Lemon Bars

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Wedding plans are in full swing, and now we’ve added the burden of moving into the mix. Suffice it to say that we have not had many free moments since the holidays.

Jonji’s Match Day took forever to arrive; the weeks leading up to it were some of the most anxious of my entire life—think of Harry’s wait before the Sorting Hat, except three months longer. The Monday before we found out where fate would be taking us, Jonji received notice that he had, in fact, matched somewhere.* As reassuring as that was, it also meant that we had to endure a week knowing that the knowledge we so desired was almost within reach, yet so far away.

*This is to allow a week for those who don’t match to scramble and figure something else out, which sounds unbelievably stressful.

Debbie and Jerry flew into town on the night before Match Day, and we all met Shellie and Jason for a dinner of eating pizza and trying not to focus too much on the following day. The next morning we met at the medical school, where all the fourth-year students had gathered with family and friends. The anticipation was palpable, nervous energy and impatience barely contained as we listened to important faculty members go over match statistics that no one wanted to hear. Finally, family members were told to go outside and wait while the students collected their letters. Jonji came out a few minutes later, our future a thin envelope resting in his hands. I peered over his shoulder as he shakily unfolded the letter, and we saw the word we’d been hoping most to see: Stanford. Jonji’s reaction (“Cool, Stanford!”) was definitely the most relaxed, as everyone else erupted into cheers and tears brimmed in eyes all around.

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The following day we held a small party at our place to celebrate, which was really just an excuse for me to make a few fun dips and some lemon bars for people to munch on. We will miss our friends down here the most; the city never held much of a spell over us, but the people certainly made our time here unforgettable.

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All the hard work and hope paid off; after four years—what felt like both an eternity and a blip—we’ll be making the move to Palo Alto to begin the next chapter in our lives. I’m so impressed with Jonji; I’ve witnessed him put his heart and soul into medical school, both in the hospital and clinics as well as socially and in extracurriculars. He truly went above and beyond, and he is going to be a huge asset to Stanford’s pediatric program. Needless to say, I am SO excited to marry such a wonderful man in a mere five weeks!

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A few weeks ago Shauna and I drove up to SLO to meet Kelly, Bailey, and Kerry for my bachelorette party. After unpacking and eating some snacks, we went out for a few strong drinks and appetizers, followed by a quick dinner and, of course, a dance party. The following day we drove to the coast to go hiking, but saw the most incredible view on the way there: a cow was actually galloping over a hill, rather than the usual lackadaisical walk we usually see. Bailey missed it, and spent the rest of our time in the car bemoaning the missed opportunity of a lifetime (on the way home, we saw another one start to run, but she missed that one too, even after Shauna’s urgent scream to look). The hike was amazing, despite its lack of running cows. For some reason we decided to charge up the mountain side and got to the top completely exhausted, but were quickly rejuvenated by the view.

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Back at the AirBnb, Harry Potter shenanigans commenced, with Voldemort, Moaning Myrtle, Hermione, and Cedric Diggory-turned Edward Cullen each bringing a different drink to the party. Honestly, there’s no better way to do a bachelorette. Shauna brought one of my favorite games, Guess-Who-Said-It, which is when a person reads a random quote from a Harry Potter book and you guess who said it (any chance I get to show off my years of HP knowledge is fine by me). After we’d had our fill of games and drinks, we went to dinner at Novo, where we sat at a table right by the little river that runs through the town. We finished off the evening with some dancing at a nearby club, and finally turned in for the night. Overall, it was a very successful and hilarious weekend, as it always is with those four.

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Emma and Danny came down for a short visit last weekend. We spent Saturday traipsing around Santa Monica, eating donuts and looking for sweaters to buy since the weather was way colder than we were prepared for. After dinner we watched The Office and went to bed; a perfect Saturday night for us. Emma even got the privilege of petting the highly-coveted Babs belly. Their departure on Sunday morning was much less sad than usual, seeing as we’ll be living so close to them shortly!

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Lately there has been a lot to celebrate, and soon there will be even more; there was Match Day, in a month will be the wedding, then a mini-honeymoon, followed by Jonji’s graduation a week later, and finally moving a day or two after that. Even if you’re as busy as we are, Lemon Bars are a super easy dessert to make for any celebration. Make ahead if you have the time, but wait to put the powdered sugar on until almost time to eat. One more thing: don’t breathe in as you take a bite or you will subsequently choke on powdered sugar and then, without fail, blow the rest of it off your bar as you cough violently. But if you can avoid that situation, you will absolutely love these bars.

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Lemon Bars
makes one 9×13-inch tray

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
8 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 5–6 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a Cuisinart (or however you usually make pie crust), mix the flour, butter, and powdered sugar until just combined. Pat into the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Prick the crust with a fork several times (this is to prevent too much puffing), then bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool.

Mix the sugar, eggs, salt, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest with a whisk until just emulsified. Slowly pour the lemon mixture over the crust. Bake for 30 minutes.

Let the bars cool completely before slicing into squares, then dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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