Date Night Sushi Making


Mr. Wonderful and I still try to keep our once a week date nights.

This has been challenging in the past year, due to his job change and hours, but we know how important it is to the health of our marriage, so we keep trying!

This is one of our favorite things to do on date night when we just don’t feel like going out.


Make sushi at home. [Read more…]

Tuna Steaks with Dijon Honey Mustard Sauce

Have you noticed I’m trying to cook healthier this week?

I am.

Last night I made these tuna steaks recipe with a Dijon honey mustard sauce glaze along with sauteed sugar snap peas.  They were delicious, easy and made me realize again that eating healthy can be done without a lot of pain.

It’s just that all that stuff with cream and cheese is so good.

But so bad!

Refocus Katie!

Start by making the sauce, because the actual cooking of the tuna is very quick. (Editor’s note -while the blog post features cooking for 2, the printable is for 4, just cuz, I figure that’s more logical!)

Measure out 2 tablespoons of coarse ground dijon mustard into a small saucepan.

Add in 4 tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar.  Add a pinch of salt and stir it all together.  Put this over medium-high heat and let it bubble up and thicken up, stirring often.  This only took me less than five minutes, so keep an eye on it and don’t walk away.

Set your sauce aside and move on to the tuna!

It will look brown and glazy and yummy when it’s thickened up.


Get yourself out a couple of tuna steaks.

If you’re a pepper person like me, crack yourself quite a bit of fresh peppercorns.  I used my coffee mill and had it done in no time.  The cracked pepper goes really well with the sauce as well.  Sprinkle a good amount of pepper over the first side of the tuna steaks.  Don’t be afraid to rub it into the meat so it will adhere well.  Mr. Wonderful doesn’t like pepper as much as me, so if you’re a light pepper person, just do what makes you smile.  Also, flip them over and pepper the other side as well. This is going to make a nice crust on your tuna.

You’ll need a really hot pan.  Pour in a little olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  When your pan is smoking hot, go ahead and add your tuna steaks.

Let them sear for only about 2 minutes, then flip then to the other side. Sear them for another 2 minutes, then remove them to a plate.

Spoon some of your warm glaze over top.

And only because they’re growing like mad in my herb patio garden outside, I snipped some fresh chives over top for some added flavor and prettiness.

And you’re ready to go.  This is good…very good..and the added benefit of being healthy?

You’ll never even know!

Tuna Steaks with Dijon Honey Mustard Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Seafood
Serves: 4
  • 4 tuna steaks
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • ¼ c. Harvest Coarse Ground Grey Poupon mustard
  • ½ c. honey
  • 2 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Make glaze - in medium saucepan, add mustard, honey, vinegar and garlic.
  2. Over medium heat, heat glaze until bubbling.
  3. Let reduced until thick and syrupy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil over high heat in pan.
  5. Rub cracked pepper over both sides of tuna steaks.
  6. Sear tuna steaks in pan 2-3 minutes on each side.
  7. Middle will be reddish pink still.
  8. Spoon sauce over top.
  9. Garnish with chopped chives


Sweet Chili-Glazed Salmon

I knew when I saw this recipe, I must make it.  We’ve been trying, for health benefits, to try and incorporate salmon into our diet more and more.

One problem with that.

Mr. Wonderful isn’t a salmon fan.

He’s a fisherman, just not a salmon fish kind of guy.  I know our adoration for sweet chili sauce on anything, so when I saw this on the cover of my February Bon Appétit  magazine, I knew I had to make it.

Okay so mine didn’t involve baby pea sprouts…where in the WORLD do you get those anyway?

Not in my Oklahoma (red)neck of the woods.

This was pretty straight forward and simple.

Make the sauce.

Baste with some of the sauce.  Let sit for 30 minutes to marinade.

Spoon the rest of the sauce over the fish and broil a bit.

That’s it.


I could feel our Omega-3 levels rising as we ate…


Sweet Chili-Glazed Salmon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • ¼ cup Asian sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
  1. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk chili sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon ginger in small bowl. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, on prepared sheet.
  3. Spoon chili sauce marinade over and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat broiler.
  5. Spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over salmon fillets.
  6. Broil salmon without turning until browned in spots and almost opaque in center, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.





A Packet of Fun…Date Night and En Papillote (Fish in Parchment)

En Papillote

Ever since Mr. Wonderful and I got married, we have faithfully stuck by one thing…

Date Night!

Any Tuesday (or whatever night we are free), when we are footloose and kid-free, we spend  on each other.

I highly  recommend this practice to all couples, seasoned or youthful.  You need to spend time as a couple just delighting in each other, away from electronics like the TV, computer and even your cell phones!

It keeps you fresh, and romance abounds.  If your kids are home, don’t feel guilty about going out.  They will realize in time that mom and dad love each other enough to spend time alone getting romantic.  Plus it gives you a break and time to refresh and keeps your children alive and well and keeps you from locking them in the basement.

If you have to go away to be alone, then do it. If you have the house to yourselves, get out the candles and the nice dishes and really do things up right. Sometimes, we go out to dinner and a movie. If money is tight, we’ll just go to our favorite bookstore.

We get a pot of vanilla rooibus tea and grab magazines and books and then sit, sip and read. We feel very artsy on those nites as we sit with the college students with their open laptops and textbooks.

Then we realize we have a book with very tiny print and we have to hold it arms-length away to see it or get our reader glasses. Realization sets in that we most certainly aren’t college age anymore, even if our hearts are still young.

Some nights we stay home, cook together, and rent a movie. We have really come to love this setting even more than a restaurant as we enjoy being in the kitchen together. Often we don’t want the annoyance of pesky wait-staff and kitchen noise to interfere with our conversation.

On those nights, we splurge and buy things that might be a little pricey for an every-night meal, but in comparison to restaurant prices, we come out way ahead!

Last evening’s date night was something fun. We made En Papillote, or in English – cooking in parchment paper.

This is a very delicate, healthy way to cook. Basically, you steam your food in an air-tight pocket of parchment paper with a small amount of liquid – usually white wine, and fresh herbs and spices. No parchment? Never fear – you can use foil or sometimes even a brown paper bag. No wine? Use chicken or vegetable broth and it’ll still be delicious.

The beauty of En Papillote is that it’s simple and you can use anything that makes your heart sing. Fish is commonly used, but I have seen chicken or other seafood used as well. Just remember that everything cooks for the same amount of time, so if you have something that cooks fast, like zucchini, just cut it in bigger pieces. You would need to slice potatoes very thinly, as they cook longer.

It’s time for me to confess. I am a vegetable addict. I don’t think I’ve found a veggie I don’t like, so we filled ours with loads of veggies and salmon last night. . And we felt like kids again in art class…an added bonus. Here is how we did it

The Ingredients of Love: Salmon filets, thinly sliced red potatoes, zucchini, matchstick carrots, fresh thyme, sliced cremini mushrooms, asparagus, thinly sliced onions, fresh spinach, lemons, and white wine.

Let me just say to begin that I was very disappointed in these salmon filets…they were frozen and in a bag and when I opened them I checked the bag to make sure I had the right bag. Salmon should be red not white, unless you get white salmon which is very pricey.

Now, let’s make En Papillote.

Preheat your oven to 400 degress. Begin by taking your parchment paper and cutting a good size rectangle. I would say a foot and 1/2 long would be right.

Now, fold it in half by putting the 2 shorter ends together. Cut a 1/2 heart shape.

Think Valentine’s in grade school people! Remember cutting those cute little hearts out of red construction paper?

Now open up your heart, your romantic one (date nite – remember?), and also your parchment paper one. Begin layering your Papillote by placing your fresh herbs on the bottom, I used thyme but you could use your favorite herb – try rosemary or basil or even a combination of herbs, or whatever makes you smile.

Lay 2 rows of your red potato slices on top of your herbs and make sure both rows overlap each other.
Layer your zuchhini slices over top of your potatoes.

Trim your asparagus and lay 5 or 6 of them over your zucchini. Sprinkle your matchstick carrots over top.
Then drop your mushrooms wherever you like. Layer some onion rings over top. Stick some fresh spinach in the cracks.
Place your salmon filet on top of everything. Put another few springs of thyme on top of it.
I have to stop and pause for a moment. When I went to the market today, guess what was there? Lemons. Not just any old lemons.

Meyer lemons are the Picasso of the lemon world…mmmm. They’re like a cross between a lemon and an orange or tangerine, much sweeter than regular lemons. I will be making something wonderful with the rest of these babies. You can just use regular ones if you can’t find Meyers and you can also zest the lemon before cutting it up if you like really intense lemon flavor on your fish.

Layer your slices of lemon over the thyme and fish. Drizzle about 2 T. white wine or chicken stock over top all.

This will create the steam that will cook your Papillote. Oh yes, sprinkle with salt and pepper as you layer

You can also drizzle extra virgin olive oil (or I think sesame oil would be fabulous for an Asian zing!) over top if you like, but I am on a low calorie fix right now so no oil for me!

Now, the fun part! To create your parchment “pocket”, fold the top of your heart back over your layered food. Begin at the top of the heart and fold over a small flap of the paper at the edges. Move your fingers down about an inch and fold another flap of paper over the first flap you folded.

Continue with this proces until you reach the end, or bottom point of your heart.

Take the end and twist it several times to seal your packet or you can just fold it underneath your packet.

The point is to created an air-tight pouch for your vegetables and fish to steam in

Once you get your packets finished, Twist the remaining end or fold it under to seal. Place your Papillotes on a lined baking sheet. You don’t have to line your baking sheet, but I am all about not doing dishes, especially on date night! This way, if your packet does leak, you’re covered on the dishes thing!

Look how perfect Mr. Wonderful’s packet looks. That’s mine over on the left with the spinach rolled up in the edges. Apparently, I need work on my fine motor skills!

Place your pan into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the pan and place your now- browned Papillotes on dinner plates…make them pretty plates for date night please!

Begin unwrapping your pocket, being careful to let the first rush of steam escape away from your fingers! When fully undone, your paper should be folded back and your artwork displayed across your plate. You can remove your lovely creation inside from the paper and to your plate, but traditionally, you just eat right off the paper and hey, why do dishes on date night?

Are you sensing a common theme about me and doing dishes? Plus, you just throw your paper away when done and give a quick rinse to your plate. How easy is that?

There are so many possibilities for this technique. My mind is still thinking of them. How about red snapper with layered red peppers and onions, with sliced seeded roma tomato slices and cilantro, limes and a splash of white wine

How about julienning some veggies up like zucchini, carrots and peppers with some shredded ginger, and putting some salmon or tilapia over all and a drizzle of a little soy sauce and some sesame oil?

Or, chicken, pesto, orzo pasta, chopped tomatoes and fresh basil? (See Pesto Chicken Packets).

There are endless scenarios you can play out in your mind with these lovely steamed pockets of joy! Hope you experiment with one soon and don’t forget to do it with someone you love!

I sure do love him. 


A Packet of Fun...Date Night and En Papillote (Fish in Parchment)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • Fresh herb of choice – thyme, rosemary, basil, dill, etc
  • 2 Salmon filets
  • 6 small thinly sliced red potatoes
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • ¼ red onion (medium sized), thinly sliced
  • ¼ c. matchstick carrots
  • ½ c. cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1 c. fresh spinach
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • ½ c. white wine
  • parchment paper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut rectangle of parchment paper about one ½ feet long.
  3. Fold shorter sides together like a book.
  4. As large as possible, cut a half heart with the fold of your “book” being the center of the heart. Unfold heart shape.
  5. On one side of heart, layering down the seam side, layer your ingredients -herb, potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, onion, mushroom, spinach, salmon, herb, lemon slices.
  6. Salt and pepper lightly in between layers as desired.
  7. Drizzle with white wine or broth. Salt and pepper top.
  8. Begin folding at the top of heart seam.
  9. Fold a small flap over once.
  10. Continue going down the cut edges making small folds that fold over the last fold. Keep folding until you you reach the bottom point of the heart.
  11. Twist the end to seal or fold under.
  12. Lay your Papillotes on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!


Coolgreens Cafe & Bistro

(Photos by Brettley Ruggles)

I’ve written about Coolgreens before, but this week, they’ll be my guest on my Rise & Shine segment which just thrills me to pieces.  There may those of you haven’t tried Coolgreens -like those ravenous lovers of meat, or you manly-men or maybe, just maybe you just plain haven’t ventured off to try Coolgreens yet,

I beckon you to try this place. I think you’ll be satisfied.  Greatly satisfied. And you won’t walk away feeling disgusted with yourself either which is always a plus.

The concept is pure and unaltered.  Pick from the already preconceived menu choices of Signature Salads and Wraps, Flatbread Pizzas or homemade soups (conceived by Executive Chef Trey Ferguson at the COOLGREENS commissary kitchen located in Oklahoma City),  or build your own using only the freshest ingredients.   And by fresh, I mean freshly delicious, free of trans fats and processed foods and there are vegan and vegetarian offerings as well.

I truly love this place, and so does my family. Especially these three.

I always feel purely organically relaxed in the ethereal environment there.

On our visit tonight we tried several different menu items I hadn’t had before. Like their new offering of the “Coolwich” sandwich of the month.  Tonight’s featured Sandwich was the Turkey Pesto and it was wonderful.

Coolgreens plans to feature this monthly switch-up and then, based on popularity by sales, introduce the new menu items as permanent fixtures.

Have you had their Curried Cous Cous? It came with the sandwich and was a great and healthy compliment.

I ordered my favorite thing on the menu…the Coolgreens Skinny Flatbread Pizza.  I still remain loyal to this pizza from my last review on Coolgreens.

It’s so delicious with basil pesto, grapes, sundried tomato, figs, walnuts, goat cheese, and arugula. I feel disloyal ordering anything else.  I also adore this crust and wish I could make it at home.

This was quite possibly my new love, and could become competition for the pizza I favor however.

This was the Southwest Spicy Chicken Salad with mixed greens & arugula, seasoned chicken, avocado, roasted poblano, corn, cumin black beans, red onion, blue corn tortilla chips, queso fresco, and southwestern vinaigrette.

Oh gosh, I really enjoyed this.

The Smoky Tomato  Basil soup was on the Monday soup list and I always love dipping the fresh bread in it.

And apparently so does Mr. Wonderful as well!

We tried one of the specials off the chalkboard by the order line – this salad was called The Peruvian Quinoa Salad.

And check out this Barbecue Chicken Pizza with roasted chicken, barbeque sauce, crimini mushrooms, red bell pepper, smoked cheddar, and green onion.

Again, delicious!

I can’t leave out the drinks at Coolgreens. There is no soda folks, but there are plenty of other offerings to satisfy. Like Izze.

They have some wonderful flavors of Honest ice tea, Pellegrino, and San Pellegrino.  There are also smoothies and fat free frozen yogurt and toppings for the yogurt, like organic chocolate chips.  Oh yes, and there are cookies.

These cookies are made of whole wheat flour, honey, organic chocolate, sugar, rolled oats, toasted almonds, free range eggs and you feel like you just might get a burst of energy by nibbling on one.

If you’d like to visit Coolgreens, click below to find one of their five locations. Plans are in the works to expand to Tulsa soon.

Also, if you need some delicious and healthy catering? Coolgreens is a great choice.

I hope you’ll visit them soon!   And love them as much as we do!

Coolgreens Cafe & Bistros
Hours & Locations
website & menu

Here is a map for ya of their most recent five business!

View Oklahoma Coolgreens in a larger map

Garden Gadgets – Flexible Garden Tie

My daughter Kayla bought me three packages of this wonderful stuff for Mother’s Day from Target. I think it was a buck a package.

It’s flexible Garden Tie – kind of a rubberized wire to use for staking your plants.

I’ve used twine and other staking material in the past, but I have to tell you.

I absolutely love this stuff!


Conner Graduated!

My boy has had horrible “senioritis” for the past few months. He is ready to move on to Oklahoma University (go Sooners!) and so finally the day came.


If you’ve seen  my other posts where my girls graduated, you’ll remember how cool Putnam City High’s graduation ceremony is.

It’s held outside at the football stadium.  We all pray for no rain, dress in light clothing and brave the bleachers.   Over by the school some commotion starts.

Those arches you see are the rose arch girls. The graduates are going to walk through those in the procession.  The rose arch girls always have the cutest spring dresses.

And then pretty soon, here come the graduates.

The boy third from the front is Conner..he looks so tall.  I can just tell you that I always get a lump in my throat at this point and am just bursting with pride. The whole beautiful procession just makes it worse for my Mama hormones to kick in!

So then he walks up the sidelines through the arches.

I can barely stand it and usually stand up and scream something horribly embarrassing…like “Connnnnnnnnnnner! Woohoo!”

The kids walk around to the center aisle and find their appropriate seats.

And of course they try to find us sitting up in the bleachers.

And then once they find us, all coolness is off for a minute, and they wave like they did when they were little kids in a school program.

That wave said “HEY MOM! I am done with this place and heading off to OU!”

I just know that somehow.

And then the tom foolery has to surface.

Somehow his group of boys got 3D glasses and all the sudden they had them on.  I sunk a little lower in my chair waiting…but that’s the worst that happened.

And then the ceremony began.

With admonitions to go out and grab life by the tail and swing it around, we heard inspiration by students and special speakers and then…it was over.

I realized this was my last experience as a parent at Putnam City High School.

What am I going to do with all those t-shirts, hoodies and sport clothes I bought now?

Then it occurred to me that we will probably get discount OU tickets next year.

And all was well with the world again.

Afterwards, we hung out and there were hugs with some of the special friends and family of my boy.

Congratulations Conner!  While this part of your life draws to a close, you’re now at the start of a new era in your life.

I know you’ll do fantastic at it!

GoodPop Giveaway Winner Announced!

Here is the winner of the GoodPop giveaway!

True Random Number Generator
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Shari Creasey said: Submitted on 2012/06/21 at 9:02 am

“Sounds like a great snack for these 100 degree days we have coming! Yummy!!”

Congratulations Shari! Please email me your address (to to receive your winnings!

KEO Asian Cuisine – Tulsa Tasting

We are big fans of Vietnamese restaurants. You know, the mostly diner-style places with no frills, that aren’t big on customer service or ambiance but serve a great steaming bowl of Pho or a cool but delicious rice vermicelli dish?

So, when KEO was recommended to me as a Tulsa eatery to try, I was somewhat suspicious.  I’ve found upscale eateries trying to serve Asian food a little subpar and was certain this place would be no exception.

I was so wrong.

Owners Bill & Zahidah Hyman created KEO (Keo was Zahidah’s maiden name) after leaving their jobs in the business world. The day I was there, Zahidah, the resident chef and genius behind the recipes, ran in to say hello with her kids, fresh from a youth baseball game.

Their philosophy was to create a place and space that not only offered wonderful Asian flavors, but also a unique and classy dining experience complete with nice wine and cocktails. You know, somewhere that you could go on a romantic date, a girl’s nite in heels, or just gather with a group of friends over a nice glass of wine?

And they’ve done just that. From the floor to ceiling airy windows and sleek black and white dining area with resplendent golden awnings draping out over the tables, to the classy bar wrapped around the front of the restaurants, KEO has class.

The dining room is wide and long.

And you’re likely to see  Bill hanging out behind the bar talking and taking care of business.

Oh yes, and there is really good Asian cuisine.  Good enough, in fact, that in the 15 restaurants we tried in Tulsa, I keep remembering this one dish from KEO (more on that later!).

While Zahidah’s roots stem from mainly Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll also find other Asian flavors mixes  like Thai, Cambodian and Malaysia fused in. The menu boasts the traditional Pho, Tom Ka and Vermicelli Salad you’ll see at other Vietnamese restaurants, but also things like Thai Sweet Basil and Pad Thai and Cambodian Stir Fry as well.

We began our tasting with an order of Edamame.


KEO’s edamame had great flavor with some sort of garlic salt sprinkled over top. It was a good start to a fantastic meal.

Next up was a delicious, healthy and wonderfully done Papaya Salad (known as Som Tam in Thai cuisine).

Made of green unripened papaya, carrots and topped with perfectly cooked shrimp, this salad hits the palette on four levels, with the sourness of lime juice, a bit of spice from chili, salty fish sauce and a touch of sugar. I loved this salad.

For an entree, we picked the Vietnamese Crepe with Duck (you can also pick chicken, shrimp or ground beef).

This is it folks, THIS is the dish I want to drive an hour and a half north just to get again. The thin Vietnamese crepe seasoned with turmeric and filled with seared duck, bean sprouts and a delicious brown sauce was like nothing I’ve had before. It was so delicious!

For dessert Bill insisted we try the Banana Wonton.

Bananas wrapped in wonton skins, then deep fried, and placed like sentinels protecting a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then drizzled with chocolate and caramel and dusted with powdered sugar?  Well, it  just about did us in.

We thanked Bill for force feeding us this splendid dessert!

We loved our visit to KEO Asian Cuisine and look forward to another trip.

I can’t get those Vietnamese Crepes out of my head!

P.S. Zahidah has graciously offered up her recipe for the Vietnamese Crepe.  My book The Food Lovers’ Guide to Oklahoma is available on Amazon and many other sites now for pre-order! Click here to order!


3524 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105
(918) 794-8200
Website & Menu

For all the peeps wanting to locate KEO, here is a map for ya!

View Larger Map

Keo on Urbanspoon

My Garden Diary June 2012

Here are a few of my flowers I’ve enjoyed at the beginning of this summer….

I will always love a simple red geranium in a terra cotta pot.  Here is my Dad, enjoying the scenery a few weeks back..


Hollyhocks…oh my goodness have I enjoyed these! I want to plant more!

My newly planted coneflower.

More lilies.




For the life of me I can’t remember the name of these!

My friend Dee would know…her garden site Red Dirt Ramblings  is amazing!

Patio Tomatoes.

And now for some non garden items..

Maybe even some items that tend to irritate the garden.

Happy gardening!

© Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & Dishes, [2009-2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & DIshes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.