Sherri Stewart


January Field Trip to Florida

January 2021 Newsletter

It’s Field Trip Time!

Let's go to my favorite places in Florida!
Sherri Stewart

Our trip to California was cancelled due to the virus, so we’ll make like elementary students and partake of a field trip closer to home—that would mean FLORIDA. We’ll visit my favorite beach, my favorite town, my favorite restaurants, the oddest place in Florida, my favorite theme park, and sample a Floridian recipe. Welcome to my world!

Florida is literally surrounded by beaches, but my favorite is on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers. Why? Because it has more of a tropical feel than a tourist mecca. I’ve seen the most unusual insects and flowers on Sanibel. And it’s famous for its abundance of shells at dawn.
Walks abound all year around in Florida. My favorite time, of course, to walk is November to February when it’s not too hot. Celebration is a cute little town—a throwback to the thirties—for cyclists and walkers. I love to walk around the lake and look for alligators, usually visible in the spring and summer. I almost stepped on an alligator one night when I was walking my dog. I have a picture to prove it.
I also walk Disney’s parks three times a week. I like to go to Epcot, walk around the world, and sample the small plates during their food and wine festivals, which now are available throughout the year. That’s why I never lose weight.
Colombia Restaurant, the oldest eatery in Florida, is actually in Ybor City in Tampa, but there is a Colombia in Celebration. I love to sit outside and eat their 1905 salad, which they make at the table, steaming warm Cuban bread, and Crème Catalan for dessert.
Another favorite restaurant that’s a bit of a drive but worth it is Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. (not to be confused with Joe’s Crab Shack). Joe’s is famous for its stone crab served cold with mustard, accompanied by hash browns. YUM.
Last but not least is the oddest place ever: Coral Castle
The extraordinary Coral Castle, located in the suburbs of Homestead, Florida, is made entirely of oolite limestone, and one man single-handedly built it. Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant, pursued his project as a dedication to his long-lost love. The massive work took place over the course of 28 years, and it still stands today as an ode to love imbued with mystery.

How the remarkable work was built remains an enigma. Leedskalnin never divulged how he was able to lift and position the gigantic stones. Residents had noticed the trucks carrying the coral rocks along the South Dixie Highway, but no one ever saw how Leedskalnin was able to unload them. To protect his privacy during construction, he was very particular about working at night—to avoid any detection—and even went on to build “lookouts” along the castle’s walls.
Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad®
Columbia Restaurant Recipe

“One Of America’s Top 10 Best Salads” - USA Today

In the 1970s, this flavorful salad was the Columbia’s answer to the ubiquitous salad bar. Created by waiter Tony Noriega in the 1940s, it was adapted by the Columbia, eventually phasing out the use of black olives and celery.

The Columbia kitchen designed a new dressing that features Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.

Salad Ingredients
  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into 1 ½" × 1 ½" pieces
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into eighths
  • ½ cup baked ham, julienned 2" × ⅛" (may substitute turkey or shrimp)
  • ½ cup Swiss cheese, julienne 2" × ⅛"
  • ½ cup pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives
  • “1905” Dressing (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce®
  • 1 lemon
Salad Preparation
Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately. Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.

“1905” Dressing Ingredients
  • ½ cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing Preparation
Mix olive oil, garlic and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk.  Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate. 
Joe’s Stone Crab Key Lime Pie

Graham Cracker Crust Filling Topping

For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Break up graham crackers, place in processor and process to crumbs (if you don't have a processor, place crackers in large plastic bag, seal, and crush using a rolling pin).
  4. Add melted butter& sugar and pulse until combined.
  5. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan, forming a neat border around th edges.
  6. Bake until crust is set and golden, about 8 minutes.
  7. Set aside on wire rack; leave oven on.
For the filling:
  1. Meanwhile, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3-4 minutes longer.
  3. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add lime juice, mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 10 minutes, or until filling has just set.
  5. Cool on wire rack, then refrigerate.
  6. Freeze for 15-20 minutes before serving.
For the topping:
  1. Whip the cream and the confectioner's sugar until nearly stiff.
  2. Cut pie in wedges and serve very cold, topping each wedge with a dollop of whipped cream.
  3. Garnish with a slice of key lime if desired.
I’m excited to announce that my book, A Song for Her Enemies, is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released on March 2nd. $3.99 for eBook. More for paperback.
Fresh off the presses. If you’re game for dipping your toe in time travel, and have always wanted to see what would happen if the #metoo movement met Hollywood in the sixties, read A Friend in High Places. $2.99 eBook and $6.99 paperback.
Meet Lisa Worthey Smith

Multiple award-winning and bestselling author, Lisa Worthey Smith, weaves stories brimming with faith, hope, and love. She draws from her many years as a Bible student and Bible study leader for both profound and simple layers that add spiritual depth to the canvas. Her passion is sharing biblical truths in such a way that readers gain a fresh understanding of how the Word of God is relevant to their lives.
Lisa and her high school sweetheart husband are empty-nesting in north Alabama where she serves as president of North Alabama Word Weavers, tends her hummingbird garden, and tippy taps on her keyboard with a cup of Earl Grey beside her.
My most recent release is a unique blend of biblical fiction and contemporary Christian fiction with a twist of suspense and political intrigue. Set in our time, the main character of The Elijah Mandate lives out many parallel situations as that of her namesake, Elijah. As she navigates through increasingly dangerous situations, Eliana draws strength from how God provided for Elijah, empowering her own prayer life.
The Elijah Mandate on Amazon
Tell me about a character in your book, and how that person is like you.
I am probably most like the main character’s mother, Grace, whose dedication to her family and her faith define her. Grace and I both have led fairly simple lives, have worked in the legal field, and enjoy cooking for others. We also each received a prophecy about a child before they were born. Although Eliana—the main character—battles the enemy face-to-face, her mother equips her for the challenge with her prayers and wisdom from God’s Word. Grace’s love for her children might blind her somewhat, but her unwavering faith in God is her abiding strength.
Tell me about where you live and what you like about it. What's one thing people should do or try if they come to your town?
I live in a slow-paced rural area in the Appalachian foothills of north Alabama near the Tennessee River, rich with southern drawl, where our schedules are arranged by the college football calendar (insert your own “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” here). We are blessed with churches planted on nearly every block, and restaurants that offer (very) sweet tea. If you hanker for intellectual conversation, a few miles away you will find a diverse and highly educated population of engineers and rocket scientists.
We are best known for two things. First, Redstone Arsenal, where Dr. Werner VonBraun developed rockets and missiles in the era of the Kennedy presidency, and the home of the Space and Rocket Center and its Space Camp for young people. Second, the barbeque from Bob Gibson’s is famous worldwide. Their barbeque chicken (slow-smoked and served with a white sauce) is worth the trip. Any visit to north Alabama should include both.
We will welcome you to our homes and our churches, and the staff at Wal-Mart will fill you in on anything that I missed.
Write about the setting of your book, and why you chose that setting.
Some scenes are in the time of Elijah. I greatly enjoyed researching, then envisioning life in his time and setting the stage for his emotional journey.
Modern-day scenes alternate between the rural area where Eliana grew up and Washington DC. I drew heavily from my own home for the hometown scenes. Her move to Washington for a job at the US Supreme Court allowed me to review the history and symbolism that tied in the urgent modern-day relevance to the time of Elijah.
What recipe would your character enjoy eating?
Pound cakes are considered a staple in the south, and a good pound cake recipe is passed from one generation to the next. We serve them with fruit in the spring and summer, and drenched with chocolate ganache in the fall and winter. This is my favorite recipe for a perfect classic pound cake.
In The Elijah Mandate, Grace uses her mother’s recipe to prepare a pound cake for her daughter, Eliana, who comes for a visit. They lavish it with fresh sliced peaches.
Classic Pound Cake
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Madagascar is a good choice)
  • ½ teaspoon butter flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Grease and flour 12-cup cake pan (10” pan)
  3. With a stand mixer, cream together butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until blended. Stir in flavorings.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes before inverting it onto plate or wire rack. Do not cover it until it is cool or it will “sweat” and become soggy.
NotesIt is imperative that all ingredients be at room temperature before mixing. Only mix until blended. Overmixing will make the cake too fluffy, instead of dense. Avoid opening the oven door or slamming doors will the cake is baking so the cake doesn’t fall. If it does, the center will be gooey. This recipe can also be divided to make two loaf pans. Leave one out for dessert. Freeze the other, wrapped in aluminum foil and sealed in a zip-type bag for up to about six months. This cake is also better a couple of days after it is baked.
I often serve this cake at Easter with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Lemon – add two tablespoons of instant lemonade mix, plus the juice and (most of the) zest from two lemons to the batter. Glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with a few drops of vanilla extract, enough lemon juice to make the right consistency. Sprinkle remaining zest on glazed cake. (If you don’t have another lemon, add a sprinkling of lemonade mix for color and tang.)
Coconut – add ¾ cup flake coconut to batter and substitute ½ the dairy milk with coconut milk.
Chocolate – add 3 tablespoons cocoa to batter, and glaze with chocolate ganache.
Meet Jill Boyce
Jill writes inspirational romantic fiction with a medical theme. Her two debut novels are part of the A Dose of Love series. Each story can stand alone, but both feature strong female leads facing challenging life circumstances while finding love along the way. The third book in the series will release soon. Jill’s debut novel, Harte Broken, was inspired by her love of romance and her walk through the grief of losing her mother on the same day of her daughter’s birth. It raises the question, “What happens when the best day is also the worst one?”
Jill is a physician turned stay-at-home mom, who loves coffee, travel, and anything glittered. She treasures spending time with her husband and children, who are her heart and greatest joy. Check out to join her monthly newsletter, and Instagram @ JillBoyceAuthor
Tell me about your book , Harte Broken.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Love does. 
Amy Harte, an emergency medicine physician, lost her mother to cancer suddenly on the day of her residency graduation one year ago. As a doctor, she struggles with not saving her mother and experiencing her best day on her worst. Since then, she has turned from her relationship with God in her guilt and grief. Near the fateful day’s anniversary, her father calls to tell Amy the bank may take her childhood home. Amy knows she must save the house that holds the last precious memories of her mother.
Meanwhile, Amy meets a gorgeous Christian man, Seth, who slowly restores her belief in love and God’s goodness. Their happily ever after may have to wait because Dr. Mark Blakely, Amy’s dashing hospital colleague, has never met a woman he couldn’t woo. Still, Amy suspects Mark values the chase more than her heart. Time is running out for Amy to save her family home and release her anger and guilt. Will she discover that love, especially God’s love, heals all wounds?
How is your lead character like you?
Amy Harte is an emergency medicine physician who lost her mother on what was to be the best day of her life. I, too, lost my mom on a “best” day. My mother passed away on the same day as my daughter’s birth, and it presented one of the most challenging times of my life. As I walked through the grief journey, I learned that God gives us beauty for ashes, and amidst the pain, we can find comfort, love, and hope. Out of all of my characters I’ve written thus far, I’m the most like Amy. I studied abroad in college, I like small towns, and family is important to me. My mother was my best friend, so I can relate to Amy’s loss, for it is my own. I hope readers will find encouragement in this story, experiencing both laughter and tears along the way.
Where do I live and what I like about it?
I live in a small town in WV. I love the beauty of my state and enjoy the four seasons. I would encourage visitors not to miss seeing the New River Gorge National Park, hiking Seneca Rocks, and biking one of the many trails throughout the state.

How did you choose the setting of the book?
Amy’s story takes place in a fictional small town called Scottsburg, VA. It is loosely modeled off Bridgeport, WV. I love the tight-knit community in a small city, and I love my home state, so I wanted to represent that in the book.
What recipe would your character enjoy eating and what is one that is representative of where you live?
I am a terrible cook…absolutely awful. However, if I could cook or bake, I’d share a pepperoni roll recipe as they originated in West Virginia. There are so many bakeries and shops that make excellent versions of this that it’s hard to name one—Country Club Bakery, Tomaro’s Bakery, Abruzzino’s Bakery are all great. Amy Harte’s favorite food is coffee, so I’d probably recommend that. I, like, Amy, have a deep love for coffee in any of its forms. Plus, it’s one of the few things I can make without burning, setting on fire, or accidentally cooking in the wrapper.
I hope you’ll join me on Facebook for #faith, fun, hope…and a little coffee.
My second book, Perfectly Imperfect, introduces a germaphobic, infectious disease doctor. The third book in the series, A Prescription for Beauty, presents an insecure plastic surgeon who suffered physical and emotional scars in childhood.

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