Always A Family Favorite

Happy birthday, MidWeek! It’s hard to believe, but I have been writing this column in MidWeek for the past 19 years, and before that for 10 years at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Working with publisher Ron Nagasawa, editor Don Chapman and senior editor Terri Hefner has been wonderfully enriching. They edit, give me ideas and have allowed me the freedom to be creative in what I write about.

The question I get most is: How do you come up with all of your recipes?

I have been cooking since I was a kid — my father had a delicatessen in New York. I helped prepare the foods, and learned how to purchase the best produce, meats and breads. Back then, people didn’t really know much about fat and cholesterol, so I reveled in a diet of chocolate-covered donuts, bagels, pastrami and assorted higher fat foods, not giving it a second thought.

With modern medicine discovering more about foods that were causing health problems, I learned more, and eventually taught nutrition at Kapiolani Community College. I adjusted my recipes and eating habits so that the foods I enjoyed as a kid could be modified to be healthier, but still taste delicious.

I dedicate my column each week to celebrities and chefs, community organizations, charity and local events, and overall just plain folks who have interesting stories to tell. Many people have commented on how they like to see who I am featuring each week, and enjoy the food information and history, in addition to the actual recipe. I try to choose recipes relevant to holidays, seasonal fruits and vegetables available, and requests I receive from readers.

This column is dedicated to my loyal readers, with a heart-y thank you for reading my column each week, and to MidWeek. Here’s to another 30 years!

This bread is a favorite with my family. You can wrap the slices in plastic wrap individually, store in a freezer bag in the freezer, and pop into the microwave for a warm slice of banana bread anytime.

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B-6 and potassium. They are also a source of vitamin C, riboflavin, folic acid and magnesium.

Healthy and tasty banana bread. Diana Helfand photo

Healthy and tasty banana bread. Diana Helfand photo


* 2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 2 egg whites
* 2/3 cup skim milk
* 2 medium ripe yellow bananas, cut into pieces
* 4 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (add them to batter or sprinkle on top)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.

Stir chocolate chips into flour mixture and set aside.

In food processor, blend egg whites, skim milk, bananas, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to flour-chip mixture and mix until all flour is moistened. Add walnuts. Pour into pan

Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes one large loaf (about 10 slices).