Tag Archives: abc

Healthy Crispy Cauliflower with Jeff Kawakami

It’s always a blast spending time in the kitchen with my bestie and team ludo teammate, Chef Jeff Kawakami. What a lot of people don’t know about Jeff from watching The Taste is that he’s a pretty killer healthy cook as well. Jeff makes some vegan dishes that are out of this world and has celebrity clients that require him to make really healthy food, really delicious on the daily. Naturally, I asked him to share with us, an easy, go-to snack that’s both delicious, healthy and ‘man-friendly’. This healthy, crispy cauliflower recipe is sure to be a guilt free crowd pleaser.

Crispy Cauliflower

1 cauliflower cut into florets
1 egg
1 egg white
1.5 tbsp of dijon mustard
hot sauce to taste
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Cut your cauliflower head into florets and place in a large bowl. Add eggs and lightly toss the cauliflower in them. Add you mustard, hot sauce , garlic powder, parmesan and bread crumbs and toss till cauliflower is covered in mixture. Salt and pepper to taste and then spread out the cauliflower on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, they are finished when the edges are light, golden brown and crispy.

Homemade Almond Butter

healthy, homemade almond butter recipe - so easy, affordable and delicious and packed with healthy fats!

                Currently, I’m training for the More/Fitness Magazine half-marathon in NYC as well as recipe testing for my upcoming Sweet + Skinny Summer Detox. I have been on a mission to find some delicious, protein packed foods that are light Senough to keep you slim but substantial enough to power you through a long sweat session. It’s safe to say almond butter has become my new best friend!
I scoop it into my smoothies, add it to my oatmeal and love having it on some sliced green apples before my morning run. It’s packed with protein and good for you fats that my body needs to keep up with all my training. Almond butter satiates me and gives me a great, clean energy for the day. You can count on it being all over the recipes for my new detox and upcoming blog posts.
To make things even more exciting, I decided to go out on a limb and make it at home with my new Samson Juice Extractor. I had seen in the manual that it was possible but hadn’t really thought to give it a go till recently when my almond butter habit had been getting a little expensive. To my surprise, making homemade almond butter was incredibly easy with my Samson and it came out so delicious that I had to share the recipe with you!

Sweet + Skinny Raw Homemade Almond Butter
If you’re using a Samson Juice Extractor like mine, simply switch to the mincing head from the juicing one. Turn it on and toss your almonds in the head at the top. (I’m sure this would be possible in a food processor if you don’t have a juicer as fancy as mine – definitely don’t try it on a regular juicer, you will break it!)

¾ cup of raw almonds
2 tsps of coconut oil
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of pumpkin spice

Put your almonds through and you should have a slightly dry ground almond paste. Mix in the rest of your ingredients and feel free to knead it with your hands like sugar cookie dough. It will be slightly drier than the stuff you buy in a jar, if you prefer it a little creamier feel free to add additional coconut oil to your liking. Macadamia nut oil also works well if you are not a fan of the coconut.

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Green Guru Smoothie

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Nothing is better than a GOOD green smoothie to start your week off in the right direction or get you back on track mid week! I love this particular one when I really want to feel nourished and full. It has lots of good for you fats so you won’t start getting the ‘hungries’ around 11am. It’s also fulling enough to drink post work out if you’ve had a really intense sweat session. Totally inspired by Kris Carr’s one in Crazy, Sexy, Diet, a book that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to be more mindful of what they put in their body and take better care of their ‘god-pod’ (body) as she would call it! I hope you give it a whirl for breakfast one day this week, I know it might sound a little funky for a smoothie but you’ll have to take my word, it’s pretty yummy and it will start your day off right and set the stage for making healthy choices all day long!

Green Guru

4 leaves of Romaine
1/2 avocado
1 cucumber
1 banana
whooping tbsp of almond butter
1 cup of coconut milk

Blend it all together and enjoy!

How to stay SKINNY while dating


It’s Valentine’s Day and what better day to address the issue of staying skinny (on track with your health and fitness goals) while in love! Dating or being in a relationship can make stay your slimmest pretty tough but with these FOUR tools you should be able to navigate the waters easily! Like, SHARE and please SUBSCRIBE for more recipes, tips and inspiration to live your healthiest, happiest life!

Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and whether you are sharing it with your significant other or best friends, who doesn’t like to make a sweet little chocolately something?! These Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles will knock your socks off and more importantly, your guests socks off when they find out how healthy they actually are for them. Don’t be scared, they are super easy to make too!

Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles

13 oz container of dates (standard package)

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

2 tables spoons of almond butter

1 tbsp of coconut oil

Optional: unsweetened coconut flakes or crushed cashews for topping

In a food processor, combine all your dates with 2 tablespoons of almond butter. Pulse till the dates are becoming one with the almond butter and you see that caramel consistency. Take your faux caramel out of the processor, pack it in a nice little chunk and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. I usually clean the food processor while it’s chilling and by the time I’m done, they’re ready! So go get them out, and start rolling little baby balls and placing them on a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper. Put them back in the freezer when you’re all done, so they will stay firm while we’re getting the chocolate ready!

For the chocolate, in a small saucepan add approx. half the bag and tbsp of coconut oil.  You can stir this constantly on a very low heat or I prefer to double boil it, which just means that I put a small soup pan of boiling water on the stove and THEN place my saucepan with chocolate on top of that. This helps the chocolate melt properly without burning as easily as it does on the stove. Either way, stir that chocolate till it’s almost completely melted and turn off the burner. Let the final little chunks melt themselves.

Now the fun part! Go get your frozen balls out of the freezer and stick toothpicks in them so that you can easily dip them in your chocolate. I used really pretty festive ones for V-Day, so I kept mine in but you can always toss these after the chocolate hardens so don’t be afraid to use a normal toothpick. Dip your faux caramels in the chocolate and if you’ve decided on a topping, nows the time to sprinkle it on or roll your chocolates in it after they’ve been dipped. This particular batch I used unsweetened coconut flakes but you can get as creative as you want with it!

Once they’re all dipped, place them back in the freezer for 10-20 minutes for the chocolate to harden and leave them either there or in the refrigerator till you’re ready to serve! These babies are best enjoyed firm and cold!

My Skinny Secret: Mindful Eating

Want to know the EASIEST way to start losing weight and keeping it off? Well it’s mindful eating! In this video I share with you my skinny secret for mindful eating and give you a couple different ways to start incorporating it in your life now!

If you want to really get into it and cause some serious changes in your health and happiness, join me in NYC (or order a recording if you can’t) this Sunday 2/16 for my HAPPIER, HEALTHIER LIFE NOW class where I will be teaching you 5 effective tools for eating more mindfully and 3 different meditations to keep your stress levels down and your energy up! tickets and details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/happier-healthier-life-now-with-cassandra-bodzak-from-abcs-the-taste-tickets-9999515821

Strawberries + Cream Tarts

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this is a great little recipe for a quick, festive treat that won’t have you laboring over the stove! You can also modify it depending on whether you want it to be vegan or not. I’ll give you both options!

strawberries + cream tarts
6-8 strawberries
1 package of philo dough shells

1 container of tofu cream cheese (vegan version)
1 cup powder sugar (optional how much you use)
1 container of mascarpone (if your are not doing the vegan version)

3 tsp of balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp of agave/stevia

First, defrost your little philo dough shells! These little babies are accidentally vegan most of the time but be sure to check the box because I’m sure there are all different brands. Just let them sit on a plate while you wash and slice your strawberries. Place your sliced strawberries in a bowl and add the balsamic and sweetener, mix it all up and let them sit. This will give them a sweet and  tangy taste and make them must more interesting to eat! Now, if you’re not going the vegan way, just pipe your mascarpone in to the little shells, the dollup should be about the size of a hershey’s kiss at most. For my lovely vegans, take your tofu cream cheese, put it in your mixer and slowly add the powdered sugar to taste. I said 1 cup but you really only need enough to turn the cream cheese taste into a slightly sweeter and more refined ‘cream’ taste! I use powdered sugar because no one wants their creamy filling to have little granules in it. Yuck!  Once all your baby shells are filled with cream filling, place three strawberry slices on top and you’re good to go!

Wasn’t that easy?! It’ll take you 15-20 mins TOPS – and the best part is that your guest will absolutely think they are the cutest, tastiest thing ever. Everybody wins!

 

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Fearless Feb: SOULCYCLE

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              Can you believe I was scared to go to SOULCYCLE!? Well, not scared like something terrible was going to happen if I went but I felt a little intimidated and didn’t want to make a fool of myself. Literally, everyone and their mother had told me to go, that I would love it but I had ‘group fitness anxiety’. I’m a yogi and dancer by nature, I specialize is being uber flexible and memorizing routines. Pilates? I’m there, Hip hop? Count me in, Spinning?! Eh, no thank you! And while I do encourage you guys to find an activity you LOVE that you enjoy doing and stick to that to start getting you moving, sometimes it’s fun and exhilarating to step outside your  comfort zone and dive into the latest fitness craze. In honor of #FearlessFebruary, I did just that! I grabbed a girlfriend and went to SOULCYCLE and….

IT WAS FUN!!!

Seriously, I had the best time and would probably do it every day if it wasn’t so pricey! The music was great, the basic moves spoke to the dancer in me and made me feel at home. However, the best experience was when the lights were dim, the music was loud, our instructor told us to close are eyes and just give over to the music. It was a very different type of meditation than usual for me and I totally loved it. I felt sweaty but invigorated and alive afterward. Big thanks to my girl Alyssa for accompanying me and my client Lauren for telling me how obsessed she was and pushing me to go! You ladies rock and now you’ve got me addicted! :)

So what exactly is #FearlessFebruary? 

February is one of my favorite months! It’s my birthday (on the 24th) and Valentine’s Day – a double whamie of love and fun! I’ve also had an incredible start to 2014 and I’m ready to break some boundaries, bust through some blocks and start 27 fearless and fabulous! So this month I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone everyday! I have made a promise to myself (and my streaks app haha) to do something that scares me EVERY DAY this month. I’ll be sharing ones like this SOULCYCLE post, which I feel will particularly connect with you guys but feel free to tweet at me @cassandrabodzak and ask me what my #fearlessfebruary act was that day – I’d love to share! They have ranged so far from anything like putting myself out of my comfort zone physically by trying harder classes, to attending events solo and introducing myself to new people (always a scary task!) to contacting people who inspire and intimidate me. I’m SUPER EXCITED to share with you tomorrow my #FearlessFebruary Instagram Contest - be sure to follow me and look out for the announcement tomorrow morning!

Shehu’s Gnocchi + Veggies

               Yes, Shehu was the chef from Team Marcus that ended up staying while I got sent home on The Taste a few weeks ago but us New Yorkers stick together and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to be in the bottom with. Shehu is a big sweetheart and it was such a pleasure cooking with him on the show and hanging out with him here in NYC. He was generous enough to share his absolutely delicious and VEGAN recipe for potato gnocchi with vegetables with me because he knew I’d just love it! Gnocchi is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods in this cold weather and I couldn’t think of a better thing to whip up this weekend to warm you up if you’re reading this from the east coast, like us! It’s also a great dinner party dish, simple to make and super impressive to guests! Give it a whirl, get creative and feel free to keep up with Shehu on facebook and instagram for more delicious food inspiration!

shehugnocchi

Sauté Potato Gnocchi with Vegetables and Tomato Sauce

1 med size Potato
2 cups AP Flour
1 sm Zucchini
1 sm Yellow Squash
1 sm Carrot
1 sm Onion
1 cup Broccoli Florets
1 cup Cauliflower Florets
2 cups Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp Shehu Fitzgerald Spice Blend # 14 ( or your own favorite spices!)
Salt and Pepper

Place Potato in a pot and cover with water 1 tbsp salt and boil till just tender. Remove from water let cool for 2 mins then peel off skin. Place into a bowl and mash ( try best not to have any lumps ) season with salt and pepper and add flour litter at time and mix to make dough ( sorry I always do this by eye ). Knead and roll into 1/2″ rope and cut into 1″ pieces.

On the stove have a pot of boiling water ready. In a small sauce pot warm tomato sauce. Drop gnocchi into the pot of boiling water and cook till they start to float, then sear them in a sauté pan over med high heat. Season with #14( your own favorite spices!) and cook till golden, then remove  from pan. While pan is still hot add veggies and cook till done.

Assemble the plate and serve :)

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Join me live or online for my ‘Happier, Healthier Life NOW’ event

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                Treat yourself to some self-care at the end of Valentine’s Day weekend and join us for an hour and half of meditation and mindful eating that will have refreshed, re-energized and ready to give your health and wellness resolutions a one-two punch! I’ll take you through three meditations, a basic ‘everyday’ meditation to keep you on track with your health and fitness goals, one you can use in case of everyday stress-mergencies and finish with a more advanced meditation that will break through any mental clutter and leave you feeling refreshed to start your week! We will also go over 5 important strategies for more mindful eating that will transform the way you look at what you put in your mouth, help you slim down, have more energy and start loving your body. Best yet, you’ll start transforming your body without feeling deprived or restricted in any way. I’m excited! Are you!?

                      The event will take place in Midtown Manhattan – Sunday 2/16 at 7pm- 8:30pm However, if you are not a NYC local OR just can’t make it that day, I’m very excited to announce that for the first time EVER, we will be selling recordings of the event which will be emailed to you with in 24 hours of the event so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home! 

Click here to sign up now! :)

Louise’s Green Machine Smoothie

For those of you who watched The Taste last night, my #teamludo not only won the group VEGGIE CHALLENGE, but my girl Louise (aka. Weezy) won 2 gold stars for her veggie dish! Woot! Woot! Combine that with my man Lee saying that his gold star was for me and it’s safe to say I felt very happy with my friends stepping up there game and making some killer vegetarian dishes!
Naturally, I wanted to represent my veggie rockstar team mate Louise and asked her for a yummy recipe to share with you and I think you guys are going to LOVE this one!! Louise was kind enough to share this fabulous video with us of her making her “Green Machine Breakfast Shake” Check it out for a delicious and nutritious  way to get your greens in the AM and start your day off right. For those of you who are vegan watching, Louise does add some greek yogurt for protein, feel free to substitute that with a little more almond milk and scoop of almond butter OR if you like the yogurt-like consistency, they make some delicious almond and coconut ‘yogurts’ out there. Enjoy! Go #teamludo!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Even vegetarians and vegans need to be a little naughty sometimes and I just couldn’t resist sharing this decadent southern classic that my friend (and fellow Taste gal), Rebekah Faulk whipped up for her wonderful blog Some Kinda Good. I think these would be a wonderful veggie friendly addition to your superbowl apps and because they’re a little naughty, you’ll still feel like you’re indulging with boys without having to chow down on buffalo wings or those baby hot dogs. Now, of course, if you want to make them even healthier, you can try baking them instead of frying them. Same prep just put them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees and then once they’re cooked, maybe sautee them in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil to get the outside crispy! However, I wasn’t about to mess with greatness, so I left Rebekah’s recipe just the way it was for you here. Enjoy!

FriedGreenTomatoes

Some Kinda Good’s Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients
3 Large Green Tomatoes
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
Green Onion for garnish, optional

Directions:
Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick. Place them on a flat surface and season with salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and allow them to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan with vegetable oil halfway full and set over medium heat. The oil will be ready for frying when sizzling occurs after gently sprinkled with water. In a small dish, use a fork to combine the cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture on each side. Roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, to ensure an even coating. Shake off any excess before dropping the tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, turning once during cooking.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels. Garnish with green onion.  Serve warm with Ranch Dressing if desired.

Rebekah Faulk is a Georgia food writer and Statesboro-based TV Personality. A Season 2 contestant on ABC-TV’s The Taste, she blogs at SomeKindaGood.org, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Follow her on Twitter @SKGFoodBlog or on find her on Facebook

 

I’m NOT perfect and that’s PERFECTLY okay with me!

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Yes, that’s a screenshot from my phone that I took this morning when I was awoken with lovely texts and emails from my girlfriends who had already seen my article on MindBodyGreen.com! Can I tell you, BEST WAY TO WAKE UP EVER! This article is super special to me because it was inspired by recent events in my life. After ABC’s The Taste started airing, I started getting some hateful tweets, facebook comments and emails. Most of the were from vegans or vegetarians who felt I was making a mockery of their beliefs by trying new things on TV. Although I personally never label myself, I do cook and bake almost 100% vegan and that was portrayed on the show. It absolutely broke my heart to have people from a community I have so loved and stood for over the years turn on me, it made me really sad but ultimately it didn’t make me feel like I had done anything wrong. Through their hate I realized just how okay I was not being perfect and how, in fact, I believe it is my imperfectness that helps me spread my message so widely. I am not an elitist, I do not believe you have to be at a certain level of eating to be truly healthy. I believe in real people making real changes and working towards their personal best health and happiness everyday and I will stand by that.

So I am proud to share this article with you because not only is it OKAY to not be PERFECT – it also goes to show you how the universe works in mysterious ways and can turn a hurricane of hate into a wave of love and acceptance. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12350/3-reasons-im-proud-to-be-imperfect.html

please SHARE the link on twitter and facebook and spread the love! <3

 

My Green Standard

It’s hard to imagine my life before green juice, in all seriousness, my body runs on this stuff! So naturally, my first book was called JUICESPIRATION : Recipes, inspiration and everything you need to have an amazing juice cleansing journey!an ode to my absolute devotion to the miraculous drink because I’m a total addict. Green juice is an amazing way to give yourself a healthy, nutrient boost anytime, especially once that 4pm slump comes around and it’s a little too late in the day for coffee! Personally, I also think it’s a great way to start your day. I always feel better and want to make healthier choices through out my day when it begins with a big glass of a green juice. For those of you that aren’t full card carrying green juices fans quite yet, I wanted to give you a little preview of one of the recipes in “Juicespiration” and my personal go-to green juice to get you going! Try making my green standard at home or order it at your local juice bar to get you going on your healthy journey and be sure to tag me on facebook/instagram/twitter with @cassandrabodzak #juicespiration with your green juice pics!!

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Asian inspired Romanesco

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This adorable vegetable is called Romanesco and looks like a baby green cauliflower and tastes like a mix between broccoli and cauliflower. I HIGHLY suggest you try it if you haven’t already! Pick it up at your local farmer’s market and make it for dinner this weekend! I whipped up this super easy and delicious Asian inspired version the other night and wanted to share it with you. If you’re unsure how to cook this, follow this recipe and feel free to substitute the sauce for anything you like or just leave it plain with a little salt and pepper.

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Asian inspired Romanesco

1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp of plum sauce
2 tbsp of ginger infused olive oil (or regular olive oil + chopped ginger)

Rinse and chop up your Romanesco (like you would a head of cauliflower or broccoli). Place a small frying pan on the stove with a tbsp of coconut oil in it and your Romanesco and sautee for a few minutes. While that’s cooking, mix your plum sauce and ginger olive oil together and then drizzle over the cooking Romanesco. It shouldn’t take more than five – ten minutes to cook since the Romanesco is so tiny but use your judgement on how crunchy you want the finished product. I love my veggies when they still have a bit of a crunch to them! ;)

Meet Audrey from The Taste!

Hey loves! Sorry about the quality of this video – we are on opposite coasts and had to livestream this interview! Audrey and I shared an amazing and yet challenging experience of being on #TheTaste as healthy cooks. In this video you’ll learn about how Audrey “lost weight by eating” and lots of fun gossip about #TheTaste! A lot of people were very quick to judge Audrey for plugging her blog but I hope you take a minute and meet the real lady because she is a sweetheart with a great attitude. If you give this interview I think you’ll find out some things you didn’t know about her, why she is so passionate about helping people get healthy and how hard it was being on The Taste and out of our element as healthy home cooks!

You can check out her blog at Loseweightbyeating.com and find her on twitter as @tonetiki! Show her some love – us healthy girls need to support each other!

Carrot Ginger Squash Soup

 

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It’s absolutely frigid in NYC right now and as much as I do absolutely love my juices and smoothies, sometimes in the winter it just gets too darn cold for them! When this kind of chill strikes, I always turn to soups to heat me up and nourish me. This carrot ginger squash soup is not only delicious, it’s super easy to make and packed full of nutrients to give you energy and keep you warm! (It’s also vegan! psssh don’t tell!)

Carrot Ginger Squash Soup

Sauté 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 tbsp fresh ginger and 1 clove minced garlic in 1 tsp olive oil for 3 minutes in medium pot. Add 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth, 1 cup frozen butternut squash cubes and 1 cup of carrot slices. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. With a hand blender, puree until smooth; if desired add broth for thinner texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

2014 Jumpstart to a New You intensive

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              Are you READY to get out of your own way and                                                                           FINALLY start having the body and life you want?!

                         Do you want to start 2014 off right and make sure it’s                                                             your  HAPPIEST and HEALTHIEST year yet?!

Maybe you’ve tried countless diets, detoxes and cleanses and this year you’re ready to get REAL. You want to STOP stressing so much about food and weight and start loving your body! Okay, maybe that involves losing a few pounds as well, THAT’S OKAY! You can lose weight naturally by learning how to eat right for your body and finding out what foods work for YOU.

My mission with my ”2014 Jumpstart to a NEW YOU intensives” is to help support you in finding the actionable steps to make your healthy New Year’s resolutions STICK this year.

Whether that includes losing 10lbs, eating less processed foods, going vegan, learning to meditate or just trying a juice cleanse for the first time, it doesn’t matter! Decide what YOU want to shift this year! What are YOU committed to making happen? And then let me help you! Email me ASAP at Cassandra@GoSweetandSkinny.com to schedule a 2hr skype or in person meeting, if your in the NY/NJ area.

Here’s what you’ll get from our TWO – HOUR INTENSIVE SESSION: – specific ACTIONABLE goals for the next month – personalized recipes + guidance for YOUR goal – a sample week long meal plan (if appropriate to your goal) – personalized advice and tools on HOW to stick to your plan – 3 weeks of email support following our sessions – a summary of our session with key points – access to our PRIVATE 2014 Jumpstart facebook group – where you can support each other with your goals as well as get more personal insights from me!

Are you ready to invest in YOURSELF this year? Why not let 2014 be the year you FINALLY start looking and feeling AH-MAAZING!?!

It’s ONLY $200 and a great way to kick off your New Year right!
PLEASE, I urge you to book your session NOW, do not hesitate, these WILL book up and I do not want any of you to miss out!

Email me today! I can’t wait to help support you in making 2014 your sweet and skinniest year yet!

cassandra@gosweetandskinny.com

or go ahead and schedule one today at meetme.so/CassandraBodzak

And so it begins – The Taste

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Thank you so much to all of you who spent Thursday evening glued to your TVs watching “The Taste” on ABC, whether you were a friend or family member looking out for me or you met me for the first time on the show, I am SO GRATEFUL you tuned in! The outpouring of love and support, tweets, facebook msgs, etc, has just been out of this world and I sincerely thank you. Let’s go #teamludo !
It feels like just yesterday all thirty five of us auditioning for The Taste landed in Los Angeles. I was out of my mind excited for the opportunity to make my vegan cupcakes on TV for the infamous Anthony Bourdain and still terribly nervous about whether or not I would make a mentor’s team. I remember all of us standing at baggage claim together introducing ourselves like it was the first day of school. The air was electric and everyone seemed to have the mindset of “we made it this far, we’ve already won.” After all, we had all beat out thousands of other cooks for these 35 coveted spots and we were getting to do what we love on TV for some of the most respected celebrity chefs. This glass was definitely half full.
The couple days leading up to auditions were full of foodie talk, families visiting and maybe a couple moments of poolside lounging. So many of us had already developed friendships by the time we went up to the chopping block that it was no longer just ourselves we were sick-to-our-stomach nervous for, it was our friends! All of a sudden it wasn’t about me making it, it was about “we” making it.. Our particular group consisted of Jay Qualls, Jeff Kawakami, Greggy Soriano, Lee Knoeppel, Steve Ford and Reina Bazzi but we were all pretty friendly with eachother in general. I’ll never forget the knots in my stomach as I waited anxiously to hear who had made it before I went in to cook and how even in my complete euphoria after getting chosen by Ludo, I couldn’t really settle down till I found out that Jeff had also made it. It was the most intense and thrilling experience of my life and I couldn’t have found more amazing people to share it with.
As for the actual baking itself, well just imagine wearing heels and a dress, being in a kitchen you’ve never worked in before with equipment your not used to using and having only 60 minutes to make, cool and ice cupcakes. Not intense enough for you? Well add to that the fact that you KNOW you are making something that none of the people you are trying to impress typically like and it’s all being filmed for national TV. Yeah, I’d say it was pretty nerve racking. I’ve made vegan cupcakes countless times in the past few year but never had it been more absolutely essential for them to be perfect. I finished just in time and said a little prayer as they were taken away to the judges.
Standing on that stage in front of Ludo, Nigella, Marcus and Anthony was completely terrifying. I was doing my best to keep it together as Anthony, Marcus and even lovely Nigella tore my prized cupcakes a part and bracing myself to walk away when I heard something in Ludo’s voice. He was going to pick me, this passionate, insanely talented French chef was going to take a huge gamble and give a healthy home cook a shot! I was floating on air, literally doing everything to contain excitement and not run over and hug him! I walked off that stage with wobbly legs and a smile so big my face hurt. I had done the impossible. As my dad would say,” I brought a knife to a gun fight and I won!”. I was the only vegetarian to make the show, the only person to get picked for a vegan dish and the youngest contestant this season. I was in heaven. I still am. ☺

Watch me audition TONIGHT on ABC’s The Taste!

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Please join me TONIGHT,Thursday, Jan 2nd at 8pm on ABC while I live out one of my wildest dreams and not only get to make my yummy vegan cupcakes on national TV but I get to feed them to four of the most respected chefs in the game! Getting the opportunity to audition for The Taste has really been a dream come true for me. I can’t even tell you how many times I had to pinch myself while I was out in LA with my family to film it! The entire day of my audition my stomach was a wreck, my heart was racing and my feet couldn’t touch the floor. The feeling of being on that stage while Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, Marcus Samuelsson and Anthony Bourdain eat YOUR cupcakes, well it’s both terrifying and incredible! I wouldn’t have traded it for the world!

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I’ll be live tweeting and facebooking during the episode so please be sure to follow me on twitter and facebook and hashtag #TeamCassandra and #TheTaste to show your love! :)

I’ll be posting the recipe that inspired my audition cupcakes shortly after the show airs and a vlog about my post- audition thoughts the following day! So stay tuned! Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

Here’s a little video I recorded Pre-Pre Audition, when I was just auditioning to get to audition for the mentors!! enjoy ;)