Potatoes 24/7 | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-One

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Making the humble potato the star of the show.

Considering I shared a potato-centric recipe just the other day, indulge me in a little fun today. I’m going to propose a day wherein one eats potatoes FOR EVERY MEAL! Just white potatoes. No sweet potatoes, yams, or any other sneaky tubers. It’s starchy white potatoes all the way through.

Vegan potato farls (Irish potato scones) // govegga.comBREAKFAST

Start your day the potato way — with vegan Irish potato farls! A favorite from last year’s VeganMoFo, these pan-fried triangles of potato-y dough make for a real stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. Pair them with some kind of vegan sausage for added Irishness, and be sure to have a pot of tea on hand.

Other breakfast options:

Crispy hash brown haystacks! Or this outta-control tater tot hot dish.

Better-Than-Your-Average Potato SaladLUNCH

May I suggest an unorthodox option? Make potato salad your main meal and pair it with a protein side (a veggie burger patty, bunless?). Alternative: If it’s a chilly day, how about hot soup? This creamy caramelized potato-onion soup should fit the bill!

Other lunch options:

Peruvian purple potato soup, perhaps? Or these chipotle potato cakes alongside a big ol’ salad.

Spicy Potato Casserole with Tofu ChorizoDINNER

No question — I’m going with my spicy potato casserole! It’s a tasty, filling, and unexpected take on a gratin-like dish. Make your own tofu chorizo or use store-bought.

Other dinner options:

Vegan colcannon, most definitely! Or a jacket potato stuffed with vegan haggis, like the one I just loved in Edinburgh. (There’s a link to a vegan haggis recipe in this post.)

BONUS SWEETS!

Mashed potato candy?! I’ve never tried it, but it’s a thing!

So. Would you try an all-potato day? What dishes would you include?

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Pie Crust Crisps with Pumpkin Mousse and Whipped Cream | Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Deconstructed dish: Hipster style food. Serving it on a slate is optional.

I was tossing and turning the other night, awoken by a thirsty Moria who’d gotten up for a midnight drink, when the idea came to me: deconstructed pies. Pie crust — turned into individual crisps. Pie filling — turned into dip for said crisps. Whipped cream — because duh. A hands-on eating project where you have completely control over your pie-to-filling ratio.

It was, apparently, a better idea than the one I’d been planning on for this prompt: deconstructed pierogies, basically potato-onion patties, pan-fried and served with caramelized onions, sauerkraut, and cashew sour cream. Those fell squarely into the MoFo fail category; I tried making them in September and they were… not good. Gluey and dense, the patties reminded me more of a make-your-own-paste project than pierogies in any form.

Pie crust crisps with pumpkin mousseHappily, this deconstructed pie idea worked out much better. Although I think apple pie would’ve been lovely here — I’m imagining dipping the crust crisps into gooey apple-y filling — I opted for pumpkin, simply because I had a can on hand and knew I could whip up a mousse-like dip easily. This recipe is more like a template; play with it to create the deconstructed pie of your dreams!

Pie Crust Crisps with Pumpkin Mousse and Whipped Cream

Makes a whole lot

  • 1 recipe your favorite pie crust recipe (I used this one, swapping in 1/4 almond meal for some of the flour and using half coconut oil alongside the shortening.)
  • 1 recipe pumpkin mousse (I used this one, but used just two tablespoons brown sugar and 1/3 cup maple syrup. It’s not super sweet, so adjust accordingly. I also added spices to taste.)
  • 1 recipe aquafaba whipped cream or coconut whipped cream (The former is nice and light, while the latter is richer and creamier.)

First, prepare your pie crust dough according to the recipe’s instructions, including preheating the oven and lining a pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough to a little less than 1/4″ thick, then cut into triangles. (I cut around a small plate, then sectioned that into eight triangles.) Move the triangles to a baking pan. Optionally, brush with aquafaba and sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake according to directions — mine took about 17 minutes. Don’t overcook!

While the crisps are baking, prepare the mousse and whipped cream according to your recipes.

Remove crisps from oven when just barely golden. Let cool before serving.

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Pie crust crisps with pumpkin mousse // govegga.com

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Five-Ingredient Potato-Chorizo Hash | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Nineteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
A dish with five ingredients or fewer (not including cooking oil and salt and pepper)

Spicy potato-chorizo hash! Two of the five ingredients are right there in the name, and the other three are not too tricky to guess: onion, garlic, and green bell pepper. This versatile recipe does involve a fair amount of chopping, but it’s relatively painless and makes a great lazy dinner or brunch side dish. For the chorizo, I use my go-to — the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s — but any product with lots of flavor will work here. I keep seasonings to a minimum since the chorizo adds heat, and the onion and garlic provide quite a bit of flavor. If you’re not limited to five ingredients, go ahead and add some spices: paprika, Mexican oregano, or anything your heart desires.

Spicy vegan potato-chorizo hashIn the past, I’ve simply sautéed the potatoes from raw, but they end up taking forever to cook through and often break down and get crumbly. So this time I experimented with kitchen genius J. Kenji López-Alt’s method: par-cooking with vinegar before sautéing. He says it helps them retain their shape and stand up to the sauté pan a little better, and in my single test of his method, it worked great! I’ve written the instructions with this method in mind, giving you tips for what to do at each step.

Although I sometimes cook everything in the same pan, staggering the time I add each ingredient, my favorite cast-iron pan can’t really accommodate this larger recipe. So I’ve written the instructions to cook the onion, pepper, and garlic together, and then the potatoes and chorizo. If you halve this recipe or have a massive pan, you can cook everything together.

Five-Ingredient Potato-Chorizo Hash

Serves four

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, diced into 3/4” cubes
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 9 oz. (3/4 package, if you’re using TJ’s) vegan chorizo
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, heat a pot of water with about a tablespoon of vinegar. While it’s heating up, prepare the veggies: dice the onion, mince the garlic, and dice the bell pepper. Add cooking oil of choice to a cast-iron pan (or other pan of choice) and heat to medium, then add the onions and peppers.

When the water boils, add the diced potatoes and cook for 7-10 minutes or until just tender (not cooked through). Drain and set aside briefly.

While the potatoes are boiling, monitor the sauteéing veggies. When the onions start turning translucent, add the garlic. Sauté for about 5 more minutes, till everything is moderately soft. (I like my peppers to retain a little crunch.) When all the veggies are done, remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil and add the boiled potatoes. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, until just about tender, then crumble in the chorizo. When the potatoes are completely fork-tender, turn off the heat and stir in the veggies.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with ketchup or hot sauce.

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Spicy vegan potato-chorizo hash // govegga.com

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Chocolate Deliciousness | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Eighteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day,
but you can make anything you want with chocolate!

This VeganMoFo, I tell ya. I’ll be honest: I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t been able to share as many brand-new original recipes as I’d have liked. Chalk it up to a few factors — being on vacation during the first few days of the month; being busy with freelance work; various recipes failing on the first try — but there it is.

Today, another sob story: I wanted to share a recipe for a super chocolaty banana soft serve, but alas, my bananas did not cooperate. They were either too ripe (like, I put them in the freezer when they were black  and smooshy and now their only possible use is for banana bread) or too unripe (I refuse — REFUSE — to eat bananas when any green is showing on the stem).

Then I thought I might make some chocolate aquafaba mousse, because I’ve never made one that truly succeeded. But Steven is avoiding added sugar at the moment, and I didn’t want to make something he couldn’t eat. (And I do think some sugar is required for a dish like this.)

Then I got sick! It’s a minor cold, but I am not up to the triple threat that is preparing a post for a new recipe (cooking the food and documenting the recipe; staging and photographing the food; editing the photos of the food). So, instead, please accept this  chocolate recipe round-up — and my sincere apologies for not giving you more. Luckily I’ve already made and shot the recipe for tomorrow, so at least I’ll have something new to share then! In the meantime… CHOCOLATE.

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Vegan brownies

Vegan chocolate cookies and bars

  • Isa’s fantastic Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles. I haven’t made these in a while, but they’re always amazing.
  • Chocolate peppermint crinkles — perfect for the holidays!
  • Chocolate-covered cookie dough bars.

Vegan chocolate cakes, pies, and tarts

Vegan chocolate puddings and frozen treats

Vegan chocolate drinks, boozy and not

Vegan chocolate candies and fudge

  • KINDER BUENO BARS, veganized. I really, really need to make these.
  • Five-ingredient salted caramel peanut butter truffles.
  • Chocolate-topped buttercrunch toffee. Yes, please.
  • Good ol’ fashioned fudge.

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Vegan Spiked Maple-Molasses Mug | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Seventeen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Let’s get boozy! Food involving booze, like beer brats, Welsh rarebit or a boozy dessert. Feel free to make a non-alcoholic version if you prefer.

It is perhaps not in the spirit of this prompt to offer up a recipe for a drink. But I made this delightful hot beverage the other night and knew I had to share, so I’m flouting the rules.

You might recall the hot molasses mug I shared during VeganMoFo 2014. It remains one of my favorite cold-weather beverages, a surprisingly nutritious and warming drink that’s superbly easy to prepare. Not satisfied leaving well enough alone, however, I took it a step further this weekend and added a healthy pour of my favorite maple liqueur. Holy smokes! It’s delicious, and just in time for the cooler weather. Forget hot toddies; this spiked hot maple-molasses mug is my new favorite boozy drink for the cold months.

Vegan spiked maple-molasses mug For added deliciousness, I topped my mug with aquafaba whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Additions like those are optional but delicious. ;)

(As a side note… did you know that you can make a single (well, single-ish) serving of aquafaba whipped cream with a  powerful immersion blender?! Game changer! I didn’t even bother with the cream of tartar and it worked fine.)

A caveat: If you’re not fortunate enough to have maple liqueur in your liquor cabinet, you can most likely substitute about 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup and a scant shot of bourbon or something similar. I haven’t played with alternatives like that, so let me know if you try it! Or go buy some maple liqueur. It’s worth it.

Spiked Maple-Molasses Mug

Serves one

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1 shot (or more?!) maple liqueur
  • Dash pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, warm the almond milk until it begins steaming. (You can also microwave it if you’d like.) Transfer to a mug and add the molasses, maple liqueur, and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until combined. Enjoy.

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Vegan spiked maple-molasses mug // govegga.com

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Survival Food | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Sixteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Survival food: There’s a zombie apocalypse!  What can you make
from just canned or foraged food?

So… at what stage is the apocalypse? Like, is society so far gone that we have no electricity? Have I depleted all my other shelf-stable provisions? What season is it? I need more information!

‘Round these parts, I could “forage” fresh veggies (well… tomatoes) from my garden during the spring and summer, and herbs for a bit longer. Depending on the season, paw-paws and various berries (black- and rasp-) are pretty abundant in parks and along the roads. Dandelion greens are probably pretty easy to snag, too. And I could always loot a nursery for edible flowers.

I guess that if the apocalypse were nigh and I had time to prepare, I would stock my pantry with beans and other shelf-stable items that don’t require cooking for safety. I would also make a ton of vegan jerky and try to vacuum-seal it or something. I dunno, man.

Meh. This prompt doesn’t really excite me. I considered making like, a mixed-bean salad or something that doesn’t need to be cooked, but I didn’t actually want to eat it.

Here’s a picture of Moria instead. Good thing her dog food is shelf-stable!

Moria on my lap

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Spice Drawer Tour | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Fifteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
Spicy! Talk us through your spice rack or cook with your favourite spice.

Well, since I’ve already let y’all in to my kitchen, I might as well own up to my shameful spice situation! Here it is: I store my spices in five very different spots throughout the kitchen, because no one cupboard or hidey-hole provides easy enough access to them. Sigh!

Kitchen tour - spicesI buy quite a few of my spices in bulk, which makes these racks and spice jars from good ol’ Ikea just perfect. Here I keep things like turmeric, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and mustard seeds, among others. They’re within easy reach when I’m cooking and don’t look too shabby on the wall there. You can’t see in this photo, but many of the jars are labeled on the side thanks to my handy label-maker. Ideally I’d have all my spices easily accessible like this (and all bought in bulk), but I think those racks would need to be floor to ceiling to accommodate everything!

Kitchen tour - spicesHere is my most shameful spice storage area. Located in the cupboard to the left of my sink, this is where all the oddly shaped and less-commonly-used spices typically wind up. In there you’ll find a little of everything: a box of cinnamon sticks, a bag of mace, a jar of Jamaican curry powder I nabbed from the free table at work, and various spice and seasoning blends I’ve been gifted. It’s all just crammed in there and I’m quite ashamed of the disorder. At least it’s well hidden by a cupboard door most of the time… that’s helped make the situation more palatable! I really really need to clean out my cupboards and rearranged everything, but I’ve yet to dedicate the time to that arduous task.

Kitchen tour - spicesMoving on… a slightly more organized storage site: The drawer to the right of the stove, which is a fairly typical spice drawer. Here’s where all the jars and small containers wind up. Some are rarely used (poppy seeds, caraway seeds, the “pie spice” blend I also rescued from the free table) while others have been refilled with new spices (see the crossed-out label on the cumin jar?). This is also our junk drawer, as you can see, and quite frankly I’m proud it’s really only a quarter-sized junk drawer and not a full one! (Side note: That “everything bagel” seasoning blend from Trader Joe’s is THE BEST. )

Not pictured here is the carousel rack of really really old spices I “inherited” when Steven and I moved in together; it came from his apartment and I frankly shudder to think how old some of them are. But I hate waste, so… there they remain. And honestly, I do occasionally use them. It’s not like spices go bad; they just become less potent. Six giant shakes of “poultry seasoning” it is, then!

Finally, there’s one more cupboard with spices, but this one is high above my sink and functions as storage for the bulk bags of spices that I then mete out into the glass jars in smaller quantities. I don’t feel too badly about this particular spice shelf since it’s difficult to reach without a stool. It seems like a pretty good use of the space.

So! There it is. My shameful distribution of spices. If you have a great idea of how to consolidate everything, I’m all ears!

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Roasted Broccoli Galette with an Almond Meal Crust | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Fourteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
Repurposing food: Show us what you do with mushroom stems, stale end bits of bread, carrot tops, etc.

If I were to take this prompt literally and to show you what I do with leftover bits of food, I would be sharing a picture of the compost bin at work, where all my vegetal leftovers wind up. Not a pretty sight, but perhaps a reminder to try a little harder to use all the bits and bobs leftover after cooking.

One remnant I do use up, every time, is the almond pulp left over after making almond milk. Although you can certainly use it right away as a wet ingredient in crackersfeta, and even coconut Bounty Bars (!), I prefer to dry mine to create almond meal or flour. To do so, I spread the clumps onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven at a low temperature (~250˚F) until it’s dried and crackly on top. Then I turn off the heat and let it continue to dry out, sometimes overnight. I then use the dry container of my Vitamix to process it into meal. It’s a relatively hands-off process, and I’m left with quite a lot of almond meal each time.

That being said… when I checked my almond meal stores in the pantry before embarking on the recipe I’m about to share, here’s what I found:

Nearly empty almond meal canisterThat is a sadly depleted store of almond meal, alas! So, for this recipe — which, by the way, makes a pair of sweet toasty galettes — I’m using less almond meal than I would have liked. Next time, I’ll increase the almond meal and decrease the flour accordingly.

So, with that out of the way… with what shall I fill my only-slightly-almondy crust, you ask? Another oft-discarded ingredient: broccoli stems!

Well, not just broccoli stems, but the whole broccoli stalk. In this simple galette, crispy roasted broccoli adds a flavorful crunch and lots of nutrition to a cheesy filling. As I mentioned in last week’s cheese-centric MoFo post, I don’t actually purchase premade vegan cheese all that often, opting instead to make my own. And although it’d be relatively simple to spread a nice cashew cream (or my tofu-walnut ricotta) on this galette, truthfully, I didn’t feel like making one! I wanted a sharper, deeper flavor and more meltiness, and I wanted the simplicity of using something pre-made. Use your favorite cheddar or go for the gold and make your own cheese. It’ll be tasty either way.

Broccoli-cheese galette with an almond meal crust

Roasted Broccoli Galette with an Almond Meal Crust

Makes two single-serve galettes or one large galette

For the filling
  • Two heads broccoli
  • 3 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash sea salt, optional
  • ~1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan cheddar shreds
For the crust
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Roughly chop the broccoli, including the stems, into bite-sized pieces. I like to shave the rough edges off the stems but that’s not necessary. Toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic, then transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

While the broccoli is roasting, make the crust dough. Combine dry ingredients (flour, almond meal, salt, and garlic powder), then use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut in the vegan butter until it forms sandy crumbs. Drizzle in the cold water and stir to combine, using your hands to knead if necessary.  Start with 1/3 cup and add more by the tablespoon if necessary. Work it gently until it comes together into a soft but not sticky dough; do not overwork. Form into a ball and place in the refrigerator while the broccoli finishes roasting.

When the broccoli is starting to crisp up and blacken just a little, remove from the oven. (It might take more than 15 minutes.) Turn the oven off to let it cool to 350˚F while you prepare the galette crusts.

Divide the dough into two equal balls. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rough circle or oval about 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper. Leaving a 1 1/2″ border, divide most of the cheese between each crust, reserving about 1/4 cup. Pile the roasted broccoli on top of the cheese, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Optionally, dust with nutritional yeast as well. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, overlapping with each fold.

Bake at 375˚F for 30-35 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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Broccoli-cheese galette with an almond meal crust

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Marketing Myself? | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Thirteen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
Sell yourself: If you were going to market a food  you make, what would it be?  How would you package it, and who would buy it?  (Or if you have already done this, tell us about the creative process.)

Y’all, I do not have the energy for this prompt. I’m not presumptuous enough to think that I have anything brand new to offer to the ever-expanding world of vegan products, and even if I did, I would not be into marketing it. Promoting a product (or really anything) just does not appeal to me… which is partially why my blog remains a passion project, not a source of income.

Here’s what I do have to offer: an understanding ear and a kind, compassionate, gentle approach to veganism. I applaud the small changes, the baby steps, the cautious wading into the waters. If you would like to incorporate more animal-free meals into your life, if you want to know more about a vegan lifestyle, if you just want a judgment-free chat, I’m here for you! Email me and let’s talk. (It doesn’t even have to be about veganism. I also enjoy traveling, crafting, and puppers of all shapes and sizes.)

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Vegan-Friendly Online Grocers | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twelve

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
Grocery store tips and tricks

It’s not exactly a stretch to say that I owe my veganism, in part, to the internet. It gave me the opportunity to research issues endemic to the dairy and egg industries and to realize that being vegetarian wasn’t morally consistent for me. It gave me access to the first generation of vegan bloggers, folks who normalized a lifestyle I still considered a bit out there. As I read their recipes and reflections on being vegan in what was then a much less vegan world, it seemed like something I could do. I did do it, and I haven’t looked back.

So for today’s topic — grocery store tips and tricks — it seems fitting to highlight another way the internet is there for vegans: by providing access to veg-friendly shopping! Even if you live somewhere remote, without easy access to a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, co-op, or even a regular ol’ grocery store, you can stock your pantry by shopping online. Here are a few of my favorite online grocers. (These are all U.S. based, because the cost of shipping internationally would be prohibitive! I’m sorry I don’t have a similar list of international grocers.)

The best vegan-friendly grocers

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexel

My favorite vegan-friendly online grocery stores

Vegan Essentials

Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Vegan Essentials is a treasure! Along with food (including freshly baked pastries!), they carry a fantastic variety of other items: health products, cosmetics, books, accessories, and more. I particularly enjoyed ordering from VE when I lived in Wisconsin; the shipping was super quick and cheap since I was so close to their HQ! Prices are generally fair, but don’t forget to check out their sale section for marked down goods.

Best for:

  • The aforementioned pastries!
  • Hard-to-find niche ingredients (vegan gelatin, anyone?)
  • Sweet sales!
Vitacost

While not entirely vegan, Vitacost has lots of cruelty-free vegan options and focuses on health-related food, health and beauty products, and more. They have a house brand of products (including vitamins and supplements) that are priced competitively, and they offer frequent sales and promotions. I do find their vegan product filter a bit untrustworthy; some products that don’t include the word “vegan” in the title won’t show up.

Best for:

  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Shelf-stable ingredients
  • Health, beauty, and personal care items

Pangea

Pangea is the real deal — they’ve been an online business since 1995 and have the coveted veganstore.com URL! Besides food, Pangea sells everything from cosmetics to clothing. They’re also truly cruelty-free, offering only products that are produced and manufactured ethically. The website feels like the online equivalent of an old-school natural foods co-op in the best way possible.

Best for:

  • Old-school vegan ingredients and brands
  • Companion animal products
  • Household items you know are vegan, cruelty-free, and likely environmentally friendly.

Amazon

Sigh, I had to include it! For price and variety, it’s really difficult to beat Amazon. I’d prefer to put my money into the vegan-owned companies on this list, but Amazon is always a solid fallback.

Best for:

  • Most things :(
  • Cheap shipping (especially if you have Prime)

So — which retailers did I miss?

Note: For a while, the idea of ordering food online and having it shipped concerned me from an environmental perspective. But I’m honestly not sure whether it’s worse than getting in my car and driving to the market… to pick up food that was already shipped from afar, in most cases. And for items you just can’t get locally, the point becomes moot. I welcome stats on the environmental costs of both options, though!

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