Chicken With Mushroom Quinoa Recipe

The Golden Door Health Retreat And Spa have been generous enough to provide us with some amazing recipes to pass on to our readers looking to add extra health and vitality to their to-do list for the end of 2014. Nutritious and delicious – what more could you want?

RELATED: Tried And Tested: Golden Door Health Retreat

Serves 4


100g (1/2cup) quinoa

4 125g (4 1/2 oz) chicken breast, skin removed

1/2 tsp salt and smoked paprika mix

1/4 tsp mustard seed oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 small onion, chopped

45g (1/2 cup) chopped mushrooms

125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock

Juice of 4 apples (approx 375mls or 11/2 cups)

2 tsp of balsamic vinegar

2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Wash the quinoa in plenty of cold water and drain. Put in a pan with 250ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil and  then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the chicken breast with paprika seasoning. Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the chicken to the dry pan. Cook for 2 minutes to sear, then turn over and sear the other side. Transfer the chicken to a paper-lined baking tray and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Put the mustard seed oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the mustard seeds. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the mushrooms, stock and cook until the stock has reduced by half. Add the apple juice and cook for 15 minutes until reduced by half. Add the vinegar, season with salt and pepper and stir in quinoa.
  4. Toss together the tomatoes, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Serve the quinoa topped with the chicken and the tomato salad.

Nutrition per serve

  • Energy: 1347kj (322 cals)
  • Protein: 32g
  • Total fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrate: 27g
  • Fibre: 4g
  • Sodium: 95mg

The ‘Man’cation Just Got Serious

The ‘Man’cation has carved an acceptable place in the Australian travel vernacular, but Aussie blokes are also now adding their stamp on wellness with the “Brotreat” becoming increasingly popular according to Australia’s leading health and wellness authority, Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia.

RELATED: Tried and Tested: Golden Door Health Retreat

“We have experienced a surge in men enquiring and attending retreats with their mates and to answer the increased interest and demand, we have developed more specific male retreats to cater to a range of health and wellness issues that face Australian men,” general manager of Golden Door Australia, Brigid Walsh, explains.

“Before now, men especially seemed to struggle with the retreat concept; waiting until a crisis forced them to consciously put their health and wellness above other aspects of their life. But men’s wellness is a rapidly growing aspect of our business which we believe is being led by men recognizing and accepting that taking time out, focusing on themselves and learning new ways to cope as a healthy preventative measure that assists them in managing busy, stressful and at times – overwhelming lives.”

Partnering with unique wellness consultancy Sunshine on Legs, which specialises in assisting people to achieve a sustainable life balance, Golden Door’s Men’s Wellness Retreat provides an opportune environment for men to focus on themselves and their own health; motivating them to rethink the masculine ideologies that many men were raised with.

Sunshine on Legs co-founder and renowned men’s wellness expert David Ball says: “The emphasis on what it means to be a male can often conflict with health maintaining behaviours such as seeking advice about health and wellbeing, utilising health services and taking a break for ‘me-time’ when it is required.” 

As opposed to the quintessential blokes getaway where it’s common – if not expected – for men to overindulge in activities that can be detrimental to wellbeing, a health retreat is a sanctuary where digital devices, alcohol, caffeine, junk food and late nights are off the menu.

“The advantage of coming to The Golden Door is that it gives male guests an opportunity to remove themselves from their daily stresses, step out of their current situation and make it possible to view life from a different perspective which can stimulate rebalance, revival and refocus,” David says.

David Ball’s men’s wellness retreat is held regularly at The Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia and focuses on giving men the tools needed to achieve a life balance and become effective leaders of themselves, their work and their families.

Image via healthandfitnesstravel.com.au

Is It Too Difficult To Separate Work And Home Life?

In today’s society, with Internet access available readily at our fingertips, more and more women are turning to the ‘connected lifestyle’ to manage their busy lives. Women are busier than ever, juggling work life and motherhood and with technology developing right before our eyes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to switch off when the workday has ended. In fact, in a 2013 survey by AVG Australia, 62 per cent of women said mobile devices make it hard to separate home and work life.

The Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa, Elysia are leaders as a destination for guests to not only detox, but also e-tox – that means no laptop, iPad, e-reader or TV. While that may sound scary to some, general manager Brigid Walsh says her team encourages retreat guests to limit their use of technology while e-toxing.

“Guests find it invigorating to escape from being constantly  ‘plugged in’ and have quality face-to-face time with fellow guests and staff at the retreat. We encourage guests to enjoy meal times together and without the distractions of technology, allow them enjoy the simplicity of food and life. This reminds guests to slow down and be more present in the moment.”

Set in the peaceful surroundings of the Hunter Valley, just two and a half hours from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa, Elysia is an sanctuary of serenity where guests are encouraged to disconnect from their devices in order to regain some of the passion, energy, creativity and clarity that gets lost in the stresses of everyday life.

“We find our guests relish in the huge range of activities Elysia has on offer and use it as an opportunity to take time to re-connect with themselves without the pressure of technology getting in the way. They are finding it easier to switch-off in the ‘real world’ and less likely to go back to the excessive levels they were use to,” Brigid said.

While Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa, Elysia, encourages guests to disconnect from their devices while e-toxing, there is, of course, no restriction in staying in touch with family and friends via mobile phone from their accommodation.

It’s time now for women to unplug the charger to their laptop and focus on recharging their lives. We all could all benefit from learning to switch off every once in awhile. For more information on programs and packages go to www.goldendoor.com.au

Tried And Tested: Golden Door Health Retreat

It’s not often in life you get to sit back, relax and let worries go (well, not often in my life anyway) and that is precisely why a stay at the Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia was an absolute treat for me. Not only was I to be pampered in the spa and fed like a queen but I was also encouraged to stop. Yes, just stop. Stop thinking, stop worrying, stop relying on caffeine (this one scared me), stop craving, stop working. Hmmm, so that last one was a challenge. It is also suggested that guests refrain from the use of their technology – a digital detox of sorts. Although, in the confines of your villa, it was perfectly fine to contact loved ones via mobile phone if you choose.

I arrived for my two-night stay on a Friday around midday and, not wanting to deter from my usual routine that week, it meant I was tired, sore and a tad hungover. Just in time for lunch, I made my way to the dining room where I was served an amazing prawn salad (and I immediately regretted the bacon and cheese roll I’d consumed on my two-hour drive to Pokolbin from Sydney).

A meet and greet ensued followed by a tour of the grounds and then a yoga class. By this point, 4pm on a Friday afternoon, I was either ready for wine time or bed. In the break before dinner I took an opportunity to retreat back to my gorgeous villa for quick lie down on the couch while catching up on the text messages I’d missed from my work colleagues out at a farewell lunch. It looked fun but… snoooooooze, I was wrecked.

I woke up just in time for Friday night drinks (the non-alcoholic variety) before dinner. Fruity concoctions awaited the guests so we sipped and mingled before the night’s meal was served. Another delicious dish was served, a first course of pumpkin soup followed by ocean trout with roma tomato and caper sauce and avocado mash.

A seminar followed for those interested and I was one of the first to put my hand up when I heard the topic – Sleep. In an hour-long workshop, we learned some methods of meditation and how to get ourselves of to sleep by using the breath and extending our inhales and exhales. Clearly there’s a lot more to it but I certainly needed to hit the sack straight after that.

The next morning I had every intention of heading to the 6am tai chi class. That is until my alarm went off at 5:45am. Snooze. Extended snooze. Alarm off. I rose at 8:45am, just in time for my deep tissue massage, followed by a facial in the Golden Door Day Spa. Needless to say, I blissed out!

Lunch on Saturday was a take on the traditional chicken caesar salad Golden Door-style and, of course, was scrumptious. But it was after lunch that I started to feel a little unwell. An ache had started to gently thump away at my temples and a feeling of exhaustion had washed over me – even though all I had done all day was get pampered. Weird, right? Well, apparently not when you are suffering the effects of caffeine withdrawal. As a medium-heavy coffee drinker (3-4 espressos a day), going without for more than 24 hours had made parts of my body mutiny. Resistance was futile but, with no caffeine to be found, I retreated to my villa – more precisely, the world’s most comfortable king bed – to sleep off my ‘coming down’.

I awoke just in time for dinner, chatted with my fellow guests at the dinner table and devoured the evening’s three-course meal that was completed with my favourite food of all-time, cheesecake (Golden Door-style once again). Yum! But the mallet in my head was banging away and a friendly staff member smuggled me some green tea and suggested I take it easy that night. So back to my room I went, where the beautiful turn-down service complete with the burning of amazing essential oils, prompted me to make use of the glorious bathtub. Now, I don’t have a bathtub in my tiny one-bedroom Sydney apartment so this was an absolute treat! I slipped into the tub, green tea in hand and iPhone for photographic evidence for friends and family that I was actually relaxing, and I had found my fave part of my Golden Door experience.

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Refreshed and relaxed, headache subsiding, I got into bed ready for a night of restful sleep before packing up and heading back to the rat race the following morning, one thing came to mind… Two days was too short!

On Sunday morning, as I said my goodbyes to the wonderful staff and the lovely guests that I had met during my stay, I wished I had made more of my time there although, as one of the girls behind the desk had said to me, “Your experience was just what you needed”. Whether that be partaking in the sports, hikes, yoga, tai chi, spa treatements or like me, sleeping and eating well, I’m better for it.

And I’ve even cut down my coffee intake!

Thanks to the Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia