Elana's Pantry 2013 review

What a Year

Wow. This has been an incredible year or so. In just 15 months time I threw two Bar Mitzvahs (one for each of my darling boys), built a new house, and wrote another book Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry. I do not recommend grouping these projects together into just over one year’s time to anyone. It was amazing fun, and also incredibly exhausting.

First, the Bar Mitzvahs. Of course (as any Jewish mother would attest!) the boys were amazing at each of their Bar Mitzvahs, chanting Hebrew for more than 3 hours in front of over 100 people. What a feat. What mazel! For each of their Bar Mitzvahs we held multiple gluten-free events and get togethers over a fun-filled weekend for friends and family (no I did not  cook for the 100+ people that came to each one) and had an amazing time with our tribe of loved ones. I’m glad that those huge gatherings are behind us, as they were wonderful, yet at the same time somewhat stressful.

This amazing year, 2013 was also consumed by the building of a new home. We stripped a historic house, built in 1912, down to the studs, basically building a new green home inside an old one. Installing non-toxic recycled blue denim (sound-proof insulation) as well as geothermal energy, and many, many more green features, I was up to my ears in every detail of the project. I seemed to hold it all together until we moved in and I had a complete melt down (now I’m fine). Perhaps that was because my younger son’s Bar Mitzvah, the move to the new house, and the release of my latest book were all within 6 weeks of one another. Not by my planning of course –construction schedules can be very “flexible,” and we had intended to spread things out more, but in the end it was not to be, and I was up to my ears in stress.

It was good stress of course. But I view stress the way I view food. Too much of anything is generally not a good thing. Even if one is eating healthy food, it’s important to stop when one reaches one’s limit. But the wheels were already in motion and there was no stopping the train that was 2013.

Next on my plate was the release of my latest book, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry. Sometimes I wonder, why did I do this book in the middle of two Bar Mitzvahs and a house renovation? Well, being a housewife is a mixed thing for me. I’m so happy that I get to be there everyday when the boys get home from school –this is very important to me. At the same time, if I’m not doing my own projects I can end up feeling like a kept woman or a Stepford wife, neither of which makes me happy. I need to work! I’ve been doing so since I started my first business at age eight, but that’s a story for another time. I just had to fit a little bit of me into this crazy year.

So you must be wondering if I’m ok. Yes, after some deep exhaustion, I’m fine. I’ve taken extra rest this fall and am bouncing back quite nicely. Along those lines, I’m planning on a quiet, health-focused 2014, with lots of reading, research and rest –three of my favorite things.

In this new year I’ll be sharing a bunch of healthy dinner recipes, healthy lifestyle ideas and healthy exercise tips with you, my dearest online family. Happy New Year to you my lovely readers. I hope you had a wonderful 2013 and wish you the best in 2014! Here’s to an abundance of rest and relaxation.

What was your 2013 like? Please leave a comment and let me know, I’m all ears!


  1. Heather says

    Mazel Tov Elana! It’s all good…???? btw, I wouldn’t call you a housewife…you’re a workaholic!! Lol Enjoy your new home and congrats on everything! Keep on keeping on with all your great recipes!

  2. says

    Though a bit late: happy new year Elana and mazal tov for your sons ??? ???!!!

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SITE, great pic’s, healthy, delicious recipes and interesting stories.

    I came accidentally across your site and I’m so happy about it!

    Nice to see you are Jewish too, I lived in Israel for 30 years and since 2002 live in The Netherlands, a mother of two, practice my profession as a dietitian and teaching Hebrew.
    I also combine my big passions: cooking and photographing in my young blog.
    Thank you for inspiring me with your knowledge and talents!


  3. Susan says

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments in 2013. Would love to see photos of the house renovation and all the “green” elements.
    2013 was a busy one, got engaged, married 6 months later, moved out of a house due to mold issues that the landlord couldn’t fix, then a month later had to move again, out of that rental due to (literally) a crazy landlord, now a month later we are finally settling into our third place in three months! Looking forward to a relaxing and healthy 2014!

  4. Patti Robertson says

    So when do we get pictures of the new old house? I, too, live in a restored historical home (1915); I’d love to see yours! Thanks.

  5. says

    This post made me smile. Not that you were exhausted of course, but how you opened up. You’re so sweet. And the photo is so cute! I love it! Missing you! Love, Kel

  6. Deborah says

    2013 was my wake-up year and now focusing on eating more healthy. I had lost my way apparently and feeling absolutely awful in July. I changed my cooking habits and it has made a world of difference. I started with getting books from Elana and other high protein, low carb, folks and it does work. I also now agree that if you break a habit for 30 days, you can continue on. I don’t crave sugar like I had before and white flour is not in my dictionary any longer. Bring on the new recipes foer 2014 and looking forward to them. You are helping my cause and I feel better than ever. The happy side effect of this is I am losing weight!!!! Thank you.

  7. Laurena says

    In 2013, my health seemed to hit a new low and I found your blog…and I read about something called SCD, did some further research and WOW! what a difference! THANK YOU for being the one to steer me in that direction! There are still struggles, BUT life is SO VERY GOOD reguardless and I thank G*d for you!!!!!

  8. Kat says

    New Years was a quiet one this year, narrowly getting home in time to celebrate with my fiancé. Reflecting back on the year, it’s been filled with ups (getting engaged) and some low (family drama, not graduating) but also just a ton of gratitude for the time I have had this past year. Wouldn’t change a thing.

  9. says

    It sounds like such a wonderful year! I love the picture above- it’s filled with such joy and happiness.

    2013 was a year of intentions, reflections, and journeys- I’m looking forward to see what 2014 will bring!

  10. says

    As for me, I am glad to see 2013 go. It was extremely stressful. But here’s to a blessed and peace-filled 2014!

    Highlight of 2013 had to be being able to make and eat delicious gluten-free bagels!!! THANK YOU, ELANA!!! <3

  11. Carolyn J. Williams says

    Good for you. Your year has been stressful, but good. This year kick back and follow thru on the three items mentioned. My year was a bit stressful, a wedding for my granddaughter. I plan on following your recommendation also. Sometimes you just have to take time for yourself.

  12. Nicole says

    That sounds like a stressful time. As a teacher, mom of 4 boys, and a student in a master’s program, I understand. I have just been introduced to this lifestyle as I was put on a very strict diet by my doctor just before the new year. All of the recipes are extremely helpful and I am adjusting well. My only question is… is there is a substitute for the coconut items in the recipe? I am allergic to coconut and so many delicious looking recipes seem to call for a form of coconut.


  13. Kaeli says

    Happy New Year, Elana! You’ve had quite the busy 2013!

    My 2013 was an exciting year because I finally broke free of my eating habits and began eating Paleo on 1/2/13. One year ago today!! It has forever changed my life! And I found your website this year. You are an amazing resource and have helped me through my very first paleo Holiday Season! I wasn’t perfect but I’m looking forward to being even healthier in 2014. Thank you!

    My husband had a major surgery that took months to recover from, and even though that derailed our financial goals for the year, we decided “Why not?” and booked a BIG trip to Israel and Jordan with both our families. It was a trip of a lifetime! 2013 was an eventful year! : )

  14. Mia says

    Wow! What a full year you have had. Congratulations on the completion of your eco-friendly home and your new book!

    I had the intention for 2013 to be a year of supporting my well-being. And it turned out to be a year of deep healing and transformation.

    This year I am committed to continue my healing process. And to support my parents with all of their end-of-life requests.

    Thank you for all the energy you put into your blog. I look forward to reading all of your posts and appreciate all the new recipes you share.

  15. Douglas Potter says

    Looks like your having a great time. Our best to your papa.
    We always enjoy your website and your books.

    Mazal Tov,
    Irit and Doug Potter

  16. Sandra Alvarez says

    I like to Thank You for sharing all your new recipes especially your Paleo recipes. I know a lot of people who could not afford your books but by sharing them online makes life better for them/us.
    I was diagnosed with RA(rhumetoid arthrits) in 2012 exactly 1 month after I turned 50 years old it began. By April of 2012 i was bedridde and thought my life was over. I had nothing but time to read and found out that food was a big part of what makes you function. I have changed everything I eat from sugar to additives and persevitives. I have have lost over 75lbs since April of 2012. With your recipes it has given me a light at the end of the tunnel, meaning I still can enjoy certain foods. I have even learned how to make my own Mexican dishes so I can eat them which lets me still enjoy my favorite foods.
    2014 has to be a better year for me. I have a great Rhumatologist who works with me and hopefully one day I can get off my medicines with the help of foods.
    Once again, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  17. Marcia says

    Happy New Year, and may it bring peace, joy, and happiness! Thanks so much for guiding me toward terrific recipes that are grain-free. Removing grains has helped my diabetes so much! I’m the only insulin-dependent diabetic I know who has been able to decrease her insulin over time.

  18. Sherri says

    Thank YOU, Elana, for your tireless efforts to help make our lives better! I visit your website faithfully a couple of times a week and have your marvelous cookbooks. I love the simplicity and tastiness of your recipes. And I love your website so much that I am mentioning it in my new book “Welcome to the World of Food Allergies and Intolerances: A Parent’s Handbook” as one of my go to websites. Happy new year to you and yours! Hope it is a great one!

  19. Rowena Smart says

    For 2013 I found Paleo, thanks to you Elana! Which also lead to finding out my now husbands Gluten Intolerance and he feels so much better for it as do I! I also fitted in an engagement and getting eloped as well as further growning my fitness business and nutrition studies! I look forward to your new recipes for 2014.

  20. says

    Wow you had quite a year! Congratulations on EVERYTHING! It all sounds joyful and stressful all at the same time. I wish you a healthy and calmer 2014 :)

  21. Cindy says

    After realizing I have a gluten sensitivity about 4 years ago, 2013 was the year I figured out why I still had so many symptoms. Being gf was not enough for me. Packaged gf foods still cause many health problems for me so I began eliminating packaged foods and making our foods from scratch at home. While this was quite a challenge with 4 kids, the health benefits have been well worth it. Your recipes have been such a welcome breath of fresh air – simple, few ingredients, delicious! I am excited to hear you will be working on main dishes as that is my biggest struggle. After a year of trying dinner recipes, I still only have a few that my whole family loves. Changing from SAD diet, to something completely different is not easy. Thank you so much for all you do to help not only with improved health, but with improved lives!

  22. Sara Just says

    Mazel Tov! What a year you’ve had. As exhausting as it all sounds, your cookbook and blog readers are glad you were able to squeeze in the new Paleo cookbook. I cook for my family family from it regularly.
    Let me know if there is somewhere I could send you a private message about a mini college reunion.
    Hope all is well and best wishes to you and your family for 2014.
    Sara Just

  23. Amy says

    So great to see a picture of Ezra! You look beautiful and the stress doesn’t touch you (on the outside at least!). Here’s to a peaceful and healthy 2014 for us all.

    Much love to you and your family,


  24. says

    Congrats to you and your family for a crazy (but wonderful) filled year! After being told I had Hashimoto’s Disease and had to go Paleo, I (of course) freaked out, but immediately found your website and slowly adapted to the changes that had to be made. I lost 33 lbs in 8 months and hope to lose another 50 lbs within the next 18 months. Mid 2013 turned out to be a slap in the face for us (my husband lost his job) but we’re hoping 2014 will open a new door and he will find something even better. I’ll continue to focus on my Paleo eating (thanks to the help of 2 of your cookbooks…and your website) and staying healthy. Thank you so much for all you do and I wish you great things in 2014!!

  25. Kylene says

    Dear Elana,
    This past year was a crazy one for me! Your website has been such an incredible help to me. As my family has made changes in our lifestyle, I am confident I can go to your website and grab some
    Delicious recipes that everyone will love without having to worry about the ingredients. And you do all this while staying so busy yourself!!! Thank you for your wonderful recipes and all the effort you put into your website!!!!

  26. Heather says

    Mazel tov Elana! We had my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this year too. Such a happy time!
    We di not have any major wheat issues, but after reading Wheat Belly we decided to go totally wheat free in the house, and 99% of the time outside the house. I found your site on Facebook several months ago and I have made several of your recipes. I still have to make your challah bread and I was wondering if you have a good recipe for chocolate rugelach as well???!! My goal for this year is to make more of my own breads since it is so expensive to buy them in the supermarket! I am so thankful though for all the gluten free options available in the stores now. It’s also great to see so many restaurants here in North Jersey offering gluten free options! Thank you for all you do and best wishes for a fabulous 2014!

  27. Rhonda says

    Happy New Year to you and yours! We enjoyed some of your yummy treats last night as part of our celebratory dinner! Thanks for all your recipes and information!

  28. says


    I have been a fan of your website for a couple of years and make your paleo bread recipe on a regular basis. You are my go to resource for anything baked. I’m excited about your plans for 2014 and look forward to seeing you branch out into new areas to help your devoted followers. Thank you for all you do.

  29. Janet Bublitz says

    Hi Elana,

    I must reiterate what I have read in other comments, thank you! Discovering your website is perhaps the single most wonderful thing that has happened to me in 2013. I should tell you how I found it too. It was listed as a resource in the back of Dr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly Cookbook, which I purchased in late July 2013.

    Two of your cookbooks were under my Christmas tree as I bragged about your amazing recipes for months, apparently not on deaf ears.

    In 4 months my Hashimoto’s antibodies improved by 50 points. My naturopath had confirmed my gluten intolerance 11 months earlier, but I found myself cheating or buying commercially made gluten free products, due to a lack of simple GF recipes. I find the time to bake your healthy recipes because they are simple, delicious and good for me.

    So rest, and enjoy your family, but keep up the wonderful work you do. There is a large community of people who appreciate you more than you know.

    Wishing you a prosperous and Happy New Year,


  30. says

    Wow, what an intense year. I hope 2014 is a much more relaxed one for you. And Mazel Tov! I remember my bat mitzvah from way back. No healthy food there, I can assure you. :-)

    Thank you for your blog and cookbook, I really enjoy and have made loads of your recipe, and have recommended both your blog and cookbooks to many others. I am not gluten intolerant, just feel better eating no wheat, white flour, or refined sugar, and am very health conscious, and like to find healthy recipes, and so glad to have discovered yours. Thank you, thank you, Elana!


  31. Melissa says

    Dear Elana,
    I have been following your posts and receive your emails for about a year now. I have a 5 and 3 year old. My oldest is Ilana, we pronounce it the same way you say your name! Mazel Tov to your boys and to your family on the Bar Mitzvah’s and the cookbook and new home! I am worrying about my children’s future bar/bat mitzvah’s.. I am planning to try the bagels from your latest cookbook today:) Looking forward to enjoying all your future recipes.. you are truly talented! I admire you and your way of life. I am striving for gluten and grain free and slowly weaning the kids, but it has it’s challenges.. all while trying to lose weight myself and be healthier for the whole family! Wishing you all the best in 2014 with much time to enjoy your new home, and with less (good) stress! Melissa

  32. Barbara Eppley says

    Mazel Tov and thank you for the wonderful recipes you offer. My freezer is never without some of your cookies. Happy New Year.

  33. says

    I’ve had too much going on, too, and the stress is at a point where I can actually feel it in my body. I need to focus on stress relieving activities like yoga and meditation this year. I recently found your blog and am enjoying the recipes, especially the BREAD. Happy new year!

  34. esther says

    Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov! I empathize with you. We had our youngest son’s wedding and the day after (almost) we started remodeling our kitchen! There were guests from abroad. And I was working full time then. The remodeling was the most stressful and seemed to drag on forever. But you know there is a saying that I will try to translate. Nothing is worthwhile if it isn’t accompanied with ‘hard work’ (sacrifice, etc.)

  35. Sharon says

    Hi Elana, thank you for your incredible generousity. Not only your wonderful recipes but also the glimpses into your life and your illness. I stared following you years ago as I was going gf to deal with autoimmune diseases. I got some improvement but this new year I am going Paleo. So I’ll be there in the background following your encouraging journey. Thanks again and all the best for the new year from Australia.

  36. Myrna says

    We are enjoying some of your recipes tonight for our New Year’s Eve celebration. Thanks so much for teaching us how to make such luscious goodies.

    I hope you and your family have a very peaceful and fulfilling year in 2014. I look forward to all your new creations and information.


  37. says

    Elana, thank you so much for your recipes. You are “with us” in our family at least twice a week when I cook from your cookbooks. You have made gluten-free so much easier for us and have encouraged me as I, too, work on addressing health issues via a Paleo eating plan. You are such a delightful guide, making life easier for me, my gluten-free mother, and my gluten-free son.

  38. mike ernst says

    Elana –

    Thanks for all your posts, and congratulations on completing several stressful projects. I’m wondering if you’re hiking to the top of Vail Mountain again this year :-) As another person challenged by MS, I was quite impressed with your post last year. I can still ski down the mountains – sticking to greens and blues, thankfully, but I can’t even visualize myself hiking up anymore.

    For me, it has been a year of major upset with the food industry, when my very healthy daughter started showing signs of asthma (ER visit because she couldn’t breath) and allergies. That led me to Robyn O’Brien’s “Unhealthy Truth”, and I have gone even further into the non-GMO, organics and pasture raised products. I’m loving my trips to Rocky Plains meats – I live in Boulder County as well.

    If anyone missed it – the Gluten Summit put on by Dr Tom O’Bryan was incredible. So many research-based presentations from world-leading experts on celiac and gluten-sensitivity, all presented for free. There is a follow-on series of webinars, for free, scheduled for Jan 9-12th, plus a few of the talks are still available at http://theglutensummit.com/now-that-you-know-where-do-you-go/

    My latest approach at self-managing my health is connecting up with a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner and looking into low-dose Naltrexone and electro-stimulation. My continual project is developing school lunches for the kids that are gluten-free, attractive to the kids and put together in a reasonable amount of time each morning.

    Wishing you a happy and restful New Year.
    – Mike

  39. Charlotte Moore says

    WOW!!! What a year you had!! To say my year was even in the least bit of a small percentage as yours would not be at all right.

    Hope you have a more relaxed 2014.

    I have made some of your recipes for our grand daughter in law. She seems to be gluten intolerate. I have some of your cookbooks. Thanks for going to all the work to make them.


  40. Roxanne says


    Glad you’re feeling more rested. Love the work that you do. I have one of your cookbooks and use the chocolate chip cookie recipe for my kids about once a week. We all love them. Thanks for helping us find a GF CF sugar free recipe for the family favourite.


  41. says

    Best Wishes to you and your family. Enjoy your new home, it sounds wonderfully green.
    Managed to break my ankle in 3 places July 7th so it was a year concerned with getting healthy and back on both feet. My sons, 25 and 27 and step son, 41 helped every step of the way by jerry-rigging the house so I could maneuver in a wheel chair, walker and crutches as well as shopping, cooking and cheering especially when husband was away at Denver Gem Show. I was blessed to have such caring guys.
    Turned 60 today and again counting my blessings as all my guys made it home to help me celebrate a most excellent New Years Eve.
    Thank you for all you uplifting words and thoughts and recipes that you share to help us all be a wee bit more conscientious about our health and feeding our families healthy food. I appreciate your efforts on behalf of us all.
    Thank you. May 2014 be filled with Good Health, Happiness and Joy

  42. Laura says

    Thanks for all you do! When I visit this site I know I am getting a great recipe. I sing your praises to all who want to hear. I wish you a happy 2014. I’m looking forward to visiting often.

  43. Bettina Stewart says

    Wow, what a year! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes you created and shared with us as I was able to share them with my family. Have a wonderful New Years!

  44. says

    Wow, your year makes mine seem tame . . . all it was, was a sick cat (almost lost her – thankfully she’s still with us), planning a wedding (only 9 months of time to plan), AND going on an amazing honeymoon! Oh yeah, and almost moving half way across Canada! Thanks for sharing all of your amazing recipes and stories!

  45. Nicole Kavanagh says

    First, thank you so much for all that you do and share. As the mother of two young boys as well (although they are three and five), your recipes enable me to provide them with the home baked goods I want to in lieu of processed food. I don’t aim to be perfect (no obvious dietary or health issues) but your shared recipes – and books – enable me to nourish my family in a more optimal manner.

    2013 was equally busy on this end, so I’m looking forward to a year without a move, new job, and major operation – all between May and June. Phew! I’m still unpacking boxes.

    Happy New Year!

  46. Cindy says

    Hi Elana,

    What a busy year you have had! I am new to your website and to the paleo way of life. My son has a severe chronic illness which is aggravated by gluten and we are trying to adapt. Your recipes are wonderful. The breads, crackers, and cookies are all big hits and my son thinks he may just survive without white flour!

    Thanks for all your effort on this wonderful site!


  47. edwinjean says

    Thanks so much for your recommendation of “A Taste of Wellness” cookbook. With my problems with gluten, yeast, milk and a host of other things, it’s proved a welcome source of new recipes (in addition to your own Almond Flour and Paleo cookbooks, which are staples in my kitchen). So glad I discovered your website!!!!

    • Cathleen says

      Have you tried any of the recipes from Spunky Coconut. She also has many grain free and dairy free recipes.

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