In the kitchen with … Bethany Rook

In the kitchen with … Bethany Rook

Story and photos by D. Anthony Botkin

 

After a lifetime of stomach and health issues, Bethany “Aunt B” Rook decided it was time to find a better way to eat, but she didn’t want to give up the delicious taste of the traditional baked goods she had grown up loving.

“I have digestive issues that forced me to get rid of dairy, gluten, grains and refined sugar from my diet,” she said. “I was such a bread junkie. We ate a lot of bread and baked goods and the such, but I was like, ‘I need to find a way to enjoy this without getting sick.’”

Rook started to investigate other diets that were void of processed sugars, grains, gluten and dairy. She started researching and eating a paleo diet.

“You’re basically getting rid of all processed foods, eating more organic,” she said. “If you do dairy it’s grass-fed dairy because cows should be eating grass and not grains. When cows eat grains they are injected with hormones and other things.”

According to Health Magazine, the paleo diet has gain popularity and is sometimes called the caveman diet, the primal diet, the Stone Age diet and the hunter-gatherer diet. The general idea of the diet is to eat as simple as a caveman or as hunter-gathers had once done.

“I started trying recipes until I found the ones that tasted like the traditional baked goods I grew up eating,” she said. “My recipes are just made from scratch.”

Baking chocolate chip cookies that were gluten-free and paleo friendly got Rook thinking about other people who probably also have digestive problems just like herself.

She decided to start Aunt B’s Bakery out of her home, north of Delaware, Ohio, offering gluten-free, paleo friendly, nutritious from-scratch baked goods.

Rook said she likes to make bread, cookies, cupcakes and muffins — all things that satisfy a sweet tooth — but has had people approach her to make other items like almond protein bars. She continues to look for new ideas and recipes using family members as her taste testers to make sure it is as close to traditional tastes as possible. Her father, who eats traditional foods available at supermarkets, helps.

“I want it to taste traditional or as close to traditional as possible,” she said. “He’s really good at being a taste tester.”

Rook said she gets her ingredients from the organic sections of local businesses because she “loves shopping local.” She said when available she likes using farm-fresh eggs that she gets from people she knows.

“I love to use local maple syrup and honey, especially when it’s in season,” she said. “The flour is a little bit harder to get here but I try to keep as local as I can.”

Rook said she uses coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable oil because it has healthy fats. She said that Pure and Simple, a store in downtown Delaware, is one of her favorite stores because of the loose leaf tea selection and supplements.

“I used to sell some of my baked goods there,” she said. “The women there are great.”

At first, she participated in farmers markets and baking events to get the word out but has recently launched a website. The website goes deeper than just a way to support her baked goods.

“The bakery was the inspiration behind starting this website,” she said.

Aunt B’s Wholesome Living website features her specialty baked goods for paleo-primal friendly, keto, dairy free, nut free, vegan-friendly cakes, bread and treats that can be ordered and delivered.

Aunt B’s blog shares tips on natural health lifestyles, dietary restrictive eating, natural skin care and the natural healing process.

Rook has a spiritual side and shares her insights on faith in her inspirational blog by sharing moments of inspiration, poems, prayers and thoughts.

For now, Rook works from the small kitchen in her home but looks forward to the day when she can make the move to a retail storefront.

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Sweet Potato Mash with Sautéed Kale and Crumbled Goat Cheese

I used local Ohio syrup, but I am sure molasses would do nicely. Serves 2.

1 medium sweet potato, diced

4 tablespoons butter or ghee, melted

2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

3-4 medium to large organic kale leaves, sliced and diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or fresh minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons Montchevre crumbled goat cheese

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried sage

In a saucepan, boil diced sweet potatoes. Boil until tender and can easily be mashed by a fork.

In a skillet, melt coconut oil. You could use butter or ghee as a substitute.

Once coconut oil is heated and melted, add the diced kale, garlic powder and black pepper.

Let the kale soften, then add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crumbled goat cheese. Place in bowl to the side once cheese is slightly melted or warmed.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain then place back into saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter; mash with fork.

Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor Add maple syrup, dried parsley, thyme, sage, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1-2 teaspoons crumbled goat cheese; Blend.

Once the consistency is to your liking, place in a bowl and add the sautéed kale and cheese mixture on top.

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate High-Fat, High-Protein Bites

Three versions of this recipe cater to different needs. Yields about seven small balls or five larger balls.

Gluten free:

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon cacao or cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon Ancient Nutrition pure bone broth protein powder

1/8 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/8 cup mixture of mixed nuts and shredded coconut

1 tablespoons pepita seeds

Pinch of hemp seeds

Granny Smith apple slices, to serve protein balls with

Mix together the peanut butter and rolled oats.

Next, add the cacao or cocoa powder and bone broth protein powder.

Then stir in the chocolate chips, ground flaxseed, mixed nuts and shredded coconut, pepita seeds and hemp seeds.

It will become dense as you mix the ingredients together but keep going until it is firm enough to roll into a ball.

Paleo:

1/3 cup almond or cashew butter

1/4 cup chopped nut mixture — almonds, cashew, pecans, walnuts, etc. Add more if needed.

1/2 teaspoon cacao or cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon Ancient Nutrition pure bone broth protein powder

1/8 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/8 cup shredded coconut

1 tablespoon pepita seeds

Pinch of hemp seeds

Granny Smith apple slices, to serve protein balls with

Mix together the nut butter and nut mixture, until consistency is dense.

Next, add the cacao or cocoa powder and bone broth protein powder.

Then stir in the chocolate chips, ground flaxseed, shredded coconut, pepita seeds and hemp seeds.

It will become dense as you mix the ingredients together but keep going until it is firm enough to roll into a ball.

Vegan:

Either the gluten-free or paleo versions of this recipe may be followed, depending on preferences. Omit the bone broth protein powder and be sure to use vegan-friendly chocolate chips.

Visit www.auntbswholesomeliving.com.

Salt Magazine