The Front Porch Project

Photographer Brittany Thompson has been taking pictures of her neighbors on their front porches for The Front Porch Project

Jill of All Trades Trampoline Workout

This week, our Jill of All Trades, Jill Washburn, shows us her workout that she does on the trampoline in her own backyard. Jill says that it’s fun, it’s aerobic, and it’s also a great strength workout. One of the reasons that the trampoline is such a great workout is that, no matter how hard you try, you never land exactly the same way twice. So, the body is constantly making micro-corrections, so that you can still maintain your balance. That means that every little muscle fiber is working, even if you can’t feel it. If you’ve never been on a trampoline before, or haven’t been on one in years, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can make you out of breath. Here’s Jill’s workout. It takes her about 30 minutes to run through it, and she does it year-round. First, Jill starts with some easy bouncing and a warm-up with simple ballet moves (basically Third Position, alternating feet). From there, Jill moves onto some strength work. Beginners can start with a knee bounce, and then come back up to the feet. You can do those in an alternating series. Jill has progressed to a knee bounce, into a butt bounce, back up to the feet. She’ll do these in series. This is a great core workout, as you have to really work the abs to pull the feet through to get to the butt bounce. Jill does about 40 of these, usually breaking them into sets of 10 or 20. After that, Jill does another strength move, handstands, that target the arms and shoulders. It also helps build the core muscles, front and back. Jill says that, even if you can’t do a handstand on the ground, you may be able to do one on the trampoline. The bounce of the trampoline will help propel you up so that you can do it. If you cannot manage to do a full handstand, you can just do a donkey kick. You’ll still get the same results. Jill starts the handstands by bouncing on hands and knees, first, and then pushes up into the handstand (or donkey kick) on the next bounce. The last bounce is back on the hands and knees again. Jill does these in series, as well. She’ll do as many as 80 of these, breaking them into sets of 10 or 20. After the handstands, it’s back onto the feet and Jill just tries to bounce and hold her arms straight out to the side. Sounds goofy, but it’s harder than you think and it’s a great strengthener for the upper arms and shoulders. She often throws a little side-to-side motion into the bouncing. That helps work and tone the hips and thighs. Almost done! The finishing moves are just a couple of big butt bounces, coming back up onto the feet. Jill says she tries to “stick the landing”, much like a gymnast would. That means landing and not moving the feet from where they land. It’s usually pretty tough and you will feel the muscles working all up and down the legs, trying to hang onto the landing. Jill says that she usually does 5 – 10 of those. That’s it! The Backyard Trampoline workout. Jill swears by it. She says it’s often do-able even when injuries are preventing you from doing other workouts, like running or biking. It’s also great for when you’re time-crunched, or can’t get to the gym, or if you just need to switch up your normal routine. Jill says to feel free to get creative. You may think of other great moves on your own! PROJECT RATING: Easy – Medium (depending on how you choose to do it) To watch Jill take you through the workout steps, just click on the video player above.

Chef Bobby's soothing herbal tea

Chef Bobby’s Immune boosting and soothing herbal tea: Start with 2 quarts of cold water in your tea kettle. One thumb size piece of fresh ginger root 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground turmeric Half a teaspoon of ground fennel Three pieces of starAnnise about the size of a quarter Two cinnamon sticks The juice of 1/2 lemon Your favorite green tea preferably a plain tea So Michigan rock honey to taste And a micro plane/box grater to grade the zest of a lemon for garnish Fresh sprigs of Rosemary and Time are also recommended to stir and garnish your tea. It establishes a harmonious aromatic sent that is very calming and soothing

DIY soap with Change Soap Founder, Tina Ersig

Lye safety: How to make: Lye Calculator If You Want to Make a Larger or Smaller Batch of Soap: If they would just rather buy soap, available at all Whole Foods in Michigan and Soap Recipe Ingredients: 8 ounces olive oil (regular store bought) 8 ounces palm oil (sustainable if possible) (currently available on Amazon) 8 ounces coconut oil (the solid kind at the grocery store) 8.21 ounces of water 3.67 ounces of lye (currently available on Amazon or at small hardware stores. Make sure it’s 100% lye) Directions: Weigh oils and heat over stove until 120-140 degrees Weigh water While wearing protective gloves, long sleeves, pants, and eye protection, measure lye. Always carefully add lye to water, not vice versa. Carefully mix water and lye together, don’t breathe it in. It will heat up fast, let cool to 120 – 140 degrees When both oil and lye/water are within a few degrees of each other (120-140 degrees), carefully pour lye mixture into oil and mix with an immersion blender until it’s a thin pudding texture. Then pour into your “loaf”, it can be a box lined with parchment paper or even a garbage bag. Wait 24 hours and cut your soap It’s best to wait a few weeks if possible before using because it makes a harder, longer lasting bar. But in a pinch, it’s ok to use after a few days. Greener Cleaner Website: (248) 496-1800

Chef Bobby’s Guinness Beef and Lamb Pot Pie

Chef Bobby’s Guinness Beef and Lamb Pot Pie • Serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS • 2 heaping teaspoons all-purpose flour • 1 pounds stewing beef, such as chuck, cut into bite-size chunks • 1lb Leg of lamb meat bite size chunks • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups) • 4 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 medium carrot, diced • 2 stalks celery, diced • 1 1/2 cups beef broth • 3 cups Guinness • One cup tomatoes diced • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce • 3 tablespoons A.1. Steak Sauce • Small handful each rosemary, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste • 1 sheet puff pastry (preferably Dufour brand) • 1 large egg yolk mixed with a little milk DIRECTIONS Dump the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly toss the meat in it to completely coat it. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, lightly brown the meat on all sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Drain on paper towels. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the drippings in the pan along with the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, then add the stock or broth, Guinness, canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and chopped herbs and stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat from the surface, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Spoon the stew into an ovenproof pot or dish about 7 inches in diameter. Let cool. Alternatively, if you’d like a nice dome to your pot pie—and, hey, who doesn’t?!—heap the filling in a slightly smaller baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush the outside edge of the pot or dish with water, then gently place the sheet of pastry over the stew, pinching the pastry against the edge of the pot or dish to seal. (lf you like, you can crimp the pastry to form a decorative edge.) Brush the pastry generously with the egg wash and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve hot from the oven.

Chef Bobby makes his Shepard's Pie

Chef Bobby’s Classic Shepherds Pie: Ingredients For the potatoes: 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes 1/4 cup half-and-half 2 ounces unsalted butter 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 egg yolk For the meat filling: 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 cup chopped onion 2 carrots, peeled and diced small 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb lamb diced small 1 lb beef tenderloin diced small 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons tomato paste 1 cup chicken broth 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas Directions • Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined. • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. • While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. • Add peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Tips for putting a finishing coat on mirror frame

This week, Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades shows us how to put the finish coats on the mirror frame that she previously stripped and then stained. This process is quicker than you think, says Jill. The only thing that will slow you down is drying times.