Dear Sun Spots: I sent out a request last year at this time and have had little luck. So, here goes, one more time. Central Maine Power held microwave cooking classes about 30 years ago (when microwaves first became the rage). My mother had gone to the classes and got an excellent fruitcake recipe for microwaves. She has had the recipe for years and it had become a Christmas tradition. The recipe has been misplaced and I have searched the Internet without success. Is there any way I can get this recipe? I appreciate your help. – AJC, Lewiston.

Answer: Sun Spots contacted CMP and unfortunately, they are unable to locate the recipe you’re seeking in their archives.

We located the following recipe for Brandied Fruitcake from that you might be interested in trying.

Ingredients: 1/3 cup brandy or apple juice, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup mixed candied fruit, 1/2 cup raisins, 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Method: Line bottom of 8 1/2 inch microwave safe loaf pan with wax paper that extends past ends in both directions for ease of removing cake from pan. Invert a microwave safe saucer in center of microwave oven floor. Mix first 5 ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes. Cream butter and sugar in large mixer bowl at high speed until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and candied fruit mixture. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Spread batter in pan.

Place pan on saucer in the oven. Microwave at medium power for nine minutes, rotating 1/4 turn every three minutes. Microwave at high power one to two minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. The surface may appear moist, but do not overcook; the top will be flat or irregular. Let stand on heatproof surface 15 minutes to complete cooking. Invert onto cooling rack. Remove wax paper. Cool completely.

For easier slicing, wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Dear Sun Spots: It sounds to me like the lady with Purity Service problem did what “Kathy” said she needed to do (Sun Spots, Tuesday, Dec. 16).

The one thing I didn’t see mentioned was a “postal delivery confirmation” receipt. If she got one of these when she shipped the package back she can call 1-800-222-1811 and give them the tracking number and they will tell her the date and time the package was delivered.

The tracking number is the set of 20 numbers along the left side of the green and white delivery confirmation slip.

I have learned to always get one of these every time I return a package to a company and even if I send gift packages. Another source she might try is [email protected] I don’t know if they help on things other than appliances or not. Wouldn’t hurt to ask. $89 is a lot to lose these days. Good luck! Sunspots you do a fantastic job! – M. Grover, Mason Twp.

Dear Sun Spots: I was wondering if any one knows where to get a copy of the “Lisbon: Images of America” book? And I am also looking for a book called “The Boy” by Steve Miles. It is a coffee photo book. Does anyone know where to get a copy of the book or what Web site has a copy of that book? Thanks. And what ever happened to the actors on “A Christmas Story?” – No Name, No Town.

In addition to responses from readers, you can order a copy of “Lisbon,” part of the Images of America series, directly from Arcadia Publishing. Contact them at 888-313-2665 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or e-mail [email protected] Sun Spots was unable to locate a book titled “The Boy.”

According to various Web sites, Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” is now a producer. His recent credits include “Iron Man” and “The Break Up.” He often appears in cameo roles in the movies he produces. He was scheduled to direct his first movie, “Couples Retreat,” beginning in October 2008.

Melinda Dillon, who played Ralphie’s mother, last appeared in three episodes of the TNT drama “Heartland” in 2007.

Darren McGavin, who starred as Ralphie’s father, passed away on Feb. 25, 2006, at the age of 83. In 1990, he played Bill Brown, father to Candice Bergen in the sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Several other film roles followed in the 1990s in such films as Adam Sandler’s hit “Billy Madison.”

Ian Petrella, who played Randy Parker, Ralphie’s brother, no longer acts and is living in California working in animation and puppetry. In the 1990s, he made appearances on television shows such as “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Who’s the Boss?” and “Diff’rent Strokes.”

For information on other actors in the film, visit

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