Autumn Harvest Mason Jar Salad with Maple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette


Caroline is back with another recipe today that is bursting with fall flavors!

Am I the only one who views foods seasonally? Like the idea of making a pot roast in the middle of summer seems ludicrous to me. I love cooking with flavors and ingredients that tie in with the season – and this autumn harvest salad does the trick.

Full of roasted veggies and studded with flavors that scream “fall” – this is a salad you’ll make over and over again. My favorite ingredient is the beautiful delicata squash – a winter squash I can only find for a few months during fall/winter. Trader Joe’s usually starts carrying them about this time of year. I love that unlike other winter squashes, the skin on delicata squash is tender enough to eat when cooked… so no peeling involved! If you can’t find them, feel free to substitute by roasting butternut or acorn squashes (sorry, you’ll have to bust out those veggie peelers!), or even diced sweet potato.

You can fix it as a big “family style” salad for dinner, but I love turning it into a mason jar salad to eat for lunch. The order in which you put your ingredients into the jar is critical. You put your dressing at the bottom, then top with heartier veggies/fruits, grains (quinoa), protein, extra toppings (cheese, nuts, etc.), and finally the greens.

As a mom with young children, I would dread lunchtime. I usually rotate between two or three breakfast meals, and always meal-plan my dinners ahead of time, but would often find myself at lunchtime at a loss for what to feed myself. So I started doing mason jar salad swaps with friends. Find four friends and have everyone come up with an idea for a different type of salad. Then fix enough of your salads so that everyone gets one – and swap with one another. You’ll leave with a different salad for every day of the week, while only having to do the prep work for one.

Salad swaps are a lifesaver. I never have to wonder what I’m going to fix for myself that day – I just pick a salad out of the fridge. If you can’t find that many friends to swap with you, pick one girlfriend and you can swap two for two! I promise that you’ll be everyone’s new best friend when you bring along this salad to your next swap!

Autumn Harvest Mason Jar Salad with Maple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette




1 large package mixed greens

1 package (4-5 links) apple chicken sausage

2 apples (I recommended Gala or Honeycrisp), diced into bite-sized pieces

1 pound Brussels sprouts

2 delicata squash (found at Trader Joes –or you can substitute sweet potato, butternut squash or acorn squash)

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds or pecans

Kosher salt

Maple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

¼ cup high-quality apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real deal, ladies – no Aunt Jemima!)

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Trim and quarter your Brussels sprouts. Toss in ¾ teaspoon olive oil and spread out on half a large foiled-lined baking sheet. Take your delicata squash – trim top and bottom, slice in half length wise, remove seeds with a spoon, then cut into ¼” thick slices. Toss in remaining olive oil and spread evenly on another foil-lined baking sheet. Top all veggies with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Roast, turning frequently, until golden brown – about 25-30 minutes.
  1. While veggies are roasting, cook chicken apple sausages on stovetop or grill (per package instructions.) When finished, cut in slices.
  1. If you haven’t already, cook your quinoa per package instructions. One cup dry usually results in 3 cups cooked, so you’ll likely have a little left over.
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a pint-sized mason jar and shake to combine. Dressing will last, refrigerated, for a week.
  1. To assemble as your mason jar salad: grab five wide-mouth, 1-qt jars. Pour in ¼ cup of dressing (or about ½ inch from the bottom of your jar) and then layer in your ingredients in this order: apples, roasted veggies, quinoa, chicken sausage, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds/pecans, and finally salad greens. Really pack those salad greens in at the top – you want to have the jar filled to the brim. Close lid tightly! When it’s time to eat, dump your salad into a large bowl and dig in. Salad stays good for three to four days.

Sleep Help for Babies


Of all the things that I really love about having a great community both on here and on social is that when I need help or a suggestion, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience chiming in when I ask!

I recently shared that I’ve been struggling with Emily’s lack of napping and occasional nighttime sleep disruptions on Instastories. I thought it may help to expound more on those two topics and also share a bit more about why I asked for help.

Emily has truly been a great night sleeper for months now. And she’s only 5 months old. She started going 5-6 hours at only a few weeks old and since then has only increased her night sleeping. Her naps, though, have been consistently short (about 20 minutes) and sporadic. She would also fight going to sleep with all of her sweet little soul and spirit. It was such a frustrating thing because as her mom I knew she was tired but she just couldn’t easily fall asleep or stay asleep for naps. The day would spiral downhill and she’d be pretty irritable by the end of the night.

I know that even babies who nap well in the day can still be irritable at night. It’s kind of just a baby thing. 

With the boys, Justin and I were diligent about getting them on a pretty predictable routine at an early age. I was probably a little too rigid with their schedule but I was pretty stressed out as a new mom. Even though there were difficulties in getting them on a schedule, it paid off in the best ways. They were happy, they knew what to expect, and we (the parents) were happy as well. Putting them down for nap became as easy as placing them in the crib, walking away, and they would fall asleep without making a peep* on their own.

For some reason I have been resistant to trying to get Emily on a routine. I don’t know if it’s a “last baby” thing or what. Finally, I reached a point where I couldn’t keep doing this daily mystery game of “are you tired? no? not yet? maybe? should we try a nap? you don’t seem tired. are you tired?” It wasn’t working for Emily, nor Justin and I.

So in an exhausted moment I asked for help from other moms to try to resolve Emily’s nap issues.

I got so many helpful messages and I wanted to share them here in case you are in the same boat, or will be in the future.

Many people recommended Taking Cara Babies. She has a ton of information on her Instagram account and also offers some classes through her website all about sleep tips. I’ve learned a lot by just following her on Instagram which I’ve been doing for about a month or so.

I received a ton of recommendations for the Moms on Call book or scheduling app. I have the book and read most of it, but I downloaded the app shortly after I heard from so many readers that love it. The app suggests a routine that may work based on your baby’s age. I started following it as closely as I could and Emily took the best morning nap of her life on the first day. At the time I’m writing this we’ve been using the schedule for 4 days and she’s already making massive, MASSIVE improvements with her naps. Some are still short, but she’s going down easier and seems to be happier in the day since she’s not as exhausted as she was before.

I received a lot of recommendations for various websites where you can speak directly to a sleep consultant and they will tailor a plan that works for your lifestyle and your baby’s temperament and age. I decided to try following the Moms on Call schedule (again, it’s a goal not a set in stone timeline of how her day actually is right now) first and if that doesn’t work for her then resort to speaking with a sleep consultant.

After scrolling through message after message I realized an important thing. Every mom tries their best with the method they think will work best for their baby. There are so many methods of teaching a baby to sleep just like there are different parenting methods. It’s kind of great that we have so many resources available to find something that works for each family, isn’t it?

If you have a baby that isn’t napping well, or isn’t sleeping through the night, I hope you are able to find something that works for you and the baby very soon. To me, that’s the hardest part of a baby–figuring out SLEEP! It’s one of those things that gets better with time so it takes every single ounce of your patience until the baby has figured it out.

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*eventually. We helped soothe them to sleep until they could do it on their own.

links + loves


I’m pretty sure Jordan said “Just stand there and look like a cool Madewell person” and this is what I did.

top, jeans, similar shoes

If you see any classes advertised that are teaching “how not to look like a moron” I’ll sign myself up.

Last week I had the PLEASURE of hosting a styling session at Madewell and it was so much fun. I’m hoping to do another one in the spring as it is always a joy to meet blog readers in person. Unsurprisingly we always have something in common and it’s like chatting with an instant friend. For those who couldn’t make it I thought I’d round up some top picks from Madewell at the bottom of the post to check out!

A pretty new eyeshadow palette from ItCosmetics. I love a basic, neutral eyeshadow palette and this one looks great!

I tried these No7 Instant Results Revitalizing Hydrogel Eye Masks and DANG they made my under eye area feel tight, refreshed, and less puffy. I’ve already bought myself another box.

There is a new darker wash of Road Tripper jeans from Madewell which is a great add to the line if you ask me. The Orson wash was fantastic but felt a bit casual so I love the darker Jansen wash!

I shared a photo of my face with many blemishes earlier this week, did you catch that?

25 Things To Get Rid Of This Fall.

I love the front entryway that she shared in the first photo of the post!

How cute are these booties with the tie?!

Do you have any weekend plans? It’s finally supposed to dip below 80 here in Raleigh and I’m THRILLED TO DEATH about it. Also, the NC State Fair is happening and I’m hoping to go this weekend! 

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October 5, 2018

links + loves

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