The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Sweet and Sour Chicken

It really is quick and easy to make this sweet and sour chicken dish, honestly you will never pop open a jar of shop bought sauce again.

I love Sweet and Sour Chicken, it’s the first chinese dish I ever ate and the memory of that sticky sweet and sour sauce poured over  battered chicken balls is one I still treasure.  But as I’ve grown up and become more aware of the ingredients that most processed versions contain I was put right off this dish.

So Ive created a dish that is naturally sweet and sour, you can adjust the spices to suit your own palate but this dish is light, clean and still sweet, sour and sticky.  It’s a real winner.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Serves 4
  • 450 gms Organic chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 Peppers, Any colour, cubed
  • 1 large Onion, cubed
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 large Carrot, finely sliced
  • 1 can Water Chestnuts
  • 1 225gms Pineapple Chunks (keep the juice)
  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Thumb size Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 80 gms Cashew Nuts
  • Large handful Coriander, chopped
  • 1 Tablesppon Rice Bran Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornflour
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 Whole Star Anise
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper

To make Sweet and Sour Chicken

Place the corn flour and salt and pepper into a large sandwich bag and add the chicken slices and give a good toss so that all the chicken is well coated.

Next make up the sauce, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, dried chilli flakes and the juice from the pineapple can.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok, add the chicken strips and brown all over. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.

To the hot pan add the onion, peppers and carrot and cook for a few minutes, add a splash of water if the pan starts to stick. Next add the pineapple, chestnuts and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan along with the cashews and the sauce mix and cook for about 5 minutes until all the ingredients are hot through and the sauce is sticky and thick.

Serve with 50 gms whole grain basmati rice per person and sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Tofu & White Bean Scramble

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it sets you up for the day ahead while at the same time it sets your intentions, your intentions about how you feel about your body and your health.

Run out the door and grab a takeaway muffin and coffee and you are saying that you don’t value yourself enough to spend a few moments giving yourself a healthy and nutritious start to your day.  You also leave yourself open to energy crashes mid morning.

What you eat at breakfast sets the scene for the day ahead and at The Body Retreat we advocate that you have a protein based breakfast to help keep your energy levels balanced all morning.  Some of the most popular breakfasts on retreat are egg based, we love a good eggy breakfast, scrambled, poached, fried or omelette all winning breakfast dishes.

But what if you don’t eat eggs, are you confined to a lifetime of breakfast cereal?

Not necessarily… here our Tofu & White Bean Scramble for example. Takes only a few minutes to prepare and unlike scrambled eggs you can actually make this egg free scramble up the night before and simply warm through in the morning saving valuable time.

Quick & Easy Egg Free Scramble
Makes 6 portions or 4 very generous portions
  • 100gms Organic Unsmoked Tofu
  • 400gms White Beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 20mls Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • optional
  • freshly cut chives
  • 1/2 clove minced garlic
  • Handful chopped Spinach

Making this Tofu & White Bean Egg Free Breakfast Scramble couldn’t be easier.

Place the rinsed and drained beans in a pan with the almond milk and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10 mins.

Mash the beans and milk together to form a creamy base and then add the tofu.

Mix throughly. Season to your own personal taste.

Here we served our breakfast scramble with an avocado and tomato salsa, a real wake up call for the taste buds in the morning.

Citrus Green Tea Refresher

Green Tea

Its Summer!!!  The temperatures outside are really starting to heat up.

Its important to keep hydrated and cool to keep your energy levels stable.  Every cell in our body needs water to function properly and if you neglect your hydration levels you will start to feel sluggish, develop headaches, brain fog and of course your won’t have the energy to work out and be active this summer.  There are many ways to keep your hydration levels up you can drink plenty of water and eat foods that have a high water content like salad veg and fruits.   But your appetite can take a dip when the heat is on and it can be a bit boring to drink gallons of flat water and of course most soft drinks contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar or worse are crammed with artificial sweeteners and other “stuff”.

At The Body Retreat when the temperatures rise we often rustle up a healthy refresher for the ladies.  This is one of our favourites.  Its is such an easy healthy recipe to make and once you taste it you will not be rushing back to the soft drink aisle.

The mix of green tea and citrus fruits makes for a drink that is a real powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins and most importantly it tastes great!

Citrus Green Tea Refresher

Makes about 500mls Cordial

1 Organic Green Tea Bag

2 Un-waxed Lemons

3 Un-waxed Limes

1 tbsp Honey

1 large spring fresh Mint

Firstly, place your teabag into a mug or jug and cover with about 300 mls freshly boiled water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile roughly chop up your lemons and limes, keep the skins on, chop the lot then add to a blender, food processor or if you have one a Nutirbullet, along with the mint spring, again stalk and all and then add the honey.

When it’s cooled slightly add the cup of green tea to the lemon lime mix and give a few pulses to blend together.

Pop this mixture into a fridge for at least and hour to all the flavours to really develop.

Next pass the mixture through a sieve and press to get all the juice from your pulpy mix. Now you have the most delicious cordial that you can top up either with flat or sparkling water and some ice to make a healthy refreshing drink.

This cordial will keep covered in the fridge for about a week.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.  Please feel free to share this recipe by using any of the social media buttons along the side …sharing is caring xx

 

Quick & Healthy Chicken and Lemon Soup

Lunches can be a challenge when you are trying to follow your commitment to eat healthy meals, thats why so many of us revert to the humble sandwich but as we have discussed in previous blog, eating a sandwich at lunchtime is actually going to set you up for weight gain…even if you eat one of those plastic fantastic calorie counted ones the supermarkets offer.

Soup really is the savour of waistlines, you make rustle up a soup that is high in protein, antioxidants and fibre in just minutes and once you have mastered a few basic chopping skills you will wonder what ever stopped you from unleashing your inner Nigella before.

So, onto the Chicken & Lemon Soup

If like me you had a roast chicken at the weekend and have all but stripped the poor bird bare, wait a moment before you throw her out.  Because I would like to share with you a delicious and nutritious soup recipe that takes only about 30  mins to prepare and will keep you feeling full all afternoon.  The addition of fresh lemon to this hearty soup really lifts the flavours and takes that humble old bird carcus to a new level.  Don’t be put off by the steps for making your own stock, this really is the most simple soup ever.. and you can feel doubly virtuous as you enjoy a big bowl full that not only are you eating a healthy and nutritious home cooked meal but you have also wasted nothing, we are really keen on that at The Body Retreat.

This soup make a great lunch if you are trying to stick to your healthy eating commitment or if you are detoxing from all the Christmas excess.  We make a version of this soup on our Weight Loss Retreat that I call Irish Granny’s Soup as it has the addition of pot barley too.  If you are a vegetarian you can replace the chicken with a can of rinsed chick peas but will also need to add a good quality veg stock like Marigold Bullion.

(you can freeze this soup or it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days)

Serves 6
  • 1 Chicken Carcus
  • 1 Leek, sliced
  • 3 Sticks Celery, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 large leaves Savoy Cabbage
  • 1 sml head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 25gm Frozen Broad Beans
  • 25gm Frozen Peas
  • Few springs fresh thyme or tsp of dried is ok too.
  • Grated rind of full Lemon
  • Salt & Black Pepper

Ok first things first…its time to get all that last lovely goodness from you bird.  Place the carcus in a large pot and cover with about 1.5 lts boiling water.  Bring to a gentle simmer on the stove and cover and leave to just bubble away for about 20 mins.

You can now get on with chopping your veggies, there is no right or wrong way, just small enough so that you can get a variety of veggies in one spoonfull.

Now for the messy bit…and ill admit i always wear a pair of rubber gloves for these, i keep a box of disposable gloves in the kitchen for jobs just like this. Take the pot of the stove and allow to cooler for a moment or tow, then lie the carcus out of the stock flaking off any last little bits of meat that by now will be falling off the bones. Discard the carcus and before you add the veggies just need to have a check that no small bones have fallen into the stock.

Add the veggies expect the broccoli, beans and peas and the thyme and bring back to a gentle simmer for 10 mins.  Then add the broccoli, beans and peas…you can add the beans and peas straight form the freezer there is no need to defrost.

Finally , grate over the zest of a whole lemon and add a little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste.

And that is it.  Just a few simple steps to make a delicious and nutritious soup that is perfect for lunchtime.

 

Mushroom Spelt Risotto

The Body Retreat Mushroom Spelt Risotto

Looking for a quick and healthy mid week supper?

Well look no longer, this Spelt Risotto is easy to make, needs a little attention and stirring through the cooking time but the end result is very tasty.  This recipe is for Mushroom Risotto but you could easily adapt to your favourite.

Spelt is an ancient grain with a history of use in both Europe and the Middle East.  This super grain is rich in B Vits, Minerals and dietary fibre.  Its perfect replacement for rice or wheat in a variety of sweet and savour dishes.

Mushroom Spelt Risotto
Serves 2
  • 120gm Pearled Spelt
  • 1 sml brown onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 dry porchini mushrooms (soaked in warm water and then chopped)
  • 1 pint stock ( veg or chicken works well)
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 20gm Pecoreno Romano or Parmesan cheese

First soak the dry mushroom for at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile take a heavy bottom pan and heat the oil and then add the onion and garlic with a small pinch of salt.

Reduce the heat and sauté for a couple of mins.  If it looks as through the onion will catch (brown) add a splash of the stock.

Then add the mushrooms and stir through for a few moments.  Next pour in the spelt and stir all the ingredients together.

Now add large glug of your stock and reduce the heat and give a stir.

As the stock begins to reduce add another glug, stir gently.  Repeat until the stock has been used.  This will take about 20 mins.  Don’t try to rush this stage, you want the spelt to slowly absorb every bit of the lovely stock.

Just before you are ready to serve, add the lemon juice, parsley and the cheese, stir through.

Serve risotto with a rocket salad.

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