“We are Family” Occupy Your Front Lawn

Posted on: April 11th, 2015 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
~ William Alexander

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn
One of Janice’s radishes!  All photos & the title are credit of Janice D
Spoiler alert! This is the only “sin” in this post. 😕



Spring is in the air! City folk are hopeful for better weather ahead and country folk are hopeful for a good planting and growing season. Too often city and country have little to do with each other, but now and then they come together and when they do, they can create something very special.

Now, if you are like me, you know sometimes water is thicker than blood because you have a relative, a cousin, aunt or uncle you are very close to, but not by blood. Janice D. and I go way, way back. Her mom is my Aunt Avis. Her step-dad is Uncle Harvey. We are not related by blood, but our family connection is strong. If you’re curious, Janice’s sister Tracie shared our family story on the “We are Family Rye Bread and Brie” post.

Janice lives just north of me in Guelph, Ontario and last spring she and her partner “Farmer Jamie” turned their front lawn into a delicious vegetable garden. If you have your own vegetable garden, you know how produce can grow faster than you can consume. Janice and Jamie embrace their community as family and happily shared their produce with family and friends. Their neighbours are thrilled they are getting ready to do it all again this year.


Step 1 – Prepare the Soil

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 2 – Plant the Seeds

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 3 – Nurture the New Growth

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin #OccupyYourFrontLawn

Step 4 – Watch it Grow

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Step 5 – Enjoy & Share

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Step 6 – Be in Awe

Urban Farming at its best! #OccupyYourFrontLawn Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Note: If you are inspired to dig up your own front lawn and feed your “family”, you would be wise to check your local regulations. Some communities allow urban farming freely while others have some height restrictions and some, sadly, have an all-out ban on it. 

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Way to Grow Janice & Jamie!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin



School lunches – yes they are “sin”less!

Posted on: August 20th, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

With school just around the corner, here are my tips on school lunches.

Aged Cheddar from Daniel’s Cheese & Deli

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

“Age is not important unless you are a cheese.” ~ Helen Hayes

On the weekend a friend told me he questioned whether aged cheddar was really aged. He worried it could be a scam. Having spent an afternoon with George Batarseh, the owner of Daniel’s Cheese & Deli here in Cambridge, I was able to actually sound quite intelligent on the matter.

The day I walked into George’s shop, he greeted me warmly with a large welcoming smile. I remembered George from our Farmer’s Market where he has a booth every Saturday morning. We love to buy his signature garlic puree and pick up one of his truly delicious dips like hummus or babaganoush. And his curry chicken smells so good, most days it barely makes it home.

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

George in his shop standing behind his display of aged cheddars.

George has a very large selection of cheeses in his shop, but his speciality is cheddars. Orange cheddars, white cheddars & marble cheddars, all aged from a few years up to 13 years. Aged cheddar is real and it’s spectacular. Firm and dry, it crumbles easily and won’t get moldy if wrapped properly. If someone tries to sell you an aged cheese that feels rubbery like new cheese, put it back.

13 year old cheddar with a salty edge

Don’t let the white edges of aged cheddar bother you. It is a layer of salt that has surfaced over time. Also, a sign of good aged cheddar is crystals, little crunchy bits in the cheese. They start to form after the cheese is about 5 years old. I like them. I like the texture. You get both the taste and feel in your mouth – a multi-sensory experience.

11 year old aged cheddar

So, how do you serve aged cheddar? Let me assure you it is not for grilled cheese, nor is it for sprinkling on tacos or melting on nachos and skip the crackers. Aged cheddar is to be enjoyed all by itself, one small morsel at a time right off the block. It is savoured on the palate and is complimented perfectly with a robust red wine or porter beer.

Annatto, a natural colouring agent derived from seeds, gives cheddar the orange tint. Cheaper brands add food colour.

A great variety of colourfully wrapped cheeses in one of the cases in Daniel's shop.

George in one of his walk-in fridges talking to his son, Daniel, his shop's namesake.

This package of cheddar was produced in 2002, making it 10 years old.

Both of George's large fridges are controlled and on alarm systems. If they drop or go up too much in temperature, security is called.

I asked George if he had a recipe he could share that had alcohol in it and he pointed out the baklava on his counter. It is made by a friend of his and the honey is prepared with brandy. It is so delicious, it sells out quickly every time.

A wealth of information about cheese & food and a warm, generous heart will greet you when you arrive at George’s shop Daniel’s Cheese & Deli. You will find it tucked away in one of our busy industrial areas here in Cambridge on 250 Thompson Dr, Unit #4, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Thank you George!

Did you know? Morning milk is fattier and makes better cheese than evening milk.


What a Great Gift for Mom!

Posted on: December 24th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments
Chris Steingart is a good friend of mine and the designer of my website. He recently bought a few copies of “Cooking With Sin” and I love how he made one of them into a great gift for his mom.
Chris, thank you for sharing this!
(Spoiler alert for Mrs. Steingart!) 😉
Hey Carla,
We were having some fun with the gift for my mom today. With a $50 gift limit I bought the book for $30 then two cans of Guinness and a bottle each of gin and brandy to go with. While I know that she’s got beer and wine a plenty I tried to buy some things that weren’t already in her cupboard so that she could start trying the recipes right away. The LCBO small sizes are great because many of your recipes don’t call for more than 3/4 of a cup of spirits anyways! So you’re not breaking the bank buying a big bottle just to try out a recipe. Attached to each bottle I put a little note referring her to the page that the ingredient is used on just as a little reminder to actually make the recipe instead of drinking it away first. :)
Anyways, we were wrapping the gift and couldn’t resist taking a little photo of our $50 gift collection. I know the Christmas shopping season is over shortly but I thought you might want to use this picture to inspire people to go out and “accessorize” their book for the perfect gift!
I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!
chris steingart
website designer and online marketing consultant
QT web designs

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CWS – Great New Connection

Posted on: November 21st, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments

I am very pleased to announce that Cooking With Sin is now connected with Food and Drink Digital.

You can follow my posts on this link:

Food & Drink Digital is a pioneering digital media site for food and drink professionals and executives, featuring all aspects of managing a production based environment. Food & Drink Digital covers solutions that enable global businesses to improve the way they manage their operations, people, technology and supply chains. Through its digital magazine, online website, daily news and weekly e-newsletter, Food & Drink Digital helps executives stay up-to-date with the most fundamental operational issues in this demanding and ever more competitive global business sector.

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