Monday, September 5, 2011

Introducing: The Tollhouse

This year, Campus House (my college church) started an Intentional Housing ministry, where students intentionally grow relationships with their roomates, as well as their community.  Students invite neighbors over for dinner and have fun activities like game night or movie night.  The houses even gave themselves names, such as the Boathouse, the Porch, the Luce Flore (floor) and the Firehouse (they have a firepit).  My sister Jasmine and I love love love LOVE to BAKE! So naturally, with a littile help from the ladies at the Zone (another house), we were dubbed the Tollhouse (often brought to you by Nestle!)

In all the excitement of the schoolyear, I hadn't made my way back to 1CT til now.  Don't be overly excited, because I'm not BACK yet!  I'm awaiting graduation & I would like to finish my college career before making blogging an everyday hobby.  So look forward to some amazing recipes this Christmas! As always, I'm so excited to bring you a schoolyear worth of fun community-centered treats.  I will do my best to make them budget-friendly (and believe me, I'm on a budget like no tomorrow!) I will try to incorporate college-friendly recipes, involving recipes with limited ingredients (like Honey Cookies, these recipes are always fun!)

Coming up, we have Fall pies, new cookies and Winter treats galore!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reese's Chocolate Cookies

I felt the urge to crank out some cookies the other night. Although the weather here in Northeast Ohio has been "Heat-Advisory"-hot and we're urged NOT to use our ovens AND my A/C is on the fritz, I couldn't help myself. I love baking, LOVE it.
My mom has recently been experimenting with different flavors of Praline Candy (it's a Southern thing) and just so happens to have many different kinds of chips and assorted dessertsy flavorings in our pantry. So I went in there and snatched up some unloved Reese's peanut butter chips. On the back is a recipe for:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pizza Puffs!

Our local shopping, Crocker Park, has this cute little pizza stand that sells the most delicious form of pizza -- the pizza puff! The stand is called Casa Vella and you can buy 2 puffs and a cup of sauce or a drink for $5. Not bad, but Jas and I decided to try this at home. Introducing our very own Pizza Puff:

With these simple ingredients, we created an awesome dinner!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July: Simple Fun

Here's a truly simple dessert that'll make everyone stare down their plate, all the while they'll be excited to eat it: RAINBOW JELLO!!! HEEEEY!!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Family Barbeques

This summer's been so chill so far. We've been hitting up the beach (Powerplant & Huntington), visiting a cute little sailing town (Vermillion), trying out the town's various ice cream shoppes, and of course, Family Barbeques!!

Now our wonderful Simms & Nicholson families are scattered throughout the US, not to mention living in New Orleans. Being so far away, we haven't made it to the latest reunion. So this small family of 4 has been having little cookouts of our own. We have fun, bringing out the grill, charring some dogs and burgers, grilling mom some fish, making kabobs and jello! We things things the Simms way: simple and delicious.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Resurrection Weekend

Tonight I have a lot of exciting things to tell you! Firstly, between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday my life has been chaos. But God is good. I pulled an all-nighter Thursday evening, skipped my drawing (and favorite) class, turned in a hot-air balloon made out of aluminum cans, baked 2 cakes with my sister, went to a game night with fellow church members, cleaned all day Saturday, enjoyed an amazing service at Campus House, lunch with a friend's parents and 2 good friends, had a wonderful long nap and joined my sorority sister for dinner! Whew! That was crazy, but let's rewind back to the food!
Jasmine & I wanted to make 2 box cakes for our potluck dinner/game night with fellow Campus Housers. Jas whipped up a delicious Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. She covered her cute little cake with Easter sixlets and a yellow peep in the middle! It was adorable!

I didn't have time for my cake, so I baked it, put it in the fridge and kept it for Sunday dinner. For my cake, I decided to bake a Hummingbird Cake! If you read Southern Living magazine (I don't, found it online), you might have stumbled upon it! I used a box for a shortcut, and that's helpful for students to cook with! It's also a healthier version, since I used less frosting. Here's my version of the recipe:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2 Easy Dinners

This one's so simple and pretty delicious! Of course, we stumbled upon this by accident, considering we were trying to make something out of almost nothing!

Saturday's Easy Dinner is......Spinach Tomato Pasta!

My sister loves pasta and I love to cook. We decided to make up a recipe that SOUNDED good but we had no idea how it would taste. We cooked a pot of penne rigate and added crushed tomatoes & canned spinach. Easy enough, but making it taste good took skill.....random skill.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oatmeal at Sunrise

Upon reading my email, SparkPeople sent me an article about getting fiber in the morning with oatmeal! I thought "I already eat oatmeal...sometimes. I have packets of Quaker raisin n' spice!" but they had something better in mind. Ready for this?

Crock-pot oatmeal

Weird? I know, right? That's what I said!

I read the article, tips and the recipe. Sounded good, so I got out of bed and thought I'd give it a try! Here's my spin on it. Here we go:

1 cup Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats
2 cups 1% milk
1 cup finely chopped apples
1/2 cup Craisins dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TSP butter or spread
1 tsp sugar (I ran out of brown sugar)
dash of salt
dash of nutmeg

Crock-pot it up. Stir well & cook for 'undetermined amount of time'

This part scared me. After reading the reviews (like I usually DON'T DO til LATER!) many people said theirs burnt after cooking 8-9 hours, like the recipe called for. Some cooked in only 90 minutes! 90 MINUTES?!!? I need sleep, man!

I put them on at midnight & checked at 1am to see how they were so far. They looked no different, so I decided to get some sleep.

8 hours later....

It came out strange. I didn't like, nor did I eat it. haha.....right.

I was a bit cranky that I had to keep checking on it all night. And I forgot the simplest thing about the meal choice:

I like my oatmeal soupy. Which I know is gross to most of you. But thick, soggy oatmeal doesn't do it for me. And it didn't have much flavor, despite me adding a bazillion extra things. Oh well, in the words of Jim Carrey in The Grinch Stole Christmas "BUT THAT'S WHAT THESE TESTS ARE FOOOR!"

Until next time!

Jess ♥

Sunday Dinners: Chef Tyffanie

I'm going to start posting about Sunday dinners that my friends and I put on. Tyffanie cooked up some soul food, with some help from the eaters. We had an awesome time dancing to Lecrae and frying chicken! I made the filling for Apple Pie and our friend Gijey came for some gluten-free treats!

Here's the awesomeness that went down:

Baked Mac n Cheese
Fried Chicken
Apple Pie

After hours in the kitchen, several trips to get more milk and things, and a ton of dancing, we finished! Food was awesome! Not much more to add! Pictures say it all! :D

Jess ♥

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Favorite Food

Whenever I think back to the simple times, I think about how a tiny town could have all of its necessities when the whole town pitched in. Cute little shops and each town had a baker, a shoemaker, a butcher, some farmers probably, a blacksmith, a seamstress, and even a candlestick maker! I've always wanted to be the baker. My version of corporate America retirement would be to open a bakeshop & give cookies away to kids! I want to be that cute grandma that spoils the kids & makes pies for busy people!

One thing I've always wanted to do is bake bread. It's like the simplest, most basic food need for a simple family, and it's one of my FAVORITE foods! It's a HUGE culinary step for me. I tried banana bread last semester and it was delicious!

Here's the recipe from

Banana Bread Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour


3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour


No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Yield: Makes one loaf.

Since bread is one of my favorite foods, you'll be seeing it again. I would like to try something new. So look forward to Apple Bread, Cinnamon Pecan Bread, Cheese Bread pretty much anything that can be a muffin I'll find a way to loaf it! :D

Until we meet again,

Jess ♥

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Forgive me. As school became overwhelmingly stressful, I got away from blogging my baking adventures. In my absense, I successfully baked banana bread, whole wheat pizza and sweet potato pie! I plan to make these again, so I can write about them! :)

For the sake of memory, I'll talk about the pie! My family loves sweet potato pie (many Black families do). I've noticed it's a cultural thing too. My Black friends say their families eat sweet potato pie while my White friends say pumpkin pie's the way to go. My parents have slowly let my sister and I protrude into the kitchen during the holidays to make small things, here and there. This time for Christmas, we tackled dessert! Jasmine made her delicious Chocolate Mint Cake while I decided on Sweet Potato Pie.

Since Grandmother Mary (who we call Maw Maw) is the best cook I've ever known, we decided to call her up and ask what she puts in her pie, while I scoured the internet for a good recipe. I usually find myself on and sometimes google brings me to the Food Network or even! Maw Maw said she'd have my cousin text us the recipe (never happened, she probably forgot, bless her heart). So my mom, being one who wants to get in and out of the grocery store and refuses to wait for my indecisiveness, picked a recipe she liked from some chef whose name I can't recall lol.

Regardless, on Dec 23rd, I set forth to make my pie! I spent most of the time mashing the potatoes myself, and I had fun adding sugar and everything. When it comes to recipes that need sugar, I like to improvise. I know brown or granulated sugar belongs in pie but I added nutmeg and cinnamon to my pie. [I'll post the recipe soon].

While I finished mashing the potatoes and mixing, I baked the pie crusts beforehand. My mom said "Sure you can make the pie but you must make the crust crispy" or something like that. So I gave it an eggwash and prebaked it.

An hour later, I had a delicious pie!

It was pretty good! I was more excited that I did it. My parents liked it more than I thought they would (genuinely, they've had some good pie!) Now I know what you're saying, parents usually say they like it, even when they don't. My parents don't lol. They'll tell you if they don't like it, which is a good thing. You'll never get anywhere with only positive feedback.

You can also tell if people like your food, depending on how fast it goes. My dad is by NO means a picky person, he'll eat the whole thing whether you got it from Paula Deen or the gas station lol. Mom, on the other hand, will tell me straight up whats good and bad about it! I couldn't convince Jasmine to even try it (she's super picky with everything).

Up next, I plan on making Mam Papaul's Original King Cake (it's Mardi Gras season and a lot of my northern friends don't have a clue!) I'm super excited about this one! From now on, my photography will be more professional and I plan to give it a new layout soon! Until next time, keep cooking friends!

Jess ♥