Archive for the ‘Cheap Recipes’ Category

Celebrity Weight Loss Strategies for Cheap!

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Every Christmas is accompanied by at least one or two bad gifts…but perhaps the worst gift is the extra weight that seems to stick around way longer than any hideous sweater or ugly ceramic sculpture.  It’s hard enough to find a half hour to return a bad gift to the store, but for some reason, it can take months to lose the extra pounds that you added in only a few hours of eating.  What’s a busy parent, professional or student to do?   As my post-holiday gift to you, I’ve taken a look at how celebrities have lost weight successfully, and converted these plans into cheap (and entirely achievable!) weight loss strategies.  Here are some of my favorites:

Cheap weight loss strategiesWalk Your Dog (or Just Walk)

Until now, you may have been fine with letting your dog take care of his business in the backyard.  But Fido will be happier, and you’ll be lighter, if you get out for a bit of exercise.  You’ve probably seen dozens of pictures of stars walking their dogs – from Jennifer Aniston to Sarah Michelle Gellar to Jessica Biel, celebrities are constantly taking time from their busy lives to walk their own dogs.  And so can you.

Of course, if you don’t have a dog, you can still use walking as a free way to lose weight.  Christina Aguilera claims that walking for 40 minutes on the treadmill regularly helped her lose weight after baby Max was born in 2008.  And, if there’s no treadmill available, your neighborhood will provide you with a good exercise and a change of scenery.

Dance like Natalie Portman

Everyone’s been buzzing about how the already petite actress lost even more weight for her role in the acclaimed film The Black Swan.  Her secret?  Intense dance practice.  While you may not be able to train for hours a day as Natalie did (nor would you want to), you can definitely make some progress by investing in a dance-workout video and making an effort to follow it through at least once (or twice) a day.   One great thing about using dance as a means of exercise is that it’s relatively low-impact, which means that your body should remain protected from other exercise-related injuries.

Snack frequently like Hilary Duff

In an attempt to lose weight for her wedding, Hilary duff changed her eating habits so that she ate small, healthy snacks between meals to stave off cravings.  It’s rather trite to suggest reaching for carrot sticks instead of a chocolate bar, and since I’m a realist, I’ll skip the cliché.  Hilary pulled off regular snacking by stocking up on delicious, low-effort snacks such as Greek yogurt or hummus.  A handful of almonds can also provide a healthy burst of energy and help you feel full.  Of course, if you want to keep a stack of chopped veggies on hand, you’ll reduce the cost of your diet and you may increase the rate of your weight loss.  And, they’ll go great with the hummus.

Drink Like Padma Lakshmi

This culinary genius is no stranger to the kitchen, but she credits a healthy drinking attitude for hastening her weight loss after the birth of her daughter earlier this year.  Not only is water an extremely affordably drink, but Lakshmi suggests flavoring it to reduce the boredom.  Among her favorites are lemon slices, orange blossoms and jasmine flowers, but the options are endless.  Try mint leaves, rosemary twigs or apple slices to add a refreshing twist to any pitcher of plain water, and drink the pounds away.

Cook Like Brooke Burke

You don’t need to be a chef to cook healthy, tasty and affordable dishes.  Salads and sandwiches (with low-calorie, whole wheat bread) are some of the best diet staples and they require no advance planning or lengthy cooking times.  Brooke recommends a whole wheat pita stuffed with chicken, lettuce, tomato and cucumber.  For added flavor, add some mustard, which serves as a tangy low-calorie dressing.  Prepare a scoop of tuna (with low-fat mayo) on a bed of lettuce, or a chicken salad made from grilled chicken and grilled vegetables.  If you rotate the seasonings regularly you won’t get bored, and you’ll always have something healthy to enjoy.

The most important thing to remember when trying to lose the holiday weight is that most celebrities have to work hard to maintain their figure (or to reclaim it after they’ve gained weight) – if they can do it, you can too.  Good luck!

Who Says a Cheap Dinner Can’t be Yummy?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Since I didn’t get around to posting any easy, cheap recipes last week (sorry!), I want to make it up to you by offering two cheap dinner ideas this week.  Since this is the season of temperamental weather, it’s hard to predict in advance if I’ll want a cold meal or a hot meal at night.  This of course, can throw a wrench in your menu planning.  But have no fear – I’m going to offer you both types of inexpensive recipes so that you can wing it while still adhering to your menu plan.

Tuna Burgers with Salad

Total cost: Under $10 for 4 people

Tuna Burgers:

2 cans of tuna

¼ – ½ cup of mayonnaise

1 cup plain or seasoned breadcrumbs

1 small minced onion

Salt, pepper garlic powder to taste

2 eggs

Mash up the tuna and add the rest of the ingredients.

Shape into patties.

Fry in 1 Tbsp. of oil until golden brown, flipping as needed.

Serve with buns or pita as desired.

Classic Salad:

½ – 1head iceberg lettuce

1 tomato

1 cucumber

Salad Dressing:

¼ cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tbsp white vinegar

2 cloves garlic minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix together and pour over salad.

Save $1 on a StarKist Tuna Pouch – (print multiple copies and stock up now – good until 4/30/10)

And now, for a cold cheap dinner that is perfect on a hot spring or summer day:

cheap-dinnerVegetables and Cheese Sandwich:

Total Cost: Under $5 for 2 people

4 slices of your favorite bread or bagel

2 slices of Swiss or Gouda cheese

½ cucumber, sliced

½ tomato, sliced

2 leaves lettuce

2 tsp. chopped basil

Butter (optional)

Toast bread if desired.  Add butter if desired.  Layer cheese with vegetables, placing the tomato slices closest to the bread.

This sandwich may sound simple, but you’ll be surprised how the basil adds a nice flavor that complements the sharp taste of the cheese.  If you’re looking for inexpensive recipes that taste like expensive gourmet sandwiches, this one is a true winner!

Finish off your meal with Baskin Robbins ice cream – get a coupon by completing this quick survey for an extra-sweet deal.

Bon Appetite,


Bye-Bye Takeout, Hello Menu Planning

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Eating out is always fun, whether you’re enjoying a juicy entrecote steak or a burger at the drive-thru.  And, even though a hamburger may cost as little as $1.99, the price of eating out can really add up.  Tack on a drink, an extra side dish or even a meal for your partner or child, and you’re already talking about a not-so-small investment.  One way to avoid wasting money (and adding on the pounds) in this way is to start menu planning.

I know you’re thinking that menu planning is a big hassle, that it’s time consuming, and that you’ll never stick to the plan anyway.  But I’ve been experimenting with menu planning for the past 3 months, and I’ve found that it’s been amazingly helpful.  Believe it or not, I’ve even found it extremely doable.  I find myself scouring weekly circulars and coupon books to find food on sale so that I can stock up and weave them into my menu plans throughout the month.  Knowing what I’m going to eat each day has also prevented me from snacking mindlessly in front of the fridge when I can’t figure out what to have for dinner, and, much to my chagrin, has encouraged me to plan healthier meals (and most importantly, to actually make them).

I’m so excited about how menu planning has changed my life, and I really want to share this experience with you.  So, for the next weeks I’ll be guiding you through weekly menu planning and providing recipe advice and encouragement.  Every Thursday through March I’ll be introducing a new and original recipe idea and ideas that can make it easy to create your menu plans either on weekly or monthly basis.

Here’s an easy menu idea to help you get started – I look forward to welcoming you back next week!


Soup from a can, prepared according to directions (Yes, canned soup is delicious! Try it out with a coupon for Progresso soup )*

Main course:

menu-planning“Mock” Spanish omelet

2 eggs

Splash of milk

3-5 Tbs salsa (to taste)

2 Tbs onion, diced

Grated mozzarella cheese to taste

Red or green peppers, cubed (optional)

Prepare frying pan with oil, butter or cooking spray. Wisk eggs with milk.  Add to frying pan.  Add onion, salsa and peppers.  When the egg begins to separate from the pan, add cheese.  Fold the omelet in half for 1 minute.  Flip.  Omelet is ready when the cheese is melted.

Serve with bread or a tortilla as desired.

I used to eat this quick and inexpensive meal at least once a week.  But now that I’ve started menu planning, I’ve got tons of ideas, so I don’t need to repeat as frequently.  Send me your favorite inexpensive menu ideas today, to  I look forward to hearing from you and sharing ideas together!

*As you get more proficient in the kitchen you can personalize canned soups as you desire