There’s nothing like a bowl of hearty, rustic stew on a cold winter’s night. Snuggled in a blanket while the Christmas tree lights cast a soft glow, I enjoyed the fruit of my slow cooker’s labor.
Let’s start with the vegetables. They are perfectly cooked. Rather than cooking them alongside the beef, the vegetables are wrapped in aluminum foil to steam on their own. This prevents the potatoes and carrots from becoming a mushy mess while also retaining their own flavor.
Secondly, the beef is fork-tender. Adding soy sauce really brings out the beef flavor and there’s a lot of beef. When I say the recipe is hearty, I mean it.
A secret ingredient, tapioca, rounds out the recipe. It thickens the stew without affecting the flavor.
The best thing about birthdays is obviously the cake. Last year, my friends made the most amazing Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cake. It was unbelievably decadent and, seeing as I was a college student, I may have made it my main course for the day a few too many times.
This year, I faced a dilemma. My two favorite traditional cakes are Red Velvet and Carrot. I would place myself in the indecisive person category. The time I spent mulling over this decision is probably more than the average person. However, I have to say I’m very happy with my choice.
If you thought I rationalized the Raspberry Streusel Bars, Carrot Cake takes my dessert justification to a whole new level. The amount of vegetable oil and carrots in this recipe clearly count for at least two servings of vegetables, right? The calories are totally worth it. This is my all-time favorite carrot cake recipe. It’s the moistest I’ve run across and the cream cheese frosting sprinkled with pecans is heavenly. Also, the only seasoning it uses is cinnamon which adds the traditional spice but leaves plenty of room for the carrot flavor to shine. My birthday is complete.