Live and Eat Well on a Budget! / by PJ Monson

Emily is an actor and voiceover artist in the city.  She has been attending CentralSweat workouts since the company’s inception, and has her own blog, entitled At Home With Emmy Lou.  In her blog she posts recipes, gives gardening advice and provides tips and tricks about home décor.  She has been kind enough to contribute to our blog today, giving us a few idea’s on how she keeps an eye on her own personal health and wellness in a fast paced city on a budget.    Hi!  Im Emily! I have been working out with Polly in the park for some time now, and was honored when she asked me to write a guest post for her company, CentralSweat!  At first I was a bit insecure!  “Me? Write about health and wellness?  But I bake too many cookies!” (I have quite the sugar addiction.)

However after some careful thought I do believe I have a tip and a quick recipe that may be helpful!  A tip that, I believe, goes along with the CentralSweat mantra! Here it is!

I Eat at home. A lot!

I have found that the easiest way to gain weight (and spend money!) in the city is to eat out.  Restaurants use butter, oil, bacon, and extra salt in almost everything!  Eating at home allows you to control every thing you put into your body, and helps you to stay creative and spontaneous as well! At first constant cooking can seem intimidating.  When you work full time and come home from a tiring day of work, do you really want to get behind a stove?  Believe it or not, I often do!  It helps me to unwind and spend time with my husband.  After a few weeks, you can have a fully stocked pantry with everything you need to make something great in a jiffy.  And something heart-healthy, to boot! I have found that I can eat for a whole week on what it would cost to get a glass of wine and a salad at a restaurant!

Below, you will find a recipe that keeps my husband and me full for days! Your groceries should be less then $20! (I like to get a bag of onions and a bag of lemons each week… we always use them!)


You will need:

  •  1 whole chicken
  • 4 green zucchinis
  • 1 bag of onions
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 head celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 lemon

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  In the bottom of a roasting dish, drizzle olive oil.  Above your sink, take the chicken out of the packaging and remove and toss innards.  (If you are adventurous, sautee with garlic or onions and serve!) Really salt and pepper your bird!  This will add a lot of flavor! You can also take lemon and poke holes in the skin, then place in between the chicken's legs.  Put the bird into its roasting dish, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes!  Ovens and bird sizes vary, so remember to test by cutting behind the leg.  If the juices run clear, it is ready!  If cloudy, cook for 15 more minutes!

Meanwhile, dice your zucchini and onions and sautee with 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat until charred.  Stir frequently!

You can serve your roasted chicken with zucchini hash!  You can also make chicken salad, or serve cold cuts for lunch the next day!


Make chicken stock!

Take the bones from your leftover chicken and put into a large soup pot.  Fill with water.  Loosely dice onion, carrots and celery.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.  Take off top layer of fat from broth, and remove and toss all veggies and bones.  You can freeze your stock, or make homemade soup right away!  A friend of mine recommended pouring the stock into ice treys to freeze.  She then has homemade stock cubes every time she cooks!

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions!  And follow my blog at!