I typically don't peel my carrots. Partially because I'm lazy and partially because I believe a lot of the nutrients are in the peel. So scrub the carrots really well and cut them in to 1-2 inch long pieces. I also don't measure my spices and herbs so I will tell you I go heavy on the salt and pepper and garlic. You can find what works for you. If you prefer to skip the tapioca or don't have any in your house, your stew will just be a little thinner. You may be able to use flour or cornstarch to thicken it but I have never tried. The good thing about the tapioca is it won't affect the flavor.