Aloha! And thanks for joining us for the Birthday Bash Round-up for the Heart of the Matter. We're 2 years old now and I don't know about you, but I'm ready to celebrate! We had so many great entries this time - bloggers who have been with us since the beginning, some who have been showing up steadily since they first heard about us, and new bloggers who wanted to help out. Remember to keep your eye out for entries that stand out - we're looking for the entry with the best recipe (who will win an Italian goodie box!) and best presentation (who will win a Hawaiian goody box!). The winners will be announced on March 25th, so there is one week to vote for your favorites. You needn't have entered the actual event to vote for your favorite entries! Send your votes to me at phillipslayden AT gmail DOT com. Well, without further adieu, here are the entries...
Our first entry came from the Green Gourmet Giraffe, with Johanna's Strawberry and Passionfruit Icy Poles. If you're looking for a heart healthy and colorful treat for you, your guests or your kids that is full of freshly squeezed juices and fruit, then these are definitely it!
I love Brussels sprouts and my co-host, Ilva, from the blog Lucullian Delights, made some delicious looking (and beautiful) Chestnut, Parmesan and Rosemary-Filled Brussels Sprouts for her first entry. I can just imagine plucking them up with my fingers and eating them!
Our friend Labelga, from the blog Leafy Cooking, made these tasty little Marinated Arabian Cheese Balls with joghurt, which was something I hadn't heard of prior to now, but certainly look like they would be amazing!
Ever-faithful participants, Bee and Jai from the blog Jugalbandi, brought these with all manner of wonderful flavors (including cayenne, fenugreek and pumpkin seeds!) to the party. I can just imagine myself standing by the refreshment table and gobbling these up by the handful...
From the blog, eCurry, arrived these dainty Savory Layered & Nut Stuffed Chickpea Swirls. Soma, author of the blog, says they are khandvis, another type of food that was new to me, but when I heard what was in them - mint & coriander chutney & coarsely ground lightly toasted almonds - I'm certain that I would fall in love with them!
They say for the prevention of heart disease you should eat your omega-3s and salmon is one of the healthiest sources for these essential nutrients. Tigerfish, from the blog, Teczcape - An Escape to Food, brought these lovely and healthy Salmon Cakes with Mango Salsa on them and I just love the splash of color that mango salsa lends to these little beauties. I wish the mangoes were ready to eat here!
If I saw this Fig and Red Onion Confit at a party, I'd definitely have to hunt down the maker - it happens to be Suganya, from the blog Tasty Palettes. I've always imagined confit being complicated and thought it was only made from meat...Suganya shows us it's easy, beautiful and can be healthy and vegetarian at the same time! Delicious!
While Marla from the blog Bella Baita View confessed that this birthday celebration was "only" her second time participating, I'm glad she decided to join us once again because her entry, Red Lentil Crostini, topped with thin, dried apple slices, sounds truly irresistable. We hope to see you again sometime soon, Marla!
I've been secretly hoping that Tanna (from My Kitchen in Half Cups) could participate in HotM for ages, but she's always got so many projects and other events she participates in that she hasn't had the time, so it made my heart beam when she sent in her entry for these scrumptous-looking Small Bite Bean and Tuna Pizzas. She shares these with neighbors on her rooftop with a bottle of wine - sounds like a perfect party to me!
One of my favorite greens is arugula, but I almost always eat it raw. I see now that I've been sorely missing out after hearing about these Saucy Chicken and Arugula Meatballs from More Than Burnt Toast...plus, she was lucky enough to eat them wild when she was only a child! These little babies seem to me that they're like the perfect little black dress - they can go from pasta dinner to party food (on toothpicks) in a snap!
From TastyCurryLeaf in India, we have this decadent Walnut Vegetable Pate, served on toasted whole wheat bread (and I can just imagine it would be equally delightful in wraps or scooped up with fresh vegetables!). It's filled with hearty-healthy walnuts and sounds like a wonderfully healthy version of this exquisite food that looks and sounds fancy, but is simple to make - perfect for impressing any guests!
Laura, from Tiramisu', brought these dainty Shrimp Marinated with Lime and Herbs to share at the party and I just absolutely love the little skewers! Elegant, yet simple, I bet these would make the perfect dinner party appetizer too. Not only are they good for you, but they're beautiful to boot!
My co-host, Ilva at Lucullian Delights was thinking of our friends who have trouble with gluten and made gluten-free Mediterranean Rice Balls for the party as her second entry. She declared her love for finger food and described it as: "The little 5 year old girl in me, sitting there in her pink tutu and her fairy wand, raging to get out and run havoc in my adult life." What's a party without a few children running around in the background, right?
Lastly, I made Spiced Macadamia Nut Granola Bars over at my site, The Accidental Scientist. These bars are full of my favorite granola ingredients - whole grains, lots of dried fruit, coconut, macadamia nuts, maple syrup and honey!
Thanks to everyone who pariticipated this month and celebrated right along with us!! Don't forget to vote for your favorites by March 25th so that we can send out the birthday bash prizes!! See you next month!!