Friday, October 11, 2013

Wax lips ... and other Halloween treats

My Grandma Gipson and my sister Sherry outside the office of the
MFA Farmers Exchange in Ava, MO (ca. 1954).

My grandfather Clovis Gipson spent most of his working years managing MFA Farmers Exchanges in small southwest Missouri towns. I am old enough to remember his last exchange in Ava, Missouri, though I was very young when he retired.

Among my earliest memories are climbing to the rafters of the warehouse on bags full of seed, watching the “egg man” in his thick glasses grade the eggs, and playing house in the kitchen of the meeting room.  The exchange office had a water fountain with the coldest water I had ever drunk, and the Pauline, the indulgent clerk, let me sit up on a high stool and punch numbers into an adding machine. The sweet, earthy smell of the warehouse, the cool green tiles on the meeting room floor where I’d lie on my stomach on hot summer days, and the taste of the orange pop Grandma let me buy for a nickel from the big red soda machine are sensations I’ll never forget.

At Halloween each year, I’m reminded of one of my happiest memories from the MFA days. If we were really good (and sometimes even when we weren’t very good at all), Grandpa would give my sister and me pennies to spend at the nearby dime store. My most frequent purchase was those goofy wax lips, which I’d wear as long as I could before I chewed them up into a hard nugget of gray paraffin.

While wax lips are gluten-free, they’re not among the candy selections I’d make today. Give me a Snickers bar or a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup any day of the week (but not every day of the week). Fortunately, those candies are also gluten-free, as are many of the most popular brands.

Consider passing out gluten-free candy to the goblins and superheroes in your neighborhood this Halloween. For a complete list of Gluten-free and Gluten-safe Halloween Candy (compiled in 2012), go to:

Fall parties at school are also common this time of year. Here is my list of gluten-free snacks that can be easily adapted for classrooms:

Rice Krispies Treats made with GF Rice Krispies
Apple slices with caramel sauce (Check label, but it’s usually GF)
Frozen grapes (Doug’s favorite healthy snack; use seedless)
Chex Cereal, divided into little baggies (not Wheat Chex)
Dried Fruit
Nut Thin Crackers and canned cheese (Check label)
Cheese sticks
Popcorn or popcorn balls (My personal favorite)
Fruit kebabs (on toothpicks)
Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate
Gummi worms
GF Goldfish
Fruit Rollups
Trail Mix (Sunflower seeds, M&Ms, GF pretzels, dried cranberries or raisins)
Individual pudding or gelatin cups (Check labels)
Celery sticks with sunflower seed butter
Carrot sticks and dip
Individual bags of Lays or other GF potato chips

For some super cute snack ideas, go to Pinterest and type in “Gluten free snacks for kids.” Find Jordan Nicole’s board for some ideas that you could even have the kids make.
Pie Crust Update:

I made a couple of pumpkin pies today with the Kinnickinnik frozen pie crusts that I bought yesterday. My pumpkin pie recipe filled both of the 8” piecrusts that came in the box—with enough left over to make a crustless pie in a little ramekin. You know what? The frozen crust wasn’t half bad! It had a nice texture and tasted great! I’d say it’s a fine alternative to rolling out your own.


My mom took exception to my credited source for the Pumpkin Pecan Perfection recipe that I posted yesterday. She said that she was indeed responsible for my having that recipe—NOT Midwest Living Magazine. According to Mom, she got the recipe from our hairdresser and told me about it.  At that point I somehow hi-jacked the recipe and started making it for all the family gatherings, and she lost credit for having discovered it. So, there you go, Mom. I’ve come clean.