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Simple Recipes for College Students

Updated on July 8, 2013

A Cookbook for College Students

Sooner or later - it happens - our children will go to college (or maybe just move out on their own!). Usually (at least during the first year) they eat their meals in the school cafeteria. But sooner or later they want to experience some independence and cook something on their own (or they just say they can't stand the 'caf' food anymore!). They could begin to get their meals by eating out - but this will get expensive very quickly. So the alternative is for them to make their own meals. For many of them, this could be their first experience with cooking (not counting making popcorn!). Whether your child is beginning their freshman year or their senior year of college, they will be making a meal at some point during the year. If they live in the dorm their first year, they will certainly have a microwave. Why not create a cookbook of easy meals they can make in a microwave instead of buying costly (and not very nutritious) microwave meals. This can be the beginning for them of independence. Then when they move off campus into their own kitchen, they can begin to explore other options for cooking (baking, stove top, and Crockpot).

When my daughter went to college last year, I created a cookbook for her. The cookbook included some of her favorites while growing up. They also included some special family recipes - she doesn't have all the tools to make these recipes yet, but she does have the recipes for the future. I also included some quick, simple and cheap recipes for her and her roommate to make. This lens will give some of the recipes I included in her cookbook and some great tips along the way!

Photo: Patrick Q

Creating A Cookbook for the College Student

Go peek in anybody's kitchen (go ahead - I'll wait!) and you will find cookbooks. Cookbooks for losing weight, kid-friendly, Crockpot, simple and easy, Italian - the list goes on! Why not make your child's first cookbook, one that you create for them. It is simple to do - grab a 3-ring binder and print out your families favorite recipes.

Family Favorites: Take their favorite recipes that you make for the family and include them in the book. Even if the recipes are a little more complicated than they can handle, they will get to the point that they will be able to try them! I included the recipe for Spaghetti Pie - one of my daughter's favorites. It includes basics that most college students like - spaghetti. It just makes it a little different than just - "spaghetti".

Family Heritage recipes: My mother has a cinnamon roll recipe that is to die for! (It's really very good!) I put a copy of that recipe in her cookbook. Will she ever use it? Probably not (yeast and kneading is involved!) but she will have it and the memories of when her grandmother made those cinnamon rolls. And if she every feels the urge - she has the recipe to try.

Simple College Friendly recipes: Ramen noodles are a staple in a college students life (admit it they are one of the cheapest things in the store!). I found a couple of recipes online for ramen noodles so that they wouldn't get bored with just - noodles.

Photo: ex libris

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 6


  • 6 oz. Uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • ¼ c. sliced celery (I leave this out)
  • 15 ½ oz. Jar prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 4.5 oz. Jar sliced mushrooms - drained (I have left this out most of the time also)
  • 2 eggs - slightly beaten
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ t. garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch square pan. Cook spaghetti to desired doneness as directed on package; drain. Set aside.
  2. In large skillet, brown ground beef with celery, drain. Stir in prepared spaghetti sauce and mushrooms. Simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Combine cooked spaghetti, eggs, 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese and garlic salt; toss lightly. Place spaghetti mixture in prepared pan. Press evenly in bottom and up sides of pan, forming a crust. Pour meat mixture over spaghetti; cover with foil. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil; let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cast your vote for Spaghetti Pie Recipe

Staples that Every College Student Needs - Food

There are some basic food/supplies that every college student needs for their kitchen. These will vary by taste of food fut there are some basics that you would find in every dorm across the country.

Ramen Noodles: You can find these for anywhere from .25 to .10 cents each. Very economical. The problem becomes that you can tire very quickly of them - even if you try the different varieties. (My daughter is very loyal to her chicken!)

Popcorn: Ok, so this really can't be called an item as a meal - however, some students will call it a meal, snack, midnight break from studying - whatever - it's there in their cabinets somewhere!

Spices: When they have a kitchen and are attempting to cook some of those wonderful recipes you have put in their cookbook, they are going to need spices. If you are not "picky" about your spices - you can find spices at the dollar-type store or Aldi. Don't let them go to the grocery store and buy them - they could spend $3 - 5 on one spice. Teach them to use their money in better ways. Go through your recipes and help find the spices that they might use first: chili powder (chili) Italian seasoning (chicken), onion or garlic powder.

Veggies: One of the best ways to eat veggies to retain their nutritional value is to steam them. For that they need a stove, a pan and a steamer basket. Luckily, a storage bag company has created "steam bags". You put your vegetables in the bags, pop them in the microwave and you have steamed vegetables. The bags can get costly, but if all they have is a microwave, this can guarantee that they get their veggies!

Fruits: This will require that they go to a grocery store or farmers market on a regular basis. There just isn't anyway to keep fruits fresh for very long. Show them the circulars for the grocery stores or sign them up for the on-line sale notices from the stores. Teach them to shop for their favorite fruit when it is on sale. Also Aldi (if you have one in your town) is a great place to shop for fruits.

Photo: rofltosh

Chili Recipe

  • 1 -1/2 lbs. Ground beef
  • 2 or 3 cans (15 oz. Each) pinto beans - drained
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole tomatoes cut up (I use tomato sauce)
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves - crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. 1. Crumble ground beef into a slow cooker. Add beans, onion and garlic
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, stir tomatoes, tomato paste, water, chili powder, salt, oregano, cumin and pepper until blended. Stir into meat mixture. Scrape down sides of slow cooker.
  3. 3. Cover and cook on high for 3 ½ to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours or until onion is tender.
  4. Serve with shredded Cheddar cheese and saltine crackers.

Crockpot for the College Student

2.5 quart round slow cooker. Ideal for 2 to 3 people. Removable stoneware. Rinse Clean coating for easy cleaning. Glass lid. 2 heat settings. Nonprogrammable. White wrapper with green stoneware. 9.1" H. x 10.1" W. x 10" D.

Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 2

Asian Chicken 'n Noodles Recipe

  • 1 ½ c. water
  • 1 pkg (3 oz) ramen noodle soup mix
  • 1 medium carrot - thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz) Oscar Mayer grilled Chicken breast strips
  • 2 T green onion slices


  1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add noodles and carrots; cook 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken breast strips and 1 t. of the seasoning (from ramen soup package); mix well. Discard remaining seasoning. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Sprinkle with onions.

101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles

Refrigerators for the College Student - Keep Food Close!

Introducing the Avanti 309YBT Counter High 2 Door Refrigerator Compact Apartment Refrgerator - Black - 3 cf., featured in our Refrigerators, Freezers department. This product generally ships within 1 business day(s) from Richfield, Ohio, and weighs 64 pound(s). Avanti's reputation has been built by providing quality products at a great value. This Counter High Compact Refrigerator Freezer from Avanti offers more cubic inches and features than most other compact style refrigerators. Avanti is well known for their Compact Refrigerators for home, office and dormitory, additionally they have become popular with hotels as in room refrigerators and refreshment centers. Available in numerous sizes, colors, and a wide selection of features, Avanti has a Compact Refrigerator that will exactly fit your needs.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 4

15 minutes Parmesan Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli Recipe

  • 8 oz. Pasta - uncooked
  • 3 c. fresh broccoli florets or 1 pkg. (16 oz) frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 clove garlic - minced or ¼ t. garlic powder
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) Oscar Mayer grilled chicken breast strips
  • 3 T. butter or margarine or olive oil
  • ¼ c Kraft 100% grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Cook pasta as directed on package in large saucepan, adding broccoli during last 5 minutes of cooking time; drain.
  2. Cook and stir garlic and chicken breast strips in butter in same saucepan on medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is tender but no brown and chicken is heated through.
  3. Add pasta and broccoli; toss lightly. Sprinkle with cheese; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Cookbooks for the College Student

Ok, so your college student is packed and ready to go (everything is "stuffed" into their car!) and you have no time to "create" a cookbook for them. Order one of these and have it shipped directly to their dorm room. It accomplishes 2 things at one time - they get mail (college students love to get mail!) and they get a cookbook of their own (and you get to be a cool parent!).

Lens of the Day!

What a Great Way to Start 2010!!!

Thanks to the group that selects the Lens of the Day! I am so honored to be Lens of the Day on January 3, 2010!

Parents of College Students - Speak Out! - College Students - Speak Out!

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    • profile image

      BuckeyeVA 6 years ago

      What a cute lens! When my sister went out of state for college, the family would put together a food box and send to her. She always enjoyed that.

    • navalava lm profile image

      navalava lm 6 years ago

      Great recipes! I'm a student and I found it really useful.

    • profile image

      KateConn 6 years ago

      Nice job! I have a page on easy recipes too but I definitely want to try some of yours, especially the spaghetti pie!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love the recipes and all the details! Good lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love the recipes and all the details! Good lens!

    • profile image

      DesignZeal 6 years ago

      Cool ideas - simple, easy and appetizing! great lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'd say these recipes are not just for college students, funny because I usually have your college kitchen basics on hand. Nicely done!

    • profile image

      wplove 6 years ago

      Cool lens. My brother has a dorm blog and I told him to link to your lens it's a great one for his readers.

    • profile image

      lauraklebsch 6 years ago

      awesome, I am a mother of many kiddos and ill even use these often, they are so easy

    • ddaider lm profile image

      ddaider lm 6 years ago

      After 3 years of Ramen Noodle and cafeteria food, these recipes sound awesome. Wrote down the Asian Chicken n' Noodle - sounds easy enough to make in the dorm room. Precooked chicken strips taste better than what I can do in a frying pan anyway.

    • profile image

      degreesonline 6 years ago

      Great ideas... simple means more likely to happen. Especially in a dorm room :)

    • BucketTrucks LM profile image

      BucketTrucks LM 6 years ago

      This is a great lens for students who don't want to gain the freshman 15 when they go off to college because they have no idea how to cook healthy.

    • profile image

      MQWilson 6 years ago

      asian cup noodles are the best =)

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      Quick and easy for me.

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      These were great!

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      Really interesting ideas that go beyond mac and cheese :)

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Brilliant ideas - keeping from starving or dying from sodium overdose (Ramen anyone?) is rather difficult for a college student.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 7 years ago

      Great recipes! I can't wait to try them!

    • profile image

      Neildhawan 7 years ago

      Hey Nice Attractive title To Fetch The Visitor

      Instead Of This I Like Your Lens

      Top Universities And Colleges

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 7 years ago

      You have some nice ideas. Great Topic and lens Joni

    • profile image

      almu007 7 years ago

      Fantastic Lens. I loved it. Ramen noodles is definitely my staple. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      adding you to my student college cooking and décor blog rolls - university and homework, blessings from a squid angel ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      great lens!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Students would love these recipes - I hope I can speak as Grandmother of college students! I am featuring your lens on my lens "Quick and Easy Mushroom Risotto Recipe". And here are some Angel Blessings

    • profile image

      ksrpraj 7 years ago

      I will add your lens in my lens roll about students tips

    • profile image

      ksrpraj 7 years ago

      This is an excellent article for students. Thanks for an awesome lens

    • marketmasterpro profile image

      marketmasterpro 7 years ago

      College students need fast recipes! Good stuff!

    • profile image

      AriadneJ 7 years ago

      When I am in a hurry this advices are very good for me ...even if I'm not a student

    • DressGoon profile image

      DressGoon 7 years ago

      Great lens. Im a new college student and these recipes will come in handy for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      gudangupil 7 years ago

      @teemu: my revies , check this out309ybt avanti two door compact refrigerator freezer

    • profile image

      gudangupil 7 years ago

      my review about 309ybt avanti two door compact refrigerator freezer i like this refrigerator

    • teemu profile image

      teemu 7 years ago

      I noticed Spices on your list of "Staples." It's true. I didn't think about spices when I first started cooking for myself - but boy do they help a dish! Amazing lens!

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 7 years ago from Chicago area

      This lens is also great for people like me - who don't like to cook. Great lens.

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 7 years ago

      Neat lens - lots of good ideas to try.

    • profile image

      TanyaOnline 7 years ago

      Excellent suggestions. As a student, I find this lens simply perfect!

    • profile image

      tim1505 7 years ago

      Very nice lens. I like how it's specif for students. I'm going to buy it for my 2 daughters who are currently in college.

    • profile image

      BooJeeBeads 7 years ago

      My daughter is off to college so I need to share these with her.

    • profile image

      MartinPrestovic 8 years ago

      I am way past the stage haha but I do have two brothers and they are in college. Been going over your list of recipes. What is a spaghetti pie? I haven't had a spaghetti pie before. Sounds like something I'd want to try.

    • profile image

      Apgilly23 8 years ago

      WOW! That is a ton of information! I am a senior in highscool and this will help out a ton for next year.

    • profile image

      jakealoo 8 years ago

      Very nice lense! As a college student it is really tough for me to find simple and quick meals that are also healthy. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • profile image

      totalhealth 8 years ago

      nice and easy recipes. Ramen is really a favorite and easy to cook food for college students. I remember during college that I almost tried all the ramen I can find lols.

    • mschuerer profile image

      mschuerer 8 years ago

      Awesome lens! I have sent it to my son who just moved into his first apartment and is gathering odd kitchen pieces from his grandparents (we live 1000 miles from him). Thanks for your creativity and hard work!

    • SophiesFavors profile image

      SophiesFavors 8 years ago

      Spaghetti -- the food staple of college students!

    • Queenie7654 profile image

      Queenie7654 8 years ago

      in my dorm, we use popcorn poppers all the time!

    • profile image

      LaToya998 8 years ago

      oh ramen noodles! i survived on those in college! what memories!

    • LuvPeaches profile image

      LuvPeaches 8 years ago

      great recipe tips!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 8 years ago

      The recipes are truly delicious and easy to prepare. My kids are still young and it will take a couple of years before they get into college so I will just try these simple recipes and teach my kids when they are much older. Thanks for the many ideas. 5*

      Hope you could visit my lenses and be a fan of my fb page. Thanks again

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      oh yah and congrats on LOTD! lol

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      great ideas for a lens! 5 stars, added you to my blog roll of several lenses Ive made about cooking, recipes, irish food, snacks, birthdays, cocktail parties. etc..

    • Viola Horne profile image

      Viola Horne 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! My Places To Pee Before You Die was LOTD recently and it was so much fun! I'm forwarding your lens to both my college boys. Thanks!

    • profile image

      1stDharma 8 years ago

      Congratulations and I love the popcorn popper

    • profile image

      Income4life 8 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day!

    • profile image

      plaze 8 years ago

      Great idea on making a cookbook! I'm going to start now for my niece who graduates HS this May!!

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 8 years ago

      Interesting lens. Thanks for all of the ideas. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      Swagger1 8 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day!

    • profile image

      zoewhite 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago


    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Congratulations for LOTD for Simple Recipes for College Students!

    • jennysue19 profile image

      jennysue19 8 years ago

      Good lens and a great idea to create your own cookbook. But I don't understand why you used ready cooked and not fresh raw chicken breast in the pasta recipe. The preservatives and flavourings that go into the cooked chicken ingredient you recommend are very unhealthy. The only downside is that if you use fresh chicken it needs to be cooked the day you buy it or at the most the day after, or it's a salmonella risk. And if you use fresh chicken, you can choose free-range and not intensively reared.

      There is a standalone cooker that looks like a crockpot. It's called a Remoska and you can do all kinds of things in it, even baking. Couldn't find one on Amazon, only the books but I really wish I had had one of these when I was a student.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD -well deserved. Very basic and helpful information presented really nicely!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD!

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 8 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I really like this lens! It's great, too, that you added some recipes and have hints in there to save money. What a terrific idea. I will definitely twitter about it too. Congratulations on achieving LOTD.

    • alohaitsaj profile image

      alohaitsaj 8 years ago

      Great lens! If you get a chance, check out mine on personal finance tips for college students.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 8 years ago

      Wonderful's so easy for college students to get quick veggie fixes with the way you can buy pre-cut fixen's in the produce section of most food stores...that and those ramen noodles are almost a balanced meal...LOL...I remember keeping cans of tuna in my room, too. That was a LONG time ago. Congratulations on the LOTD! ~claudia

    • profile image

      narayansubramanian 8 years ago

      Indeed a very useful and apt lens.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      A really helpful lens- and congratultaions on LOTD- well deserved!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Congrats on LOTD. Well done.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      Wow! This is really an extensive guide and not only a recipe page! Congratulations on your LOTD, this is well deserved!


    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 8 years ago from Concord VA

      I think my son lived off of Ramen Noodles! And, once I asked him what he had for dinner...he said potato chips, popcorn, and an apple. Potatoes, corn, and a fruit was his reasoning. :-) Congratulations on LOTD!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Congratulations on LOTD! Great ideas!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      congrats on LOTD for a wonderful lens! blessed too.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Congrats on your LOTD! I really enjoyed this. My daughter never wanted me to teach her all those domesticated things. Now she is always asking me for recipes. 5 stars.

    • profile image

      ShortSaleRealtor 8 years ago

      Great lens hi 5 for you.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Excellent lens...congratulations on LOTD!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My college student uses his George Foreman grill all the time. He has a house and a real kitchen but not lots of time. He buys frozen boneless chicken and pops it on the grill for a great meal or sandwich. (Terrific lens, very comprehensive! Congratulations on LOTD! )

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      It is hard to believe what all they need isn't it! Lensrolling to my "College Dorm Rooms" Lens. Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great ideas, congratulations on LOTD! Squid Angel blessed.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      5*......congatulations on LOTD and other awards! great information for college students...

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      I remember making Spaghetti Pie!

      Congrats on the 2009 Squid Award!

    • LakeMom profile image

      LakeMom 8 years ago

      Thank's to all who have visited and voted for my lens this year! Happy Holidays to everyone!

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your Giant Squid Award. This is an enjoyable and useful lens - nice work!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Congratulations, Terry, on being selected as one of the 2009 Giant Squid Award Winners for your Simple Recipes For College Students.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Congratulations for Simple Recipes for College Students, 2009 Best Food and Cooking Lens!

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 8 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on your Giant Squid Award! I never went to college, but friends would tell me stories of what they would eat & how they would cook it. You have to have a good imagination to make your money last in college & you've got some great ideas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on winning the 2009 Giant Squid award! Spreading a little Angel dust your way.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      We are not students - but we loved the spaghetti pie we discovered here. Just stopped by again to say congratulations on winning the giant squid awards!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Congratulations on winning the 2009 Giant Squid Awards!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      College cooking is essential - most students don't/won't eat the cafeteria food and fast food is not healthy or may not be available. My girls learned to cook in middle school, so they took family recipes and basic cooking tools to college, just like this. Love this lens, congrats on Giant Squid nomination!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      Love your recipe ideas - easy and healthy! Great lens share. Congrats on your 2009 Giant Squid Awards nomination.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Wonderful Recipes and Tips for Students. Congrats on your Giant Squid Award Nomination! :)

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 8 years ago

      Great ideas and recipes. Congratulations on your nomination.

    • Darla Dixon profile image

      Darla Dixon 8 years ago

      I would say (because I found out the hard way) that it's worth spending a bit more for quality baking pans. It's a bit more outlay when you first get them, but it pays off. The cheap metal pans rust unless you give them a lot of care, and most young people don't have the time (or want) to do all the careful drying the pans require.

      Tuna casserole is a recipe I would also recommend. Really easy and cheap.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I've featured this on my fan-club thank-you lens so - thank you!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Came back to say - Congratulations on being nominated for the 2009 Giant Squid Awards.

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      I love the way you presented this subject and all the pictures that you used.


    • profile image

      ulla_hennig 8 years ago


    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on your Purple Star! :)


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