Tasty Tuesday – Squash Lasagna


Happy Valentine’s Day readers! If I had been writing this blog a few years ago, this post would have showcased some delectable dessert (most likely cupcakes) but instead I’m going to use this Tasty Tuesday to promote one of my healthy meal options. That being said, no need to feel guilty if today is cheat day (it is for me) just don’t let it last all week!

Onto the meal: a couple weeks back, my friend Keeragh turned me onto skinnytaste, a blog which provides a wide range of healthy recipes with lots of different options for special diets (low carb, paleo, gluten free, etc.). I’ve never really been a recipe person but I’ve slowly been working on expanding what I know how to cook and unless you have someone teaching you how to make new dishes, you’re going to need a recipe. Since it seems unlikely that Matt’s going to start schooling me in the kitchen, I had to turn to skinnytaste.

Before we get started, you should know something: I don’t lasagna. It’s too much marinara, I don’t like the noodles and unless you cover it in a lot of extra cheese I’m just not into it. The only lasagna I’ve ever really liked is the seafood one with alfredo sauce that you can get at Nofrills. Despite all that, I saw the Noodle-less Butternut Sausage Lasagna on skinnytaste and I become immediately intrigued. I’m a big squash fan in general and this dish definitely looked divine (mine may not look as pretty but it still tastes great)

After skimming the ingredients and the instructions I made a plan on how to make my own version my cutting away some of the ingredients. On my first try I kept it to 4 ingredients (marinara, squash, cheese, and ground beef) and once it turned out alright I decided to try the recipe again in order to share it with you but I added a few things.

For my version of the Squash Lasagna you will need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 250 grams of ground beef (approximately)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 jar of marinara / pasta sauce (approximately)
  • 100 grams of ricotta cheese (approximately)
  • 50 grams of cheddar or mozzarella cheese (optional)

First things first, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, the first bit of food prep you’re going to do is peel the squash. Yep, peel it. I had never done this before and thought it sounded weird (not to mention awkward to do) but it’s not quite as difficult as I thought it would be. It can be a bit slippery once you’ve peeled enough of it so just make sure you hold on tight.

Once the skin is off of your squash begin to cut even discs from the skinny end towards the bigger end. These discs are going to serve in place of the pasta. I’d suggest not making them too thin so your lasagna will actually hold together but you don’t want to go too thick either because you’ll need enough to do at least two layers (8 pieces in my case).


I cut my slices a little thick this time around so I didn’t have enough to do three layers like I did the first time so instead I just did two and cut up the additional squash including the unused end so I could roast it up for my other meals. No need to waste it!

So next up you’re going to begin layering your lasagna. First, cover the bottom of a glass pan with your squash slices. You’re going to cover these slices with half the browned beef, half of the bell pepper (chopped), half the ricotta cheese, and half the pasta sauce. This is assuming you’re only doing 2 layers like I am, you could split them into thirds if you cut your squash slices thinner. You can also add a bit of shredded cheddar or mozzarella is you’re feeling extra cheesy. After that you’ll put your next layer of squash on top and repeat the process until you’re out of ingredients.


Throw this beautiful pan of goodness into the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes. After the time is up stick a fork in the dish to make sure you can pierce through the squash (if you can’t, return the dish to the oven and check in 10 minute intervals). All that is left is to dish it out or pack it up for later!

I love this dish so much I’m planning on making it again this weekend when Matt’s parents come down for the Marlie’s game we gifted them for Christmas. What meals are you loving right now? Trying anything new? I’m always down to check new things out so if you’ve written a post about it please drop me a link in the comments!

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Tasty Tuesday – Markets, Beer Halls, and Dessert Joints

This Tasty Tuesday post is a bit delayed because last week I really wanted to show off my attempt at slow cooker stuffed pork loin which you can check our here. Before I got back to cooking a healthy meal prep last Monday, Matt and I spent the day with my parents having a bit of an adventure and indulging in some not so healthy food.

I warn you, this one is going to be a long one: we had four different food stops and quite the adventure day.


(Here’s me in my winter hat. I was down on myself this day so I feel the need to combat that with this selfie)

To start off we headed over to Evergreen Brickworks to check out the Winter Village. Matt and I first went to Evergreen Brickworks this past November for the Día de Muertos celebration which, albeit the rain, was a lot of fun. We wandered around the paths, checked out the various food vendors and the Farmer’s Market (which is where I got the chocolate rice krispy skull below) and enjoyed the traditional dances and music. We went back again in December but they hadn’t started the Winter Village yet so we made the trip again last weekend.

When we got there it was pretty busy but to be honest most people were either sitting around at the fire pits or skating so there was plenty of room to walk around and check everything out. The whole set up was cute but compared to Día de Muertos I found it a little underwhelming. I definitely think I prefer this outside spot when it’s a little warmer!


All that being said, we did grab a quick bite to eat from the food trucks hanging out at Evergreen and it was one of the highlights of the day. Mom and I first tried Arepas at Disney World when we ordered an appetizer with them at Skipper’s Canteen and I was excited to sink my teeth into them again after looking up the food trucks that would be present at the Winter Village. The Arepa Republic food truck serves up fresh authentic Arepas as little sandwiches with various fillings. We got one with black beans and beef, a little garlic sauce and hot sauce (they weren’t kidding about hot) and it was perfect. We also had vegetable samosas from another truck but they were demolished before I could snap a picture.


Next up we headed down to the Distillery District to check out the Toronto Light Festival. I’ve avoided all the blog posts about this place because I wanted to see it for myself but to be quite honest it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I think after seeing the Distillery District during the Christmas Market it’s hard to compete. Still, it’s a nice place to walk around no matter what and if it hadn’t been quite so cold we might have stayed a bit longer.

(The neon sign was a great laugh since Matt is 6’7)

To start off the evening we went into a lot of the shops that are too busy during the Christmas Market to really move around in. There’s a little bakeshop called The Sweet Escape that I’m not sure I’ve ever even noticed before. It was tucked away in one of the indoor shopping sections where they not only have shops but they have all the old distillery machines and such on display.


They had all these mini meringues in different flavours for $3 so I grabbed a bag of Birthday Cake meringues for us to try. I really hate that first awkward bite of meringues because it’s like biting into styrofoam or something similar but the taste in these little suckers was amazing. I kind of regret not buying another flavour just to take home. Of course, it was probably a bit healthier to just stick with the one.


Since we got down to the Distillery District a little early and it was still light out so we decided to go for dinner first instead of waiting until after we finished looking at all of the lights. We checked out the Beer Hall at the Mill Street Brew Pub which was a little dark for my taste but the food was pretty awesome. Since we had already done a bunch of snacking throughout the day, mom and I decided to split the Vienna Schnitzel while Matt had their Mac and Cheese with Smoked BBQ Brisket, and my dad got a Pepperoni Pizza. As per usual, the food was shared around the table so I got to try a little bit of everything.


The panko crust on the schnitzel was perfect and I really enjoyed the braised red cabbage but the spätzle was a little soggy compared to what I’m used to. The Mac and Cheese was really good but I’m not a fan of putting meat on my Mac and Cheese so the brisket seemed unnecessary. Plus the cornbread muffin that came with the Mac and Cheese desperately needed butter. Finally, the crust on the pizza wasn’t anything to rave about but the mix of oka and mozzarella cheeses was really nice and the cured pepperoni made it something unique. So it’s a bit of a mixed review but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to checking this place out again, particularly in the summer when we could sit out on the patio.

Our last stop was actually just around the corner from our apartment. Cafe Demetre is a local dessert chain and is actually something I’ve heard a lot about. From what I had been told and what I had seen online it looked a lot like Spin Dessert Cafe which is another dessert place that I first tried when I went to Ottawa with my parents (we walked half an hour for waffles because I was being picky about dessert and I will probably never hear the end of this). I’ve been to the Woodbridge location twice since then and it’s just as delectable.


Cafe Demetre is a lot like Spin in the sense that it’s mostly fancy ice cream with loads of toppings and the choice of putting it on a crepe or a waffle. Normally I would have ordered a waffle but that night I was really in the mood for a slice of plain old chocolate cake which is what mom and I shared. Besides, I knew I was going to get a bite or two from the other plates.


After some heavy, not-so-subtle suggestions from me, Matt ordered the Face Pomme which is a New York Cheesecake with apple crisp, cinnamon streusel, and butter caramel sauce. Meanwhile, my dad ordered the Pomme Pilot which was basically the same toppings but with ice cream on top of a waffle. To be honest, the Pomme Pilot would’ve been enough for the four of us to share. All three of the desserts were excellent and I even enjoyed the ice cream on the Pomme Pilot which is unusual for me since I’m not a big ice cream fan.


Overall, Cafe Demetre comes pretty close to what people chalk it up to be but I have to mention that no one told me how beautiful the restaurant itself is. The decor is pretty fantastic and it’s just the kind of place I’d like to have a girls’ night sometime in the future (hint, hint, ladies). Service was pretty quick, aside from a hiccup where we were left waiting on a glass of milk for a while but nothing to really complain about. My mom (who has been a server for almost 30 years) was really impressed by how smoothly everything was run and by how the managers were helping out with everything instead of just standing around. Plus, the staff get to wear suspenders which is pretty damn cute. It’s a bit more expensive than Spin but it’s more conveniently located for me so it probably evens out in that sense. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I end up there.


Have you been on any adventures lately? Went somewhere new? Tried a new restaurant? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments below, and if you’ve written a post about it please link me!

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Tasty Tuesday – Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

Hello everyone! It’s time for another Tasty Tuesday, this one’s coming to you a little later than normal because I wanted to wait until I actually ate some of it before sharing it. You know, just in case it turned out horrible and I was left to write a totally different blog post.

I’ve searched up and down for the video on Facebook that this recipe was inspired by but I can’t seem to find it. From what I recall the video involved making a teriyaki glaze for the pork loin to slow cook in but since I’ve opted for a different glaze, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much whether or not you see the video. Turns out there are lots of different apple stuffed pork recipes out there but this one is mine!

The ingredients you’ll need to replicate this recipe are:

  • Pork tenderloin (2 pieces)
  • 1 apple
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or some other oil to make dressing)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar

I’ve never worked with pork tenderloin before so this was a bit of an experiment. I’m really into crockpot recipes right now so I figured I would give it a try. Plus, pork loins were on sale last week at the grocery store we go to so it was budget savvy as well!

To start out, cut up 1 medium sized apple into thick slices. My apple yielded 14 slices (after I had munched on a few of them) so I did 7 slits in each of my pork loins. Then you just slide the apples in the slits (make sure you don’t cut all the way through!) and place these in the bottom of the crockpot.

I did something that I don’t normally do: I measured the ingredients I used! What I used for the glaze is a homemade salad dressing that I make all the time but rather than just throw it together I actually measured it out just in case anyone here wants to try this recipe for themselves.

The dressing is based off of one from Walt Disney World. A couple years back we had lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern and tried the Colony Salad which you can check out here. As far as salads go it was one of the best I’ve ever had so when we got home we looked up the recipe on All Ears since they’re recipes for Disney Theme Parks food are pretty on point. I use this dressing a lot when I’m in the mood for salads, it’s low calorie and really simple to make.

I don’t actually use the full recipe all the time and in this case I brought it down to four ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (canola, olive, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

If you check out the recipe on All Ears you’ll see they use more oil than vinegar but I prefer the sharp taste the vinegar gives it over the oil so I’ve switched things around. Plus I like the thinner consistency but I’m sure it would be good either way!

Once the dressing was made I poured it over the two pork loins, slapped the lid on the crockpot and left it on low for 8 hours. The smell of the apples and the vinegar really permeated the room whenever I lifted the lid to check and I was dying to have a taste of it all day.

Now after having more than just a tiny bite after packing it away, I’m pleased to say it turned out awesome! It’s got a sharpness to it from the dressing and the slow cooker made the meat nice and tender. It shreds apart really nicely but also has a wonderful crispy outside. Definitely a recipe I suggest and one I’ll probably end up making again!

What have you been making lately? Please feel free to share any food posts you’ve made recently and I’ll be sure to check them out!

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Tasty Tuesday – Mariposa Market


As you’ll probably quickly note from the pictures of Christmas cakes and other holiday goodies, this Tasty Tuesday post is pretty much a month delayed. I thought about writing this post a couple of times in the past few weeks but I really wanted to focus my Tasty Tuesday posts on some healthy meals before I jumped back into showcasing another place I like to ‘cheat’ at.

Mariposa Market in Orillia, Ontario is one gem of a bakery that I have been going to since I was a kid. We used to camp just outside of Orillia and Mariposa was somewhere in town we would always go to pick up treats. It’s basically been our go-to place for birthday cakes and Christmas dessert for the past decade or so.

Well, the cake was great.

A photo posted by Casandra Miller (@casandramillerr) on

(The Caramel Mountain cake Matt & I had for our birthdays last year)

They have recently renovated and almost doubled the inside which is nice because this place is always crowded during the holidays. The back half of the shop which used to just consist of a single long hallway has been turned into a second serving area with sandwiches, desserts, and drinks. The second serving area is nice if you’re just jumping in for lunch and don’t want to go into the madness of the rest of the place.


Mariposa is great for getting cakes, cookies, and all sorts of sweet things but they also have a great selection of savoury items. You can get fresh bread, preserves, quiches, and a whole bunch of others delicious eats. Mom and I generally share a sandwich and some sort of goodie so it’s cheating but on a smaller scale. On this particular trip we shared the turkey croissant sandwich which consists of turkey, havarti cheese, mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, and cucumbers on a cheese croissant with red pepper jelly. It’s definitely out go to sandwich, especially because they didn’t have any holiday turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberries. We also had an After Eight Bomb which wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be but good enough that it was ate before a picture was taken. We took our lunch upstairs and ate in the expanded seating area which used to be all of ten little two seater tables but now has big long tables and an area with couches.


After lunch we went to pick up the goodies that we had come for for Christmas. I did do some Christmas baking as well but since we have Christmas with our extended family who number over 20, it’s easier to just pick up a bunch of desserts instead of baking all day. Plus, this saves me from eating a whole tub of icing while I’m waiting for things to finish baking.


In addition to the cookies we picked up for Christmas, my mom had ordered a small Yule Log for ourselves at home over the holidays. These things are just like a giant Swiss Roll covered in chocolate icing. They’re super sweet and we love them so much that sometimes we’ve ordered them out of season for birthdays (yes, we did get a kind of confused reaction for this since my birthday is in October but it was worth it.)

So if you ever find yourself in Orillia looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat or just a sugary snack, I seriously suggest checking this place out! Anyway, I’ll be back with the healthy stuff next Tuesday!

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Tasty Tuesday – Crockpot Chilli

Today’s Tasty Tuesday is a highlight of an old favourite of mine. It’s one of the first things I learnt to make on my own and it’s definitely one of my go to meals.So what is it?

Crockpot beef chilli!

Before I had a crockpot this was just regular beef chilli which would be made the same way but on the stove. It really doesn’t make too much of a difference because you’d still be slow cooking it on the stove but this frees up one of my burners and can just be tucked away in the corner.

Chilli is one of my old favourites when it comes to healthy eating because it’s easy and it’s packed full of protein. Now that I’ve been working out again and cutting a lot of carbs out of my diet I’ve found that I’ve really needed extra protein to keep me full and energized throughout the day. Chilli is one of those meals that really lasts for me; not only am I getting protein from the lean ground beef but I’m getting it from the beans as well.

While canned beans aren’t always the greatest because of the high amount of sugar used in the preservatives, they are a high protein / low carb food that I like to cook with. This journey is all about learning how to be healthier one step at a time so I have to make the occasional concession. Plus there are so many great health benefits to eating beans that I think this one probably balances itself out. Everything in moderation!

As I go along, you’ll probably notice a trend in my cooking endeavours, and that is that my meals usually don’t have that many ingredients. I like to keep things simple, especially because I generally cook multiple meals at once which means it’s convenient and budget savvy to cook things with not much to them. It also helps when multiple recipes call for the same ingredients. For example, I almost always have lean ground beef, taco/chilli seasoning, and bell peppers in my house because I use them in a lot of different things!

My chilli is made from 5 main ingredients*:

  1. Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce
  2. Red Kidney Beans
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Packaged Chilli Seasoning (or Taco Seasoning if you’re run out like I did!)
  5. Lean Ground Beef

*In this version I also added cajun spice just to give it a bit of a kick since I substituted taco seasoning in for chilli seasoning. I’ve really got to remember to pick up chilli seasoning the next time I’m at the grocery store.

As I’ve said before, I’m a throw everything in and hope it works kind of cook so I can’t tell you how much ground beef I used but I threw it into a frying pan on medium heat, browned it up and let a few of the pieces get nice and crispy before I put it into the bottom of my small crockpot. Meanwhile, I chopped up the bell peppers, drained and rinsed the kidney beans, and opened up the baked beans (there are two cans pictured but I only ended up using one). Once everything was in the crockpot, I mixed it up, threw in the pack of taco seasoning and covered the top with the cajun seasoning before giving it one last mix.

I turned the crockpot onto low and let it cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. That’s it! So easy. This particular batch yielded 2 servings each for Matt and I.

You could easily replicate this recipe with additional ingredients (corn, celery, etc.) or even switch the ground beef out for ground turkey or chicken. It’s an easy recipe, not much to it, and it’s very little work which is exactly why I love it!

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