Summer Coffee and Fruit Yogurt Smoothies

When my kids were young, their orthodontist insisted on appointments during school hours. As we left his office and rounded the corner, we drove past a Smoothie King franchise store.  “We’re hungry,” the kids would chime. I thought, least a smoothie is a healthy replacement for the school lunch. Don’t have a Smoothie King close to you? It is easy to make your own drinks.Summer Fruit and Coffee Yogrut Smoothies - 5 - IMG_4602_1

I got my Ninja Blender out of the cabinet and have been blending smoothies this summer with Chobani Greek yogurt left from cooking projects. The drinks are healthy, full of calcium and vitamins from the fruit and yogurt and they satisfy my sweet tooth. They make a quick replacement for breakfast.

What is a Smoothie?

A smoothie from Smoothie King is a giant sized fruit-based drink with fresh fruit and juice, protein powder, supplements and ice all blended up. The beverages are thick, smooth, flavorful and healthy. Unlike a milkshake, many do not contain ice cream or milk. The formula is proprietary–the employees won’t tell you what exactly goes in the blended drinks; but you can figure it out. If you don’t have a Smoothie King close by, Jamba Juice and Smoothie Planet are comparable competitive brands.

Smoothie King Brand and Stores

Smoothie King is a franchise chain of blended health-food beverages founded by Steve Kuhnau in the New Orleans area in 1973.  We grew up with Smoothie King franchise outlets in our neighborhood and probably don’t appreciate that parts of the country may not be familiar with the brand.

The Smoothie King Company now has over 650 outlets world-wide. In 2012 the company was sold to Wan Kim, a successful franchiser in Korea. Wan Kim first learned of Smoothie King while studying at the University of California at Irvine in 2001. Wan Kim has been successful in adding chain stores in Korea, Singapore and the Caymans as well as the United States.                  .

Smoothie King Cup - IMG_4614_1

Basketball Arena named “Smoothie King Center”

If you visit New Orleans and drive towards the French Quarter from the airport, you will pass a domed stadium with a large crown painted on the roof. Basketball fans will recognize that this basketball arena in New Orleans was renamed the Smoothie King Center in 2014 arena after the company purchased the advertising rights. Wan Kim has shown his commitment to Louisiana by keeping the company headquarters in a suburb of New Orleans.

Smoothie King Health-Food Focus

Smoothie King has its beginnings in Steve Kuhnau’s kitchen. Apparently, Steve was lactose-intolerant and started blending his own fruit milk shakes but without the milk or ice cream. Steve was also into the health-food supplement business and he added various proteins, vitamins, electrolytes to the drinks. I see that one beverage is now toted as a meal replacement with protein, electrolytes, digestive and weight loss enzymes and fiber added. Smoothie King’s focus is on blends for fitness and health.

This month Smoothie King is featuring a peach, mango and papaya smoothie with Chobani Greek yogurt. I decided to try to make my own.

Peach and Mango Smoothie Ingredients - IMG_4510_1

Making Homemade Smoothies 

There are endless possibilities for smoothie concoctions. I’ve made many smoothies this summer and developed a basic recipe with proportions for a thick, slightly sweet fruit smoothie using Greek yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup fruit pieces or 1 piece fruit such as a banana or ripe peach
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 2 –  4 Tbsp (or scoops) protein powder (non-fat dry milk, whey powder, milk substitute powder)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (omit if using vanilla yogurt)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (omit if using vanilla yogurt)
  • scant 1/2 cup crushed ice

Place in blender container and pulverize in high powered blender until well mixed. I use a Ninja blender. The double blades are much larger than a regular blender and you can successfully blend up the crushed ice–not possible in a regular blender. I have broken many blenders over the years and suggest getting a sturdy blender to successfully make smoothies.Ninja Blender - IMG_4529

  • Ice. Smoothies do include crushed ice. Don’t omit the ice. This makes the smoothie cold and is needed since the smoothies don’t contain ice cream.
  • Sugar. Many Smoothie King smoothies use turbinado sugar with is made from sugar cane. This is a less processed sugar and has a molasses flavor which tastes great in the smoothies. A brand that is readily available is Sugar in the Raw. If you are using vanilla yogurt or sweetened fruit juice then you really don’t need extra sugar.
  • Vanilla extract. Vanilla extract helps cut the edge of tart plain yogurt. A small amount makes a flavorful smoothie.
  • Protein supplements. Many smoothies are lactose-free containing whey powder rather than milk. (These don’t contain yogurt.) Smoothie King uses a protein powder in their smoothies that also contains fiber but they don’t sell this product. They do sell, however, several protein powders that contain protein, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, fiber, vitamin and mineral supplements. Lean-1 is promoted as a weight loss meal replacement. I found this supplement to be expensive and it had an after-taste which distracted from the smoothie.Protein Supplements and Yogurt - IMG_4524If you are not concerned about lactose; then non-fat powdered milk is inexpensive and convenient for making smoothies. For those who are lactose intolerant, whey powder can be used. I found a non-dairy milk replacement powder from DreamQuest Nutraceuticals made from rice protein, pea protein and soy isolates. It is fortified with vitamins, calcium and other minerals. Best of all, it tastes great–doesn’t have an after taste.

Three Homemade Smoothies

I tried many blends of smoothies. Here are three of my favorites using Chobani Greek yogurt.

  • Coffee and Banana Yogurt Smoothie – This smoothie is made with instant espresso coffee crystals, Sugar in the Raw, non-dairy protein powder, a banana, plain Greek Chobani yogurt and crushed ice. Dissolve the coffee crystals and sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. Then blend everything together.

Coffee and Banana Smoothie - 2 - IMG_4523

  • Peach and Mango Yogurt Smoothie – This smoothie is made with a ripe peeled and pitted peach, mango nector, non-dairy protein powder, vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt and crush ice. Blend everything together.

Peach and Mango Yogurt Smoothie in Ninja Blender - IMG_4536

  • Strawberry and Orange, Mango Yogurt Smoothie – For this smoothie, I used fresh strawberries, orange-mango juice, non-dairy protein powder, vanilla extract, plain Chobani Greek yogurt and crushed ice. Blend everything together.

Ninja Mixer and Strawberry Orange Yogurt Smoothie - IMG_4532

Here are the recipes:

Coffee and Banana Yogurt Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 smoothie
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp instant espresso coffee crystals
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar such as “Sugar in the Raw”
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 ripe banana, peel removed and halved
  • 1/2 cup plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp non-dairy protein powder, non-fat milk powder or whey powder
  • scant 1/2 cup crushed ice

Method and Steps:

  1. Add the espresso coffee crystals and turbinado sugar to the hot water. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Pour into blender container along with other ingredients and crushed ice.
  3. Pulse to blend and finely crush the ice.
  4. Pour into tall cup or glass and serve.

Peach and Mango Yogurt Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 smoothie
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe peach
  • 1/2 cup mango juice or nector
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp non-dairy protein powder, non-fat milk powder or whey powder
  • scant 1/2 cup crushed ice

Method and Steps:

  1. Peel peach, remove pit, slice.
  2. Add peach slices to blender container along with other ingredients and crushed ice.
  3. Pulse to blend and finely crush the ice.
  4. Pour into tall cup or glass and serve.

Strawberry and Orange Mango Yogurt Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 smoothie
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ripe strawberries
  • 1/2 cup orange-mango juice
  • 1/2 cup plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp non-dairy protein powder, non-fat milk powder or whey powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 cup crushed ice

Method and Steps:

  1. Remove stems from strawberries, half any large strawberries.
  2. Add strawberries to blender container along with other ingredients and crushed ice.
  3. Pulse to blend and finely crush the ice.
  4. Pour into tall cup or glass and serve.

Strawberry and Orange Mango Smoothie - IMG_4512

Today is the first day of September–but it still seems like summer to me. I’ll enjoy a smoothie on my back deck and watch the fascinating hummingbirds which are migrating this time of year. They stop briefly to pick up energy at my hummingbird feeder before they travel on their journey. Life is a journey! Make the most of it.

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