Sometimes We All Need a Lil’ Soul Food

Over the past couple of weeks, I got hooked on yet another reality television show, NBC’s America’s Next Great Restaurant. Give me Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, cooking competitions and some innovative restaurant ideas, and I am hooked! The show featured contestants pitching quick-service restaurant ideas to a group of investors that included the celebrity chefs as well as the founder of Chipotle and another established restauranteur.

Go Soul Daddy!

Each week the contestants competed in various competitions while the investors helped them shape and improve their concept. The finalists included Spice Coast (an Indian concept), Brooklyn Meatball Co. (an Italian concept centered around meatballs) and Soul Daddy (a soul food concept with a healthy twist). In the end, the winner was Soul Daddy, brain child of Jamawn Woods, a self-employed cook. It was hard NOT to root for this warm, hard-working man! Each contestant had a wonderful back-story but his love for cooking and his family definitely shined above the rest. I’m sooo excited because one of Soul Daddy’s restaurants will be in Manhattan. I’ll definitely be coming by and can’t wait to sample some of that good ol’ home cookin!

Sometimes Healthy Soul Food

Watching Soul Daddy take the crown definitely had me craving some old fashioned soul food. I didn’t really have the ingredients to create a full on soul feast. So I threw together a little soul food Sometimes Healthy style…

Take that Soul Daddy!

Grilled veggie burger on grilled English Muffin bun served with a side of sweet potato fries. And on the side I grilled up some bananas and topped them with greek yogurt and a bit of a cinnamon and sugar. Apparently, last week’s grill fest has stuck with me! I love my little Foreman Grill :-) While the food was absolutely delicious, it still left me wanting some of the real thing. I’ll be hustling over to Soul Daddy’s ASAP!

In Case You Haven’t Had Enough of that Little Royal Wedding

I kept it low-key this weekend after last week’s Indian Wedding Extravaganza. Thus, I caught up on the backlog in my DVR and even had time to watch some weekend tv. Shockingly, it was ALL royal wedding. Whether I wanted to or not, I now know anything and everything about William and Kate’s courtship. Of course, I could have changed the channel, but I just couldn’t help myself. I suppose the royal family is the guilty pleasure of the moment.

Anyway, as you recall, I put together the food for my office’s Royal Wedding Viewing Party. I was very happy with how it all turned out. Here are some pics from the “event.”

Started off the day with Dunkin Donuts’ Royal Wedding donuts for the whole office:

Royal Wedding Donuts? Yes Please!

Heart shaped for luvvvv

They were gone in 30 minutes flat!

And here’s what the food looked like at the bumpin party!

A spread fit for a prince and princess!

Make-Your-Own Cucumber Sammies

A DIY Cucumber Sandwich Bar (inspired by my make-your-own sushi adventure). Toppings included cucumbers, cream cheese, pepperoni, ham, tomatoes, provolone cheese (I decided to break free from tradition just like Will and Kate ;-))

Gotta have the pub food

Will’s Chips and Curry. French fries with curry sauce (straight from the pubs!)

“Classy” Tea Biscuits and Scones

Always classy

Crumpets, toast and jam (sooo British!)

Pass the crumpets please!

We also had a drink competition where everyone was required to come up with a drink and name it with a royal twist. The creators of the winning drinks were named “king and queen” of the party. They were also prepared during the party. And the winners were…

A bar fit for a king!

  • His Royal Highball: Scotch, Ice, Glass
  • Bloody Royal Marriage on the Rocks: 2 parts Crown Royal, 1 part Cherry or Raspberry Liquor, 1 part sour mix, splash of club soda (served over ice)
  • The Pimm and Proper: Take a jug or glass and fill it with ice, mix one part Pimm’s No. 1 with 3 parts chilled lemonade, add some mint, cucumber, orange and strawberry (pictured below)

Cucumbers in a drink - so British!

The creativity of the office was in full force on this one! Some of my other favorites (that did not win) were:
  • Royal Kick in the Pants: Half a glass of Newcastle Brown Ale, shot of Baileys, shot of Jamison’
  • “Will you MARY me” (breakfast cocktail for committed crack of dawn watchers):  V-8 juice or Bloody, Svedka Vodka, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, Red Rooster or other hot sauce, Horseradish, lemon, pepper, dill, celery salt
  • Royal Ginger Fizz(in honor of his hot stuff Prince Harry): 0.5 oz. Stirrings Ginger Liqueur, 0.5 oz. Pimms, 0.5 oz. Tanqueray London Drop, 0.25 oz. lime, 4 oz. ginger ale, Orange wedge (fill shaker with ice, add all ingredients into shaker except ginger sale, shake well, strain into an ice filled rocks glass, top with ginger ale, garnish with orange wedge

It was certainly a fun party – I almost forgot I was at work!

Crazy hat party?

We were also told to wear crazy hats. Unfortunately, this Nebraskan girl doesn’t own a crazy hat beyond a trucker’s hat. You can take the girl out of the honky-tonk…

And of course, there was also some major Royal Wedding highlight watching..

Of course we also watched the Royal Wedding!

Hard to believe the weekend’s already over. I miss it already!


If you could create a restaurant, what would your concept be?

I’d start a Sometimes Healthy Bakery, full of healthified cupcakes!

4 Thoughts on “Sometimes We All Need a Lil’ Soul Food

  1. I enjoyed America’s Next Great Restaurant too! Like you said, give me a show involving food and some sort of contest and I am hooked, especially when all my favorite chefs are present! I am addicted to not only the Food Network (obviously) but Top Chef whatever, Man vs. Food, the series on the travel channel called “something paradise” like Hamburger, Hotdog, Pie, ice cream, fried food- paradise! Okay so any foodie show 😀
    Those cookies are so pretty, perfect for the royal wedding party! Looks like you had a great time and your dress is so cute too! Love the pink :)

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