MNN week in review montage

Our picks for the week of Jan. 9-15: 

• This week's destination is the Azores, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean that belongs to Portugal. It's a taste of Old World Europe that's off the beaten path.

•  Animals that thrive in caves have evolved to fit that unique environment, from a lack of pigment to a slow metabolism. Here are 10 incredible cave animals — or troglobites, as a scientist would say.

• The latest tactic in the war against invasive species is so simple, so in line with our human instincts: eat them. With that in mind, here are 10 invasive species you can devour — with a recipe for each.

• U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a household name because of a horrific shooting in Arizona, but to those who knew her before Jan. 8, she has been a tireless environmental advocate.

      

Neptune• We can't see this glorious blue globe from Earth with the naked eye, but thanks to  Voyager 2 spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see Neptune (left) as never before.

• Catholic communes aren't the best vacation spot for everyone, but if you're serious about solitude and sustainability, the monastic life can be a godsend. Here are five monastic eco-retreats. 

• This next batch of images are part of an exhibit that captured the effects of the Depression on the country's rural and small-town populations. Take a look at farm life from 1939-1943. The stories will leave you wanting to know more.

• Wine lovers already know that the East Coast has a few secrets of its own. Here are eight eco-friendly East Coast wineries.

• The new Food & Wine app for iPad has our food blogger hooked on digital magazines. Find out why.

• And since we're talking about relatively new technology, let's not forget to recycle the old. Here are some simple steps to getting cash for your used electronics.  

Plus: Don't miss the week in photos, including an instructional image of how to put a kayak put to good use after an incredible snowstorm.