HumanaVitality Recipe Refresh Challenge {$50.00 Gift Card Giveaway!}

The Lemon Bowl HumanaVitality Challenge

Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world so when I was invited to participate in a healthy cooking competition as part of HumanaVitality’s Recipe Refresh Challenge earlier this month, it was a no brainer.

The opportunity to step away from the computer and get in the kitchen with fellow food bloggers is pretty much my idea of the perfect day.

Chicago Skyline - The Lemon Bowl

The Mission? Prepare a healthy comfort food dish for a family of four in a “Top Chef” style competition using at least one “Secret Ingredient” in less than 60 minutes.


The Ingredients? We had 30 minutes to shop at a downtown Chicago neighborhood Walmart with a strict budget of $50.00. Later we discovered the secret ingredients: raisins, pears and orange juice. Fortunately, we only had to use one.

Leslie Shopping - The Lemon Bowl

The Reason? Help promote a first-of-its-kind healthy food program which incentivizes healthy eating by offering a 5 percent savings on healthier food products purchased at Walmart. (Think: veggies, canned beans, whole grain bread, oats, canned tomatoes, bananas, etc.)


The Participants? Six bloggers from around the country including (from Left to Right) Meredith of In Sock Monkey Slippers, myself, Paula of Bell’ Alimento and Marla of Family Fresh Cooking.  That’s Leslie of The Hungry Housewife up above shopping at Walmart and you’ll see Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen later in the post!

Judging Panel - The Lemon Bowl

The Judges? A distinguished panel flew in from around the country to taste, critique and analyze our creations based on a set of criteria.  Judges included Christopher Koetke, Vice President of Chicago’s Kendall College School of Culinary Arts; Liz Weiss, an award-winning broadcast journalist, registered dietician and one half of the Meal Makeover Moms; Lisa Sutherland, PhD, President and Principal, LA Sutherland Group, and Adjunct Professor, Dartmouth College; and Dr. Thomas Van Gilder, National Medical Director for HumanaVitality and all wellness lines of business.

Sweet and Spicy Chili - The Lemon Bowl

Beer Cheers - The Lemon Bowl

The Recipe? Sweet and Smoky Turkey Chili with Homemade Baked Corn Tortilla Chips complete with diced avocado, cilantro, scallions and Greek yogurt garnish. If you’ve never used orange juice to deglaze meat for chili, you haven’t lived.


Liz Chili - The Lemon Bowl

The Competition Format? When they said “Top Chef” style, they were not kidding! There was make-up, hair, lighting, sound, video, camera crew and more. In between shots, we had individual video interviews that will be used in 2013 for HumanaVitality’s campaign. While cooking, we had live interviews with the judges asking about various ingredients, cooking styles, history behind the recipe, etc. Alton Brown has nothing on these guys!

Robin Winning Dish - The Lemon Bowl

The Results? My girl Robin Sue from Big Red Kitchen took First Place Prize with her Fork & Knife Pizza Burgers with Garlic Parmesan “Fries” and Italian Coleslaw <–YUM!!!! And guess what? Yours truly won First Runner Up Prize for my Sweet and Smoky Turkey Chili and Homemade Baked Corn Tortilla Chips! My fellow bloggers really brought their A Game with amazing dishes so this was a COMPLETE shock and a tremendous honor.

MarlaTorch - The Lemon Bowl

The Proof? Check out this fun sizzle reel created by HumanaVitality – you won’t want to miss Marla breaking out the torch!!

The Best Part? In addition to the generous cash prize that I won, HumanaVitality also provided me with a $50.00 Walmart Gift Card to giveaway to my loyal readers!

Giveaway is Closed: Congratulations to #61, Chung-Ah who won a $50.00 Walmart Gift Card.

To Enter: Leave a comment below telling me your healthy living goals for 2013.

For Additional Entries:

Giveaway ends at Midnight EST on Thursday, December 27th. Winner will be announced on Friday, December 28th and Liz will mail the gift card to the winner.

Disclaimer: Winner will be contacted via the email address used to leave a comment on this blog post. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Open to US residents over the age of 18 only. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook in any way. No purchase necessary to enter. I was not compensated to write this post but my trip to Chicago and the Walmart gift cards were sponsored by HumanaVitality.  All opinions are my own.


  1. says

    I have been making a lot of homemade everything! I would like to make more in 2013. I will know that everything I do make, is organic, has no additives and is made fresh. My list includes anything I use that I can put in jars, freeze, etc. I also make my own laundry soap which I will do from now on. I am saving tons of money by doing this. I also will expand my already large garden.

  2. says

    Your recipe sounds amazing! Who would have thought… juice to deglaze a pan? I’m so trying it! Sounds and looks like a really fun trip!

  3. Stephanie says

    Love the OJ tip! I am a fellow healthy living advocate. I started weight watchers on January 1st, 2012. I had never actively tried to lose weight before, even though it was something I needed desperately. A friend of mine mentioned she was doing WW and asked if I wanted to join her. I decided it was time to deal with my weight issues. Fast forward a year later, and I’ve lost 65 lbs. My life has changed tremendously. Not only do I eat healthier but my whole life is healthier. I never imagined diet and exersize would change my life in such a large way. My aspirations for 2013 include starting my own food blog and maybe taking some culinary classes. I want to reach out to more people and let them know it’s possible! Thanks for the lovely blog and Instagram. I really enjoy it! :)

    • says

      Congratulations on losing 65 lbs!! You must feel like a million bucks!! I highly encourage you to follow your dreams, take cooking classes and start a blog. Just do it! Seriously. Start now. :) Can’t wait to follow your journey – keep me posted!! And congrats again!!

  4. Kathy Winans says

    First I want to say congratulations!
    My plan for 2013 is to get my whole family to start eating better. I have fibromyalgia so their are certain food’s I need to try and stay away from and certain foods I should eat more of! I plan on planting a garden so all my veggies are organic!!

  5. Marnely Rodriguez-Murray says

    New gym for hubby and I. He wants to stop eating carbs and I need to get on the dairy free wagon to see if that’s why I’m not feeling so sexy (aka bloated!) We have all winter to get ready for a crazy summer of working in the kitchen 16 hours a day!

  6. says

    GIRL! I LOVED reading your recap- how cool are you?! I want to jump up and down and scream “I KNOOOOOOOOOOOW HER!!!” :) My healthy living goals involve getting back to running- also hoping to get my little guy out on a few “runs” with me this summer- nothing big but I think he would really like it.

  7. Kathy Winans says

    Ok its taken me about a hour to do this!! Lol
    I followed and repined on pintrest. I tweeted but can’t copy and paste from my phone. 8 already like you on Facebook and I shared to my Google circles. Man this is hard from my phone!! Thanks for sharing your winnings with us!!

    • says

      Hi Kathy – Just a heads up that you have to leave separate comments for each entry – I apologize for the inconvenience!! Each comment has a number which is how I randomly select a winner. Good luck!!

  8. says

    I found your site through Daily Buzz Food….and love it! My goal for 2013 is to make big strides in replacing as many processed and packaged foods in my house with “real food” and homemade food. I started making this effort this past summer and feel so much better already. 2013 will be a big year for changes in my kitchen!

    Happy Holidays!

  9. says

    Great post and great challenge! I love that it took place in my city too :)

    My healthy goals for 2013 include: 2-3 meals a week that are meatless, working out at least 3-4 times a week & doing yoga at least 2 times a week, and really planning my meals ahead of time-including prepping things for the week.

  10. Sabine B says

    Facing new food challenges for 2013… Just diagnosed with intolerances to wheat, rice, white potato, chicken, pork, soy and egg. As well as gluten (no oats, spelt, rye, barley and malt) and casein (cow’s as well as goat’s milk). I will need all the help I can get to totally revamp my cooking and baking!

  11. Trar lin says

    I just subscribed to your RSS feed.

    i would like to increase my recipe binder to include more clean healthy recipes for my family (and switch out the unhealthy old ones)

  12. Nikki says

    Congrats on your cooking competition! My healthy living goals for 2013 are to provide nutritious and creative homemade foods for our infant twin sons! We would like them to have a solid nutritive base to start their lives!


    Following @TheLemonBowl on Twitter
    Subscribed to free email updates
    Already Liked The Lemon Bowl on Facebook
    Now Following The Lemon Bowl on Pinterest
    Tweeted {New!} HumanaVitality Recipe Refresh Challenge Recap + $50.00 Gift Card #Giveaway!

    Thank you :)

  13. Mami2jcn says

    I would like to drink more water in 2013…an attainable goal. I don’t want to set myself up for failure with something too hard. LOL!

  14. Jessica To says

    My goals for 2013 are to eat more fruits and veggies and to exercise more. This is the goal for the whole family!

  15. says

    Looks like you had a blast! Chicago is definitely one of the cities I need to visit soon! But when it gets warmer of course – I can’t handle that kind of cold weather.

    And thanks for the awesome giveaway! My healthy goals for 2013 is to continue what I’m doing, exercising 6x a week and working on portion control.

  16. Jeffrey says

    My plan is to focus more on plant based products. I’m not going vegetarian just going to try to consume less meat.

  17. says

    I loved seeing all the pictures and hearing a bit more about your trip and challenge. No surprise at all to me that you took runnerup only surprise is taht you didnt win!!!

  18. Elin says

    Even though I do a fair amount of it already, my goal is to eat much more local, seasonal and non-processed foods, even though it’s easier to do the exact opposite.

  19. says

    My healthy eating plan for 2012 is to stop snacking!!! Late night snacks undo all my hard healthy work during the day. PS next time you are in Chicago let’s meet up!!! I would love to hang out with one of my fave instagram food bloggers!

  20. april says

    I plan to get our family back to a more paleo-style diet (the holidays really throw us off track) as well as starting some crossfit-type workouts.

  21. Louis says

    Eat more fruits and vegetables.. AbsoluteLy drink more and more water, And cross train at least once a week…And able to do at least 25 Real push ups… Volunteer For a race..Getting into a habit of being fit…

  22. Mary Santora says

    My plan is to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in my every day cooking. I am also expanding my herb garden this spring and hope to have fresh herbs year round. A better way to season my dishes naturally.

  23. Anne D says

    My healthy goals for the new year are to eat smaller healthier portions and to not wait and eat most of my days food later in the evening.

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