Year Round Canning!

I love putting food in jars. I love looking at food in jars. I love looking at Pinterest for recipes to put more food in jars. I’m a little obsessed, I know! Don’t act surprised. It’s in the name of the website after all! Pfft…

My canning obsession probably started with the garden. Some veggies just call for canning. The tomatoes I don’t eat like an apple, standing right in the garden? Canned. The beets that don’t get roasted in foil with balsamic vinegar? Canned. The beans that Lola the dog and I don’t eat raw? Canned. The garlic that we can’t eat fast enough before it gets soft? Canned. The asparagus that I started 2 years ago and (hopefully) will be able to start harvesting this year? Will be canned! Some of my harvest is pickled and canned, some is just plain old pressure canned.

But if the canning started with the garden, what am I year round canning? Who has a fresh harvest in January when it’s 14 degrees outside? Me! I do! OK, you got me. It’s not exactly fresh. But very close!

See this kid being amazing? It’s what I did instead of canning my fresh produce this year. And I loved every second of it! (She was safe, by the way. My kid is fast!)

I did some easy small batch canning in the thick of travel softball season. Think pickled beets and pickled garlic. But big batch tomatoes? No time! All my canning tomatoes (not to be confused with my eating like an apple tomatoes) go right into freezer bags and into the chest freezer. It is a method I have read about but never tried. I frequently use this great blog for knowledgeable canning advice. And in this post link she shares how easy it is to peel your frozen tomatoes for canning.

This year I was scaling down the size of the garden. Spending every other weekend on a softball field (for me, at least) is awesome! But it does not lead to a beautiful plentiful garden. So I tried some new varieties that were smaller plants and also purchased fewer plants. I found a new tomato in my garden center that I had never heard of before, Little Nopoli. They are very compact and are a Roma variety, great for canning. I only bought three of them. I would only get 5-6 tomatoes at a time. And it would take a while at that rate to collect enough tomatoes to make it worth a canning session. So into storage bags and into the chest freezer they went!

Now back to my winter canning. I may use the frozen tomato method from now on! It was amazingly easy to peel my frozen tomatoes. In previous years, I have used the cut an X in the bottom of your tomato and dip in boiling water, method to peel. It creates a time involved extra step to canning tomatoes. This year I pulled my tomatoes out of the freezer and simply ran under a trickle of lukewarm water and the skins slipped right off! It was a miracle sent down from the tomato Gods!

See my pile of peels? I remembered reading someplace on Pinterest that tomato paste can be made from dehydrated tomato peels. Simply dehydrate and give them a whirl in the food processor. Then when you need tomato paste, mix tomato peel powder with water. My inner ADHD brain decided to try this in the midst of my easy canning session. This type of stuff is why my house is a cluttered mess and I don’t get to bed on time. (One project at a time dammit! Concentrate!) For the record, I give this Pinterest idea a big NOPE! Those dehydrated tomato peels turned into tomato plastic that would not mix with water, had no tomato flavor and had no place anywhere near my food. If you’ve had good luck with this idea, please comment below and tell me what I may have done wrong. But I don’t think I’m wrong. Just saying…

Sidetracked again! Back to canning! I used the hot pack method to can my tomatoes. I cut my semi frozen tomatoes in half and squeezed out the innards. I threw them in a stock pot and started to warm them. The first few cups I crushed. But as I added more, the cooking process broke them down. When I had all the tomatoes in a pot, I ladled them into properly sterilized, hot jars. I pressure canned them according to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning processing times. Ball’s guide to canning is also a trusted source.

Lets talk about canning safety people. There are some serious rules to follow to safely can your food. (I may have to write a whole blog post about this, it is so serious. And I am very rarely serious.)

  1. High acid foods can be water bath canned. They can also be pressure canned.
  2. Low acid foods have to be pressure canned. They absolutely cannot under any circumstances be water bath canned. Unless you want botulism…
  3. Botulism CAN KILL YOU.

Leave it to the experts to make the rules for your canning, whether water bath or pressure canning. It is just not worth the risk.

So that’s my post on ONE thing I’m canning year round. What else do I can year round? Stock/bone broth! I’ll leave that to another post. And check out the post where I made Chipolte Tomatillo Salsa. This is a very easy, readily available veggie, year round canning recipe.

Thanks for stopping in!

Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

I am in full-on squirrel mode.  As in, I am really excited about putting food in storage.  I am canning and freezing things as fast as I can.  I canned 14 pints of pickled beets and froze and bagged 4 gallon sized bags of par cooked and sliced beets.   My garden has seen better years.  But my garden is beet strong every year!

Tomatillos are another crop that are silly easy to grow.  I can usually find them in a 3 pack at the greenhouse.  I have previously planted all 3, not knowing how plentiful tomatillo plants are. I cannot STAND to throw away a plant from the greenhouse, even when I know I don’t have room for it.  It breaks my little gardener’s heart.  All of the produce potential tossed to the wayside!


A view of planting day, before the weeds and chaos takes over…

This year Bill was providing me with margaritas while watching me fill my garden.  I’m not sure what the occasion was that required margaritas in the garden that day, but who’s complaining?!  When it came to the tomatillos, Bill reminded me we only need one plant.  I sent him into the house to refill my glass and popped another tomatillo plant in the dirt!  The margaritas told me that made the most sense.  A month later I spent the afternoon, margarita free, constructing a cage to contain the tomatillos.  They took over the peppers and were threatening to ravage the tomatoes.  Lesson learned?  Margaritas are great in the garden!  And yes, you really only need one tomatillo.  Unless you’re opening a salsa factory…

The salsa I made last year ended up being kind of sweet.  I had to freeze it because the acidity level wasn’t high enough for it to be a water bath canned salsa.  The end result was good.  But not spicy enough and kind of watery when I defrost it.  I’ve been straining it and adding to cottage cheese for a snack.  I’ll throw it into Mexican style soups this winter.

This year I upped the heat and used a new recipe sent from my cousin, who loves to put food in jars as much as I do.  It is from the All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.  This book is in my Amazon cart.   I’ll read it when the snow is flying to keep my garden dreams alive.

Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa is very easy to make, requires few ingredients and you can whip up a batch or two in an afternoon.  So you didn’t get over served and plant too many tomatillo plants in your garden?!  It’s ok.  While not as good as home grown (my opinion only) tomatillos are available at the grocery store, usually about $2.99 a pound.  The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found with the Mexican food.  They add the perfect amount of heat and smokey flavor.  I doubled this recipe.  You do not have to have a garden to make this salsa and it is a perfect beginner and small batch canning recipe.


Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

  • 2 lbs. fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 small onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 to 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used 3)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Arrange tomatillos, stem side down, and onions, skin side down on a baking sheet.  Wrap garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatillos and onions are beginning to char and soften.  Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.  When vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove onion peels and add to food processor.  Add juice and remaining ingredients, process until pureed.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large stainless steal or enameled saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.
  4. Ladle hot salsa into a hot jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rim.  Center lid on jar rim.  Apply band and adjust to finger tip-tight.  Place jar in boiling water canner.  Repeat until all jars are filled.
  5. Process jars for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude.  Turn off and remove lid.  Let jars stand 5 minutes.  Remove jars and cool.



Finished product!  It’s a little sweet and smokey.  So pretty in the jar!  I made and doubled this recipe twice.  And BOTH times I forgot to take a picture of my charred vegetables.  Rookie blogger mistakes…

Art Mom Weekend, Meal Prep & I Bought a Blog!

I had a new experience this weekend.  My daughter Gwen had her debut art show!  She’s been an artist since day one.  As I youngster, I had to supply my girl with tablets to draw on.  If I didn’t, she would draw on whatever she could get her hands on, including the check book.  Her work is beautiful and her talent is only growing.  I can see myself spending more and more time by her side at art venues.


See that owl to the right of my gorgeous kid?  (Go ahead!  Click on the picture and enlarge it.  You know you want to!)  That’s mine!  An original piece from Gwen for my birthday.  And the Spider Man comic next to it?  My husband’s Father’s Day present, replicated from his childhood comic book collection.  We get the best gifts from this kid!  My girl is going places!

The rest of my weekend was spent catching up.  With friends, with life, with cleaning, with laundry, with preserving.  My garden, while not the best I’ve ever grown, still has a harvest to preserve.  The beets!  Oh my, the beets!  (An acquired taste, I know)  And tomatillos  are falling off the plant!  Stay tuned for a future blog post to share my Chipolte Tomatillo Salsa salsa recipe.

On to this week’s meal prep!  Monday was the first day of Fall and to celebrate I made Pumpkin Spice smoothies.  Let’s be clear.  I like pumpkin spice but I’m not one of those pumpkin spice fanatics.  I’m not running out searching Ohio for the supposed Pumpkin Spice White Claw or anything.  I’m just enjoying a Fall themed smoothie.  LOL!  00000img_00000_burst20190922210351207_cover

In my containers above I have 2 scoops Vanilla Formula One and 2 scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix.  Then I topped it off with some pumpkin pie spice.   I used canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling, and froze it into cubes in an ice cube tray.  Three Vitamin A and fiber filled cubes go into my blender cup with my mix and water.  So good and so filling!  You could also just add a scoop of pumpkin from the can and some ice.  I made three servings because that’s how many cups were clean.  Aren’t they cute?  But there’s only two up there, right?  I used my trusty former-server-I-can-carry-anything-hands and carried my cups to the table to photograph.  AAANNNDDD I dropped one!  Herbalife everywhere!  So, yes, I get a great discount on the stuff but still!  It isn’t free!  (You could get a discount too!  Just ask me how!)  Needless to say I was a little disappointed in my trusty (not so trusty) hands.


For lunch I made Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad Jars from  These salads were really easy to throw together.  I made a big batch of quinoa in the Instant Pot and froze half of it for future use.  Made as directed in the recipe, these salads were a little too small for me.  Sorry Skinny Taste.  So I bulked them up with more of the low calorie ingredients.  I used a bunch more arugula and tomatoes in each salad.  I also used 1 1/2 hard boiled eggs in each salad.  These salads were great and will be added into the regular lunch rotation.  The avocado did not get mushy or brown because it was in the tangy lemon dressing.  They were SO good.   Snacks this week were celery and hummus.  I didn’t think you needed a picture of that.  I’m sure you can figure it out.  Ha!

We’ve made a big step here at Julie Obsesses.  I say “we” because I’m never blogging alone.  My faithful sidekick Lola, always at my feet, by my side, or in my chair with me.


But back to our big step!  We bought the blog!  Yes, I purchased my domain name and I am a big girl in the blog world now.  No more  in my name!  It’s officially  And that means I have a little follow box down in the right hand corner.  You can click on it to get my posts sent directly to you email.  Go on, click it…  Make a girl and her dog feel good.

Thanks for reading!

Julie (and Lola)




A Fit-ish Girls Nightmare! An injury!

I have terrible feet. It’s true! In the gene pool of life, I was given bad feet. There are worse things, I suppose. I could have been given weirdly strong man hands. Or shoulders so oddly broad for a woman that you get stuck in dresses in the fitting room and have to contemplate cutting yourself out of, or just go buy and wear home! Oh, wait! I have those too!

Back to the offending feet. I have bone spurs in not one, but BOTH of my big toes. What does that mean? It means my toes hurt all the time. It means limited mobility due to the arthritis in them. It means modified backward lunges due to said limited mobility in my foot. It means tennis shoes for every outfit. It means no high heals or sexy shoes EVER AGAIN! Sigh. I used to love sexy shoes…

But then one day I was in the expensive old lady shoe store (because that is where rich old ladies and poor people with bad feet buy their shoes) and saw a pair of very UN old lady sandals.  These gorgeous girls were calling my name!  They were perfect!  Colors that match everything, comfort and a platform that made me feel like I was wearing a heel, but was also wide enough that it wasn’t wobbly.  Or so I thought…

And then I wore my beautiful sandals to a backyard BBQ.  I felt great!  Drank a few beers, had to use the bathroom.  I came back outside fresh as a daisy and walked right into a divot in the driveway and turned my ankle sideways.  I SCORPION-ED my foot like the videos on Ridiculousness.  I didn’t fall down.  Nope, not me.  I walked it off.  And it really didn’t feel like it hurt that much.  (Thank you, beer.)  

Like a smart person who works in a medical field and understands injuries, I rested that ankle.  For 2 WHOLE days…  Because, although I am a smart person who works in a medical (veterinary) field, I am also a fit-ish girl who obsesses about getting her work out in!  And what does that mean?  I went ahead and worked out.  I mean, it only hurt a little.  And it’s probably just bruised, right?  Well, I’ll find out tomorrow when I go to the foot doctor.  Because 2 weeks after said injury, my ankle and the top of my foot are now swollen and I’m having a hard time gimping around. It is actually much WORSE than immediately after the injury.  No good!  What was I thinking?  



There is the offending foot.  Elevated while I prepare to write.  The only thing missing is my ice pack and Tiger Balm, aka Old Lady Cream.  

So what is my point?  I may have learned my lesson.  But the workout must carry on! So how does a fit-ish person work out with an injury?  She Googles, of course!  I Googled workouts to do with a foot injury.  I clicked on the first YouTube video that came up and was very pleasantly surprised.  I discovered Caroline Jordan and her super positive and effective floor and chair workouts.  She even has an and entire hurt foot fitness program .  I started the first video and thought there was no way this was going to do anything to keep me fit.  I mean, I use the Jillian Michaels App 4-5 days a week.  Intense HIIT training!  But by the end of my first Caroline Jordan mat session, I was covered in sweat.  No weights, no cardio, but on the floor body weight training.  I’m hooked!  And super excited about my new find.  THIS is what will keep me from making the same mistake I always make with an injury…  Not resting my injury long enough!  After my foot is healed, I feel like these videos can be used on an active rest day.  Or after a run.  Or on one of those days when I am just so bone tired from a 10 hour work day that I can’t bear the thought of 35 minutes of Jillian telling me this move is going to make you feel like you’re going to die…  Some days I just don’t need that in my life.  

**UPDATE**  Back from the foot doctor!  My worst fear was a fracture and weeks in a boot.  Not being able to work because it needs to be rested.  FYI, veterinary technicians do not rest.  But I got GOOD-ISH news!  I strained the ligaments between my 4th and 5th metatarsals and my cuboidal bone.  In other words, I wrenched the shit out of the area where my last two toe bones start to connect into my ankle.  And it’s going to be a long haul because I’m on my feet so much.  But no break and no boot!  And I can keep working.  Because if I couldn’t work, you all were going to start hearing a WHOLE lot more about how great Herbalife is!  LOL!




Julie Obsesses, the beginning! Well, sort of…

This blog has been brewing for years now. Each time I found something new to obsess about, I’d think, you should write a blog about this. And it never happens. I never sit and do it. So today I’m doing it! Here is my first attempt at providing my greatest fans (that’s you) with awesome content you can’t wait to read and pictures that are mediocre but will improve with time. I promise. About the mediocre pictures, that is. I can’t guarantee the awesome content. You just might not get me. But give me time! I might grow on you…

So who the heck is Julie?! I am a 42 year old woman, happily married and the mom to two incredibly beautiful and intelligent daughters. I am a full time Veterinary Technician and animal lover. I am a dog lover and a bird nerd. I am an Herbalife Distributor. I am a health and fitness junkie, a fair weather runner and HIIT lover. I am a home cooker. I am a nutrition novice but always learning. I am a gardener, canner and preserver. I am a knitter and crocheter. I am an aspiring blogger. I am a wine drinker.

That’s me on the bottom. The people above me, they are my everything. They are the reason I am all of the things listed above. They are the reason I try to grow some of our food. They are the reason why I work hard to keep myself, and them, healthy. They are the reason I try to cook whole and healthy food at home. And, sometimes, they are the reason I drink wine!

What can you expect from my blog? I can tell you what I know for sure.

  • It is Spring and the garden is on my mind. Planting, growing and eating! I’m not an expert, but we can learn together!
  • Meal Prep! I try to plan meals weekly. Sometimes I’m successful. Sometimes I’m not. It should get more consistent after softball season. Add Softball Mom to the list of things I am.
  • Herbalife products will also be part of my blog. It is a product line I love and believe in. I am a distributor for Herbalife. It is not my main source of income. Let’s be real, it’s not a source of income at all, at this point! Would I like it to be? Yes. You will see me promote the products but I will not beat you over the head with it. Thank you for still reading!
  • Recipes! Some I write myself. Others that I found and enjoyed so much I wanted to share with you! All credit will be given to the original poster, of course.

Well there you have it. My first blog post. I have been writing and rewriting it in my head for years. It has changed over the years, depending on what I am obsessing about at the time. But what I have found is that I obsess over the things that are making me happy. And just maybe, it will be something that makes you happy too. So I’ll share, you can read, and we will both be happy!

Thanks for stopping in! Julie