Australia vs. USA McDonald’s

Hey Fam! As a traveler, chef and food lover, trying and comparing products in different countries has been a really fun and eye-opening experience. It takes me back to when I first realized the vast difference between Coca-Cola in Mexico and the United States. Team Mexico because team cane sugar! 

It was well over a decade since I last stepped foot into a McDonald’s living in the United States, but I’ve been around plenty of people who ate it around me, and it… was pretty offsetting to me. No offense to those of you who love it. Hey, I really love stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut so… I get you. 

I gave McDonald’s, also known as Macca’s here in Australia, a try and… it’s pretty good stuff in my opinion. Is it the most amazing burger ever? Nah… but I’m really impressed with the quality of ingredients used in their products here in Australia compared to the United States. 

Under no circumstances am I advocating that any fast food place to be healthy, and I call bullshit toward lobbyists who fund the research toward these corporations who claim otherwise. Fast food should be eaten in moderation as an occasional treat. *pinches tummy* 

I really appreciate Australia for having stricter regulations regarding their food quality and wish the United States was on board with it. I’ll get into that more in the future. For now, let’s try yummy truffle burgers and chips together! Truffle as in yes, truffle, not truffle oil, which was engineered by people who make perfume. >=O Gross stuff! 

Enjoy the video guys and thank you so much for the support on my YouTube channel. I have also been sharing my videos on Vidme and appreciate the tips and support. It encourages me to continue to put out the best content I can. 

 

McDonald’s Nutritional Information Australia – Here

McDonald’s Nutritional Information United States – Here

Amby 

 

This blog post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. 

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

Hey Fam! Rosella jam is pretty well known here in Australia, and I have been learning a lot about this beautiful flower that is related to the hibiscus. Since Queensland has such a beautifully tropical climate, this flower grows very easily here. Also known as the jam flower or jamming fruit, rosella is commonly used for making jam, cordial and tea.

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

This delicately floral jam is reminiscent of plum, bing cherry and rose buds. It’s vibrant deep red color with fuchsia tones is breathtaking in real life. This beautiful flower makes for such a lovely jam, and I can’t wait to bake with it soon! I’m thinking danishes… 

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

It’s large seed is a great source of pectin, which is used to thicken jam. Simply separate the seed from the leaves by gently pulling the flower apart. This process is a little tedious, but not too bad. It reminded me of peeling and cleaning tomatillos if you’ve ever done that like I did oh so many times growing up and in kitchens. 

After the seeds are naked, place them in a medium pot with just about an equal amount of water. For me, I used 2 cups of water per 2 1/2 cups of seeds. The water should just cover your seeds with a little wiggle room. 

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

Cook at a medium low temperature for about a half an hour. Your pectin will be slightly thick but still watery at this stage while it’s still hot. Once it’s cooled down a bit, it will have the consistency of powdered gelatin that his been bloomed in hot water (for jello in particular). 

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

I also made a tea out of it as recommended by the merchant who sold me these lovely rosella flowers. I simply steeped about 5 or 6 flowers into 2 cups of water for 3 minutes. My water was at around 180F. I don’t recommend brewing fresh herbs or flowers at boiling point because it tends to turn your tea bitter! 

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for Rosella Jam. I did not use the traditional canning method for this recipe at this time because I will be using the final product for some baking projects within the next couple of days. 

Making Rosella Jam and Tea

Allow jam to cool completely in a proper container with the lid off until it reaches room temperature. Pathogens love being trapped in heat! Then store for up to one week in your fridge. This was a lovely culinary experience I learned during my stay in Australia, and I’m so happy I am able to share it with you. Enjoy fam! 

Rosella Jam
Write a review
Print
For Pectin
  1. 2 1/2 Cups Rosella Seeds
  2. 2 Cups Water
For Jam
  1. Pectin
  2. Flower petals from seeds
  3. 3/4 Cup Raw Sugar
For Pectin
  1. Remove seeds from flower petals and separate.
  2. In a medium size pot, place seeds and water and cook at medium low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Please keep an eye on this. If you need a little more water, add about 1/4 of a cup.
  4. Strain pectin from seeds and use for jam.
For Jam
  1. Place pectin, flower petals and raw sugar into a clean medium size pot.
  2. Simmer at medium high heat for about 20 minutes, and then lower the heat for another 10 or 15.
  3. Strain jam, and either save liquid for a cordial, or add some of it to your cooked flower petals.
  4. You may also blend this for a smoother jam. If you use your blender, allow mixture to cool completely first to avoid heat expanding in your blender.
  5. Store in a jar and use within one week unless you are practicing a formal canning method.
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

Hey Fam! Thank you so much for the recommendations here in Australia. I’ve had SO many amazing experiences and discoveries thanks to your suggestions. In my recent YouTube video, I tried Vegemite Cheesybite and loved it! If you’re not sure what Vegemite is, it’s a concentrated yeast extract left over from brewer’s yeast, and turned into a paste. It’s traditionally eaten on toast with butter for breakfast. It takes a bit like soy sauce to be honest. I love the stuff! 

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

However, Vegemite Cheesybite is Vegemite and cream cheese blended. I tried some on toast, I burnt the fuckin’toast, and was pleasantly confused and surprised at how much I loved it. If you have the opportunity, try this stuff sometime. A lot of Americans seem to take heaping spoonfuls of the stuff for an overreaction and it’s a bit disheartening. You wouldn’t chug soy sauce, would you? 

Unfortunately, the only option I found on Amazon to purchase Vegemite Cheesybite was for around $22.00 USD. If you’re that enthusiastic about buying this to try, go for it, but I wanted to be completely honest with my affiliate links I pop on my blog posts. 

Thank you guys for your continued support. You’ve made adjusting to Australia a bit easier and I really appreciate the suggestions, encouragement and support I get from Australia and my other friends from around the world. 

c-ya! 

MORE AUSTRALIAN POSTS FROM AMBY

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

Visiting a Koala Sanctuary – HERE

 

 

 

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

Visiting a Cat Cafe in Brisbane – HERE

 

 

 

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

 

Americans Overreacting to Vegemite Rant – HERE

 

 

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

Trying Kinder Surprise as an American – HERE

 

 

 

I Tried Vegemite Cheesybite and Loved It!

 

American Tries Weird Australian Candy – HERE

 

 

Trying Kinder Surprise as an American

Hey Everyone! If you aren’t familiar with Kinder Surprise, they are chocolate covered eggs with an encapsulated center, which contains a fun toy or prize. These are a part of so many people’s childhoods worldwide, but if you’re an American like myself, then they aren’t. They’re actually illegal in the United States due to a law that passed in 1938 which prohibits the distribution of any confection containing an inedible center. 

Trying Kinder Surprise as an American

Kinder Surprise is an Italian founded product, and although in my opinion this ban should be somewhat lifted, many believe the capsule to be a major choking hazard. I will say, the capsule is pretty large, but opinions aside, I had a really enjoyable time with the kids as we filmed ourselves opening about 10 of these super cool eggs. The chocolate is really good too! Some of the advertising eggs for licensed brands were pure chocolate, while the regular ones were milk chocolate with a white chocolate lining. 

Australia and Europe have a pretty high standard for what classifies as chocolate, so the product itself is great. I’ll have to save that for another post and video though! 

You can be fined up to $2,500 per egg in the United States if you’re caught trying to smuggle them into the country. They are even on Canada’s customs checklist because so many people try to sneak them in, but most I’m sure are unaware of this crazy law since it is just a fun confection. I’m pretty sure most legal authorities will be forgiving and simply confiscate your Kinder Eggs, but is it really worth the hassle and time? 

This experience was not only entertaining, but educational as well. My kids enjoyed learning about the legalities behind Kinder Surprise, and we had a pretty long discussion about them together. 

Until my next Australian adventure, take care!

Amby

 

More Australian Adventures 

Visiting a Cat Cuddle Cafe – Here

Visiting a Koala Sanctuary – Here

American Who Loves Vegemite – Here

 

 

 

 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

Hey Everyone! My family and I had such a wonderful afternoon Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia recently and wanted to share the experience with you guys. Cat Cuddle Cafe is more than just a cat lady’s paradise filled with kitty merchandise, vegan snacks like cupcakes, savory pies and slices, there are craft workshops and all proceeds go toward caring for these adorable kitties in order to provide them with a new home. Yes! You can adopt a cat at Cat Cuddle Cafe! Unfortunately, my renting agreement doesn’t allow pets, but the next place we move it is mandatory that cats are allowed, since Ben and I want at least 4 kitties. It’s always a good idea to adopt a cat in need instead of going to a fancy breeder, because these pets deserve a chance at a happy life and the people who volunteer their time tending to their emotional well-being deserve to see these cuties off to good homes. 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The Area where the kitties hang out in is closed off for their protection, but they do have an outdoor area where they can relax on comfy furniture and are protected from the wild. The room is huge, full of toys, treats, comfy couches with fluffy blankets, kitty books, a table for guests to relax (or blog at), and is 100% cat friendly. They even have a built in cat shelf and tunnel around the room up high for kitties to roam free and feel like they are on top of the world, and above all of us pesky humans. 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The staff does an amazing and professional job at introducing us to each kitty, encouraging us to cuddle, pet and hold the kitties and to wash our hands prior to enjoying their company. The environment is very warm and cozy. The place does NOT smell like pets. It is bright with an abundance of fresh air since the outdoor area is open at all times. These kitties have their own kitchen too! It was so cool! 

Be sure to check out my video to see inside the Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane! ^_^

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The cafe portion of the Cat Cuddle Cafe is a cat lovers dream come true. The shelves are filled with cute cat ear headbands adorned with crystals and pearls, kitty shaped hand bags, delicate figurines, stickers, games and books. It all made me happy and I wanted to buy everything in sight! 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

There is nothing quite like being cuddly and cozy with a cute and friendly cat. I wish I could adopt all of these guys but at least I can put the word out there that there are really awesome places like the Cat Cuddle Cafe who help kitties find good homes. 

 

Why Do Americans Overreact When Tasting Vegemite?

Hey Everyone! I recently posted a video after many requests regarding me tasting Vegemite. Although I had already tried it previously (and really like it) I wanted to break down how to eat it for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. I think a part of the hype of hating Vegemite is due to taking a big spoonful of it, instead of spreading it on toast. Also, I believe people tend to be a bit over dramatic for the sake of entertainment on YouTube. I hope you guys enjoy this video where I compare Vegemite to soy sauce. I hope you guys enjoy! 

Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia

Hey Everyone! One of my current topics to talk about on my YouTube channel is Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia. I as many of you know, I am a native Californian + Hispanic from my mom’s side, and am currently residing here in Australia. One of my greatest challenges in terms of homesickness is finding authentic ingredients/items that remind me a little bit of home. My darling partner has been so supportive in making me feel comfortable as I transition, so he took me to this really cool International Goods market called, PENNISI CUISINE. They have a small selection of Mexican goods, but it’s enough to get by, and a lot of them are goods and ingredients I used back in the States on a consistent basis. 

Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia

 

I was originally recording, but didn’t end up using any of the footage for my latest video, so I took screen captures of the videos for this blog post lol! That’s why they aren’t as in focus as I would’ve liked, but I still wanted you guys to get an idea of what to expect if you’re looking for Mexican food or ingredients, since things like dried chilies and even pinto beans are not common ingredients here in Australia. Believe me, I was shocked too! 

This, at the time, was the closest cheese I came across that was similar to Queso Fresco, how ever, the texture was a bit too smooth and melty. There are similar fresh cheeses that are pretty much the same thing as Queso Fresco, and heck, I can even teach you guys how to make the stuff in a future video. I think my mission is to bring fresh and amazing Mexican food to the Australian people. I hope my mom is proud of me. 

 

Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia

If you want fresh, homemade and EASY TO MAKE corn tortillas, you want to get Masa Lista (pretty much translates to ready flour). There are other brands at times, but this corn flour is cured with lye which not only releases the nutrients from the corn itself, but tenderizes the flour. All you need is hot water and some sea salt for corn tortillas you guys. My family and I make them on a consistent basis now (about weekly) because we love them so much and because there aren’t many good ready to buy brands that I’m used to back home. 

 

Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia

Las Palmas is a ready to use brand that a lot of Mexican Americans, including myself, grew up on for homemade enchiladas. Unfortunately I could only find Mild, but I like the Medium one personally since it’s what my family used to buy, and just spicy enough (this stuff is pretty spicy tbh). I was really excited to see this stuff and picked some up so I can make some of my childhood favorites for my family. 

Where to Find Mexican Ingredients in Australia

On both occasions that I’ve visited, I was happy to see a few flavors of Jarritos, which is one of my favorite drinks back home. Last time they did have Coca-Cola from Mexico in the glass bottles, which if you see it, GET IT! It’s made with cane sugar, so I preferred it over the high fructose corn syrup option the U.S. loves so much. 

I did enjoy some of these yummy finds on video, so be sure to check that out, like and subscribe too please! This helps me continue to share my experience as an American in Australia, learn about Australian culture and food, teach Australians about my culinary background and of course, help others in my position feel a little closer to home. 

 

American Tries Weird Australian Candy

Hey Guys! I had SO much fun trying some very unusual Australian candies this week! I wanted to thank everyone for the love and support for my growing channel. I love taste testing and mukbang videos so much. 

If you are interested in a mukbang show without the smacking and noisy chewing, welp, my content just might be what you’re looking for. Oh, and I’ve added some affiliate links regarding some of the products I tried for your convenience! I hope you guys enjoy and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know! Please keep in mind that all opinions are my own. This content was not sponsored. 🙂 

 

WHERE TO ORDER FEATURED CANDIES:

Chiko Babies
Cherry Ripe
Turkish Delight
Musk Sticks
Crunchie

 

 

I Visited a Koala Sanctuary!

Hey Guys! I had a really nice time yesterday at a local Koala Sanctuary here in the Brisbane area. I thought I’d share some of the cute animals I saw. This was the first animal sanctuary I have visited, but it inspired me to visit more in the future. I’m not a big fan of zoos, or anything that confines animals for the sake of entertainment. The animals at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary had a lot of room to roam freely, and I was fortunate enough to hang out with some of them! 

I Visited a Koala Sanctuary!

I honestly thought emus were a bit… aggressive? Well, they can be… don’t be an idiot and try to jump or ride one please. I know people who are dumb enough to do this. It was really nice to be a few feet away to actually petting, holding and feeding some of Australia’s most famously native animals. I felt really inspired and connected during my visit. My only complaint would be the food. The small cafe located somewhere near the enter of the action was a huge letdown. There was a tiny selection of very overpriced, cheap quality food so I was a bit bummed out about it. I kind of wish touristy locations would have a bit more integrity when it comes to their selling strategies, but, hey… nobody is forcing me to sell my soul for a stale cheese sandwich, right? 

I Visited a Koala Sanctuary!

koala or drop bear? 

I loved walking around and seeing little koalas hanging out and munching on their yummy eucalyptus plants next to me. They’re so cute!!! Overall, I would recommend anyone to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary if they’re in the Brisbane area. You’ll get to hug koalas, feed kangaroos and hang out with emus. I recommend eating beforehand so you don’t feel compelled to sell your first born for a stale muffin though. 

Here is a short video of my visit. It was really hard trying to film, photograph and actually enjoy all of the amazing scenery! I hope you enjoy! 

Love,

Amby 

My Weekend in Hawaii

Hey Fam!

As most of you know, I was recently in Honolulu, Hawaii about two weeks ago. In recent videos on my YouTube channel I’ve expressed my visa’s requirements to travel and renew my allowance into the country of Australia since I’m currently here. It’s been an insane process but I’ve learned so much about myself and my own strength during it all. My initial reason to visit Hawaii was to meet my children, who were in California with their father until their passport applications cleared and thought it would be best to meet them halfway in Hawaii instead of my going all the way to California, and turning right around. 

My Weekend in Hawaii Within My Own Mind

I just have no desire to be in my home state right at this moment, despite me missing it all at once. We made the most of our weekend in Hawaii and it was an insane reunion. I missed my kids terribly and missed being able to tend to them, hang out with them, teach and guide them, which is my absolute most proud moment of my life, is being the person they look up to the most. My partner joined me in Hawaii which made me  feel so loved, supported and happy. I… just really wanted that a lot and didn’t even have to really ask for it. 

Our weekend was very fulfilling. I was surrounded by beauty, delicious new foods to try and become inspired by, and of course, my family. Although it was a bit stressful trying to pull off meeting the kids halfway from halfway around the world, it also made me realize how incredibly hard my partner and I have worked to make our relationship happen in a healthy and balanced manner. It definitely is challenging. I’ve been traveling back and forth from around the world for my family, and have taken the journey itself under my wing and allowing myself to grow more inspired to story tell. 

While it’s easy to rely on your loved ones, or ones you wish loved you the way you need for your happiness, during this process I learned to rely on myself for happiness, not my partner, not my children, not my circumstances. I have stripped myself down to the bone these past couple of years and was in the most miserable state of my life. I hid it for the most part from you all because I wanted to focus on creating content and making others happy, but in that process I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be happy at times as long as you force yourself not to feel hopeless. 

My family should reflect how good I feel about myself, and I should do that for them as well. My job as a parent, spouse or friend isn’t to paint this picture of a perfect life while others spectate insecurely; my job, my purpose in life is to photograph the beauty and the perniciousness that what life forces down our throats. So, while I was in Hawaii for a short weekend, I had an aesthetically and vain surface experience, but I also had a really deep and meaningful one as well. I had been wanting time to speed up for so long so I could be with the one I trusted after closing myself off for so long, and ran away across the world to do so. To take a chance, and then I fought so my kids could join me, partake on this amazing journey and feel secure and healthy. 

I look back now, and although I am sad at times that my life had to really decay to it’s core in order for it to be built back up, I look back at the old Amby and see a miserable girl trapped in a body she hated, trapped in a relationship that she feared and surrounded by people who only responded to her texts or phone calls when they needed something from her. 

This new Amby, this new woman who’s finally feeling like a woman and no longer a girl, doesn’t care anymore or need anyone’s approval to feel secure. I had to rely on myself in a survival mode for such a dreadfully long time and in that process I learned to become my own best friend, but I still continued to betray myself with dark, almost bleak at times thoughts. Now, I feel centered and mature. 

My Weekend in Hawaii Within My Own Mind

So, this is what I learned about myself in Hawaii. I’m sorry that this isn’t another post or video showing off all the super cool stuff. I honestly had that intention but I have no idea where my writing ends up at times. I will however leave a link to one of my Hawaii Vlogs for you guys to check out if you haven’t already. 

 This is what really went on in my mind, and my intention isn’t to “share my story”,  my intention is to help pull your story out of your own heart. Your life is too short and too precious to spectate. I spectated for so many years with this burning hopelessness in my heart to be my true self. I relied on the moods of other people to define my own feelings about myself which left me bitter, angry, heartbroken and confused. That tiny voice however, always pinched at my heart. It always told me, you deserve to make yourself happy. 

 

Love,

Amby