How to Do Fancy Dinners on Whole30

Whole30 is a fantastic program. Until there is something to celebrate.

Holidays. Birthdays. Weddings. Babies. Good days.

In my world, celebrating anything is about the food. What are we going to eat?

September had three things we had to combat: Labor Day and Brad’s mom’s birthday and our anniversary.

Since Ladonna’s birthday fell during the middle of the week, I promised her a big fancy family dinner.

So I spent the week preparing the menu and getting everything together so I could make her a birthday celebration.

What was on the menu?

Herb Roasted Chicken from the Farm at Barefoot Bend

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Root Vegetables

Sautéed Zephyr Squash

Paleo Apple Crumble

It was a dinner of firsts.

First time to roast a whole chicken. First time to make a Paleo dessert that was Whole30 approved. First time to make homemade chicken stock.

But the best part was we are well. We celebrated a special lady’s birthday. We were 100 percent Whole30 compliant, even if some of the items were considered a Paleo treat (or as the Whole30 creator calls it sex with your pants on foods).

We ranted and raved about how good a truly free range farm chicken tastes. It was a delightful experience I was happy to create and center around good food.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate something when you are trying to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle?

My Favorite Farmers Market

Since we moved to the country, I’ve struggled with grocery shopping. The nearest grocery store is 20-25 minutes away.

Thankfully early this spring, I stumbled across Me and McGee Market off Highway 70 in North Little Rock.


It is a gorgeous little farm stand full of pretty flowers, fruits, veggies, local cheeses, jams and jellies, pickles, salsa, homemade breads and grassfed meats.

As a foodie, it is my happy place. I visit the market every Saturday morning. I have grown to adore the Me and McGee Family, and I look forward to seeing them every weekend.

Neva, the owner, takes care of me. While we’ve been on Whole30, she’s held back dozens of eggs for me. She knows me. Remembers my name. Ask me about my week. She and her daughter, son, mom and husband are what make this little market so magical.

They are real people. They are my kind of people. They value good food, real food. They value community. They are invested in our little rural community. Constantly trying to make it better. Bringing people together.

It’s a truly beautiful sight.

We need more Me and McGee’s in this world. Little mom and pop shops and markets geared towards getting people better foods. It’s important. And I’m passionate about sharing what Neva and her family is doing because it will change the world for the better.

If you are in the Central Arkansas area, I highly suggest you visit Me and McGee Market. You will fall in love with it.

Find the nearest farmers market near you.

What are your Saturday morning traditions?

Taco Tuesday

My love of tacos runs deep. I think I could eat them for every meal. While Brad would pick pizza or salsa and chips to live off of forever, I would pick tacos.

Tacos are life. I love the variety you can make, but a classic taco is hard to beat. Whole30 can make Taco Night a little challenging, but I love getting to enjoy extra veggies and eating more of the good stuff since I’m not filling up on chips and tortillas.

This time around I went with a romaine lettuce boat for my taco shell. But I stuffed it full of cauliflower rice, grassfed ground beef, salsa, guacamole and hot sauce.

Brad ate his with a Siete cassava flour and coconut flour wrap. And we both enjoyed a little cauliflower rice taco bowl for round two.

We left the dinner table full and happy. It was one of my favorite meals during this round of Whole30.

We have some big celebrations coming up this month. It’s Brad’s mom’s birthday this weekend, and Brad and I are celebrating our Two Year Anniversary the following week.

I’ve got grand ideas to celebrate his sweet mom’s birthday. I’m thinking roasted chicken with root veggies and some sort of sweet treat. It will be such a pretty presentation. I can’t wait.

But our anniversary has me stumped. I usually like to go out to eat so we can have a date night. But it falls on a Wednesday, and Little Rock isn’t the most paleo-friendly city. And Whole30 makes things extra complicated. So I’m open to ideas.

Any Whole30 fancy pants meal ideas for anniversaries?

Italian Sheet Pan Dinner

Whole30 is in full swing. And we are over the halfway mark.

This sheet pan dinner is inspired by Italian flavors, and it is super easy to make.

What you need:

  • Sheer Pan lined with aluminum foil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 7-8 small baby red potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Salt, pepper, dried garlic and Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Drizzle of avocado oil
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put diced chicken into a bowl with avocado oil, salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Let sit while you prep veggies.

Dice the potatoes, and cut the green beans into similar size pieces. Add whole cherry tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic. Drizzle with avocado oil.

Add chicken on top of veggies. Drizzle everything with balsamic vinegar.

Back for 35-40 minutes until potatoes are tender and chicken is fully cooked.

The end result will look something like this.

Very delicious.

What are your favorite sheet pan dinners?

Oven Roasted “Fried” Okra

Okra is a staple of Southern summer suppers. And I buy as much of it as I can while the farmers grow it. It’s my favorite vegetable.

While the South may be all about fried foods, Whole30 is not. So we must improvise.

Meet Oven Roasted “Fried” Okra.

What you need:

  • As much okra as you want to roast, sliced into circles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Coconut oil, to drizzle
  • A sprinkle of almond flour, enough to cover and coat the okra.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine okra, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, coconut oil and almond flour.

Stir until okra is evenly coated. Spread evenly on baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until your desired crispiness.

It’s the closest thing to fried okra. And it’s amazing.