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!


Coconut Pecan Popcorn - Recipe below!

I was craving a sweet snack after I got home from photographing an event last night. Currently I am extremely low on groceries since returning home from a week of dog-sitting. Alas, I raided the pantry and found some popcorn kernels and wondered what I could do with them. I tend to get the most creative in the kitchen when I'm faced with limited options! I wondered what would happen if I popped the kernels in coconut oil. To my amazement, they popped perfectly! While the popcorn was still hot in the pan, I threw in a little slab of butter, sprinkled in coconut sugar with a dash of Pink Himalayan salt and tossed it all around. Test bite was satisfying but I wanted something a touch sweeter so I melted a few semi-sweet chocolate morsels and poured it over the coconut-coated popcorn, tossed in some toasted pecans and shook it all up. Voila! Just the right amount of sweet and sassy. Kind of like me!

Now, who wants to go grocery shopping for me since I can't live on popcorn the rest of the week?!


  • Pilot Knob Hull-less Ruby Red Popcorn
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Madhava Unrefined Coconut Sugar
  • Butter
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Chocolate Chips 
  • Toasted Pecans

I popped the popcorn in a pan and didn't follow any recipe or measurements. I just tossed the coconut oil in to coat the bottom of the pan. Popped the kernels and added all other ingredients while it was still hot. No measurements here either, just to taste. Tip: I did melt the chocolate chips with a little bit of butter, and then poured it over the popcorn. Toss to mix and enjoy!