Sweet Happenings For Valentine’s Day

Thanks to Temptation Candy out in California, The Joy of Caking is hosting an awesome Valentine’s Day CHOCOLATE giveaway!

Temptation Candy has assured me that one lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will enjoy a package filled with delicious chocolates similar to the ones pictured here.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – CONGRATULATIONS TO ZOE MONTELEONE! 

To enter, all you have to do is follow Temptation Candy on one (or all) of their social media sites and then leave a comment (in the comments section only) letting me know which site(s) you are following them on.

https://facebook.com/temptationcandy

https://twitter.com/temptationcandy

https://pinterest.com/temptationcandy

Rules of the giveaway:

Open to US residents only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii); (1) entry per person; winner will be selected on or about Friday, February 13, 2015; winner will be notified by email, if winner does not respond within 24 hours then an alternate winner will be selected; winner must provide a valid street address (for shipping reasons) which will be forwarded to Temptation Candy – sorry, NO P.O. Boxes.  The prize will ship directly from Temptation Candy

The chocolates featured in this post are courtesy of Temptation Candy.  Any opinions herein are my own and I have not been financially compensated to write this post. 

Individual Cinnamon Tea Cakes with a Cup of Pumpkin Spice Tea #Giveaway

*This giveaway is now officially closed.  The lucky winner (Kat) has been notified by email.  Thanks to everyone for joining in on the fun!  And a special thanks to Stash Tea Smile

I am die hard coffee drinker.  But…  Once upon a time, I was strolling through the isles of our grocery store when I happened upon a display of Stash Tea.  The boxes were pretty, the flavors sounded delicious, and the price was right.  And that’s all she wrote.

From my very first box of Christmas Eve Tea I was hooked, and I never looked back.  There are a lot of times when I reach for a cup of tea over coffee now.

I recently wrote the folks at Stash Tea Company and I complimented them on their tea.  I’m a strong believer that if a product is good then you should tell the people that produce it that you enjoy it.  And I’m also believe that if a product is not so good, then they should hear about that too.  How will they improve it if they don’t know there is a problem?

I am excited to report Stash Tea has offered to host a giveaway here on my blog.  Yea!!!  This means that you all have a chance to win some delicious Stash Tea products to enjoy too. Yea again!!!

In honor of this event, I decided to make some Individual Cinnamon Tea Cakes.

These little cakes are moist, tender and delicious.  They go perfectly with a nice cup of tea, and they will leave you hankering for another one.  I served Pumpkin Spice decaf tea with these and they complimented each other well.

Individual Cinnamon Tea Cakes

1 stick of margarine, softened

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 c. Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/4 c. skim milk

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Filling

2 tbsp. margarine, refrigerated

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. brown sugar

Prepare the filling by mixing all ingredients together.  Mixture should be crumbly.

This recipe makes 1 dozen individual cakes. Line cupcake tins with cupcake papers.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine, egg, and sugar.  Add salt, baking powder, yogurt, skim milk, and flour; mix thoroughly.  Fill cupcake papers 1/2 full with batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon filling on top of the batter, then add a dollop of batter on top of the filling.  The papers should be about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle any remaining filling on top.

Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Cool completely before removing from pans.  Store in airtight container.

Okay, now back to the giveaway.

Below is a picture of the giveaway prize.  Minus the sprig of pine.

 (1) boxed set of Cranberry Pomegranate herbal tea and Pumpkin Spice decaf tea,  (1) 4.4 oz. can of Mulling Spice, and (1 ) beautiful Woodgrain Mug.

To enter please do the following:  Visit Stash Tea Company and browse their website.  Then, come back here and in the comments section, tell me which one of their cups or mugs is your favorite and what kind of tea you would enjoy sipping from it.  

I have to tell you this isn’t an easy task because they have the most beautiful cups and mugs I’ve ever seen, and all of their teas sound delicious to me.  But with that said, this just might help you start (or finish) your holiday shopping!

Rules of the giveaway:  Open to US residents only; (1) entry per person; winner will be selected on or about Saturday, November 16, 2013; winner will be notified by email, if winner does not respond an alternate winner will be selected; winner must provide a valid street address (sorry, no post office boxes) for shipping purposes only. 

Happy browsing and good luck!

I received the Stash Tea products featured in this blog post.  I was not compensated for my work, and my opinions are my own.

Camping without the C, just add a G!

Stick with me as you read this post because there is a fun giveaway involved.  But first, let give you a little background.

I got my first taste of camping, not to be confused with glamping, when I was a Girl Scout.  I can still remember my mother helping me compile all of the gear that she thought I was going to need before sending me out the door to some God forsaken place in the middle of nowhere.  The place where I’d live for a week without running water, my nice comfy bed, less than average meals, and my younger sister to antagonize, or vice versa.

It always seemed like the planned group camping trips were like living nightmares.  Too many bugs and humidity, what seemed like never-ending rain storms, burnt marshmallows (and food), and back aches from sleeping on the ground for one too many days in a row.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized that camping could be fun.  Especially, if you were the one planning the adventure.  A few of us girls would occasionally load up our backpacks and hike into the wooded hills behind my house.  Once we located the perfect spot to set up camp, we would build temporary shelters, start our own campfires, cook our own meals, share ghost stories,  and experience our first real taste of independence.  Looking back, I’m surprised our parents let us go, but I am so glad that they did.

Now, fast forward about thirty plus years.  One of these days (soon) I hope to experience my first taste of glamping.  Camping without the C, just add a G!  To glamp means that you don’t have to live without some of the comforts of home. When I glamp it will be in the Pink Paradise.  I’ll have bed with comfy warm blankets to cuddle in, a small kitchen to cook in, a table to play cards and games at, a stereo to rock and roll too, lot’s of wine in the fridge, and yes – even a flushing toilet.  Running water – yea!

So, what does a girl (like me) that wants to glamp do to prepare for her first glamping trip?  She seeks out expert advise on the subject, more specifically – advise from the popular MaryJane Butters.

Most of you are probably very familiar with MaryJane Butters.  She is a very impressive and successful lady.  I was amazed as I read about her life and all of her accomplishments.  So, trust me when I tell you that she is the authority on glamping.   And I know this because I just finished reading her book – Glamping with MaryJane!

MaryJane’s book covers (pretty much) everything you will ever need to know if you want to glamp – seriously!  She will tell you how to buy and restore a camper, hitch one up, and winterize it to boot.  If you don’t have a camper, don’t shy away, she also has a section on backyard and tent glamping too.  And if you’re looking for tips on housekeeping, laundry, bathing, decorating, crafting, what to pack, safety, mechanics, cooking, recipes, entertainment,  junktiquing, places to glamp, and traveling with kids and dogs you will find it in this 224 page book.  Need I say more?

MaryJane recently sent me a signed copy of her book to scour through.  I am so grateful for the chance to have read it.  As part of our agreement, I am ready to pass this book on to one of my lucky readers.  While I’m sad that I will be parting with it; I’m as equally excited that I will be passing it on to one of you.  And I know the lucky winner will appreciate it as much as I have.

To enter this giveaway simply tell me this…  What is the one thing you could not live without if/when you camp or glamp?

This giveaway is open to US residents only.  The giveaway will end on Sunday, July 28, 2013.  The lucky winner will be announced sometime thereafter.  Spam comments will not be published. Good Luck!

*Please note that when I opened the box that this book was packaged in, I found slight shipping damage had occurred to the top right corner of the book.  I just wanted to let you know this so there isn’t any misunderstanding when you open the package that I send to you,  you find the same damage, and want to scream at me.  Just saying…

I received this book to review and giveaway.  I was not compensated for this post, and the opinions herein are all mine.

Comments are closed, and this contest is officially over.  The lucky winner is Wrangler Mama.  Congratulations!!!

Hershey’s and a Valentine’s Day Reminder

Yes, this is a reminder to all of you that next month is the beloved Valentine’s Day.  Or, as in some cases, the dreaded Valentine’s Day.

Whichever way you  look at Valentine’s Day I doubt you will deny the fact that you enjoy indulging in a little chocolate, or some type of candy on or around the 14th of February each year.

This year alone, The Hershey Company is predicting over 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolates will be sold.  That’s right, 36 million!  And yes, this post is all about Hershey.  Let me give you the low down…

The Hershey Company doesn’t fool around when it comes to celebrating the holidays.  They recently partnered with art students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where they designed the heart shaped boxes for this years Hershey’s Pot of Gold Premium Collection, and Pot of Gold Truffles.  The designs are so beautiful;  I have decided my favorite is their new paisley printed heart shaped box.

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If you aren’t one of the 36 million people that is planning on buying a  heart shaped box of candy this year have no fear – Hershey has a huge selection of other candies for you to choose from.

Now, I’ve got a couple suggestions to  help put you in the Valentine’s Day mood this year.

First, be sure to check out Celebrate with Hershey’s.  There you can shop for their products,  find great holiday craft ideas and recipes, read about the history of Valentine’s Day, and send an eCard.  And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter which offers a bunch of perks as well.

And secondly, enter my HERSHEY CANDY GIVEAWAY!  

One lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will  have the chance to win an assortment of Hershey’s delicious candy; similar to the samples I recently received.  Details about the giveaway can be found at the end of this post.

 

To enter this giveaway; leave a comment telling me your  Valentine’s Day plans this year.  For additional entries; tweet about this post, or pin a photo from it on one of your Pinterest boards.   Make sure you leave a separate comment for each action that you complete.  There is a maximum of three entries per person.  This giveaway is only open to US residents – sorry to all my friends that don’t live in the US.  One winner will randomly be selected on February 4th, 2013.

PS.  Be sure you check back to see what other fun things I do with my stash of candy!

This contest is officially over.  Congratulation to Sandra of Sweet Sensations – the lucky winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo giveaway, and here’s why

December is the month when I start thinking seriously about the approaching new year.  It’s the month when I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, and where I want to be in the year to come.

This January, like a lot of other people in this world, I will start the year with a new plan that I will attempt to execute.  And when I evaluate myself next December, I hope to see that I’ve met my goals, or at least some of them.  I have a rather long list this year so I guess I’ll start by taking one day at a time.

And as Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  

With that said, I have set up a photo shop on Esty where  I’m going to be selling some of my photos.  I’d love for you to hop over there and take  look – but make sure you read the rest of this post first!

In celebration of making my first move toward the new year I have decided to host a giveaway of  one of my 5×7 photo’s.  The photo I’m giving away is titled Little Creamer.  I had a lot of fun creating this image, and I’m hoping the lucky winner will appreciate it’s uniqueness and enjoy it in their home, or office.

victorian pitcher with watermark

So, here are the giveaway details.

To enter;  visit my shop at E and Esty and  look at my pictures and decide which one you like the best.  Once you’ve done that, come back here and leave a comment (in the comment section of my blog) telling me which photo is your favorite.

For additional entries you can tweet or pin this post.  Or you can (from your favorite photo page at Esty)  tweet, pin, or like the  photo you’ve chosen as your favorite.   Just make sure that you  leave a separate comment (in the comment section of my blog) for each of the extra activities you have completed.

There is a maximum of six entries for this contest.  I’m sorry it’s only open to US Residents only.  The winner will be picked December 24th.  Remember to leave an email address so I can contact you if you’re the winner.

Good luck! 

Also, if you are an Esty seller then please follow me and I will follow you back.

Congratulations Denise, the winner of the photo Little Creamer.  Your prize will be shipped soon!

This contest is officially closed.

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes and Giveaway Reminder

Earlier this week I decorated homemade lemon cupcakes with Celebration candies from SweetWorks Inc. If you aren’t familiar with SweetWorks, they are a large manufacturer and distributor of well known candies.,

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If you haven’t checked out my original post yet then please do so because SweetWorks has sponsored a generous giveaway here at The Joy of Caking and the contest ends tomorrow. 

As promised, here is the recipe for the homemade lemon cupcakes I featured in my earlier post.

Lemon Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Line cupcake tins with paper cupcake wrappers.  I made 2 dozen mini’s and 9 regular size cupcakes.

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sour milk

1 lemon juiced into 1/2 cup; fill the remainder of the 1/2 cup with hot water

lemon zest from 1/2 of a lemon

1 c. plus 2 heaping tbsp. all-purpose flour

Add butter, sugar, and eggs to a large mixing bowl.  Mix until creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly and until batter  appears fluffy.

Spoon batter to each paper liner; filling each cup about 2/3 full. 

Bake mini’s for approximately 10 minutes, and regular sized cupcakes for approximately 16 minutes. 

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before removing them from tins.  Once cupcakes are completely cool; frost with your favorite icing.  I made a vanilla buttercream icing and used a clear vanilla extract to obtain a pure white icing.

I froze these cupcakes and we are having them for Easter dessert.  What are you making for your Easter dessert?   

Cupcakes, Candy, SweetWorks, Giveaway!

There are three things you should know about me, and each has to do with candy.

1.)  I loved the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  And that’s how I envision every candy factory being run.  Yes, even today!

2.)  My sister and I were once mad scientists and put Pop Rocks candy in a bottle of soda while we were sitting in our dad’s car.  Whoa!

3.   I’ve conspired with SweetWorks candy to show you some of their awesome new products, and in return they are sponsoring a GREAT giveaway here at The Joy of Caking!

Don’t you just love it when I tell you my secrets?  Now, let me tell you a few of SweetWork’s. secrets.

SweetWorks, Inc. is a candy manufacturer and distributor located in Buffalo, NY.  Their brands include Sixlets, Oak Leaf, Niagara Chocolate, Ovation, and Celebration candies.  And if that’s not enough, they are the parent company for Florida Tropic and Bubble King.  This corporation produces some of the most popular candies out there.

Since I typically blog about baking it only seemed appropriate to share SweetWorks Celebration line with you.

The Celebration line offers an unbelievable variety of beautifully colored Pearls (smaller, harder) candy coated balls that taste similar to a Jawbreaker in flavor, and Sixlets (larger, softer) candy coated balls that have a sweet chocolaty flavor.  Both are gluten-free.

candy and chicks 008

To show you just what you can do with the Pearls and Sixlets I started out by making lemon cupcakes with a white vanilla buttercream icing.  I’ll share that recipe with you later this week – I promise. 

I decided to focus on three decorating themes to give a sense of just how useful these decorations are.   I am sharing my finished cupcakes in the form of three virtual parties!

The first party is….

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Both the brightly colored and shimmering Pearls and Sixlets turned my simple lemon cupcakes into a cute and inviting baby shower theme. 

The second party is…

  4567

I knew immediately when I saw the shimmering gold and silver Pearls and Sixlets that I was headed toward a wedding shower theme.  I only wished I knew someone who was getting married soon so I could show these off in the real world and not just the virtual world.  All I can say is elegant!

And the last party…

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What is a birthday without candles?  A great one in my estimation…   Especially when they illuminate the whole room and the fire department has to be on standby!  Again, these bright and shimmering Pearls and Sixlets offer an eye catching and festive birthday celebration. 

Now, a word about my experience with Celebrations candy.

Neither the Pearls or Sixlets melt in your hands when you handle them and they’re durable. The colors also didn’t run when they came in contact with the frosting. I actually frosted my cupcakes the night before and left them out at room temperature before taking my pictures the following morning.

I would offer a word of caution where the Pearls are concerned.  They are considerably harder than the Sixlets and they might be too hard for small children or people with dental concerns.  The Sixlets make the perfect alternative in those situations.

I have had so much fun working with SweetWorks and their candies. And now it’s your turn to have some fun!

SweetWorks is offering an assortment of eleven bottles of Pearls and Sixlets to one lucky TJOC reader.

This contest is now closed.  The winner is CindyB – congratulations!

To enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me which of the three virtual parties you liked the best.

For additional entries:

Follow SweetWorks on Pinterest, Facebook, and/or Twitter

Follow The Joy of Caking by Email, RSS, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.

Pin on Pinterest

Share on Facebook (with the link to this post)

Tweet this on Twitter:  Win Celebration Candy from @SweetWorks and @thejoyofcaking (with the link to this post).

Make sure you leave a comment for each of the actions you take in order to qualify for additional entries.  Eleven possible entries per person!

This contest is open to US Residents only.  The giveaway will close and the winner will be randomly selected on April 6th. 

Disclosure:  SweetWorks provided the candies for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Be creative; make your own cupcake picks

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When I was a little girl my mom would take my sister and I to a local bakery, and on occasion, she would let us pick out a cupcake as a treat.

The first criteria in picking out my cupcake was usually it’s flavor.  Chocolate usually won out over vanilla.  But sometimes the decorations won me over before the flavor did. 

I loved the cupcake picks the bakery used, and I imagine today they might even be described as vintage.  Ah, nostalgia…

Recently, I decided to make my own cupcake picks.  Although they are not identical to the picks I got in my cupcakes as a little girl, they are very bright and cheery.  Something most of us could use a little more of during the winter months.

With a little help from a Cricut that my hubby bought me a couple years ago – my plan came together.  

food pick 0264

You can be as creative as you want making these.  Different shapes, colors, layers – it’s all up to you. 

 

 

flowers and hearts 057

I opted to make a variety of hearts since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  And I couldn’t resist making a large bouquet of flowers that radiate fun.

flowers and hearts 003

flowers and hearts 022

 

The only thing these picks are missing?  Cupcakes…

Now for the best part of this post.  I just couldn’t keep all of these bright cupcake picks to myself.  So, I’m giving away one dozen picks (6 hearts and 6 flowers) to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post between now and when the contest officially ends at noon  January 18th. The winner will be picked randomly. Good luck!

Thanks for entering the giveaway.  The contest is officially closed and we have a winner.  Congratulations Debbie Alve!

Celebration and Giveway!!!

It has finally arrived!  The big day… My blog is officially one year old!  If you didn’t see it already, check out my post on the 20 things I’ve learned about food blogging over the past year.  You  might find something on the list you can relate to.To make this a real celebration,  King Arthur Flour  is sponsoring an awesome giveaway!  In my opinion,  KAF is the absolute best baking company.  I drool when I look through their catalogue, or surf their website.  I’d love about ten of everything they sell.  And, as many of you probably already know, the quality of their products are superior.  The fact that they are an employee owned company makes their company even better. So, what is the giveaway?  Drum roll please…. One lucky winner will receive the following fantastic prize package.
1 package of assorted swirl cupcake papers
1 box of deliciously simple chocolate cake mix
A package of 9 sparkling bright-colored sprinkles
King Arthur also sent me an identical package.   I absolutely love it!!  I haven’t made a boxed cake mix in forever, and I forgot just how easy it is.  I threw all the ingredients into a bowl, and mixed them with my electric mixer.  In less than 5 minutes I was done.  The batter smelled so rich and chocolaty that I could hardly wait for the cupcakes to finish baking.   The cupcakes (all 24 ) baked perfectly, and are so moist and DELICIOUS!  (Confession) I’ve ate way too many of them.    This is the cake mix of my dreams!

The assorted swirl wrappers so colorful.  I used each and every color.  They are made of a heavier grade of paper, and are imported from Sweden.  I noticed the heavier paper helped prevent unwanted movement when I was filling them with the batter.  And, the sprinkles are so bright and cheery – I guarantee you will use them for many celebrations to come.  I tried to decide which one was my favorite color and couldn’t.  They all are so eye-catching. 

I know the winner of this package will absolutely love it.  It’s practical,  super delicious, and FUN!

This giveaway is valid  for US residents only. You must have a valid US street address for shipping purposes.  Sorry PO boxes and  international friends!

To Enter:

1.  Link to the KING ARTHUR FLOUR and find something  you LOVE.  Then leave me a comment describing it.

2. For a second, third and/or fourth chances to win FOLLOW King Arthur on FacebookTwitter, and The Baking Circle community.

3. For additional chances to win, SUBSCRIBE to The Joy of Caking by Email, RSS, or Twitter.

Leave a separate comment for each activity that you complete.  You must do this to create extra entries.

The  contest will close on Sunday, March 27th, at 6PM Eastern Time. The winner will be selected by random drawing and will be notified on March 28th.  At that time, the winner will need to provide their address.

Thank you so much for helping make this a great celebration!  Please keep following, and watch for changes I’ll be making to my site as I roll into year number two.

Friday my blog turns one! But wait, there’s more.

Let’s celebrate!

Friday, my blog turns one, and it’s time to celebrate!! Follow along, because at the end of this post I’m going to let you in a little secret that has to do with my celebration.

I have been thinking about what a one year post should be say for a while now. Should it be serious? Or funny? Just to warn you, I sometimes have a warped sense of humor – yes, unfortunately it’s true. Should the post be festive? Or low-key? Long, or short? Showcase all of the goodies I’ve made? Or, should I create something entirely new and exciting?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt as if I had cornered myself into writing something like a commencement speech at a high school graduation ceremony. You know the kind I’m talking about. Where you share words of inspiration, promote enthusiasm, urge everyone to follow their dreams, and remind your peers they are about to embark on a wonderful journey. That didn’t fit, as most of you have already embarked on the journey of blogging.

My mind was digesting all of my ideas when it suddenly hit me like a lead balloon. I would share 20 things I’ve learned about food blogging over the last year. So, without further adieu, here they are in no particular order.

1. Foodies are passionate. But, so are people who raise chickens (right Molly?)

2. It’s the post that you don’t expect to get much traffic that sends your numbers to the moon.

3. The post you write that you think is super awesome, probably isn’t.

4. Your spouse is your biggest fan. Thank you! X0X0

5. Friends come and go at your blog, just like they do in the real world.

6. There are cliques in the foodie world. That’s life.

7. It takes a long time to learn Twitter lingo. By the way what is  #FF?

8. Not all advertisers will deliver what they promise. They know who they are.

9. If you bake something and it doesn’t turn out, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the end of your next post.

10. When an editor of a well-known food magazine follows you on Twitter, it’s a HUGE compliment. When they tell you they were drawn in by your photo‘s, it’s even BIGGER.

11. You will grow as a baker/cook, writer and photographer.

12. You probably will never be as successful as Julia and/or Juliet but if you happen to hit it big – enjoy the ride! I’m still waiting for the ride…

13. If you bake/cook , blog, and sample frequently, you will gain weight. This I know…

14. Family and friends will love you for all the desserts you share – right down to the last bite.

15. Your oven/stove, camera, and computer are tools of the trade. Pray none of them break, because if they do, it will throw you off your game.

16. Blogging takes a lot of your time. Maybe, too much of your time.

17. You will get writers block, go into a funk, or become bored. It’s only temporary.

18. You will make friends from all over the world that you wouldn’t have made otherwise.

19. Without question, the BEST baking supply company in the world is KING ARTHUR FLOUR.

20. Food bloggers have the best giveaways.

Maybe these 20 things aren’t a one size fits all, but I’m sure you will relate to something on the list. Blogging has been a great adventure for me. When I started I was anxious, and felt as if I had walked out onto the edge of a diving board for the first time. I wondered should I turn around and retreat, or take the plunge. I took the plunge, and I’m sure glad I did.

With all that said, now comes the very best part. On Friday, I am having one heck of an awesome giveaway to celebrate. I promise you that you won’t want to miss it. And yes, there are clues in this post.

This could be a clue