From Blogger To Book Connoisseur

Hey everyone! It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been on here. Thank you to all who supported me with this blog and encouraged me along the way! I now have my own Instagram where I’ll be posting reviews on the latest books I’ve read. If you’d like to follow me on this journey, follow me at @book_connoisseur_2019. I’ll see you there!


The Secret Menu: Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 of “The Secret Menu” series. If you just gave up your addiction to fast food it’d probably be best to skip this blog post as I’m sure with these new menu items it may just break your resolve. Enjoy!

Dairy Queen

  • Chocolate Chip Blizzard: A blizzard simply filled with the hardened chocolate that is used on the dipping cones at DQ.
  • Banana Split Blizzard
  • Jack and Jill Sundae: Ice cream mixed with marshmallows and hot fudge.
  • Lavender Blue Sundae: Blueberry ice cream mixed with marshmallows.

Long John Silvers

  • Side of Crumbs: This is a free secret menu item at Long John Silvers. It’s a box of fried batter parts that have fallen off fried fish or chicken. You can use it to enhance your entrée even more or throw it at your date who won’t stop texting.

Five Guys

  • Cheese Fries


  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


  • Chili Cheese Fries
  • Presidential Hamburger: According to, this hamburger entrée was inspired President Obama’s visit to Five Guys. This hamburger is a regular cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, jalapeno peppers and A-1 sauce. Apparently if you just ask at Five Guys they are willing to make just about any hamburger for you if you pay extra.

Red Lobster

  • Extra Cheddar Biscuits: According to, you can ask for extra cheese in Red Lobster’s tasty cheese biscuits. This of course depends on if your waiter or waitress is willing to accommodate your cheesy request.
  • Lobster Tails: It depends on the franchise, but you can ask for lobster tails steamed or grilled. You can use this to enhance your tasty dinner even more or throw that lobster tail at your date who is flirting with the guy at the next table.

The Secret Menu: Part I


Surprisingly, many of the fast-food restaurants we have grown to love have more than meets the eye. Today it is becoming quite common for restaurants to have “secret menus”. What are these you ask? Most restaurants have a “secret menu” with items that can’t be seen on the menu but you can simply ask an employee, and most of the time they can serve you what your heart desires. I’m not saying that all of the secret menu items below are at every location, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Enjoy!


Little Caesars

Stuffed Cheese Crust Pizza: According to Coupon Sherpa, if you ask Little Caesars staff for a cheese-stuffed-crust pizza they will make it for you.



Pizza Sub: When I first started college at BYU-Idaho, I often got one sandwich—the Pizza Sub. This sandwich contains your bread of choice, pepperoni, marinara sauce, and cheese. It was discontinued when Subway took on a healthier approach, but I have found if you ask, and if needed, explain it to the Subway employee, they will always make it for you.


Chicken Pizziola Sub: This was a limited sandwich too like the Pizza Sub. This sandwich consists of grilled chicken, pepperoni, marinara sauce, and your choice of cheese. Like above, if you explain it to the Subway employee they will make it for you, but charge extra. I’m not sure why the extra charge though?


Jamba Juice

I’ve often heard of Jamba Juice having a secret menu and thankfully, thanks to websites like Coupon Sherpa, one can find a list of these “secret smoothies” which include:


  • Pink Starburst
  • Sourpatch Kid
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Apple Pie
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Push Pop
  • Skittles



Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich: My family is going to flip when they hear about this one as we are chicken cordon bleu lovers! This sandwich has a chicken breast topped with a slice of ham and covered in melted Swiss cheese.



Just when you thought Chick Fil-A couldn’t get any better these secret menu items come along.


  • Blueberry Cheesecake Milkshake
  • Chicken Quesadilla
  • Root Beer Float


Stay tuned for the next blog post exposing more secret menu items to help you get more out of your dining experience–as a poor college student, parent, or just a plain awesome person!

Hamburgers To Try This Summer


Hamburg, Germany is credited as being the city that brought hamburgers to light. According to the Food Lovers Companion, German sailors in the 19th century brought back the legendary idea of using raw shredded beef in meals after trading with the Baltic provinces of Russia. An unknown German chef is credited with making the first hamburger. The hamburger made its first appearance in the U.S. at the Louis Louisiana Purchase expedition in 1904. Since then, it’s been an all-American food.


The United States is filled with many unique ways to cook foods. Some of them are absolutely appalling while others are worth being on the plates of royalty. Below are five tasty hamburgers to enjoy at your next summer barbeque. If you want to get really adventurous I’m sure you can find recipes for each of these exotic hamburgers if you want to impress (or scare away) that significant other or be the life of your local potluck party.


1. Doughnut Burger. Yes, you heard me correctly, there is actually a thing called a Doughnut Hamburger in our country. In Portland, Oregon The Original sells the, “Voodoo Doughnut Burger.” This concoction includes a patty of Strawberry Mountain natural ground beef, Tillamook Cheddar cheese, and the buns are glazed doughnuts.

To learn more about other doughnut hamburgers, check out this link:


2. Double Coronary Burger. This probably isn’t an item you want to have for dinner every night but one to have at least a few times in your lifetime, if you want to shorten it. At The Vortex Bar & Grill in Atlanta, Georgia, this hamburger includes a flame-broiled half-pound patty of premium ground sirloin, two fried eggs, four slices of American cheese, 5 crispy strips of bacon, and two grilled American cheese sandwiches as buns. Oh and don’t forget the side of mayo.



3. Chili Burger. The creators of The Burger Map in Sao Paulo, Brazil, not only traveled the U.S. to find out the secrets to the best hamburgers but have also created a tasty chili burger. This hamburger includes Tex-Mex cheese sauce, tortilla chips, and of course, chili.

Picture of chili burger and other crazy hamburgers at this link:  


4. Cheesesteak Burger. In Philadelphia, the PYT serves a Cheesesteak Pretzel Roll burger. This masterpiece includes cheesesteak, hamburger meat, and a soft pretzel roll. This hamburger is then roasted in a garlic-caramelized onion sauce as the finishing touch.

Here’s the picture that will make you stop working on homework and drive to your local burger joint:


5. Burger Garbage Plate. This is actually a popular item in the New York area. This “garbage” plate consists of hamburger or cheeseburger meat, two hot dogs, grilled cheese, ham or eggs, fries, baked beans, home fries or macaroni salad. This dish is then doused in a mustard, onion, and beefy hot sauce.  

Why travel all the way to New York? Check out this recipe to make this entrée in the comfort of your own kitchen:



Cancer Warrior


Heather Von St. James first met her husband Cameron via the internet in 1998. “I had moved to the Twin Cities on bit of a whim, and didn’t know anyone, so I went online looking to just meet people from the area, no romantic inclinations whatsoever, but then we met,” said James. They were married ten months later.

Early in the marriage, James learned that she had mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer. “We immediately knew we needed to fight, and a quiet determination took over quite fast,” said James. They immediately got on the path to fight mesothelioma together and never second guessed their choice.


Heather with her daughter, Lily.

James went to Boston to receive treatment. She was often away for long periods of time from her husband and young daughter Lily. To cope with her predicament, James would sleep with a baby blanket of Lily’s. She said God, Lily, and Cameron helped keep her going. “God is my reason for hope,” said James, “He brought me through this and I do what I do because of Him.” James was able to beat mesothelioma.

James talks about how she has her good and bad days. In February, her father passed away and healing from his death has been tough for her. “I think I’ve cried more in the last 2 months than I have in the last 8 years,” says James.

James still won’t give up though. “I am taking a lot of what I learned through my battle, and am using it to get through this part of the journey, too,” says James.

Today James strives to bring awareness to the world of what mesothelioma is. She also strives to make a difference in the lives of all those she comes in contact with. “I’m there for people when they need me, and am trying my best to help out the meso community,” says James.

James is involved with the Mesothelioma Foundation. She has met many other mesothelioma survivors along the way. “They inspire me,” says James.

James has also been getting involved with other survivor communities, including Stupid Cancer, which is geared toward young adult cancer survivors.

James says that if she didn’t have God to lean on during her battle with mesothelioma she doesn’t know where she’d be today. When asked what the greatest lesson was that she gained from her experiences she said, “I’m stronger than I ever dreamed I was but my strength isn’t my own.”

We may feel weak at times like Heather did but one cannot underestimate the power of the human spirit. You may be facing similar challenges like Heather or trying circumstances. Do not doubt yourself. Rely on God and those you love. Together, they will help you achieve your true potential in life and reach heights you never dreamed possible.

To find out how you can help, or learn more about Heather’s journey, check out her blog page at:


Our Potential


Earlier this week, I went with a group of friends to the cheap theater here in Rexburg to see The Lego Movie. One of my friends told me how the movie focused on each individual’s potential to change the world, no matter how normal they are. The movie focuses on an ordinary Lego construction worker by the name of Emmet, and how, despite multiple setbacks, he saves the world because of specific skills he possesses.


The Lego Movie got me thinking about how some of the greatest heroes we know today started out as simply ordinary, and after much opposition became extraordinary. You may feel ordinary and just another face in a crowd. But remember that out of the ordinary came heroes like Jackie Robinson, Albert Einstein, Malala Yousafzai, and J.K. Rowling. Each of them had to face opposition before becoming legends. All of them have had to endure taunts, abuse, and some even death threats. Yet despite the opposition, they overcame and changed the world because of the skills they developed.


You have the power to change the world like heroes do today. Develop worthwhile skills and character traits. Don’t let your past or insensitive people in your life crush your potential. Show them who’s boss! I have found in life that the most opposition comes before doing something great. We may never understand why people treat us the way they do. But remember this. You are special. You can change the world just like Emmet, the Lego construction worker did. All you have to do is believe in yourself and show the world you cannot be knocked down. 

The Mark of Sacrifice


On April 16th, 2014, the South Korean ferry MV Sewol departed out of Incheon headed for the resort island of Jeju. A majority of the passengers were excited Danwon High School students looking forward to an island field trip. For reasons still unknown, the Sewol suddenly capsized. Many of the passengers were entombed inside the ship as they were told by crewmembers not to attempt to escape but await further instructions. For most, those instructions came too late.


Jung Cha Woong, a sixteen year old student on board the capsizing ferry, gave his life jacket to a petrified classmate. Jung insisted he would be just fine and felt he was a capable swimmer. He was last seen helping other passengers escape. Woong’s classmate survived. Woong did not. He would have turned 17 the day after the sinking.


I personally feel that true love doesn’t have to apply only to dating and marriage but also to those in our circle of acquaintances. Woong could have easily hung onto his life jacket but instead was looking out for the another.


Are we willing to sacrifice for others, even complete strangers? Are we willing to put other’s interests first even when it hurts us on the inside or outside?


Earlier this week, I was talking with a good friend of mine from church. He said, “The mark of a true knight is when you are willing to put that individual’s interests above your own and respect them, even if their choices tear you apart.”


I personally feel that a test in life that God wants each of us to pass through, is the test of sacrificing for those we care for and for those we’ve never met. It is truly selfless to ignore our own needs and to put others first, even if our lives are directly impacted. This South Korean student was a perfect example of that. He was directly putting his life in jeopardy for his classmate. Be ready to sacrifice for those you care for even if it’s not being recorded on a cell phone or you have a large audience. Oftentimes, the greatest acts of love are not seen but are done privately and are frequently unrecognized. The greatest acts of love, I feel, are the ones done without complaint and with a smile, even if inside the individual is scared beyond belief of the future. Start today to be such a silent hero.

A Date To Remember

A Spanish philosopher named George Santayana said, “The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a thousand meanings.” Each word in the dictionary has the potential to have multiple meanings instead of a specific one. Imagine your roommate comes home one night and exclaims, “Wow, that was a date to remember!” This statement alone can have multiple meanings. To save you trouble, let’s explore the different types of dates out there that your roommate could be referring to.
First, your roommate could be referring to the date as a fruit which is mostly grown in the Middle East–an important crop in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and North Africa. Dates in the United States can be found in the western portion of the United States as well. The fact that your roommate found a date (not a significant other) to eat in your college town alone is truly remarkable due to the scarcity of this fruit in the United States.
Second, your roommate could be thinking about an important historical event that transpired on that day many years ago. This could be anything from remembering the day the R.M.S. Titanic sank or when Miley Cyrus gave the world nightmares with her latest music video.  
Third, your roommate could have just attended a substance abuse program known as Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Education but is abbreviated as DATE. This program is used in some schools in the country to help addicts quit. Hopefully your roommate doesn’t have to go to one of these programs while attending a private church school or while they’re in a prestigious job at Google.
Another organization also abbreviated as DATE is the Design Automation and Test in Europe. It is a yearly conference geared towards electronic design automation. Most of the time it’s held in Germany and France. The fact that your roommate was able to make it back so quickly from Europe to the United States is truly astounding. You should treat him or her to a celebration dinner if this was the type of DATE they went on. Then ask where they got their teleporting skills.
Fourth, your roommate could be referring to a date in the Japanese, Swedish, or American culture. There was a Japanese feudal clan known simply as The Date Clan and a Japanese family line with the last name Date. Or perhaps they are talking about the cities named Date in Japan, California, or Arizona. Or maybe they just saw a performance of the Swedish dansband Date.
Lastly, and most likely, your roommate just went on a date with the person of their dreams. This type of date is simply defined in The Free Dictionary as, “An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest.” If the date went really well, you’ll probably be up till 3am listening to your roommate giggle (unless it’s a guy then that’s just plain weird) talking about this special someone.
Now you are ready to know exactly what your roommate is talking about when they swing the door open and say, “Wow, that was a date to remember!” You can assume they’re talking about fruit, a historic event, an addiction recovery program, a European conference, a Japanese individual, cities, a Swedish band, or a social engagement with a significant other. Your life is officially simplified. I hope you do not find this information outdated.​

Seven Literary Classics You’ll Be Surprised Were Banned


Many books have been banned, torn apart, or burned through the eons of time. But some of the reasons they have been outlawed are laughable. Here are seven classics you may be familiar with that were banned for absurd reasons.


1.       Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The children’s classic was banned in the province of Hunan, China, in 1931, because it showed animals having the same intelligence as humans. The censor, General Ho Chien, believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to the human race. He also feared that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, which would be, as he defined it, “disastrous.”


“Topics of the Times”. The New York Times. 5 May 1931. p. 26. ISSN 0362-4331.


2.       All Quiet On The Western Front. This novel was banned in Nazi Germany for being demoralizing and insulting to the German army. The Nazi party also burned many copies because they believed it would inspire fewer men to enlist in the army.


Grannis, Chandler B.; Haight, Anne (Lyon) (1978). Banned books, 387 B. C. to 1978 A. D. New York: R. R. Bowker. p. 80. ISBN 0-8352-1078-2.


3.       Green Eggs and Ham. Yes, believe it or not, Dr. Seuss’s classic was banned in China for its portrayal of early Marxism.


Karolides et al., pp. 72–76


4.       The Diary of Anne Frank. The diary was banned in Lebanon for “portraying Jews, Israel or Zionism favorably.” Also, in 1983, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the ban of the diary because it was “a real downer.”


Marling, William. (2009-05-01) Why Jane Fonda Is Banned in Beirut – Retrieved on 2010-05-09.


5.       Frankenstein. This classic was banned in apartheid controlled South Africa in 1955 for containing “obscene” or “indecent” material.


“Banned Books Online”. Penn University.


6.       The Grapes of Wrath. Banned because it made rural Californians look dumb.


7.       Black Beauty. Banned in South Africa because it was believed to be racially offensive for having the word “black” in the title.


The Cheesiest Place In Boston


Lobster, Buffalo chicken, and peppers are not normally associated as “comfort food” with Americans, but one place in Boston, Mass., known simply as MMMac N’ Cheese, seeks to add these unique toppings to their zesty mac n’ cheese dishes.


Recipe of Success

Today, MMMac N’ Cheese is known as making one of the best mac n’ cheeses in the country. The stand is located in the food court inside the Quincy Market building at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. It is a popular hot spot for tourists and residents alike in Boston.


Customers have a variety of tasty options to choose– from BBQ Mac to Veggie Mac. Their cheese sauce is a blend of American, cheddar, jack and parmesan cheeses. “MMMac N’ Cheese is insanely good,” says Christian Halsey, a Boston resident.


Entrees are served piping hot and fresh. Customers are able to watch cooks create their meal right before their eyes. The cooks have to learn to make high quality food while also working on pacing themselves as a majority of customers have been standing in line for a long time.


How It All Started

MMMac N’ Cheese came to be in 2008 thanks to a college student named Jacob Hadjigeorgis. The son of a restaurateur, Hadjigeorgis was born in Queens, N.Y.  and became enthralled by local specialties as he traveled throughout the U.S. and Czech Republic in his early years as a college student.


Hadjigeorgis wanted to open up his own restaurant and set his eyes on Boston. Learning that mac n’ cheese was a popular dish in Boston, he decided to open up a mac n’ cheese location that surpassed all others and his father agreed to give him the money.


Hadjigeorgis had willing customers agree to try multiple blends of mac n’ cheese until he found one that most were satisfied with. Once, to set his restaurant apart, he even blow torched his mac & cheese.


MMMac N’ Cheese’s Future

Not all customers have been thrilled with MMMac N’ Cheese. Complaints at range from long lines at the stand, to too much cheese in the entrees, as well as upset stomachs.


Food critics and customers though have continued to praise MMMac N’ Cheese for its delicious mac n’ cheese. The Hungry City Blog praised MMMac N’ Cheese as “a hidden gem in Faneuil Hall where freshness is on the menu.”


Christian Halsey believes the success of MMMac N’ Cheese is attributed to two things—their prime location in Boston, just off of the Freedom Trail, and also the great price to quantity ratio of the food. “I see them being around for a while,” says Halsey.


You may not care for having tomatoes or mushrooms in your mac n’ cheese, but if you’re looking for a local favorite, MMMac N’ Cheese is the place to be while visiting the city where America’s Revolution began.



i. Hadjigeorgis, J., Jacob’s Story. Retrieved from

ii. Only Mmac N’ Cheese? Retrieved from