Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Zucchini Noodles with Nikos Feta Cream Sauce

We nearly always have crumbled feta on hand at home. It is the perfect creamy, salty addition to our salads (like this one). But I realized recently I rarely cook with it and I had to remedy that. 

It just so happens that zucchini and feta make a great pairing and this is the time of year when folks are discovering baseball bat sized squashes popping up seemingly overnight in their gardens. So with that in mind, I created this recipe as a handy way to use up some zucchini. 

First of all, you'll need a way to cut your zucchini into noodle sized pieces. I used the unfortunately named Veggetti (link in sidebar, if you're interested), but there are a variety of products out there which will noodle-ify your zukes for you.

Once cooked down, these zucchini noodles make a great base for a rich, creamy feta sauce. We gobbled up full bowls of this stuff, but this dish would also make a great accompaniment to a roasted meat main course.

Zucchini Noodles with Feta Cream Sauce


  • 4 zucchinis, cut into noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 6 oz. crumble cup of Nikos Traditional Feta
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 large basil leaves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more, if preferred)


  1. Bring a pot off water to boil. Add zucchini for one minute. 
  2. Drain water. Rinse zucchini noodles with cold water. Drain well.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat on the stove.
  4. When butter has melted, whisk in flour for one minute.
  5. Slowly pour in milk while whisking until no lumps of flour remain.
  6. Mix in minced garlic and crushed red pepper.
  7. Begin adding feta to the mix, a little at a time, while whisking.
  8. Once the sauce is smooth, mix in basil and lemon zest.
  9. Mix zucchini noodles in with the sauce before serving (or pour the sauce over, if you prefer!)
  10. Enjoy!
And lest you think delicious cheese is the only thing you'll get when you purchase Nikos Feta, may I present my son's favorite new toy. (Seriously. He loves it.)

As if that wasn't exciting enough, Nikos Feta is also hosting a giveaway right now! One lucky contestant will enjoy a seven-day, six-night trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, during the 2015 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (August 29 - September 13, 2015).

To enter, visit or the "Hawaii Trip" tab on the Nikos Feta Facebook page by July 31st, and fill out the entry form. That's it! Easy, peasy! Full contest information is available in the Official Rules.

For more great recipes and serving suggestions (and food porn!), visit the Nikos Feta Pinterest Page and Nikos Feta on Instragram.

Many thanks to Nikos® Feta cheeses for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to try fun new ways to add feta cheese to my menu!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spread the Love with Huggies #UltraHug Contest

I don't think I was ever quite prepared for the profound impact having a baby would have on my social life. I mean I was told that the childless friends in my life might quietly step back a bit once Sebastian was born, but I didn't realize what a strong impulse new parents have to connect with other new parents.

B and I have joked a bit about how we find ourselves, two introverts, smiling at babies and introducing ourselves to their parents as though we've been social butterflies our whole lives. Eh, we're probably still a little awkward, but hey! these people have babies! they know what we're going through!

A photo posted by Cec (@ceci_bean) on

It is through one of these new mom friends that I learned about Toots Fore Tufts, an organization raising money for Tufts' Neuro-Oncology Patient Care. Created in memory of a friend that lost the battle with brain cancer, their mission is to provide support for both patients and their families who experience financial hardship due to the cost of travel for treatment.

This is where Huggies comes in. To promote the Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diaper, they are running the #UltraHug Contest to award grants to community projects and organizations. How cool is that?

While my city has many awesome projects that I'd be proud to support, in the spirit of the contest I decided to choose an organization which was started by a friend in my newest community – the mom community.

Do you have a project you'd like to support? Here are the details:

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug (Your baby doesn't have to be wearing Huggies Snug & Dry diapers, but it sure would be cute if he were!)

• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

A photo posted by Cec (@ceci_bean) on

What projects in your community would you like to nominate for the #UltraHug Contest?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Raspberry Almond Yoghurt Blondies with Mountain High Yoghurt

If you've ever tried the popular boxed brownie mixes that require only yoghurt, you know what a magical combination yoghurt and baking can be. It was with this in mind that I created this recipe using deliciously rich and creamy Mountain High Yoghurt.

I wanted to take the great texture that yogurt adds to brownies and try it in a new flavor combination. Almonds and raspberries are a perfect duo. What's wonderful about these bars is that they do not have any butter or oil in them and the flavor and texture does not suffer one bit!


  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered almond (chopped or ground coarse)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup Plain Mountain High Yoghurt (you can use non-fat, low-fat, or original)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Chop or crush slivered almonds.
  3. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and almond.
  4. Mix in sugar, brown sugar, egg whites, and extract.
  5. Mix in yoghurt.
  6. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish
  7. Spoon jam into 3 parallel lines across the surface of the batter.
  8. Run a knife gently through the batter in jam, perpendicular to the direction of the jam lines.
  9. Do this in alternating directions, across the surface of the batter to create the pattern.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until center is fully cooked.
  11. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
  12. Enjoy!
Now you may be wondering why Mountain High Yoghurt spells its name that way.

While both "Yoghurt" and "Yogurt" can be found in the dictionary, “Yoghurt” is more similar to how the word is spelled in many European countries. Since it was first produced back in the 1970s, Mountain High Yoghurt has been made the Old World way (it slowly turns into yoghurt while sitting in the cup) so the founders spelled yoghurt with an “h.” Today they consider the “h” to stand for healthy lifestyle or for the hundreds of ways you can use Mountain High Yoghurt to add nutrition to any recipe or meal!

If you'd like to see more great ways to use Mountain High Yoghurt to simplify and improve your favorite recipes, and coupons so you can try it for yourself, check them out here:


These Many thanks to Mountain High Yoghurt for sponsoring today’s story.