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When Going to the Post Office Takes 2 Hours…

… but ends in me walking down the street grinning like an idiot.

This all started with an innocent enough text to Jenni and the Frenchman on Saturday morning when I woke up around 11am (or maybe 11:30, nah 11) to see when post offices normally closed on Saturday. It was December 14th and in order to get my box of Christmas presents to the States in time I was determined to mail it out today. But not determined enough to wake up early. :-D

Their answers.. well it depends.

I wasn’t surprised.

And then a helpful text from the Frenchman with an app for the postal service. yay!

iPhone Photos 12-18-13 249

There were three post offices near me: One at the Eiffel Tower that closed at 1pm but put super cool Eiffel Tower stamps on every parcel, one down the street from the Eiffel tower that closed at 1pm as well, and another one at the opposite end of the Champ de Mars that closed at 5pm. Lots of options! And so little time, because well, because it’s me.

I’d been taking my time waking up and by the time I looked at the clock I had about 50 minutes to make it to the post office and… pick up a last minute gift request by Place de la Concorde.

12:10 – I caught the metro at Ecole Militaire.

12:20 – J’arrive a Concorde. Dashed into a shop and back on the metro by 12:30

12:40 – Back at my apartment to pick up the items for the box

12:55 – After a sprint down the entire length of the Champ de Mars (let’s say the equivalent of 3-4 big blocks) I made it to the post office right before it closed and was met with a not so helpful but trying to be helpful post office lady. There was a discussion about the stamps fitting on my cards in French and then we decided that we would try and see especially because I had been there a week ago and mailed the same cards just fine!

1:00 – After successfully mailing three letters, I realize there are no boxes to put the massive amount of things I’d brought to the post office to mail home.

1:02 – My postal app stops working but zut! I round a corner and see a friendly post office sign.

1:03 – Get nearer to the friendly, now hinging on teasing post office sign, to see the postal workers closing and locking the doors.

1:05 – A wide breath of a block to get back to where I started because I refuse to stop and turn around if I’m going the wrong direction by myself. No matter- I had now 4 hours to find the next post office and a general area that it was in.

Did I mention that I decided to wear heels? And that I was sore for three days after?

1:10 – My app starts working again. ah ha! It’s back at the end of the Champ de Mars. Blast.

1:20 – I’m starting to realize that all I have to do for exercise that day is hike to the top of the Champs again.

1:25 – I’m standing on the dot. Where is the post office? Two rounds of the block where it should be and no sign. I’m very glad that I decided not to wear a coat.

1:30 – Well! I decide that this will be happening on Monday. I give up French postal system! and grudgingly walk back to my apartment. Where I decide to take the stairs, up 7 flights. Why????

1:33 – Legs are screaming.

1:45 – I vow to try again. This is happening! I have three hours to mail this package and it will be in the system today!

1:50 – Decide to hit the possible postal location from another angle and notice a little sign.

iPhone Photos 12-18-13 250

ok maybe it wasn’t all that little, and it might have been bright yellow… but….!!

1:52 – I’m following the yellow brick uh hm arrows down an alley?

iPhone Photos 12-18-13 251 iPhone Photos 12-18-13 242

There’s an old lady I’m following that keeps looking back at me..

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1:53 – I FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:54 – French French and more French. All day long and loving it. I find the box I need! I ask for the box! The nice postal worker finds the box but then he asks, if I want the one with the Christmas designs?! Yes! ok! I’ll look for it! An awesome box and a complete run down on the instructions and woohoo I’m feeling victorious! Like the lady on the box.

iPhone Photos 12-18-13 244

2:10 – I realize that my “detour” earlier will not fit in the box. I duct tape everything else into said box and stroll to the post office that I now know the location for. :-D

Shut your eyes family! It’s a surprise! ssh!

iPhone Photos 12-18-13 243 iPhone Photos 12-18-13 247

2:15 – Back at the post office. “No madame, you cannot tape the box shut.” Defeat! no! but then! “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” the same postal worker that searched for a fun box then offered. Success!

2:16 – VICTORY!!!!!!! Commence grinning + walking.

Later that day, after recapping my story the Frenchman says- but Molly, it is easy to visit the post office! Ouais Ouais, c’est facil! mais It’s just getting there that’s a challenge! ;-) haha!

Now fingers crossed that it gets there by Christmas and isn’t held hostage by customs.

20. December 2013 by Molly
Categories: France, paris, random wanderings in paris | Leave a comment

Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies

My parents visited me last month around Thanksgiving and brought with them a massive 5 pound bag of pecans. It actually says “MAMMOTH” pecan halves on the bag. tehe! I am proud to say that I have already made it through half of the bag, thanks to these cookies and a massive box of chocolate that Tina gave me in her “I’m moving away! Here take everything!” party. tehe! That box is almost gone as well.

If you are looking for an ultimate chewy, holy moly, I love pecans and chocolate cookie, this is the one! :-D Taste tested approved!

Chocolate Pecan Cookie Dough

It’s crazy easy because those are the types of recipes I, uh hum, you can do at 10pm at night on any random day of the week. Start by melting the butter, I actually do it in a large bowl, and then add all the other ingredients. Both sugars, whisk well! Then the egg! Then the dry on top- flour, vanilla, salt, baking powder. and stir! Then lots of chocolate and pecans and you’re set. Well almost.

You’ll notice the dough is just a bit soft for what you’re used too for cookies. Stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for a bit longer and the texture will change to easily scoop-able, “I’m ready to bake!” cookie dough!

Make golf-ball sized balls of dough and place about 3 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Bake until you smell them! They will be golden brown on top and just a smidge cracked.

Chocolate Pecan Cookie

One of my first baking tips on this blog was- Your nose knows! It’s SO true. A foolproof way of making cookies, unless you have a cold. Here’s an awesome video on the science of baking cookies.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Recipe: By me! Molly Wilkinson

1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. dark brown sugar or muscavado
1/2 c. white granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

1 c. pecans, chopped

1 c. dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Melt the butter and then whisk in both sugars while the butter is still hot. Whisk in the egg (the batter will lighten in color and become smooth). If you are adding liquid vanilla, whisk it in now as well. If it is powdered vanilla, add a pinch in with the dry ingredients.

Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then the chocolate chips and pecans. Chill in the freezer for 10 mins or the fridge for 20.

Form into golf ball sized balls, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F or 160C for 9-10 minutes or until you start to smell the cookies and they are golden brown on top and slightly cracked.

Enjoy!

13. December 2013 by Molly
Categories: baking tips, chocolate, chocolate chips, cookies, pecans | 2 comments

One Pie Per Person! Happy Thanksgiving!

Just one last Thanksgiving installment this year! A couple of pictures from Thanksgiving back home. I beamed in from Paris via Skype and was set a place at the table. haha! Just like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory as my mom said.

Yup and the pie to ratio person was equal! haha! Four pies: Pumpkin, Pecan, Apple, and Cherry this year!

It was sad not to be there in person, but definitely great to be able to join in the fun! :-)

Skype Thanksgiving DSC06147 DSC06140 DSC06205 DSC06181 DSC06152 DSC06208 DSC06207

 

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

29. November 2013 by Molly
Categories: thanksgiving | 2 comments

Thanksgiving Prep in the Wilkinson Household

I chatted with my mom over Skype a couple of days ago to interview her about our family’s dressing recipe that we have had every year for as long as I can remember. While I was talking to my mom they were preparing for a snowstorm which in Texas means about a centimeter of sleet or snow and that everyone will go bonkers and buy everything in the grocery stores. Well my mom the ever preparer for Thanksgiving (we’ll get into that later), had gone to the store that morning to get all necessities that could be bought before the mad rush later in the week. Well with the snowstorm, wait, “snowstorm”, everything was gone. I received a report of the sad state of what remained from the ingredients they wanted to buy: three moldy yellow onions, one last bunch of carrots, and soft oranges. It was very sad. A grave situation with Thanksgiving just a couple days away.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Preparations for Thanksgiving begin a month in advance in my family. There is a Thanksgiving recipe folder with years of meticulous magazine clippings and notes and a schedule to abide by. The table is decorated at the beginning of November with the sole purpose that then it can be enjoyed the whole month.

Thanksgiving Table 2012

 

A couple weeks before the fridge/freezer/pantry are cleaned out to make room for the ingredients needed for the dinner. Staples (flour, sugar, butter, etc.) that can last several weeks are bought at the beginning of the month. A grocery list is made with all ingredients needed and then divided up by what can be bought in advance and what needs to be bought at the last minute. The stores are absolutely crazy the day before Thanksgiving so we try to go two days before for any fresh ingredients including the Turkey. Then we still have the day of for any of those last minute- yikes! I forgot cream moments. haha! Because let’s face it, I ALWAYS forget an ingredient. Just one. But an integral one. Thanks dad for running to the store. :-D

Why not buy the Turkey earlier? Because it takes up a lot of space in the fridge, and the grocery store can keep it at a cooler temperature.

IMG_3309

So that gets us to two-three days before Thanksgiving. Pies are always made the day or two before. My fav, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, can actually be made even further in advance and frozen. I wrote down the recipe for y’all last year. :-D

Thanksgiving Rolls 2013

The day before: Rolls are made and allowed to rise in the oven overnight. The turkey is brined. Cornbread and Biscuits for the stuffing are made and actually left out to dry out. Curious!

The day of: Turkey in the oven! Then we make the remaining recipes that weren’t made the days before! We usually eat about 4pm then take a little bit of a break and eat PIE! nom!

Cranberry Sauce- Thanksgiving Individual Green Bean Casseroles- Thanksgiving

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving Prep Days! :-D

All pics are from last years Thanksgiving in Texas!

26. November 2013 by Molly
Categories: thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Recipes! Thanksgiving Links!

I’m busy thinking about Thanksgiving in Paris having celebrated it a couple weeks ago in all it’s awesome glory. I think I was recovering from a food coma while running an 8K… Bad decision- what? Never!

Thanksgiving is in full swing back at home in Dallas despite a doom inducing snowstorm of a possible 1cm ground coverage. It’s actually colder in Texas than it is in Paris right now. bahahaha!

Are you still looking for a Thanksgiving menu? Check out the menu of our Thanksgiving meal a couple weeks ago. The post contains links to different great recipes as well including a make-ahead gravy recipe and an entirely from scratch green bean casserole.

Also take a look at my Grandmother’s stuffing recipe. We’ve been making it for years and it is delicious.

Compilation of Thanksgiving Recipes/Ideas:

The Brown Eyed Baker’s 2013 Thanksgiving Menu

The Simplest, Easiest Method for Cooking a Turkey from The Kitchn

Curious how much Turkey to estimate per person?

Thanksgiving Recipes from the Pioneer Woman in all their Southern Glory

I even found a link on suggestions of what to wear to head the Food-baby bump. Completely serious. haha!

Love this idea from Occasions Online. Skewer cranberries, freeze, and add to a glass of champagne to keep it cold!

WaitingonMarthaHolidayStyl__RusticWhitePhotography_WaitingonMarthaCocktailsRusticWhite001_0

 

Step by Step (with Times) Thanksgiving Prep for a Make-Ahead Meal

Cute Cute DIY Place Card Holders. This one is by Almost Makes Perfect turkey-place-card

Treats for the big day? I stand by the pumpkin pie recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree can. :-) Make it triple easy and throw in a pre-made pie crust by Pillsberry. Blasphemy you say! ok ok- Pies are the way to go for Thanksgiving but you can do other things. I have quite the soft spot for pumpkin…

Maybe a Pumpkin Trifle from Dashing Dish?

A Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake from Pastry Affair is also acceptable. :-D

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Pastry Affair

Love my friend Jen’s idea to make these pie bars from Food & Wine- pumpkin, pecan, or lemon cranberry! Easy to serve to large crowds.

And I’m completely in Love with this cake from Sweetapolita: The Autumn Delight Cake.

autumncake Sweetapolita

Last but not least- what to do if you drop that pumpkin pie? Thank you SousStyle Male Mondays. haha!!! This is for you Tina.

Check out my Thanksgiving~Gobble Gobble Pinterest board for more ideas. I’ll be adding to it throughout the week.

Stay warm!

26. November 2013 by Molly
Categories: thanksgiving | 8 comments

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