First health-conscious, home-cooked meal of the year consists of Vietnamese braised catfish in light caramel sauce (ca kho to) with a tofu-spinach soup. My first shot at a traditional Vietnamese dish. Of course, I called my mom for a little guidance before I started.

Some seasonings: fish sauce, coconut juice, caramel sauce, black pepper and salt. The canned goods (caramel sauce and coconut juice) were used minimally.

Ginger, shallots and garlic to help with the marinade/stewing process.

Catfish steaks; to be marinated with salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and shallots.

Stewed for 20 mins with more garlic, ginger, red pepper, caramel sauce and coconut juice.

Finished product garnished with green onions, served with a tofu-spinach and tomato soup in vegetable broth and brown rice.

Overall: success! Just the right amount of saltiness, although the steaks could have been a little more firm if I stewed it for a shorter time, but I like to eat them soft. Good health for good luck this year!

It’s been a great two days back in Austin. I got to bike around town with Cary and use up a $30 gift card to Chili’s. We saw the ball drop at Pure downtown on New Years Eve. I got to indulge in some Kimchi fries before starting my health rage. And I made my weekly grocery runs at Central Market. There’s nothing like being back in Austin.