‘Spunky’ Sandy loves adventure


By Sandy Bond

On the carousel of life, Sandy Frank is forever reaching for the brass ring! “Spunky,” Sandy said, “I get that a lot!”
For example, although she doesn’t particularly like flying, she and her sister found themselves chartering a helicopter for air time over the beautiful Black Hills and Sylvan Lake, flying so close to the Crazy Horse monument, she could almost touch it.
“It was fantastic,” she said. “Although I couldn’t wait to touch the ground, I’d do it again. I figure you’ve got to face your fears. You only live once.”
With a perpetually perky personality and effervescent smile, she charms the residents and staff at the Golden Living Center where she is employed as a certified nurse assistant and part-time restorative aide.
The middle child of Mick and Rita Frank, Sandy, her older sister, Patty, and younger brother Michael, grew up on a ranch near Isabel, raising Black Angus crossbred cattle and quarter horses. Their dad operates Moreau Construction and their mom is the town’s finance officer.  Patty is in her senior year at Black Hills State University at Spearfish, and Michael is in the U.S. Army, stationed at Seoul, Korea.
Actually, the entire Frank family has a thirst for adventure.
“When Michael completes his tour of duty, he told us he either wants to move to Australia or join the French Foreign Legion,” Sandy said.
Sandy is one of five seniors in the Class of 2009, the last class of Isabel High, which was forced to close its doors and consolidate due to state mandates. Beginning in junior high, she ran cross-country and track, played basketball and was a basketball cheerleader.
“I never did like volleyball,” she said. “I always considered that something that others did when they couldn’t run cross country.”
Running marathons and weight training, considered grueling to others, came easily to her.  She grew up riding horses. While still a teen, she and her favorite horse trekked 300 miles in the Big Foot Memorial Trail Ride from Little Eagle to Wounded Knee.
The ride was chronicled by photographer Ken Marchionno, who gave her a camera with the promise she would inspire others to consider photographic journalism.
Following her dream to become a physical therapist, Sandy completed her freshman year at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. Planning to take a brief hiatus to rethink her priorities, Sandy began employment with the Golden LivingCenter in housekeeping, worked her way up to laundry, and trained to become a CNA. Soon the position as a restorative aide opened and it seemed it was meant to be.
“After patients see the physical therapist who prescribes an exercise regimen to regain certain skills and mobility, the job of a restorative aide is to work with the patient on acquiring those skills,” she said.
She absolutely loves working with the residents and staff at the center. Her culinary skills are legendary, particularly of all things chocolate.
“I love both cooking and baking,” she said. “My mom and my grandmother, Elsie Forsch of Burke, were my inspiration.
“Gramdma Elsie was definitely old school in a good way,” she said. “I used to spend a lot of summers with her. Meals consisted of lots of fruits and vegetables from the garden and fresh milk from the neighbor’s cow.”
She concedes she can only recall one culinary catastrophe, when she forgot to set the timer and incinerated a pan of brownies.
Although, she knew she felt her best when she ate right with lots of fruits and vegetables, she felt herself lapsing into complacency. She has redoubled her efforts to get back into fighting shape. She hits the gym every night after work and has replaced those decadent desserts with fruit smoothies. Her all-time favorite candy, “M & M’s” has been replaced with “M & M Pretzels,” allowing her a bit of a chocolate rush while still curbing calories.
An inspiration to her family, she and her mom plan on participating in a half-marathon.


Banana Caramel Cream Dessert
Vanilla pastry cream
Bananas (I use 2 bananas for 6 small dessert servings)
Caramel sauce or dulce de leche
Fresh whipped cream (I use 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon powered sugar)
Graham cracker crumbles
To make the vanilla pastry cream:
2/3 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1/2 cup if you prefer desserts less sweet)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a fork to combine. Set aside.
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually pour in milk, while whisking, to make a smooth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Continue to cook and stir 1 minute.
Pour several tablespoons of the hot mixture into the bowl with the eggs and immediately stir well. Pour warmed egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk mixture. Return to a slow boil and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool. When the pan has cooled, place in the refrigerator to fully cool. If desired, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the top surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
To make graham cracker crumble:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sized crackers)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
Crush crackers in a large Ziplock type bag. Pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish and press into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown. Allow to cool.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumble into individual serving dishes. Use a small glass to press the crumble into a firm layer.
Add a layer of pastry cream into each dish. (Easier if fill large Ziplock bag with the pastry cream, snip off the end and fill the dishes from the bag.)
Add a few slices of banana
Top bananas with a layer of whipped cream.
Add some graham cracker crumbles and a drizzle of caramel (scoop caramel or dulce de leche into a small Ziplock bag and snip off the end for easy application.)
Repeat layers 2-5. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hrs. Top with fresh banana slices just before serving. Serves 6.

Honey Barbecue Riblets
Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke flavor
Combine all ingredients in saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes.
Riblets preparation:
For rib tips and full racks, first season ribs with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Then, sear the ribs on the grill/broiler until both sides are mahogany in color and the meat has begun to pull away from the bone.
Place ribs on rack in deep pan or roaster. Cover bottom of pan with mixture of water and liquid smoke flavoring (4:1 ratio of water to liquid smoke) without mixture touching the ribs (it will make them bitter). Seal tightly with two layers of foil wrap to cover.
Slow cook in 275-degree oven until meat is tender. Time varies with how many ribs are being cooked, pan used and your oven temperature. Plan on anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, but check to be sure. The slower, the better for this process.
Just make sure an internal food temperature of about 155 degrees is maintained. (If making smaller amount of ribs, try covering ribs with chopped onions, peppers & tomatoes. This also keeps them moist and adds a nice flavor.)
When ribs are fully cooked and tender, remove from oven and finish off on grill/broiler until marrow in the bone tips sizzles. Brush with honey barbecue sauce just before removing to serve.
This can go great with baked beans, your choice of potato, or even coleslaw. Makes for a good summer meal.

Creamy Butter Chicken
3 pieces chicken keel
One handful of curry leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of evaporated milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine plain four and corn in a bowl. Beat up eggs in a separate bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Dry chicken keel with towel. Heat up oil in a deep pan. Coat chicken keel with eggs, then flour. Deep fry on low fire until golden brown. Set aside and let that cool. Heat up butter in a non-stick pan, add the curry leaves. Sauté till fragrant. Add in evaporated milk, simmer on a low fire till milk is thickened. Add in sugar and salt. Chop chicken keel into big slices. Pour milk onto chicken. Serve while hot.

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