The Countdown to Christmas Has Started!

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December 3, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Apparently, I have gone a bit viral on Pinterest with last year’s wine advent calendar. I even had someone essentially “catfish” the photo and use it on their facebook page.

Wine Advent Calendar - an A Broad Cooking Tradition

So what am I to do?? Well clearly, make another advent calendar this year. And this time I went glitter crazy.

Wine Advent Calendar - 2nd year running! A Broad Cooking

I probably should not have taken on this craft project right before leaving for Chris’ work dinner. I showed up looking like I had just worked the lunch shift at Scores.

Wine Advent Calendar - 2nd year running! A Broad Cooking

I think in the end the glitter tags were worth it, but I am confident that I will be cleaning sparkly green and red spots off my clothes, furniture, floor, and hair for months!

Wine Advent Calendar - 2nd year running! A Broad Cooking

While we had to wait for Sunday to start our advent countdown, we still had a wonderful weekend. Turns out I wasn’t the only one bitching about the disappointing dessert choice at the UK Thanksgiving. One of our friends hosted a carb-overload party on Saturday night. These were only the things I could fit in the picture. There was much more. Amazing!

IMG_0891

And on Sunday we had a Christmas tree adventure! There’s a great place up the street from us in Highbury that feels like a proper Christmas tree lot, not like the small stands up and down our main road. I realize those are popular so you don’t have to lug the tree too far, but there is just something about the cheesy Christmas decor covering these lots and the loads of trees to chose from.

Gertie and the Christmas Trees: A Broad Cooking

Bonus the Christmas Forest is located right next to Gertie’s favorite pub. You think I’m joking but whenever we take a walk on St. Paul’s Rd. she beelines for the door. She knows it’s her place.

Cozy Gertie @ her Favorite Pub:  A Broad Cooking

So after the hunt for the perfect tree, we headed into the Alwyne Castle for some mulled wine.

Mulled Wine @ Alwyne Castle: A Broad Cooking

Then came home and had a perfect Sunday night football dinner. Buffalo Mac & Cheese is the perfect make ahead meal for a “busy” afternoon like ours.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese and Avocado Salad - Perfect for an easy football Sunday:  A Broad Cooking

I love this recipe for a tailgating dinner on the weekends when you have lots of stuff going on during the day. You can make it way in advance and then serve it with a big salad for a hearty satisfying meal.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese: A Broad Cooking

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Serves 8

14 oz. elbow pasta

3 Tbs butter, divided

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs flour

2 cups milk

1 Tbs green chilis

½ cup hot sauce, plus more for serving

1 lb sharp cheddar, grated

4 oz. blue cheese, divided

3 chicken breasts shredded

2 stalks celery, diced

½ cup sour cream

1 cup panko

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water for about 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain and reserve.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in the flour and garlic then whisk in milk, ½ cup at a time, smoothing out lumps. Once all the milk has been added, stir in the green chilis and hot sauce and simmer for 3-5 minutes until sauce has thickened. Turn off heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and 3 oz. blue cheese.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with shredded chicken, celery, and sour cream. Pour in the cheese sauce and combine. Pour mac and cheese into a greased baking dish.

Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and mix with panko and 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese. Top the mac and cheese with panko mixture and bake for 30 minutes.

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