We were not at our most frugal when we used to drive to Ikea just to eat supper. It's about 40 minutes drive. Each way. There are definitely closer restaurants. But, we had our reasons:
- Our kids love the food;
- It's cheap to eat there;
- There are a few healthier choices;
- There are lower standards for kids' behaviour in the restaurant; and
- It is fun to wander around the store and pretend.
But, here's some honesty: we would mostly do this because we were worn out on their inexhaustible kid energy. I don't know about where you live, but I would hazard a guess that you are also not allowed to tie your kids up to get a break from them after a long day. Yup. We aren't either. We'd be terrible parents if we did this. But, by law, we must "tie" them securely into their car seats. So a 40 minute drive (each way!) is just what these two tired parents of two energetic small children ordered after a long day. Eighty minutes of relative peace. And if we set the van's speakers just right (i.e. with children's music loud in the back) we'd have 80 minutes of grown-up conversation. Bliss.
We don't do this anymore. Our kids have mellowed since the toddler/preschooler days AND we have this Ikea Meatball Sauce Hack.
Recipe: Ikea Meatball Sauce Hack
- 1 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk (lower fat milk might work, but we have whole milk for our coffee)
- 1 cup beef stock (low-salt)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 30 (or so) cooked meatballs (recipe to come soon, or use frozen)
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt margarine. Add flour. Cook until mixture is bubbly.
- Stir in beef stock. Heat for a few minutes. Add milk slowly. Stir until thickened.
- Stir in soy sauce.
- Add meatballs. Keep warm.
Click here for the free Printable/Tablet Friendly recipe: