All posts by courtney

Courtney might spend her work days as a marketing specialist, but don't let that fool you. She loves trying new recipes, taking her dogs to the park, and perfecting her impression of her husbandAustin.

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes & Vanilla Frosting

gluten free dairy free chocolate cupcakes & vanilla frosting
Go Heels!!!

One thing about me you should know is that I am not a basketball person, I am a football fan all the way! Austin grew up in NC and at a very young age loved basketball and loved the UNC Tarheels. When we got together we each agreed to cheer for each others teams, which was easy since they were in different seasons and conferences and sports!! So, it has worked out well! 🙂

So…it’s that time again…basketball season. So, I put on my Carolina blue and cheer and watch a sport I dont get, all for love! I am much more supportive in the kitchen that’s for sure! We were going to a friends house to watch the UNC vs Duke game, which is a big deal people!!! So, I needed a good gfree/dairy free snack or dessert that could turn blue without it indicating it was moldy! I have adapted this cupcake & frosting recipe from my Cooking Light cookbook. You can change the color of the frosting depending on your team so this dessert works for all sports fans! 🙂

What you need:


-3/4 cup sugar

-5 tbsp Earth Balance butter

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 eggs

-1 cup rice flour

-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

-1/4 cup cocoa

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 cup coconut milk


-1 tbsp Earth Balance butter

-1/4 cup sugar

-3 tbsp coconut milk

-1 3/4 cup powder sugar

-1 tsp vanilla


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the first 3 ingredients on medium speed. Add in the eggs, and blend.

2) Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt & xanthan gum. Add this mixture to the sugar mixture alternating with the coconut milk beginning with the flour and ending with the flour.

3) Bake for 22 minutes and cool completely before frosting.

4) For the frosting: Melt the butter in a skillet. Add in sugar and milk and cook until sugar is dissolved and its just liquid. Remove from heat and cool. Pour liquid into powder sugar and add vanilla. Mix altogether and frost once the cupcakes are cool. (add in the food coloring if desired!!)





Roasted Chicken and Winter Vegetables


It’s been too long! Things have been a little busy around here and I have not had the chance to update unfortunately! It is still cold around here and has been really rainy. On Sunday a lady that I serve with in our bookstore at church told me that she roasted a chicken and some vegetables for some friends and that it was really good. So, I went home on Sunday and it was SO cold and windy!! So, I texted some friends to come and have some roast chicken and vegetables! I had never roasted a chicken before so this was going to be a new little experiment! Sadly, I did not get a picture because I was too busy making sure everything was put away and looking nice before our friends got there I totally forgot, and it was really pretty too! 🙁

The lady at church didn’t have a recipe she just vaguely told me what she did, so this is my version with a little help from the internet about what temperature you roast a chicken at. Today is cold and rainy in Atlanta and this is a perfect dinner!

What you need:

*1 chicken breast ( mine was 6 lbs, there were 4 of us and we had some leftovers)



*olive oil

*butter ( I used earth balance)

*italian seasoning

*1 lemon

*Assortment of Veggies; I used 2 sweet potatoes, 5 russet potatoes, 1 leek, 2 carrots & 1/2 an onion, & 1/2 butternut squash. But I think any vegetable you would like is fine!


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I made everything in one pan, but if I could do it over I would have a veggie pan and a chicken pan because my veggies cooked faster.

2) Melt butter ( i just used a tbsp) and add some olive oil to the bowl and your herbs, i just used italian seasoning, but rosemary, thyme, basil, rosemary, etc. would all be good. This is what you are going to spread all over the chicken.

3) Cut up all the veggies and put lots of olive oil in the pan so they dont stick! Set aside until probably half way through the chicken roasting since they dont need as long.

4) Clean up the chicken and take all the gross stuff out of it! ehh! I made Austin do this 🙂 Place in the pan and cover with the butter mixture, stick a lemon in him and some herbs and bake at 400 for about 2 hrs or until cooked, my meat thermometer said it needed to be at 180 degrees internally.

Then you will have yourself a nice winter meal! 🙂 I served with these muffins, a recipe a friend gave me, they are great!


Gluten Free/Dairy Free Espresso-Cinnamon Brownies

gluten free/dairy free espresso-cinnamon brownies
gluten free/dairy free espresso-cinnamon brownies

So, this was my first G free brownie test! Austin and I tried the Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix and it was NOT good! I love Bob’s Red Mill so I was really surprised and sad! 🙁

I have all these cookbooks from my prior life or BGF (before gluten free) and I have been adapting all of my favorites. This recipe was in my Cooking Light cookbook but I had never made it! It sounded good so I thought I would try but I put a little twist on it! There is also a cinnamon-rum sauce in this cookbook and it sounded good and I wanted to figure out a way that it could be a part of this brownie, so it is the filling! I also doubled the recipe so I put half on the bottom, put the sauce over the batter and then put the rest of the batter over the sauce. Im sure these brownies would be good without the sauce, just by themselves! So, here is my G Free/Dairy Free version of the Kahlua-Cinnamon brownie with cinnamon-rum sauce!

What you need:

-1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Sweet Dreams dark chocolate bar)

-1/4 cup butter (Earth Balance for dairy free)

-1/4 cup Kahlua is what was asked for, I used 4 Tbsp of coffee granules instead

-2 tsp vanilla

-3/4 cup rice flour

-1/4 tsp xanthan gum

-3/4 tsp baking powder

-1/4 cup cocoa

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp of brown sugar

-1 egg

***For the sauce***

-3/4 cup light corn syrup

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp rum

-1 tsp lemon juice


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan and melt, or in a microwave safe bowl. Once melted remove from heat and add vanilla and Kahlua ( coffee granules). Set aside.

2) Combine the flour and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, set side.

3) In a stand mixer mix together the egg and brown sugar. Add in the melted chocolate and blend. Next add in the flour mixture and blend. Pour batter into 8 inch greased pan and bake for 25 minutes.

4) If you want to make them with the filling/sauce, put the corn syrup in a saucepan and heat through. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir until it makes a sort of syrup. I let it cool for a little bit before I poured over the brownie mix! I also cooked the brownies for 35 minutes instead of 25 since there was more liquid in there to cook!


Red Carpet Rundown!


I love award shows, especially the Oscars! The only part I like about them though is the red carpet, of course! I love fashion, I studied fashion in college, so this is so fun for me to see all the beautiful creations that the designers have come up with! The show itself last night was BAD! It was not entertaining at all, it was so boring and I think there is definitely something wrong with James Franco! The fashion on the other hand I thought was great!! There were some really wonderful classic looks, and a couple bad ones along the way! This is my version of Fashion Police; the best and the worst according to me! 🙂

Best Dressed

mila kunis oscar dress
mila kunis oscar dress

sandra bullock oscar dress

reese witherspoon oscar dress
reese witherspoon oscar dress

Mila Kunis looked absolutely amazing in her lavender Elie Saab dress. I think the color suited her perfectly

Reese Witherspoon was just so classic, so elegant in her Armani Prive’. The high ponytail was a great choice, I just think she is so cute!

Sandra Bullock was red hot in Vera Wang! I still liked her dress from last year better, but she always make great fashion choices and this year was no different, such a classy lady!

halle berry oscar dress
halle berry oscar dress
natalie portman oscar dress
natalie portman oscar dress


Natalie Portman in her purple Rodarte was just glowing! She is a beautiful pregnant lady that is for sure! She accentuated her bump and it looked great!

Halle Berry looked like a princess in her nude Marchesa gown. The ruffles and beading were just gorgeous, she can do no wrong! She looks amazing everytime!




Worst Dressed

gwyneth paltrow oscar dress
gwyneth paltrow oscar dress
melissa leo oscar dress
melissa leo oscar dress
nicole kidman oscar dress
nicole kidman oscar dress


Well, not everyone can look good, there are always some misses!

Gwyneth Paltrow- I was not a fan of this gold lame’  looking number from Calvin Klein. Gwyneth usually makes great choices, but this one just was not that great, just kind of boring.

Nicole Kidman-Im not sure what was going on with this one! This white Dior number just had too much going on from the different angles, to the pattern it was just kind of a mess!

Melissa Leo-TMZ called this dress a table doily and I think that describes it perfectly! This was from the Marc Bouwer Home Collection, and it was just not flattering at all and made her look much older.


Well, now to wait for next year’s awards and next years fashion!! Here’s to 2012!

New to Gluten Free? Read This!

So, what is this whole Gluten Free thing everyone keeps talking about?! Some people think it’s a cool new diet, a fad, a trend, but this is a lifestyle for alot of us.

Wikipedia says that gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and helps give food its elasticity, shape, and chewiness. When I first started eating gluten free foods I was amazed at how many products contain wheat/gluten. It is in soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and dressings to name a few surprising products.

There are alot of different symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I am personally gluten intolerant so my symptoms are not as severe as someone with celiac’s disease. The main ones are fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, weight loss, joint pain, bloating, stomach pain & cramping. I can only speak of what I have experienced and I had stomach pains, diarrhea and when ever I would eat wheat it would feel like there was a brick just sitting my stomach, very uncomfortable! Alot of people are diagnosed with IBS so I really encourage you to cut out wheat for about a month and then add it back into your diet and that should really give you a good idea to whether or not this is the problem.

So, you have now been told that you are intolerant or have celiac’s, now what?! What do you eat? What about restaurants? Traveling? When I first was diagnosed I was really sad about all the food I was going to miss out on. I lost some weight from my body not having any carbs or any of the other things I was used to eating. I did alot of googling & alot of research! I soon learned all the things I could eat and things to watch out for. After awhile it does get easier! Below I have made a list of places to buy the food you need, products and brands that are the best, and useful resources! Hope this is helpful!


-Kroger: they have a great selection!! they have an organic section called Nature’s Market and that is where I do all of my shopping!

-Whole Foods:they are more expensive, but they make their own gluten free products right there in the store, and they also have a great selection of other brands as well.

-Target: they have a limited selection of products, but I was surprised that they did carry alot of dessert mixes and crackers.

-Trader Joe’s: when I have been in there the selection has been really limited, but they do have some choices.

if you live in Atlanta…

-Atlantis Natural Foods & Cafe

-Return to Eden

-Natural Food Warehouse


NutThins by Blue Diamond: these are delicious! great snack! We always have at these 2 boxes around!

-Udi’s: they have the best bread! They also made bagels, cinnamon rolls, muffins, granola, & cookies. I have never tried anything of theirs I did not like!

-Bob’s Red Mill: this is the brand of flour I use for all of my baking! They also have great pancake mix & cornbread mix. We did try the chocolate brownie mix and it was not good 🙁

-Kinnikinick: they also have breads, bagels, graham crackers, and other snacks.

-Glutino: their donuts are delicious! They also have wonderful pretzels and crackers too.

Resources: These helped me so much at the beginning!

Other Random Thoughts:

-hummus & guacamole  are great snacks!

-mexican is a great go to food; rice & corn you can have!

-when going to a wedding I stock my purse full of gfree crackers, cookies, etc. just in case!

-larabars are a great on the go snack

-Chex cereals are all gluten free except wheat chex, I eat that for breakfast alot!

I hope that you have been able to find something helpful here and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Penne with White Wine Tomato Cream Sauce

gluten free/dairy free penne with white wine tomato cream sauce
gluten free/dairy free penne with white wine tomato cream sauce

Before I could make this recipe Austin ate most of the penne as a snack. Yes, he eats uncooked pasta as a snack, you would think I never feed him! So, that is why there is penne & spaghetti in the picture! 🙂 It still turned out okay though!! This is a recipe from one of my mom’s cookbooks; ” Have You Heard..A Tasteful Medley of Memphis” that we have been eating since I was in high school! It  has a delicious cream sauce that I just love! Alas, no more cream in our life so…I had to fix this one so I could still eat it!! It was also made originally with Vodka, but I could not find any definitive articles saying that Vodka was ok, only potato Vodka is safe so I didn’t want to take any chances! Either way you make this it will be delicious!

What you need:

*1 Tbsp butter (Earth Balance for dairy free)

*1 Tbsp olive oil

*1 small onion chopped

*1 28 oz. can italian plum tomatoes drained, seeded and chopped

*1 cup heavy cream (I used coconut milk for dairy free)

*1/4 cup Vodka ( I used white wine)

*1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

*1 lb. gluten free pasta (I use DeBoles)


1) Melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil. Add the onion and saute  until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes and cook until there is no more liquid in the pan.

3) Add the cream, vodka (wine), and red pepper flakes and boil until the sauce is thick.

4) Cook the pasta until tender and once it is cooked pour the sauce over the penne.


Gluten Free/Dairy Free Smore’s Cake

gluten free/dairy free smore's cake
gluten free/dairy free smore's cake

Austin and I are part of a small group and I try to make some sort of snack/dessert each week and this week we were celebrating some birthdays so I wanted to make a cake. There is always the typical vanilla or chocolate so I wanted to do something a little different and spice it up a bit. I found this recipe for graham crackers and it make me think: Smore’s. Mmm..who doesn’t like sitting by a campfire and roasting a smore?! Best part of any camp adventure!! So, here is the delicious cracker sandwich turned into a cake!

What you need:

* 15 gluten free graham crackers ( I made homemade ones using this recipe)

* 6 Tbsp melted butter (earth balance for dairy free)

*2 boxes gluten free chocolate cake mix (Betty Crocker has some, Pamela’s does to0. I used this recipe)

*2 egg whites

*1 1/2 cups sugar

*1/4 tsp cream of tartar

*1/3 cup water

*1 tsp vanilla


1.) Making the graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take 15 graham crackers and either crush them in a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Add the melted butter to the graham crackers and mix with your hands. Press graham crackers into the bottom of a round 9″ pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before putting filling in the pan.

2) Make the cake according to the instructions on the box, or you use the recipe I provided, which I doubled to make the cake 3 layers. If you only want 1-2 layers do not double.

3) After crust has cooled completely put the batter into the prepared pans and bake according to instructions.

4) To make the creme frosting: This is Austin’s grandma’s recipe and it is amazing!

-combine the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a double boiler

-beat on high speed for 1 minute with an electric mixer

-place the top of the double boiler over the boiling water in the bottom of the double boiler.

-beat on high speed for 7 minutes

-remove the pan from the boiling water and add the vanilla

-beat 2 more minutes on high speed.

5.) Once everything has cooled assemble the cake layers and I put crushed graham crackers on top as a garnish!



Gluten Free/Dairy Free Hazelnut Chicken

gluten free/dairy free hazelnut chicken
gluten free/dairy free hazelnut chicken

Hello all!

Well, if you have been reading my blog long at all I am sure that you have noticed that Austin and I eat alot of chicken. It is easy to make, we both like it, and we can buy it in bulk at Costco; that is the real seller! We always need new ways of making chicken so that we don’t get bored and this recipe is one of my favorites! It was given to me by my mom a long time ago and I have done a little adjusting to fit our diet! This recipe is sweet but not too sweet and has a great crunch with the hazelnuts and is creamy but without the dairy! Hope you enjoy!

What you need:

*1/2 stick butter ( I used 1/4 c. olive oil instead or you could use Earth Balance)

*6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

*rice flour



*1 clove garlic

*1/4 cup white wine

*6 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur

*1 cup mushrooms ( we omit, neither of us like them!!)

*1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

*3/4 cup heavy cream ( I use the thick part of coconut milk that rises to the top of the can)


1)  In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter ( or oil). Dredge chicken in flour and put on the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes.

2) Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add garlic, wine and hazelnut liqueur. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup.

3) When chicken is cooked through remove and cover. Add mushrooms, hazelnuts, and cream to the skillet. Increase hear to high and cook until sauce is thick. Add the chicken back to the pan to heat and toss with sauce.

Gluten Free Pecan Crusted Chicken with Maple Dressing

gluten free pecan chicken & salad
gluten free pecan chicken & salad

It’s Monday. Most people associate Monday as being the worst day of the week. Monday is definitely one of my busiest days at work, so when I get home I just want to relax. Oh…but now its time to cook dinner, so no relaxing until that is over! I usually try to plan all of my recipes ahead of time, but sometimes there just isn’t time for that, or the recipe planned just doesn’t sound good at the time. Well, this recipe is really easy and will hopefully cure the case of the Mondays that you may have!

What you need:

-Olive Oil for frying

-chicken tenders ( I made 5, but you can make as many as needed)

-1 cup Rice Flour

-1 egg beaten with a splash of water

-1 cup gfree breadcrumbs ( I did not have any on hand and it worked fine without)

-1 cup crushed pecans

-1/2 tsp nutmeg

-1 orange zested(I did not have on hand and it was fine)

For Dressing-

*1/4 cup maple syrup

*1/4 cup BBQ sauce ( I did without because I could not find a safe Gfree brand)

*1/4 cup orange juice

*1/4 cup olive oil




1) Cover the pan with oil until until it is about 1-2 inches deep. Season the chicken with salt, pepper. Place the mixed egg in one dish, place flour in another dish, place breadcrumbs, pecans and orange zest in another dish. Dip the chicken in egg, then flour, then pecans and place in the pan and fry.

2) Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients and whisk.

**I made a salad on the side and poured the dressing on the salad and chicken, or you can just use for chicken, or vice versa.**


Recipe inspired by and adapted from Rachael Ray.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

gluten free banana bread
gluten free banana bread

Happy Sunday!

On Sundays, Austin and I usually attend the 9am service at our church so when we get home it is about 10:30am and we are already hungry again!! This is a great recipe for breakfast, brunch, or a snack anytime during the week! And I would like to think it is a little healthy, it has bananas in it! 🙂 This is my mom’s recipe so I have been eating this for almost 25 years! I made some changes so I can eat it for another 25 years! Hope this recipe provides some southern comfort and maybe a new breakfast tradition!

What you need:

1/4 cup Crisco

1 Egg

1 tsp. Baking soda

3-4 Brown Bananas

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Rice flour

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Nuts (optional)

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (optional)


1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the Crisco and  brown sugar and beat together until smooth.

2) Add in the egg, flour, salt, baking soda, & xanthan gum.

3) Mash up the bananas with a fork and then add them in.

4) Combine all the ingredients until combined, there will still be chunks of banana so don’t worry it wont be completely smooth. Pour into a greased loaf pan. You can put chocolate chips and nuts on top if you would like, or just leave plain. Bake for 1 hour.