Peach Coconut Oatmeal Muffins (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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I have an unexpected, but great inspiration source for this recipe! I usually read lots of other blogs, Pinterest, and scroll through websites like Finding Vegan or Foodgawker in hopes of finding a recipe I want to try out. This was a lot of fun last year in Ellensburg when the goal of my position was to find these recipes and teach others how to make them. However, my new job, although great in its own way, has not given me a lot of extra time for this, which I miss so much! Getting inspired to create recipes when you don’t have an audience is really difficult!

Back in June, as I was wrapping up my AmeriCorps experience in Ellensburg, I had a few things left on my bucket list. One was to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. This was because A) As expected of a vegan, I love animals, and B) My friend, who studied primate behavior and worked at the sanctuary, loves these chimps so much. So much, in fact, that she moved to Canada to work at the Fauna Foundation, another animal sanctuary that also takes care of chimps.

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To make a long story short, chimps are so cool! Not only do these particular ones communicate in sign language, but they have the ability to make friends, love people, be picky about food, fight with each other, and have silly fetishes, like cowboy boots! My favorite part was learning about what they eat. There diets are similar to human diets, with a healthy diet being focused on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low sugar sweets.

Six months later, in Moscow, ID, I came back from Christmas break in Utah to find this in the mail.

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Yes, it’s a cookbook, but not just any ordinary cookbook. This is the Fauna Foundation Cookbook, which is full of information on what the chimpanzees at this animal sanctuary eat, as well as the recipes they enjoy most. My cornbread-loving, Ellensburger-turned-Canadian, chimpanzee caretaking bestie sent me this all the way from Montreal, Canada! Bonus: the proceeds benefit the sanctuary, so it’s a two-in-one gift! There are so many recipes in here that remind me of how I like to cook and bake, and I am excited to try all of them out! This one is an adaptation of their baked oatmeal muffins.

I can only imagine how fun it is to be able to design diets for chimpanzees, cook for them, and see what they think of the food. This might even go on my dream job list! For now, I will settle on posting this adaptation of a recipe on this blog, in hopes that someone, whether it is a chimp or a human, ends up enjoying it.

You probably won’t ever read this phrase in another food blog, but this one is for the chimps!

Peach Coconut Oatmeal Muffins

Serves 6

Adapted from the Fauna Foundation Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup canned or overripe sliced peaches
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbs agave (honey if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbs dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 380 F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mash peaches until they are mostly pureed (similar to mashing  a banana for banana bread). Stir in oats, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add applesauce, agave, vanilla, and water or milk and stir until combined.
  4. Fold in shredded coconut and cranberries.
  5. Divide into 6 oiled muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 380 F for 20 minutes.
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