Homemade Granola - Recipe from Courtney's Kitchen - Chicago Food Photographer - Chicago, IL

It’s no secret that I love pretty photos, especially of food. My dream is to photograph a cookbook in the future. Or to work as a freelancer for a travel magazine. *Anyone want to hook a girl up with her dream job?* When I’m cooking or baking, though, it’s usually so I can photograph it! I’ll obviously eat it too, because I can’t turn down a delicious snack, drink or meal! But the end goal of my kitchen artistry is to document it. And now to share with you!

Full disclosure: I don’t always measure things when I’m creating something and I will often wing it!

Homemade Granola from Courtney’s Kitchen


2 cups old-fashioned oats

½ cup nuts, chopped (pecans, almonds, cashews, etc)

¼ cup raw seeds (pumpkin, flax or sunflower are my favorites)

2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (or a combo of both)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large pinch fine sea salt

2 tablespoons grated orange zest

1/2 cup coconut chips


Preheat the oven to 300º F.

Combine all ingredients except coconut chips in a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix well and toss to coat. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it in the microwave a few seconds or your hands will warm it up and melt it into the mixture.

Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, until very lightly toasted.

Stir the mixture while baking, and add the coconut chips. Continue to bake an extra 10-ish min.

Cool before serving or storing.

This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. I keep mine in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Get Creative! My granola is never the same and depends on what I’m in the mood for. I might add dried fruit, many types of nuts and different seeds. Experiment with different flavors and combinations!

This granola is awesome on its own, with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit. Enjoy and be sure to comment below with your favorite renditions of this treat!

Much love!


Lillian is one! Chicago One Year Old Birthday Photo Session - Chicago, IL

I’ve been photographing this little lady since she was in the womb and then when she made her earthside appearance! It’s always so much fun to watch these babies grow up and see their personalities start to come through. Miss L had a “Baby Shark” themed birthday party (sorry if that song is now in your head!) so we took some photos in her adorable birthday onesie & matching tutu. Mom and Dad also had shark-themed shirts! She had an outfit change, plus a snack break because let’s be real - being photographed is hard work! Then we headed outside among the lilacs and played with Oliver, her 4-legged BFF. Happy birthday sweet girl!


Portraits in Paris

When I found out my friend Brittany, of Brittany Marie Photography, was moving to Paris, France last fall I was a bit bummed because we had just gotten to know each other and she was second-shooting weddings with me & I adored her. But I knew she was moving for the best reasons and I was incredibly happy for her. We were sitting at Eva’s Cafe in Old Town, having coffee and saying our goodbyes before she left Chicago and she told me I should come visit. In my head I thought, “Yeah, sure, I should… Someday.” Then I realized that’s the kind of thing I ALWAYS tell myself and then never do! Paris, and in spring time, has always been a bucket list destination for me so I made it a personal goal to get to Paris before her visa was up. After all, how could I not go when I knew someone living there?!

I am happy to report that I went! And it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I have SO many photos it’s overwhelming, but I did get to see Brittany for a day and we took photos of each other for a bit in Paris. Here are a few of my favorite of her. I can’t stop smiling from these and will always cherish this trip. Isn’t she stunnnnnnnnnnnnning?! Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s also incredibly talented and has a heart of pure gold. If you’re in Paris, you must check her out.