It was my birthday last week and I turned 40! 40 used to be so old, but my word, I feel better than ever:) It’s totally better than 25. You are so much wiser, and happy too…………..Happy Birthday to you! The bakery has been on overdrive the entire month of Dec. It usually doesn’t happen quite like that most years. We have a few weeks after Thanksgiving to gear up for the rush, but the rush came, and the entire family has been working at the bakery, everyday for the last 2 1/2 weeks. Bless their hearts! They have been mixing, baking, stacking, packing, tying, and shipping THOUSANDS of cookies, so needless to say my birthday was spent…………doing just that. Cookies! That’s ok. I had tons of well wishes, my Visiting Teachers plastered hearts all over my door, and after the cookies were done for the night, we went out to dinner. A fast dinner mind you. We didn’t have time for something spectacular. It was too late.
All I wanted to eat on my birthday was this Beef Stew. So the day after I started dinner early. Something about the potatoes being in mashed form and served on top of the stew instead of cubed chunks inside, make me so happy. It is so comforting and delicious, and totally makes weary family members melt at the sight and smell. This recipe is a compilation of a couple of different recipes, but it has everything I like. It’s a crock pot meal so you can make it ahead and let it cook low and slow all day. When you get home you’re just about ready. I love the step I learned from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. She places most of the ingredients to her stew in the crock pot, but the carrots go in a foil pouch and then is set on top of the stew mixture during cooking. It keeps the carrots a more bright orange instead of the dingy brown from simmering in beef juices all day. Either way it will taste the same.
Now don’t feel like you have to make fancy mashed potatoes. You can use instant mashed potatoes if necessary. Or you can put potato chunks in the stew itself. Whatever you need, or have the time for. The Bleu Cheese Massed Potatoes are a staple at my house. We love Bleu Cheese. I always have a giant tub in my fridge so it’s an easy addition. You don’t have to make a special purchase. You can just have naked mashed potatoes, or add Parmesan, Cheddar, or Ranch Dressing. All of the above will make a great mashed potato. Enjoy!!