Lisa AgastoniJerry James Stone is a writer, blogger, cook and recipe creator who has lived his life encouraging others to discover the joy of cooking. Join Stone for a live Google+ Hangout on Feb. 13, part of this month's challenge: Cooking the Basics. He'll be interviewed by our host Lisa Agostoni (pictured right) along with MNN readers who are part of our year-long challenge to live sustainably

Stone, who resides in San Francisco, is a food and wine writer for Discovery Channel and NPR. He's served as a food judge alongside such greats as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters for the Good Food Awards, and he's also a writer for Fodor's guidebooks. But his true passion is his popular blog, Cooking Stoned, which celebrates home cooking and creativity.

In this hangout, we'll be talking about cooking the basics. These days you can find pretty much anything processed, packaged and waiting for you on a store shelf. B your wallet isn’t the only thing paying the price for such convenience — the planet is, too. By learning how to prepare basics foods — from spaghetti sauce to natural peanut butter — you're gaining new knowledge and becoming more independent and healthier along the way. 

And if that line of thinking sounds like a good idea, join us for The Year of Living Simply, a 12-month challenge that's a mixture of advice, social chats, newsletters and free giveaways.