Sometime while I was in high school my grandma got really sick and we all thought that she was going to pass away within a matter of months. She had been really overweight my entire life and because of that she has always had many health problems. She actually wound up pulling through that health scare in high school, but has actually spent the last 6+ years of her life in a nursing home where she has had multiple strokes and has a significantly advanced form of Alzheimer's.
My grandma was always well known for being the best cook in our family. There was always a family goal to get a lot of her soup and other recipes from her before she passed on, but we ran into a few hiccups along the way. The first one was that my grandma never used recipes while cooking (while baking she always used her first addition of the Better Homes and Garden Coobook which is basically an heirloom at this point and I want to get my hands on it), she just always did things by eye and taste. When I was younger I wasn't old enough to fully watch, understand, and then write down the things that she did, and then by the time I was old enough to do so, her health had declined, and now her memory is gone and most of her recipes are gone with it.
My mom, sister, and I have all tried various times to recreate her chicken soup recipe (my version can be found here, but still isn't as close to the goodness of grandma's). This week I was really craving her beef vegetable soup and decided that I should try recreating that on my own too. The things I remember from her recipe were that she would dice up beef, her broth was red which means tomatoes were somehow involved, and I remember always being her helper to peel the beef bouillon cubes. I had a good base to start with and built the rest of my soup off of that. I thought this soup was pretty delicious, but I know it still isn't the exact same as my grandma's. Derek said it was really good though, and coming from a guy who doesn't like soup... it's a pretty big compliment.
1-2 pounds stew meat, browned and diced
32oz beef stock
6 beef bouillon cubes
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 24oz bag frozen vegetables
5 small red potatoes, diced
1 cup water
In a large pot, dice and brown your stew meat. Don't worry about cooking it all the way because it will continue cooking in the slow cooker. Toss everything else into the slow cooker and cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.