Husband becomes taste tester


By Travis Svihovec

Diana Lopez with Sophie (left) and Sarah (front).

Diana Lopez with Sophie (left) and Sarah (front).

Diana Lopez’ family likes her cooking, and even early in their marriage her husband Luke never let on if there was any problem.
“I burned potatoes and hamburgers for the first two years,” Diana said. “He always said ‘Mmmm. Thanks, honey.’”
Diana’s mom helped her get started. She taught her how to make fudge and cinnamon rolls when she was a girl, and Diana learned to make pancakes at the age of 6. She grew up at Red Owl and attended Sturgis Brown High School, graduating in 1989. She attended Ravencrest Bible College in Estes Park, Colo., for a year and then moved to Rapid City. She took a job at a Christian radio station, KSLT, and worked there for a year and a half. She found herself filling the spot of morning DJ even though she was had been hired to work in the office.
“I started out as a secretary,” she said. “One day they said, ‘you should be on the radio.’ I loved it.”
She was still living in the Hills in the fall of 1999 when she met Luke. They married in the fall of 2002 and lived in Pierre, where she worked as a secretary at Community Bible Church. In 2008 they moved to Mobridge when Luke took a job with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He’s now in charge of the Business Equity Loan Fund (BELF), which helps businesses get started.
“I’m his wife but I think he’s done a fantastic job,” she said.
Diana stayed at home after the birth of their girls. Sarah was born in 2004 and is now in third grade. Sophie was born in 2006 and is in second grade. Diana took a job as a paraprofessional in the Mobridge-Pollock School District in the fall of 2012. She works with kindergarten students.
“It’s just the best job in the world,” she said. “I found my niche. I didn’t know how much I would love it.”
Diana said each family member seems to have a favorite dish, and she’s taken her cooking skills to a level where she can keep them happy.
“I’m not a chef by any means,” she said. “I pretty much learned on Luke.”
Given his choice, Luke would take her chicken enchiladas. Sarah loves her chicken noodle soup, and Sophie leans toward spaghetti. Diana has also learned to cook and can what they grow in their backyard garden.
“I like to garden. I’ve gotten into that since we’ve moved here,” she said. “In the summer we do a lot of grilling, whatever we grow.” Her tomato plants are started in the south window of her kitchen. She found a variety she liked when they moved to Mobridge.
“I dried the seeds and have been growing them from that generation ever since,” she said.
In addition to his job with the BELF program, Luke runs Black Horse Outfitters and is an avid hunter. He also golfs but hasn’t been able to get Diana interested.
“I will sit and watch it on TV with him,” she said. “I tried it when we were first married. It’s not my sport.”
The girls are showing some interest in cooking, but their kitchen skills for now are more along the line of helping with cookies or supper.
“They’re more outside girls,” Diana said.


Gluten-free Sesame Crackers
3 cups almond flour
1 1/2  tsp. sea salt
1 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbs. grapeseed oil
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Set aside two large baking sheets.  Cut three pieces of parchment paper to the size of the baking sheets.
In large bowl combine almond flour, salt and sesame seeds. In a medium bowl whisk together grape seed oil and eggs. Stir wet ingredients into the dry mixture until thoroughly combined.
Divide dough into two pieces.  Place one piece in between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to 1/16-inch thickness. Remove top paper and transfer the bottom piece of paper with rolled out dough to the baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough. Cut dough into 2-inch squares.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool on baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes and serve.

Crock-Pot Supper in a Dish
Chicken cubed and cooked until no longer pink or 1 pound ground beef (browned and well drained)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup onion – chopped
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup green pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
Layer meat, potatoes, carrots, peas, onion, celery and green pepper in Crock-Pot.
Mix chicken soup and milk and pour over layered ingredients. Add salt and pepper.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.

Chocolate Cake w/ Brown Sugar Frosting
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk and 1 Tbs. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 Tbs. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
Cream butter ad sugar, add eggs and cocoa.  Mix well.  Add soured milk and vanilla, mix.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Carefully mix in boiling water.  Batter will be thin.  Pour into well greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Mom’s Brown Sugar Frosting
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Melt margarine, blend with brown sugar and salt.  Cook over low heat two minutes, stirring constantly.  Add milk and continue to stir until it boils.  Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until spreading consistency.

Homemade Noodles
(for chicken noodle soup)
Can be made with gluten-free almond blend flour
2 slightly beaten eggs
2 Tbs. cream or milk
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup flour
Mix and roll out on a well-floured surface to approx. 1/8-inch thickness.  Do not need to dry, but may.  Cut into noodles using pizza cutter and add to boiling soup the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.  DO NOT overcook.

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