It sure does. While I officially retired on June 3, it didn't really seem to be retirement until school started in mid-August. I've always had a summer vacation, so our trip to Alaska was just another summer vacation (as far as feeling retirement goes). Once my friends and colleagues returned to work, and I started seeing Facebook posts about it, I started feeling retired.
I've settled into a little bit of a routine now. My friend Betty, who also retired in June, invited me to join the Drayson Center at Loma Linda University and take some classes. (The Drayson Center is a state-of-the art recreation complex, complete with gymnasium, weight rooms, handball/racquetball courts, studios for classes such as yoga and aerobics, and two - TWO - swimming pools). Since I'm officially a senior at the ripe old age of 55, it only costs $18 a month, and I can come as often as I like and take any classes I want. Betty takes aerobics, water aerobics, and sometimes yoga. I'm just taking the water aerobics, and I go on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Class is an hour, and we get worked. It is strenuous but feels so good, especially since we're in the water. After class I can run errands - groceries, Costco, JoAnns, library, post office, etc. If I don't have errands I'm home by 12:30, leaving me the rest of the afternoon to sew. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays I rarely go down the mountain, and again can spend all day sewing and cooking.
Now that I have more time for cooking, we're eating a little better, and I even can take time to try new things. I joined the Secret Recipe Club, where once a month I'm assigned someone elses's blog, try a recipe from her blog, and blog about it. That'll be happening for the first time in October.
Right now I've got two new recipes. Last night I made soup - Don likes soup, and we both like the Pasta E Fagioli that you get at Olive Garden. I found a few copycat recipes for it on the net, and adapted them for myself. This one was easy and tasted really good.
Pasta E Fagioli
(sorry for the blurry photo!)
1 med. onion, chopped
3 med. carrots, diced
4-5 celery stalks, sliced thinly
2 14-15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 14.5-oz. can white kidney beans (cannelini) or Northern white beans, drained
6 cups water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or 2 cubes
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 26-28-oz. can or jar spaghetti sauce (I used Hunts from a can, but you can use Prego, Ragu, Newman's Own, etc.)
1 1/2 cups macaroni (or any other small pasta)
Sauté the beef with the onion in a heavy stock pot until beef is browned. Add carrots, celery, and tomatoes, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. (Note: watch the bottom of the pan so it doesn't stick and burn.)
This morning we got up and went down the mountain to the Applebee's in Redlands. One of my former colleagues, Lisa, has a son who is playing Junior All-American football. Their team was having a "Dining to Donate" fundraiser - all you can eat pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and orange juice for only $10. We like things like that! I then spent the rest of the day sewing, and decided on something quick for dinner. I always like this meal - it takes only 15 minutes to make. Seriously!
Quick and Easy Fish Tacos
10 fish sticks
5 small corn tortillas (4 1/2" - 5")
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (I use Penzey's)
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated cheddar
salsa or pico de gallo
shredded cabbage - about 1 1/2 cups
Cook the fish sticks in the over per package directions. While they are cooking, make the sauce: stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and chipotle chile powder. Grate the cheese, if necessary, and shred the cabbage.
To assemble: Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Place corn tortilla on the griddle, and top with a little grated cheese. Next, add about a teaspoon (I use three little dollops, pushed off the spoon with my finger) of the sauce. When cheese is melted and tortillas are soft, remove them to a plate. Add two fish sticks to each one, and top with salsa and cabbage. Enjoy! Makes 5. [Don eats 3 and I eat 2]. We serve these with pinto beans.