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Cocktail Hours: The New Happy Time

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P’s strawberry + blueberry smash and my homemade caramelized onion dip.

When P and I first started dating, we got into the habit of cocktail hours. We didn’t know that’s what they really were at the time, but we easily fell into the routine. After work, P would drive over to my apartment with Mabel, his golden doodle. I’d have some snacks ready for us and he’d start making the drinks. We’d hang around my kitchen island or take them out to my balcony and talk about what our days looked like. Lots of times, because he was a theology major, we’d talk about God and our faiths. It was during these small moments that I fell in love with the man.

It wasn’t until I saw a Facebook post by my friend, Sarah, that I truly began to notice what was happening and how important those intentional times together were. In the post, she commented on her grandfather’s passing and how she remembered her grandparents always having “happy time,” which consisted of a drink and sometimes light snacks. It was a ritual that happened every night for the length of their marriage.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior… They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind… that the word of God may not be reviled.

-Titus 2:3-5

This wise woman had somehow managed to help create a loving and thriving marriage in a time when over half of marriages end in divorce and more people are choosing to not enter into the covenant of marriage. I knew that she had wisdom and I was hoping that she would share some of her thoughts with me. Sarah gave me her contact info, and Ginnie, her grandmother, was gracious enough to talk about this special time so that we, wives with younger marriages, could learn more and glean from her wisdom.

I asked her about ‘happy time,’ what her and her husband called this ritual, and why it was so special to her.

“At 5:00 or so when we got home from work [from] our individual days, we would have a glass of wine or beverage [of] choice and discuss each of our days and the events which each of us took part in. Very simple, but a very meaningful time. It grounded each of us. Sometimes we had food, sometimes not. Then we had dinner and continued with our day both on the same page. It was a ‘together’ event which confirmed our love and commitment to each other. Very simple. A basic recommitment, I guess. It was part of our lives.”

-Ginnie

I loved that last statement. Did you catch it? “A basic recommitment.” Each day choosing each other over and over again. In light of today’s culture of fast, easy, and quick, marriages are the opposite. They take a long time to cultivate, mature, and grow. They are hard and very often you don’t get what you are wanting. You die to self daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Marriages are one of the best ways God uses on earth to purify us. At the beginning of our relationship, these times were easy to come by- we were freshly in love and wanted to spend those moments together. As we settle into our marriage, we have to work hard to make sure we are carving that time out together.

How often do we get home from our jobs and immediately get busy with the hustle and bustle of things that need to get done around the house- folding the laundry, making dinner, our kid’s homework, or taking out the trash that is stinking up the entire kitchen? Or in my case, it’s hitting the sofa and mindlessly scrolling. I hate to admit there have even been full nights where we’ve paid more attention to our phones than each other and before we know it, it’s time for bed, another chance for reconnection lost to TikTok and texting. These happy times provide an easy and low key way to make sure we reconnect, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

This quick cheeseboard took less than ten minutes to prep and used all leftover items we had from this weekend. Snacks don’t have to be elaborate to complicated!

Like Ginnie, we don’t always have food, but something to nosh on makes it feel a little more special and intentional. It truly does make it seem like a happy hour at a bar when we include a snack, which is especially fun right now since our favorite bars are closed due to the pandemic. We’ve done chips, small cheeseboards, my chili lime nuts, crackers, but one of our favorites is a caramelized onion dip I make. Planning is clutch; make sure you always have ‘entertaining’ pantry staples like good cheeses, crackers, nuts, etc.

When it comes to creating a special time for you and your spouse, there really are no hard rules. Most of the time for us, it is an alcoholic beverage, but there are loads of ‘mocktail’ recipes out there. An ice cold tea on a hot day would do the trick, too. Make screens forbidden and eliminate other distractions. Even if the kids are young, it’s okay to let them know this is a special time out for you guys. (How important is it that they see that you value your marriage and relationship?) Prioritize this time and protect it! Again, there are no hard rules for this time, but the point is to come together at the end of your day, reconnect, share your story, and recommit to each other over and over again.

Print Recipe

Her Southern Charm’s Caramelized Onion Dip

A sweet and savory dip using fresh onions and dill.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 2 medium to large yellow onions
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Heat the butter or oil in a large saute pan on medium heat and add the onions. Stir the onions for two minutes and then reduce the heat to low.
  • Continue stirring the onions every 2-3 minutes, allowing them to slowly caramalize (not burn!) on the bottom before stirring agina. If they start to stick or brown, add a tablespoon of water or white wine to rehydrate the onions and deglaze the pan.
  • Caramalizing onions takes time! Continue cooking the onions on low heat for approximately 45 minutes. Mine took a good 55 minutes. Cooking the onions on low for so long brings out the sweetness of the onion.
  • When there is one minute left on the onions, add the minced garlic and saute for one minute.
  • Once the onions and garlic are caramalized, transfer them to a small bowl and place them in the fridge to cool.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream, the mayonnaise, chives, parsely, sauces, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooled onions and stir until creamy and fully mixed.
  • Garnish with dill or additional herbs and serve with chips or veggies.

Notes

Jennifer’s Notes:
  • We are huge garlic and Worcestershire sauce fans, so I use a heavy hand with both.
  • You can also substitute half sour cream and half plain Greek yogurt.
  • Remember to take your time with the onions. The deep caramelization takes time, but it is what makes this dip pack a punch and adds so much depth of flavor.
  • I always make extra onions and save the rest in the fridge to add to pizzas, tacos, or really anything else. 
  • If you want a sweeter dip, try using Vidalia onions, which are in season April through September.
  • I always add a shallot or two because I have them on hand. Not necessary though!
  • The best way to serve this dip is with Ruffles potato chips. The salt of the chips mixed with the sweetness of the onions is fantastic!

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One Comment

  1. I literally JUST finished making this & sat down for the first time today. It is so good!! Like nothing else!!

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