Saturday Snippets: 27.May.2017

I think Vancouver missed the spring memo, and has jumped straight to summer! We’ve had fantastic weather this week, and it’s supposed to continue through next week. We were able to get outside climbing twice this week (first of the season), and it felt pretty darned good. πŸ™‚

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 27.May.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

We took Moby in to the shop to get some work done, at the beginning of last week. It was supposed to be done within the week. No such luck. At the time of writing this, it’s still not done, and their estimate is now by the end of next week! It’s a bit frustrating, but there’s not much we can do. Jonty thinks he might start designing the water / plumbing system for the van, because he’s finished up as much other design work as he can do, before we physically need the van.

So here’s what we’ve been getting organized for when the van IS back:

  • Our kitchen countertop butcher block slab has been purchased! We’ve bought an 8-foot unfinished slab from Yew Woodshop for super cheap (it becomes more expensive, if you want them to do all the work).
  • We’ve purchased our kitchen faucet! I’m pretty sure our van kitchen has officially become more modern and functional than our apartment. πŸ˜‰
  • Jonty has the CNC cut-outs for the countertop finished – we just need the van to load the wood in and haul it to Maker Labs.
  • We have the walls surrounding the fridge ready to be CNC’d and have added in a cool little design detail (you’ll just have to wait and see!).
  • We’re flipping back and forth between buying a small convection oven and a convection microwave oven. I think we’re leaning towards the oven-only option, as our food lives really revolve around baking/cooking with that. Any thoughts?

Pictures from the week of 27.May.2017:

On the Victoria Day Monday, we cycled up to UBC to look around. We’ve wanted to do this for ages – it’s been 10 years since Jonty finished working up there (eek!) and 12 years since I finished my Masters there (double eek!). We knew things had changed, and it was a glorious day, so thought it would be a good time to check it out.

Because I only did my Masters there, and spent most of that time off-campus, at the cancer centre, I’ve never really spent a lot of time exploring the campus. There were so many streets and buildings that I never knew existed! If you’ve never been around UBC, I’d urge you to take a walk or cycle through the campus. | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 20.May.2017

Are you ready for the May long weekend? The May 2-4, Victoria Day, Memorial Day, the official start of camping season… Whatever day you’d like to call it, I think everyone can agree that we’re ready for a long weekend filled with sunshine. πŸ™‚

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 20.May.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

This week, Moby was in the shop, getting a bit of a tune-up, so we haven’t been able to do any physical work on him. BUT, Jonty has been busy getting the CAD finished for the galley – figuring out the cut-out dimensions for the induction cooktop and sink.

We plan on having the cooktop mounted flush with the counter surface, and the sink will be under-mounted. As with everything else we do, we’ll prototype this design with a piece of cheap MDF, tweak the dimensions as necessary, and the CNC the finished product. | Sprinter van conversion - induction cooktop

True Induction 2-burner mini-duo cooktop. | Sprinter van conversion - double sink

Ambassador Marine double sink. | Sprinter van conversion - kitchen galley layout

Side-by-side layout for the cooktop and sink.

Before we started physically on the van, we made an initial design using FreeCAD. As we confirm dimensions, Jonty changes the original model to match reality and then tweaks the design of each part. As an example, here’s what our galley counter should look like in the end! The fridge is already installed, and we are still on the hunt for a convection microwave oven (which may be mounted under the sink as shown). Even thought we work on the van and see these progressions in person, it’s still oddly satisfying to see our van as a 3D model! | Sprinter van conversion - 3D rendering

Pictures from the week of 20.May.2017:

The weather was not quite as bright and sunny this week, as was predicted, but we’ve still been out and about. We spent a lovely Friday afternoon meandering along Jericho beach, taking in all the sights and sounds. The boaters and kayakers and paddle-boarders were all out on the water, and people were desperately willing-on the May long-weekend sunshine. A grey day at the beach is still better than a day in the office, I say! πŸ˜‰ | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC

Happy (long) weekend!

Quick and Easy Pickled Ginger

I’m just popping in with a quick post today. We’ve got company this week, and it’s nicer to be outside than at the computer! This recipe for pickled ginger has been sitting on the back-burner for a few months now. It’s one of those little condiments that we like to make every so often because it keeps in the fridge for a while and always adds an unexpected zip to so many foods. | Quick and easy pickled ginger

I always assumed that pickled ginger could only be found in your local sushi joint, or purchased in a jar that had been sitting on the supermarket shelf for who knows how long. I also assumed that the pink ginger you get with your sushi must have colouring added to it. | Quick and easy pickled ginger

A few quick searches on Google assured me that I was wrong on almost all accounts. Making your own pickled ginger is super easy. Like, 4-ingredients easy.

Also, pink ginger is actually a thing! If you can find young ginger (with paper-thin skin), the colour of that root is naturally pink. If you can’t find young ginger (it’s tricky!), then your standard supermarket ginger will do just fine – just make sure to look for really fresh ginger with really thin skin. You should be able to see bits of the ginger peeking out around the skin. This will be more tender and less fibrous, and generally make nicer pickled ginger. | Quick and easy pickled ginger

So the hardest part of this recipe might be slicing the ginger into whisper-thin strips. I’ve tried a variety of methods – a really sharp knife, a mandolin, and a vegetable peeler. In the end, I found my veggie peeler seemed to be the easiest for me.

The rest of the pickled ginger recipe is easy:

  1. Peel the ginger, slice it very thin and add it to a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid.
  2. Boil rice vinegar, water and sugar in a small sauce pan until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the ginger. Let it cool, and refrigerate for a few hours. | Quick and easy pickled ginger

That’s it! It literally takes me less than 10 minutes to make this jar of pickled ginger, and it lasts in the fridge for up to a month. We use the ginger on everything from tacos to fish to burgers to salads.

And, there’s no need to waste the pickling juice, either! When we roast veggies in the oven, we’ll toss a few tablespoons of the pickling juice over the vegetables while they roast, for a great punch of flavour. | Quick and easy pickled ginger

If you’re looking for a way to freshen up the taste of your old standby recipes, give this pickled ginger recipe a try.

Quick and Easy Pickled Ginger
Recipe type: Condiments
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This easy pickled ginger recipe only needs 4 ingredients and less than 10 minutes. Recipe adapted from Food52.
  • 1 large knob of fresh, young ginger (~125 g, 6-inch piece)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  1. Remove the skin from the ginger and slice into very thin strips (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin or very sharp knife). Place the ginger pieces into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the water, rice vinegar and granulated sugar. Boil until the sugar dissolves completely.
  3. Pour the liquid over the ginger pieces. Allow to cool slightly before sealing with the lid.
  4. Place in the refrigerator and leave for at least 2 hours before eating.
The pickled ginger will keep in the fridge, tightly sealed, for up to 1 month. Use the pickling juice in your favourite marinade!

Enjoy this quick and easy pickled ginger! | Quick and easy pickled ginger

Saturday Snippets: 13.May.2017

Happy Mother’s Day, a day early! If you’re lucky enough to live in the same city as your mom, I hope you enjoy a fantastic day with her. If you don’t (like us), hopefully you’ll be able to celebrate with her in spirit (we’ll talk tomorrow, mom!)

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 13.May.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Installing and covering the front roof panel:

  • We finally picked up our sink (sorry, no pictures yet!) and I think it’s going to be awesome!
  • We finished off some edging on the side-door step.
  • We covered the front roof panel with foam-backed vinyl, mounted the lights (Jonty needed to fabricate mounts for them) and put up the roof fan cover. We still have the upper side panels to do, but it’s almost looking like a finished ceiling! I love how bright it is inside. | Sprinter van conversion - upholstering ceiling panels

Installing cabinets:

  • We finished staining the bottoms of the cabinets and sealing the cabinet fronts with Osmo oil, and finally got all the bedroom and galley upper cabinets installed! Like with most of our projects, nothing is a standard fit and Jonty fabricated mounts for both the cabinet hinges and the Blumotion soft-closing adapters. But in the end, the solution works like a charm and we have soft-closing cabinets, made out of 1/4-inch Baltic Birch plywood (instead of the standard 3/4-inch ply, in order to reduce weight).
  • Now we’re just waiting on the rest of the latches to arrive, and then the cabinets should be good to go! | Sprinter van conversion - installing cabinets | Sprinter van conversion - installing cabinets

Pictures from the week of 13.May.2017:

Last weekend, we participated in our last climbing competition of spring season. It was the provincial competition, held over two days, here in Vancouver. We both had a great time climbing – the routes were really fun and there was a great vibe throughout the weekend.

All competitions are organized by Sport Climbing BC and, while the competitions are mainly geared for the youth divisions (ages ~8 to 18), they encourage other climbers to enter (those people who are ages 14 and up, who want to climb in competitions but aren’t looking to rank provincially or nationally).

We entered our first competition last year, and since then we’ve entered both route-climbing and bouldering competitions, and really love it! We both finished first in our age category, which was a bonus, but in general, we feel these competitions bring out the best in our climbing. I guess it’s nice to see that some of our training isn’t going to waste πŸ™‚

And if nothing else, there’s always the post-climbing celebration to look forward to πŸ˜‰ | Sport climbing BC - climbing competition

Happy Weekend!

Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint and chocolate are one of my favourite flavour combinations. That, or peanut butter and chocolate. In my book, the mintier the merrier! These mint chocolate chip cookies definitely live up to their name, due to mint-infused butter AND peppermint extract, and tons of chocolate in every bite. It could be the winning cookie for Mothers Day πŸ™‚ | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

Β | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

I made these the other week, in preparation for one of our climbing competitions on Vancouver Island. They’re easy to pack, and are the perfect size to nibble on between climbs. We both ended up nabbing first place in our age category, so perhaps they can be called Winning Mint Chocolate Chip cookies πŸ™‚ | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

I’ve made treats with mint before, but I usually stick to peppermint extract and not fresh mint. So when I saw a version of these cookies floating around online, I became intrigued with the idea of infusing mint into the butter. Would it make the mint flavour stronger? It definitely makes the kitchen smell fantastic, as it simmers away, so I count that as a win. | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

If there’s a downside to this recipe, it’s only that you need to give the cookie dough some time to hang out in the fridge, at least an hour. So if you’re in need of a cookie ASAP, this is probably not the recipe for you.

BUT, if you’re able to plan ahead a bit, give this one a whirl. I let the cookie dough rest in the fridge overnight, and then baked them the next day when I had some free time. Because we don’t make cookies very often, I don’t mind waiting for a treat like this! | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are thin and crispy, but are oh-so minty and chocolatey. They freeze really well and somehow taste even better, straight from the freezer.

Given their size, I think they’d also make fantastic ice cream sandwiches! And seeing as the weather is almost warm enough (we finally took the winter flannel sheets off our bed this week), I’m thinking another batch of these might be in order πŸ˜‰ | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from My Name is Yeh.
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup firmly packed fresh mint, roughly chopped *
  • 100 g (1/2 cup, packed) dark brown sugar
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 75 g (0.6 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 115 g (0.9 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 90 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
  1. In a small saucepan, add the butter and mint and melt over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. The butter will start to foam up and turn slightly brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. The butter should still be warm and not returned to its solid state. Strain out the mint using a fine-mesh strainer, and set aside the mint-infused butter. *
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and beat for another minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda and sea salt). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  5. When read to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line baking trays with parchment paper. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on the pan, spaced at least 5 to 7 cm apart and sprinkle each with a bit of flaky sea salt, if you'd like. The cookies will spread when baking.
  6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. If you like your cookies on the soft side, stick closer to 10 minutes. The cookies will continue to cook slightly, even once you remove them from the oven.
  7. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then remove and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
* If you don't want to strain out the mint, chop the mint very fine before adding it to the butter. There's no need to strain the mint afterwards, and the texture of the cookies doesn't change (you'll just see flecks of green dotted throughout the cookies). This version might taste even mintier!
** These cookies freeze very well.

Enjoy these Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies! | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies