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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Stewart

Running like a Redneck

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Getting exercise during Covid days with an eleven month old and a three year old is practically impossible. For someone that has danced her whole life and loves to run 2-3 miles a day, this whole “let’s have a pandemic right after I give birth” is not really cool. I suppose if you want to call chasing my son on a bike down the hill with a stroller and/or picking both of them up and walking a half a mile to the car because my son doesn’t want to walk anymore - a workout then okay. But I miss the gym. I miss feeling sweaty and strong and that good exhausted feeling. I miss swimming laps and having about 15 minutes in the steam room. Ahhhh… those were the days.

I recently convinced my in-laws to donate their old treadmill to our front porch. I thought this would be a good break away time to get my run in when the kids are napping. It’s gotten some good use lately… both from me and my son who likes to put his rocks on it and let them fall off of the tread. It’s pretty creaky and the tread is pretty much fallen off so when I run on it, it slips. And yes, we look like rednecks with a treadmill on our front porch, but it actually gives me something to look forward to during these strange Groundhog-like days. And it makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself too and not just my kiddos.

Speaking of taking care of myself… one of the things I’ve grown to love during these last few months is this crazy thing called an Instapot. (As if no one has ever heard of it) I’ve always been an old soul and loved my crock pot. Like taking the whole day to let the meat cook to allow the smells of dinner to saturate the house. Start it at noon to be ready by 6pm. And then this Instapot thing was gifted to me (with reluctance) and I tried it out… and then tried it out again… and then after the third time I was like, wow, this thing is so easy and so awesome for someone that doesn’t have much time on her hands while chasing her kids around all day. I found a recipe that I will volunteer to make every night if I have to. Even my 3 year old said, “Mommy, this is delicious!”

instant pot pesto zuppa toscana.

By Half Baked Harvest


· 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped

· 3/4 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage

· 1 yellow onion, chopped

· 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

· 2 ribs celery, chopped

· 4 small yukon gold or russet potatoes peeled and chopped

· juice of 1 lemon

· 1 bunch Tuscan or curly kale, roughly chopped

· 3/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk

· 1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese

· fresh thyme, for serving



1. 1. Set Instant Pot to sauté. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon. If there's excess bacon grease, drain off all but 1 tablespoon. Add the chicken sausage and onions, and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, and potatoes, and cook 2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off.

2. To the instant pot, add the broth, pesto, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.

3. Once done cooking, use the natural or quick release function. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Stir in the kale, cream, and parmesan. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 10 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off. Stir in the reserved bacon.

4. Serve the soup topped with additional parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired.

I can’t write this blog without pairing it with one of my favorites and one of their best. OK GO not only is known for their Indie rock music (From Chicago YAY!!!) but also because of their quirky one take music videos. HERE WE GO AGAIN won them a Grammy in 2007 and the music video is absolutely incredibly choreographed on a treadmill. And yes, this is EXACTLY what my running looks like on my front porch. Good thing we don’t have neighbors to watch me with envy!!!! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!

It’s finally cold here in Central Texas and I lovvvvveeee it. I love the fireplace on, the Christmas tree lit up, the “cozy” feeling in my home in winter. Cozy is my son’s favorite word… I think I taught him that because I love saying it too. Half Baked Harvest nailed this Olive Garden staple with a homemade recipe and it’s perfect for the cold. So don’t worry about me!!! I’ll be doing some fun choreography on my treadmill this winter and putting kale and bacon in my belly right after! Who needs a gym??!! Thank you @halfbakedharvest and @okgo for sharing your time and talents. And for making my world that much better. And thank you broken treadmill for giving me some time to take care of myself... even if you make me look like a redneck.

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