roasted Veggie Pita's

I did a quick chop on a couple small summer squash and zucchini's, drizzled them with 2 Tbsp EVOO and lemon pepper seasoning, then roasted them at 425 degrees for 30 minutes (tossing once in the middle). 


We stuffed a wheat pita with the veggies and added some sliced tomato.  We served hummus on the side for dipping.

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After dinner I had a 1/2 cup shredded wheat with 1/2 cup milk and a Tbsp of TJ's unsalted natural crunchy peanut butter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cranberry White Chocolate Blondies

One more time...

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My co-worker, GIna, shares my love of cranberries. I tried my best to save one and take it to her this past Monday at work...but my will power failed me. So I owed it to her to make another batch.

I used a different recipe (my favorite blondies EVER which I normally make with butterscoth chips).

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spritz an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set pan aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Mix in white chocolate and 1/2 cup cranberries.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining cranberries to the top and gently press into batter. Bake for 42 to 45 minutes.

Amaranth Stuffed Peppers and Mixed Salad with Chicken & Grape Chutney

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These dishes are loosely based off of these two recipes: Chicken with Grape Chutney and Amaranth Stuffed Peppers

For the chicken I sauteed the first side, flipped it and then added chopped green bell peppers (the tops of the stuffed pepper), two minced jalapeno peppers, about half a cup of grapes, and a 1/3 cup water.  I continued cooking for 4-5 minutes.  I then sliced the chicken and placed it over a bed of mixed salad topped with the grape chutney.  Finally, top it off with ginger soy dressing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer CSA - Week 3

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2 green bell peppers

1 lb summer squash

1 lb zucchini

1 lb assorted heirloom tomatoes

1 pt red cherry tomatoes

1/2 lb butterbeans shelled

1 lb purple hull peas in the hull

1 lb okra

For dinner last night we had the last of our homemade frozen burritos. I also grabbed a bag of frozen brown rice (I pre-made several portions and placed them in individual freezer bags. I then just thaw over night in the refrigerator, place in glass bowl and microwave for 2 minutes). I stirred in some roasted cherry tomatoes and summer squash and then tossed in several kalamata olives.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Sun-dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Wax Bean Pasta

Perfect as cold leftovers too!

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14 ounces whole wheat pasta                                    1 lb waxed beans, trimmed
8 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz goat cheese                                                      2 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and beans and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon sun dried tomato or olive oil; add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

Add the goat and cream cheeses, salt, and pepper to the drained pasta and stir to combine. Toss in the onion mixture.  Serve.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's Your Dosha?

An ancient Indian theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

  • Vata is the dynamic "kinetic" principle necessary to mobilize anything from electron to a galaxy. Air is the representative in an abstract sense.
  • Pitta is the thermal, explosive force behind the ability to transform everything. Sun is the representative.
  • Kapha is the cohesion that holds everything together with its electro magnetic and gravitational forces.

My dominant Dosha is Pitta :


Pitta Diet - Too bad a lot of my favorite foods are on the avoid list...cheese, yogurt, honey and cranberries.  I don't have a desire to give these up, in my mind these are all nutritious foods.

You have a quick mind, a gift for persuasion, and a sharp sense of humor.

You have both the drive and people skills to be a very successful leader.

Argumentative and a bit stubborn, you have been known to be a little too set in your ways.

But while you may be biased toward your own point of view, you are always honest, fair, and ethical.
With friends: You are outgoing and open to anyone who might want to talk to you

In love: You are picky but passionate

To achieve more balance: Be less judgmental of those around you, and take cool walks in the moonlight.

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Sun-dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Wax Bean Pasta

Tuesday: Bean Burritos and Brown Rice with cherry tomatoes and squash (CSA basket arrival)

Wednesday: Chicken with Grape Chutney and Amaranth Stuffed Peppers

Thursday: Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps with Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata

Friday: Garlic Cheese Pizza and Fig Crumble Bars

Saturday: Maple Glazed Chicken and Purple Hull Pea Salad; Basil Pesto

Sunday: Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Best Yet - Cranberry Apple Walnut Chutney

My new favorite chutney blend, you know how I adore cranberries!!  This one has all the right textures and chews - cranberries (chewy dried and fresh), crunchy walnuts and apples.  It takes like a cranberry apple pie!!  I had some today topped with a couple spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt and freshly made granola.

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  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup chopped red gala apples (2 sm or 1 lg)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar


  1. In a large saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, ginger, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add apples, walnuts and cinnamon.  foodblog 001
  2. Continue to simmer until most of the cranberries have popped, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and dried fruit (last to keep their chew).
  3. Remove relish from heat. Let cool to room temperature, and serve (or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days).

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Friendly Start to the Weekend

A few photos of the wonderful time we had with our best friends!!  We are so fortunate to have these three in our lives.  Kelly and I had a spa morning on Friday - an hour massage and 1/2 hour facial for each of us while the best hubbies watched little Miss Anna.  We did a little shopping and then headed home for a day of catching up at home.  We played several games: Phase 10, Hearts, TRIPOLOY (rocked - I hadn't played this since middle school), and corn hole.

Here's a few photo highlights:

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Card Sharks

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"Hi Pups" - Anna and her buds

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Just the girls

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The Whole Gang

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Finally - Corn Hole Madness

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Cranberry Blondies

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Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup wheat flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate

1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9x9x2 inch baking pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter with wire whisk or electric mixer until softened. Whisk or beat in sugars, baking powder, soda, and salt. Whisk or beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. With whisk, or with electric mixer on low speed, beat in flour and oats.

3. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with fresh cranberries and white chocolate; press in lightly with a spatula. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens


Pizza and Burgers - Friday

We had a quick pizza for lunch: made with old-fashioned ground sausage, tomatoes, and a little cheese.

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Dinner: no photo :(   We had the BEST ground beef burgers (from King's Red and White grocery) on a wheat english muffin with BBQ sauce.  We also had a fresh melon salad of watermelon and cantaloupe on the side.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This makes a simply decadent dessert or breakfast sweet treat.  The addition of yogurt keeps the cake very moist.

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Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries, or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt.

Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

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Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata

It was almost too gorgeous to eat.  The tomatoes were juicy and sweet, the goat cheese added a creamy richness, and the basil an earthy freshness!! 

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4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature 
2 Tbsp  cup milk 
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh tomatoes, sliced 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, for garnish                

Combine the goat cheese and milk in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tomato slices.  Place a few tomatoes on a serving and top with a spoonful of the goat cheese mixture. Sprinkle with basil and walnuts. Serve.

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Phenomenal side dish!!

Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

Oh so good - the pumpkin, eggplant, garlic, and sausage are a great combination!! The original recipe called to make a separate sauce with he pumpkin mixture and bake it lasagna style. I quickened it a bit for a week night meal and whipped up the sauce in with the vegetable mixture. I also boiled short pasta and tossed it in last instead of baking it off as a lasagna!!

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  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno's, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • Few dashes fresh nutmeg
  • 1 box whole-wheat short pasta

    Preheat oven to 375ºF.

    Place a large stock pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

    Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, breaking the meat up as it cooks. Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Cook 7-8 minutes, until tender, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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    While the veggies are cooking, drop pasta into boiling, salted water. Cook fro 10 minutes.

    Once vegetables have cooked for 7-8 minutes, stir in butter and sprinkle in the flour, cook for about 1 minute. Gently stir/whisk in the milk, breaking up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a bubble and add the pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, until slightly thickened.

    Drain the pasta and add to the pumpkin vegetable mixture - stir to combine. Optional - serve with a grating of parmesan cheese and chopped basil.

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    Recipe adapted from The Rachael Ray Show

    Summer CSA - Week 2

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    zucchini lb - for Saturday's roasted veggies

    assorted heirloom tomatoes lb - for Wed's strata

    cantaloupe - for Friday's melon salad

    watermelon seedless - for Friday's melon salad

    yellow wax beans lb - for Friday with orange glaze

    eggplant lb - for Tuesday pumpkin pasta

  • Monday, July 21, 2008

    Mango Buckwheat Pancakes with Sausage Links and "Mimosa" Cocktail

    Tonight I did a version of my previously posted Apple Buckwheat Pancakes.  This time I diced up a fresh mango and tossed it in for Mango Buckwheat Pancakes.  I also had a glass of sauvignon blanc leftover from last night and some OJ in the fridge.  It made for a really refreshing cocktail to go with my "breakfast" dinner.

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    The mango chunks were a killer idea!!  It was a perfect sweet surprise in every bite.

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    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Menu Plan Monday - I'm back!


    The last couple of weeks have been busy with a lot of dining out, having friends over or us being away on vacation.  Our schedule seems to be back to normal this week - though we our having our best friends visiting with us Thursday - Saturday!!!  :o) 


    Monday: Mango Buckwheat Pancakes, Brinkley's Farm Sausage Links and Eggs

    Tuesday: Pumpkin Sausage Penne and CSA basket arrival

    Wednesday: Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata with leftover pasta and Blueberry Coffee Cake

    Thursday: Pastitsio with Watermelon and Cantalope

    Friday: Cheese Pizza, Garlic Bread Sticks and Yellow Wax Beans with Orange-Miso Glaze

    Saturday: Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast; Roasted Tomato and Zucchini with Pita's; and Red Wine Rice with Grapes for St. Luke's Supper Group

    Sunday: Pasta Cake and Cranberry Apple Walnut Chutney

    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    Dinner out - Rue Cler Style

    We met our friends tonight for a quick night out at one of our favorite Durham restaurants, Rue Cler.  They offer a "prix fixe" menu where you get a 3 course dinner for $30 - what a great price!


    Andy started the evening off with a full-bodied red

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    I snuck a few sips!!

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    Mixed Greens, Grapes, Pine Nuts, Fourme d'Ambert Viniagrette

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    Asparagus, Farm-Fresh Egg, Sauce Béarnaise

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    Duck Breast, Mushroom and Brie Tart, Cherry Gastrique - Andy ordered this and we all agreed the mushroom and brie tart was amazing, we declared it the best thing of the night!!

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    NC Red Snapper, Local Red Potato, Fennel and Tomato Salad

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    Sweet Ending - Black and Blueberry Crêpe with Chocolate Creme Anglaise

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    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Quick & Easy Ratatouille

    I served this wonderful sautéed vegetable mix with some shredded leftover chicken breasts.  I decided to get a little creative on the plating by placing the chicken breast strips in a star on the plate and then topping it with the ratatouille.  Since I only had a little chicken I thought plating it this way would make the eye believe there was more chicken than there really was!!

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    2 Tbsp EVOO, divided

    1 large eggplant, cut into small dice

    1 medium onion, cut into small dice

    1 medium bell pepper, diced

    2 cloves minced garlic

    2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice

    1 14.5 oz can no-salt diced tomatoes

    1 tsp herbs de Provence

    3/4 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp ground pepper

    1/4 c chopped fresh basil


    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring until eggplant has softened but not completely lost its shape, about 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Heat another Tbsp of oil in the same skillet over medium0high heat.  Add the onions and bell pepper, cook until soft about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft, about 6-7 minutes.  Return the eggplant to the pan and add tomatoes, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper.  Simmer approximately 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with additional salt, to taste.  Stir in basil and remove from heat.

    Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger


    Summer CSA - Week 1

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    summer squash lb

    zucchini lb (I diced it)

    tomatoes lb

    2 pablano peppers

    corn 1/2dz

    yellow wax beans lb

    roma beans lb

    eggplant lb (I diced it)

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Beef Enchiladas

    I made my own red enchilada sauce for these - I personally get a lot of satisfaction out of taking something that you would typically purchase pre-made and creating a homemade version of it. Plus it saves money, taste better, and is healthier with less sodium and better quality ingredients.

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    • 8 whole-wheat flour tortillas
    • 1 lb ground chorizo or sirloin (from Brinkley's Farm)
    • 1 jalapeno, minced (home grown)
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 3 Tbsp Penzey's taco seasoning, optional
    • Salt and pepper
    • ½ cup medium salsa
    • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, prepared
    • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach, optional
    • Enchilada Sauce (below), prepared or 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
    • 4-5 oz shredded cheese

    In a large skillet brown meat 5-6 minutes, breaking up pieces as you go. Add onion and jalapeno, sauté 2-3 minutes. Stir in seasonings, salsa, rice and spinach; heat through. Pour 1 ½ cups of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Place ¼ cup mixture in bottom of each tortilla and roll. Continue rolling and placing them side by side in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

    Enchilada Sauce

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 3 Tbsp cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 oz tomato paste
    • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 1/3 cup water
    • salt and pepper

    In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add cumin, flour, and tomato paste; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Avocado & Egg Salad Wraps

    We had two dozen eggs in the fridge - so one dozen was turned into a batch of egg salad. We also both had a fresh peach along side - so ripe it was almost sinful.

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    Egg Salad:

    12 eggs, boiled and 6 yolks discarded

    2 Tbsp Mayo (I used the olive oil kind)

    2 tsp spicy brown mustard

    1-2 Tbsp sweet relish

    4-5 chives, finely chopped

    salt and pepper

    To assemble:

    1/3 cup egg salad mixture

    2-3 avocado slices

    1 flat bread

    We also made a trip to EarthFare where I bought two new grains to try - amaranth and spelt berries. I looked for farro but had no luck with that grain.


    Soak 1 cup dry spelt berries in 3 cups water for 8 hours or overnight.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes on low.  Drain.  Enjoy in yogurt, oatmeal, muesli, rice pilaf, salads or casseroles.

    1/2 cup (cooked) contains: 100 calories, 4g protein (30% more protein than wheat berries), 1g fat, 26g carbohydrates, and 3.5g fiber

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    I also decided to try a new beer. It was brewed in Kona, Hawaii. My favorite coffee is a Kona blend so this brew grabbed my attention. It's a wheat ale brewed with passion fruit. I honestly didn't taste a fruitiness, but non-the-less I loved the beer (reminds me of Bell's Oberon).

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    Black-Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler

    A weekend breakfast healthy indulgence and it'll be making a second appearance as dessert!

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    Berry Filling:
    Cooking spray
    4 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed

    2 cups frozen black-raspberries, thawed
    1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/3 cup sugar

    Cobbler Topping:
    1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 tablespoons canola oil
    1/3 cup lowfat milk

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl, toss the berries with whole wheat flour and sugar. Scrape the berry mixture to the baking dish.

    In a medium bowl whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in oil and milk and mix until just moistened. Do not over mix.

    Drop the batter onto the fruit forming 6 mounds. Sprinkle with another teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and top is golden. Let stand for 10 minutes or more before serving.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

    While we were visiting BARB last weekend we enjoyed assembling asian summer rolls.  They had prepped all the ingredients in advance and we each enjoyed soaking our rice paper rounds and filling them with an assortment of veggies and meat.

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    For the summer rolls:

    2 ounces Vietnamese or Thai rice noodles 
    12 rice paper rounds 
    12 fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil leaves), rinsed and dried
    2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
    1/2 cup shredded carrot                                        1/2 cup red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
    12 fresh mint leaves, rinsed and dried
    12 green-leaf lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried                                                                          12 fresh chive sprigs
    Vinegar dipping sauce, recipe follows                   Hoisin Peanut sauce, recipe follows                  Sweet and Sour sauce, store-bought


    Bring water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and cool (makes about 2 cups).

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    Line up ingredients in small bowls before beginning to make rolls. Fill a large bowl or saucepan with very warm water. Place a rice paper round in the hot water. Soak for between 30 seconds and 1 minute, or until rice round is pliable and pattern on the round is barely visible. Remove and place on a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel.

    Place 2 basil leaves on the inner edge of the rice round, about 1-inch from the edge and leaving about 1-inch on each side. Top with approximately 1/4 cup cooked rice noodles. Place 2 shrimp halves on top. Top with about 2 tablespoons carrots, then 2 leaves of mint. Fold 1 piece of lettuce leaf and place on top of pile. Bring the edge over filling and tuck underneath. As you continue to roll, fold in the sides. Finish rolling, repeat with the other rolls, and reserve under a damp cloth or paper towel. When ready to serve, slice in half and serve, cut ends up, with dipping sauce.

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    Vinegar Dipping Sauce:

    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons warm water
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon chili sauce 
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1 teaspoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon finely shredded carrot
    1 scallion, thinly sliced

    Dissolve sugar in warm water, combine with other ingredients, and chill until ready to use.


    Hoisin Peanut Sauce :

    1 cup hoisin sauce                                                     1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter                          1 tablespoon water


    Warm hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Garnish sauce with chopped peanuts, if desired.