Coconut Bread

This is a real stand-by in our house, since it only takes a couple of minutes to mix up. It can be made wheat-free, milk-free and sugar-free if you wish. Really nice when served warm with butter. Also can be used in school lunch-boxes.

The original recipe goes like this:

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup dessicated or shredded coconut
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar.

Mix all together. Pour into greased loaf tin. Bake in moderate oven for around 25mins, until centre springs back when lightly pressed.

Too easy!

This is my wheat-free, milk-free and sugar-free version:

1 cup wholemeal spelt or barley flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup oat milk
Pinch of stevia and one and half tablespoons of xylitol.

Mix and pour as per above instructions.

Make Your Own: Croutons

Making your own croutons is far cheaper than store-bought ones, you know exactly what's in them, AND it's a great way to use up bread crusts or bread that's gone a bit stale.

Take the bread (preferably sourdough) and thinly spread with butter. Then sprinkle generously with flavourings you like. Dried herbs, garlic salt or grated parmesan work well, but...whatever takes your fancy.

Cut into small squares, about 1.5 cm, spread onto baking tray and toast in the oven until crunchy. (About 10 mins - I normally stick them on the bottom rack while I'm baking something else.)

Allow to cool, then store in air-tight container in pantry.

That's it! Yummy, crunchy croutons for your salad...

The Rise and Rise of GMO's in Australia.

More than 90% of cotton grown in Australia, is now genetically modified, and around 50,000 hectares of GM canola is now being grown in Victoria and Western Australia.

Bio-tech giant, Monsanto (the same company that gave the world Agent Orange) owns the patents on 90% of the world's 134 million hectares of GM crops. They are currently seeking approval to release GM soy in Australia.

The latest news out: researchers in the U.S are developing a GM corn that will contain swine flu vaccine...

It appears that GM has arrived, whether we like it or not.

Despite the questions over safety (animal studies in which rats were completely infertile after just 3 generations, increases in the amount of offspring who were stillborn or died shortly after birth, pigs giving birth to bags of water, etc, etc.).

And the issue of cross-contamination (that happened recently to an organic farmer in Western Australia, who can no longer be certified organic, because his neighbours GM canola escaped into his crop), it seems that the bio-tech companies are going to push this technology on us, and our governments are going to let it happen.

The vast majority of Australians would be shocked (and probably appalled) to discover that they are already eating genetically modified food. It is NOT on the label, nor will it be put on the label anytime soon.

The current labelling laws say that highly refined food (such as oils), GM food additives and flavours where the gene is not present in the finished food, less than 1% "unintended" contamination, meat/dairy that have been fed GM feed, and food prepared at point of sale do not have to be labelled.

(Basically, the vast majority of GM ingredients can get away with not being labelled.)

American estimates put GM ingredients in 70-90% of processed food. I'm not sure the figures would be that high in Australia, but I'm betting the numbers would still shock most people.

If you are one of those people and this is all news to you, don't feel guilty. The mainstream media have failed miserably to make the public aware of this. Apparently Charlie Sheen's partying habits are of more importance than the future of our food supply...

If YOU care about the future of our food supply (and I hope you do) here are 3 things you can start doing today.

1.) Learn how to grow some of your own vegetables, even if it's just salad greens on the windowsill and SAVE your seeds. Monsanto has been quietly buying up seed companies all over the world, and if the public stays apathetic about this issue, the day is going to come where you will not be able to buy a seed except a genetically modified one from Monsanto...

2. Download a copy of The True Food Guide (it's free) and then send the link to everyone you know. We are never going to make a difference on this, whilever so few people know what's really going on.

3. Watch The World According to Monsanto documentary. It goes for almost 2 hours so it takes a while to download but oh, so worth it! It's very hard to grasp the scale of this, or the corruption and arm-twisting going on behind the scenes, until you've watched the whole movie. I was in tears by the end.

Surveys consistently tell us that most consumers want proper labelling so that they can make an informed decision about the food they buy.

Recently, FSANZ (government body in charge of food safety and labelling, etc) handed down their Food Labelling Review Report, otherwise known as the Blewitt report.

(Or should that be the Blown-It Report...?)

After months of submissions by the public, and interest groups, they conceded that the issue of genetically-modified food had recieved the greatest number of submissions of any other topic...

Yet their new recommdations hardly differ from the current guidelines:

- Meat and dairy that have been fed GM feed will still not need to be labelled.

- Highly refined products will still not need to be labelled. (It would be too much burden on the food industry and too hard to police, so they say.)

- There is still the 1% "accidental" loophole, although they now recommend it be followed up with testing (which at least might stop one certain company, who was now been caught out 10 times with "accidental" contamination in baby formula.)

 - Restaurants will need to advise customers if their food contains a GM ingredient that would have been labelled, but most ingredients still won't be labelled, so it kind of defeats the whole purpose....

The other issue that bothers (annoys?) me is that when considering an application to allow a GM crop into Australia, the FSANZ do not conduct any of their own studies.

They rely on the company seeking approval to provide the studies (this is craziness, when you are dealing with companies who have wilfully and knowingly fudged studies and stooped to corruption and cover-ups in the past)...

AND they generally do not require any animal feeding studies to be done. Apparently, FSANZ can assess the safety of GM foods without the help of animal feeding studies, thank you very much!

(It says so right here on their website. Straight from the horses mouth. Pardon the pun.)

So the rats who were completely infertile after 3 generations don't count. Neither do the pigs giving birth to bags of water. Or guinea pigs with hair growing inside their mouths. Or the chickens and sheep who died after eating GM feed.

And...well. You get the picture..

Please, people. Do me a favour. Educate yourself on this issue. And everyone you know. Our governments have shown that they will not protect us when it comes to food safety.

FSANZ still maintains that if it's in our food supply it's safe to eat.

I beg to differ.

The Madness of Our Modern Lives

It was at the checkout, that I had a real epiphany about the madness of our modern lives. The woman in front of me (who was probably in her 40's) was complaining that the stain remover was out of stock.

By the way she carried on, it seemed to be a matter of utmost importance. The young guy behind the counter didn't seem overly fussed.

Eventually I said to her: "Just make a paste with bi-carb soda and water, then apply to the stain and leave for a while."

She looked incredulous. She repeated it slowly back to me.  "Make..a..paste..with...bicarb...soda...and....water"

I was feeling a little incredulous too.

Her own mother, or her grandmother, at the very least, would have known this. She would not have relied on packages of fancy-marketed chemicals, but used her ingenuity and the basics that were available to her.

In just one generation, a whole wealth of knowledge and wisdom has been lost.

In our haste to keep up with the times, we have embraced all things new, and if we are to be honest with ourselves, it has led us straight into a state of dependance.

Scores of my own generation do not even know how to cook a meal for themselves, much less grow their own food or make their own clothes.

I certainly don't advocate going back and living in the 1930's. I love modern technology as much as the next person. But turning our back on the lessons of the past is a very unwise move.

And being completely dependant on big corporations (which is where I see us headed, unless we pull our heads out of the sand and make a conscious effort) for the very food that sustains us, is nothing but a recipe for disaster. For our health, and for our society.

Case in Point: In the past, we would have saved bones, and boiled them to make a rich and nutritious liquid stock, and then fed the leftovers to the dog.

Today, we throw away our leftovers, then drive to the shop to buy powdered stock (which has very little nutritional value - if any - and contains all kinds of junk like MSG), and packets of dog food which contain all manner of questionable things that dogs in the wild would not touch.

Meanwhile we work longer and longer hours so that we can afford the stock powder and the packets of dog food...Both of which are probably contributing to dis-ease and premature ageing in both ourselves and our canine friends. (Which of course, costs more money...)

Does anyone else think this is sheer madness?

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