Saturday Snippets: 20.January.2018

Gosh, it felt like a whirlwind week. We’re heading on a bit of a vacation next week, so maybe that’s why this week felt so busy? Trying to tie up loose ends!

Here’s what caught our eye online, in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 20.January.2018.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Because we’re going to be M.I.A. on the van next week, we’ve spent this week trying to cross off some items (big and small) off our to-do list.

  • Over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed that the front ceiling panel, closest to the seats, has started to sag under its own weight. Jonty fabricated a few mounts, to attach the ceiling panel to the front frame of the cab, added a few screw covers, and the job was finished! It’s definitely much sturdier.

  • We decided to add LED strip lighting under the electrical panel box. Now it matches the under-cabinet lighting along the galley and in the bedroom. It’s nice to have a bit more light in that closet area!

Stowable shower design:

  • We figured out our shower curtain set-up, and are really happy with how it’s turned out. When designing this, we knew we wanted to have the shower sit right under the front fan, so all the added moisture from the shower could be vented without adding another hole in the roof. We also wanted something that was going to be easy to put up and take down.
  • In the end, we decided to attach aluminum mounts to four of the existing ceiling screws. When Jonty made these mounts, he cut in a thin notch into the end of each mount. We can easily slide a metal hook into each notch and lock it into place. Our copper shower rod is then slipped over the top and into each hook.

  • The design is really minimal, but extremely stable! We’ve both tested out standing in the shower, with the curtain in place, and it’s actually roomier than we both expected it to be (yes, I’m standing on my tip-toes to look out over the top).

  • Another mount, permanently fixed to the shower curtain rod, is used to hold our shower nozzle in place while we shower.
  • We soldered the copper elbows on one side, so the curtain frame is rigid.

  • When we’re done, the curtain rod can be lifted off the hooks, the rods are pulled apart (the tent pole solution I showed you last week), and everything (including the shower curtain) is folded down into the shower pan, and stowed up against the wall.
  • Really, we had no idea how we were going to manage this shower design, when we first started it, but so far, we’re really happy with our version of a stowable shower! Now we just have to plumb in the waste line 🙂

View from the bedroom, looking toward the front of the van.

Position of the shower, when it’s in use. Obviously, we’ll close the door 😉

Kitchen Table:

  • One of the last pieces to our van puzzle (beside the grey tanks) is our kitchen table. Jonty CNC’d out the table (press play to watch the little video) yesterday, and this weekend will be spent filling in all the holes and knots with epoxy.

Bit by bit, this van is getting built!

Happy Weekend!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps (With a Twist)

For the past few months, we’ve been designating Monday as “Movie Night”. We’re pretty hopeless at going to the theatre on a regular basis. If we average one theatre-movie per year, we’re doing pretty good! And sometimes Netflix seems overwhelming with so much to choose from! So we’ve started to tackle this by picking one movie a week to watch. It makes for a nice start to the week, almost like it’s still the weekend.

If we can, we try to make our Monday Movie Night meals on the lighter side. This week, we made these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps and immediately decided these should be in our regular meal rotation. They’re easy to make, fun to eat, and still leave enough room in our tummies for popcorn afterwards! | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and walnuts

I didn’t really follow any recipe of sort, but tried to incorporate those classic Thai flavours that we all love: fresh lime juice, tangy fish sauce, and a healthy addition of red Thai chilies. To add a twist on the classic flavours, I threw in a handful of pomegranate arils and some walnuts for a bit of crunch. Yes, this part was decidedly not Thai-inspired, but the combination was so, so good! | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and walnuts

I would say this meal, as written, would feed 2 people, with nothing else added. If you were using it as a side salad, or in addition to something else, you could probably stretch to feed 4 people. To get a decent amount of protein, I’d aim for a cup of chopped chicken per person, and adjust everything else from there. We usually buy a roasted chicken from the store on a weekly basis, which makes the prep for this meal super quick and easy.

For the best flavours, definitely let this sit at least 30 minutes in the fridge. We left it for about 4 hours, and it was awesome! I know it would be one of those salads that would taste even better the next day, assuming you could restrain yourself by leaving some left over. We were not that restrained 🙂 | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and walnuts

To eat this salad with lettuce wraps, just scoop a bit of the mixture into a tender-leaf lettuce (we used butter lettuce), and wrap away! Something about the sweet-and-spicy-and-crunchy combination, was a winner. I can see this being on repeat for our Monday movie nights! | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and walnuts

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps with a twist
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps are easy to make and fun to eat. It's a healthy meal, when you're looking to lighten up your dinner.
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 2 Thai red chilies, chopped
  • 3 - 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup chopped walnut pieces
  • Handful of arugula (optional)
  • I head of butter lettuce, for wrapping
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sesame oil, fish sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, chili peppers and green onions.
  2. Add in the chicken, pomegranate arils and walnuts, and toss to combine.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the better.
  4. If you are eating this as a side salad, toss in some arugula before eating. Otherwise, scoop the mixture into lettuce leaves to eat.

Enjoy these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps (with a twist)! | Thai chicken lettuce wraps with pomegranates and walnuts

Saturday Snippets: 13.January.2018

Was this your first full week back at work / school? It was for us, and it sure felt busy! I guess everyone’s back from the month of festivities.

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 13.January.2018.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

This week we’ve been back in the swing of van work again (not sure if we’re ever NOT in the swing of it, if I’m honest!). We’ve started working on the shower design, picked up the unfinished slab of wood to make our table, and have laser cut another electrical board panel (hopefully one of our last!).

Electrical panel board:

  • Jonty has rearranged a few of the locations of the buttons, has removed one that we’re not sure we need for the time being, and relabeled some of the buttons, to make them more intuitive (mainly to the wifey).
  • Like all things, I’m sure there will be another iteration, but for now, this is everything we currently have installed and wired up in the van. | Sprinter van conversion - electrical panel board

Shower design:

  • Last week Jonty used the vinyl cutter to make hot and cold arrows for the shower taps. I think they turned out pretty good! | Sprinter van conversion - foldable shower design

  • Shower curtain rod: We’re using copper tubing and elbows to make a shower curtain rod that is about 1-inch larger than our shower pan (to give us more elbow room). We wanted to be able to take the curtain rod apart, in order to store it within the foldable shower base, but still wanted to keep the pieces all together. So we’ve put elasticized string through the tubing. This allows us to pull the copper rods out of the elbows (one end of the each tube is glued to one end of each elbow with silicone) and fold the entire apparatus down, like you would with tent poles. The solution is pretty cool, and we should keep all the pieces together! | Sprinter van conversion - foldable shower design

  • We have managed to figure out a way to attach all of this to the ceiling, but you’ll have to tune in next week to see the finished product. For now, here’s a quick peak at how it will look (Jonty won’t have to hold it steady) 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - foldable shower design

Happy Weekend!

Cashew Caramel Go to Bars

Well, it’s 2018 and it’s time to start back on this bandwagon – the food wagon, that is! Yes, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe, but we’ve been so darned busy with Moby (the van conversion), and winter in Vancouver doesn’t exactly scream “easy, breezy daylight photos”. So let’s kick off the new year with a new food post, shall we? I started making these Cashew Caramel Go–To Bars last fall, and they’re still a hit on the snack front.

If you have a food processor, these bars are really easy to make. They also don’t require the oven – just a bit of fridge time – which can sometimes be a bonus. Actually, the bigger bonus of these guys is that they freeze really well, and they can even be eaten straight from the freezer (sometimes a girl gets hungry, and needs food pronto!). | Cashew caramel go to bars

I’ve made a few snack bars over the years (here and here and here) and, regardless of what kind of nut / seed / fruit combo I use, the biggest key to the success of these bars (i.e. not having them fall apart) is to make sure the ingredients are finely chopped. This is especially key for any nuts that you use. Give them a good run-through with your knife (or use the food processor again) to make sure that the pieces are about the size of a kernel of popcorn.

Other than that, anything goes, really! The Medjool dates in these bars give a hint of a caramel taste and provide your body with so many good things (vitamins, minerals, fibre). We love peanut butter in our household, but feel free to change to a different nut or seed butter, if you need to. | Cashew caramel go to bars

Keys to making these Cashew Caramel bars easy:

  • Line your tray with a piece of parchment paper. It makes removing the bars much easier, and it keeps your pan clean! You can also use the same piece of parchment to wrap the bars in for storing.
  • Use very wet hands to mix the ingredients together. I started with a spatula, and eventually gave up and went with wet hands. Much easier.
  • Try using the flat bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press the mixture into the pan.
  • Remember to chop up your nuts and dried fruit. The smaller the pieces, the more you will guarantee to have a bar that won’t crumble on you after it’s set. | Cashew caramel go to | Cashew caramel go to bars

We love having bars like this handy during our climbing days and training days. They make the perfect snack to nibble on, and Jonty thinks the flavour combination is probably one of his favourites.

Cashew Caramel Go To Bars
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These no-bake Cashew Caramel Go-To Bars are healthy, vegan and easy to make. Recipe adapted from Power Hungry cookbook.
  • 200 g (~12 large, 1 cup packed) pitted large Medjool dates
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 80 g (1/3 cup) natural peanut butter
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 200 g (1⅔ cup) large-flake oats
  • 80 g (2/3 cup) dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) raw cashews, finely chopped
  • 25 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) chia seeds
  1. Soak the pitted dates in 1 cup of hot water, for 10 to 15 minutes, to soften. Drain the water from the dates.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the dates, peanut butter, cinnamon and salt until the mixture forms a thick ball.
  3. In a large bowl, add the oats, coconut flakes, cranberries and finely chopped cashews, and date mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined. TIP: use very wet hands to mix.,
  4. Firmly press the mixture into an 8x8-inch tray lined with parchment paper. TIP: use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan, in order to get it very flat.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the tray and cut into squares.
These bars freeze well. Wrap in parchment paper and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Enjoy these Cashew Caramel Go–To Bars! | Cashew caramel go to bars

Saturday Snippets: 06.January.2018

Happy New Year! How many times have you typed 2017 before having to backspace? 🙂 This past week was back to normal, and I’m already looking forward to our next vacation. California, we’re coming for you in a few weeks!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 06.January.2018.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Training for power in climbing is often limited to the campus board (which is good, but sometimes it hurts my elbows!). This article has some points about using the bouldering wall that are always good to keep in mind. The hardest part is not turning it into a fun climbing day! 🙂
  • We’re always looking for good functional strength exercises. Here are the 8 best functional exercises, if you want to supplement your climbing training (or any training, I think!). We’ve been working on our deadlifts for almost a year now!
  • What is your body lacking, if you start craving bean recipes? This giant bean gratin looks like perfect winter food. And these 14 ways to add chickpeas into your meals might help. (Mmm, coconut braised chickpeas)
  • Why time seems to speed up as we get older. I certainly feel this way!
  • I still remember my first semester of university, and the cost of my textbooks for those entry-level courses. I hope more professors adopt this open-source approach.

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

If all was successful yesterday at our local mechanics shop, we will have a functioning second alternator! (Update – it was!!) We talked to our mechanics earlier in the week, and asked if they would be willing to put on the belt for our second alternator, and have Jonty there to watch / help. They said, no problem! All they needed to do was make sure the centre of their shop was clear for us, because it was the only spot tall enough for Moby to fit into 🙂 This is a pretty exciting job to have finished, because it means we can charge our  batteries while we’re driving, making us only dependent on having access to fill our fresh water tanks. Very cool!

Most of the work we’ve been doing this week has been unphotographable (is that even a word?).

  • We’re still working on the shower: I’ve ordered a shower curtain, Jonty’s working on making a curtain rod
  • We’ve decided on a table size: We’re ordering another raw slab of wood from Yew Woodshop and will CNC a table in the same way we did our counter top. The wood is the same, so all our counter top surfaces will match. We pick up the slab on Monday!
  • I’m looking for a narrow carpet runner. We’ve had a folded sheet laid down over the floor for quite a few months, and we really like the look of it. It’s also nice to have something that can be vacuumed / washed / cleaned, that also saves us marking up the floor too much. So that’s in progress.
  • Now that all of our electrical components are in (we think…) Jonty is lasering another electrical panel board. He’s changed up a few of the electronics descriptions, and is changing the font size to make everything more readable.

So instead of in-progress pictures, I thought I would share a few from our New Years stay in the van. We definitely enjoyed our breakfast with a view. The Saturday Snippets picture is from the Polar Bear swim (we watched, not swam 🙂 ). | New Years Day 2018 in Moby van | New Years Day 2018 in Moby van | New Years Day 2018 in Moby van

Happy Weekend!