This felt like a really busy week, what with a few site visits + tax season + van work… Suddenly we’re back at Saturday again! I had a few other posts in the queue to publish this past week, but it was not meant to be. So here’s to next week 🙂
Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 08.April.2017.
On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:
We finished our power training last week – we changed up some of our campus routine and tried to maintain a two-day rest in between campus sessions. I think both changes were a success, and our last session ended on a high note! Now we’re onto a round of power-endurance – bring on the forearm pump!
Does anyone have any good book recommendations? I’m in a blah phase at the moment, so I’m always on the hunt!
Photographers document how quickly some of the worlds biggest glaciers have been receding over the recent years. It’s quite a stark contrast (use the slider bar in the middle of each picture).
On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):
We had two dry days this past week, so we made use of them and finished hooking up the awning motor. This required drilling another hole in the roof of the van, so a dry day was key.
The cables go from the awning motor, through a waterproof cable clam that, and then down into the inside of the van. We’ve wrapped cable conduit around the wires that are exposed on the roof. So far so good – no leaking roof!
Yesterday, Jonty wired connected the wires to the awning controller, and we now have an electrically extending and retracting awning! Very exciting 🙂
Jonty has been prototyping boards that will house all of our electronic controls and displays. He thinks he’s nearing a version that has all the parts we’ve installed so far. The finished product will eventually be mounted above our inverter and electrical panels.
Tidying up all the wires and cabling, tucking everything into flexible cable conduit. There’s something very satisfying about seeing all the clutter disappear 🙂
An electrical part returned from being re-programmed. Now it reports values consistent with other components and the multimeter – finally it all works as expected!!
More wall panels:
This time for finished the sliding door (top and bottom) as well as the thin panels in between the back windows. I’m not going to lie – some of the covering is tedious, requiring me to use spray adhesive and a good old needle-and-thread, but we’ve been extremely happy with the end result!
Pictures from the week of 08.April.2017:
I spent a day over in Sechelt last week, for a site visit. I love taking the early morning ferry – the clouds were starting to burn off, and the short 40 minute hop over to the Sunshine Coast was gave me enough time to snap a few pictures. There were only a handful of people on the outer deck, which made it nice and quiet for me to sit and enjoy the view.
I was near the front of the ferry for off-loading – it’s quite fun to see the doors of the berth opening, to reveal your destination.
It was mid-afternoon when I finished my site visit, and I had a few hours to kill before my afternoon ferry was scheduled to head back to Vancouver. There’s a long straight road heading into Sechelt that runs right along the ocean, and it’s a great place to walk along the beach and enjoy the view.
Blue skies or grey skies, I find something so peaceful and mesmerizing about staring out into the ocean. I’m pretty sure many West Coasters feel this way, too!
It’s the weekend, and we’re officially into April! If photography’s your thing, check out my new Monthly Photo Challenge word I posted yesterday. I feel like I’m continually wittering on about the weather, but it was a doozy this week.
We broke a 61-year-old rainfall record on Tuesday, with nearly 30 mm of rain (and that didn’t include the rain the day before AND after). After surviving 27 of the last 31 days of rain, it’s safe to say that all “wet” coasters are ready for some sunshine. Let’s hope April brings a lot of it! 🙂
Here’s a few things that caught our eye online this week. Our Saturday Snippets for 01.April.2017.
Something for your eyes: Mindful book club. I’ve only read Real Food Fake Food. But some of the other ones look interesting.
Something for your ears: I love listening to podcasts. S-Town was just released last week (from the same group as This American Life and Serial, both of which are worthy of your listening time). I binge-listened to all seven episodes in 3 days!
Before the rain started on Monday afternoon, we installed the motor on the awning. Previously, it only had the manual wind-out attachment on it, and the other parts have been in the living room since last summer. Once we get a nice dry day, we can route the cables inside and finish the job.
Shore Power Plug:
Jonty fabricated a mount for our shore power plug. He cut the aluminum pieces using a plasma CNC, and tig welded the parts together. It turned out really well! He was able to get under the van late this past week to install it.
We didn’t want to cut a hole in the side of our van, so the shore power plug is mounted underneath the van, on one of the existing struts.
Shore power mount mounted under the van (looking towards the front driver side).
We’re still trying to figure out a good counter top option for the galley. We’ve ordered a sink, and it should be here mid to late April, so we still have some time to figure things out.
We’re back and forth between solid surface (like Corian or Formica) or, more likely, solid wood. We’ll see!
Pictures from the week of 01.April.2017:
I had to head into Gastown for a hair cut this week. I think it’s one of my favourite areas in downtown Vancouver. I love the old, restored brick buildings and cobbled streets. Even in the pouring rain, dodging all the tourists and their big umbrellas, I think Gastown always looks good 🙂
I had a site visit in Sechelt yesterday too, and snapped a few pictures from the ferry. I’ll have a few more to share next week, once I download them off the camera. I always love heading over to the Sunshine Coast. It’s a quick 40 minute ferry ride away, and travelling there always makes me feel like it’s the start of a vacation, even though I’m actually working 🙂 While it was a long day, it was a good way to end the week (and the month)!
I’m probably not wrong in saying that North American west-coasters are ready for March to be done. Vancouver has had a record-breaking winter – snow right into March, torrential rain for days (we broke a 61-year old one-day rainfall record this past week!), grey skies for too much of the month. With that, my Month of Today has come to an end. While I wasn’t a fan of the weather, I was a fan of that prompt! I’ll share the full photo round-up in a few days time.
April Month of VIBRANT
I’m done with the grey and gloom of this winter. In order to pull myself out of the doldrums, I’ve given myself a mandate to be on the lookout for colours. And not just a little colour, I’m looking for bold and bright and VIBRANT around town!
The trees are just starting to bud, and the flowers are desperately trying to bloom, and I’ll be on the look-out for those. But, really, our city is filled with vibrancy – painted buildings, colourful clothes, beautiful parks – I’ve just got to keep my eyes open 🙂
So, I’m dedicating April to my month of VIBRANT, and I would absolutely love to see your vibrant world, too! If you’d like to join in, please do (as many or as little photos as you’d like). I’ll post my findings on various social media places – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, tagging #MyMonthOfVibrant and #MyMonthOfApril.
Have you ever had an idea for something you want to eat, and it comes together exactly as you hoped it would? This Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken dish was that meal. Quite often, we start talking about our “weekend food” early in the week (like, Tuesday morning 😉 ). If we can, we try to cook something new on the weekends, because it can often take longer to make than a standard weeknight meal and we have more time.
I made a batch of my slider buns the previous weekend, so the plan was to do pair those with something. Our first thought was pulled pork (because we love it), but then I saw a few recipes float by online that used tantalizing words like Vietnamese and lemongrass and slow-cooked.
So my brain took those words and ran in a completely different direction and came up with: chicken breast, poached in a Thai broth, shredded and tossed in a spicy peanut sauce.
Have you ever used the poaching method to cook anything other than eggs? We’ve poached fish before, but nothing else. I must say, this method was the main reason this meal came together so quickly, it’s fast and easy, and keeps the meat juicy and flavourful.
As a bonus, I found this was so quick to make that it could easily be moved into the weeknight meal category… and it only uses one pot… and you get super tasty leftovers…
What’s not to love!
We ate this Thai peanut shredded chicken piled high on the slider buns, topped with slices of fresh, juicy pineapple. It was a match made in Saturday-night food heaven.
I bet it would be equally fantastic in a taco or alongside a crunchy salad, or simply straight from the pan. This wild-card recipe is definitely going to be added to our weeknight rotation!
500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, or 750 g bone-in chicken breast / thighs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
2 to 4 Thai red chilis (depending on how spicy you like your food)
1 stalk lemongrass (bottom ⅓ thinly sliced, middle ⅓ chopped into large pieces, upper ⅓ discarded)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 - 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 lime, zest + juice
1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp peanut oil, or neutral oil
In a large pot, saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass slices and red Thai chilis in peanut oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces and lemongrass chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and poach the chicken until the meat is cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken and place it on a plate to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with 2 forks.
Skim off any fat from the chicken broth and return the pot (with broth) back to the stove top. Add the peanut butter and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Over medium-low heat, allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and zest and chopped cilantro.
Add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Once the chicken is warmed through, it's ready to serve.
We’re entering the last week of March, how the heck did that happen already? I think I’ve finally gotten used to the time change, and the 6 am wake-up calls don’t feel as bad as they did the last week, and it’s been nice to have brighter evenings.
Here’s what caught our eye online during the week of 25.March.2017.
On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:
Royal Robbins, one of the big-name American Yosemite climbers back in the 50’s and 60’s, passed away this week. If you’ve never seen Valley Uprising (it’s on Netflix), be sure to give it a watch. It provides a good history of North American climbing over the last 50 years. Quite interesting, even if you’re not a climber!
These marinated white beans looks like a great keep-in-the-fridge-to-eat-all-week kind of dish. I’m down with that!
This book popped up on my library “to borrow” list last week, and I finished it a few days after I started it. I knew it was popular, but didn’t read the synopsis, thus didn’t really understand the first few chapters. Then I got completely absorbed, and stayed up waaay past my bedtime to finish it!
On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):
Electrical work and in-floor heating:
We tried to time the weather this past week so that any under-the-van work could be done on the dry days. Jonty’s been working at adding more electrical components (like wiring up the fans) and tidying up the wiring.
The main job was adding in the hydronic-heating component and associated wiring. We got it working on Monday, which meant we could enjoy nice warm feet, with in-floor heating all week. In-floor heating in a Sprinter conversion? Yup, when we go in, we go ALL in 😉 After dealing with cold, wet weather, being able to work in a warm van (without running the engine) feels like a luxury!
Unfortunately, another central battery-management component is not working correctly and needs sending back to the supplier… sigh.
Yup, these floors in the Sprinter Van are warm, thanks to the in-floor heating!
We finished CNC’ing and covering a few more wall panels at the back of the van, including the sections around the windows. It feels so much brighter in there now.
Our True Induction two-burner induction cooktop arrived in the mail last week (thanks, Mom and Dad!!), and we’ve been testing it out in the apartment. It works like a charm! Hopefully in the coming weeks, we’ll start figuring out the kitchen galley.
We still have more wall panels to cover, but that will happen in due time.
Jonty is finishing his last welding class today, and now he’s thinking of all the things that he could weld, will a platform bed-frame be an upcoming project?
Pictures for 25.March.2017:
Monday was a dry day for us, and we decided to make the most of it and get out for a quick bike ride in the morning! We had to pick up a few electrical wires from a store just around the corner from Granville Island. With coffee mugs in tow, we enjoyed a quiet, and slightly cool, breakfast along the water. We’re really hoping the weather is much better than last year, because we miss our early morning cycling + breakfast dates!