A couple of weeks ago, I had a rude awakening.

I have too much stuff. I always knew it, subconsciously. This seems to be a national affliction, as every magazine you see in the supermarket checkout line or Instagram post or TikTok video wants to teach us about decluttering our lives. Marie Kondo, who wrote “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has created an empire out of helping us get rid of things that don’t “spark joy.”

My husband, Aaron, has complained about my accumulation of things and my addiction to stuff since we moved in together.

I had an epiphany after the last time we got together with our “COVID bubble” friends for movie night. I had volunteered to host it at our home and offered to make pizzas. We had chosen the Mel Brooks classic, “Young Frankenstein,” for our movie. 

I figured I’d make three pizzas: one white with broccoli, one mushroom and one meat-lovers. I started preparing the dough first thing in the morning after clearing away the breakfast dishes. I put the pizza dough in the fridge to rise (slowly!) all day and did as much prep work as I could early that morning. 

My guests arrived around 5, and I realized I hadn’t finished all of the slicing and dicing I needed to do for the pizza toppings. I felt myself getting just the teensiest bit frantic. The oven was roaring at 500° when I slid the dough onto the heated pizza stones and started pre- baking them to get them crispy. I realized while I was watching the dough through the oven window that I was going to need my rolling pizza slicer and went to grab it from the bottom “less frequently used” kitchen gadget drawer (I have three kitchen gadget drawers).

I tried to pull the drawer open but it was stuck— there was something jamming the drawer (because it was too full). I could not dislodge it.

I gave the drawer a mighty yank and CRACK! I broke the face frame of the cabinet.

Oh no!

My heart sank. I was going to have to ask Aaron to fix it, and he was going to be so annoyed.Why do I have to cram every drawer so full? Why did I buy all of that stuff? This is why we can’t have nice things.

Very quietly, I slid the drawer back into place. Nobody noticed. The damage wasn’t visible behind the drawer face, and I quietly finished getting the rest of the dinner ready without anyone finding out about my kitchen disaster.

Everyone enjoyed the pizzas, the movie was great and we said our goodbyes around 10 p.m. Aaron cleaned up the dishes and after I straightened the living room, we went to bed.

The next morning, I knew I had to break the news to Aaron about the broken cabinet. I can be a bit of a klutz, so there are hundreds of things he has fixed that I have broken over the years. Fixing things I’ve broken is not his favorite thing to do, though.

Aaron is a carpenter by trade, but he truly can fix anything. He likes to remember his father, who was also just as skilled at repairing stuff, and often quotes him by saying: “I can fix anything… if I want to.”

I then showed him how I had broken the cabinet face the previous evening. I was worried about how he would react, but I have to hand it to him, he was pretty patient. He did ask when “we” were going to stop buying more stuff, though.

I agreed with him that my constant accumulation of things needed to end. After Aaron finished the repair, which he did so perfectly you would never know that it had been broken, I set about purging my kitchen of excess gadgets.

Do I need three potato peelers? Two melon ballers? Four tiny spatulas? Two of the same size Microplane graters? Extra chopsticks and wooden skewers? Two mandoline slicers?

So often I had bought an X, Y or Z when I already had one, but couldn’t find it because of all the clutter. I not only went through the bottom drawer, but the big junk drawer and the drawer that holds the stuff I use every day. I boxed everything up and let my daughter, Erika, and my daughter-in-law, Brittney, take what they wanted. The rest I will put in the garage sale I’ve been planning for the last two summers.

I’ve gone through other drawers and bins in the house since the broken cabinet incident and it made me feel great—so accomplished. I had the same sense of welcome relief that I always get after I “unChristmas” the house after the holiday season. I realized, though, that I do have a bit of an addiction to stuff.

How many blue .5 mm Sharpie pens do I need? How many pairs of reading glasses? How many beaded bracelets? How many socks? How many tubes of my favorite discontinued lipstick color? How many dishtowels…?

I’ve made a few resolutions to help me curb my “stuff” addiction. I’ve started throwing mail order catalogues right into the recycling bin. I’ve started avoiding Staples, Marshalls and Home Goods. If I do have to go shopping, I make a list and do my best to stick to it.

I use my mantra: “I am enough, I have enough” and breathe deeply when I am tempted to treat myself to a little something. Old habits are hard to break, but I think I can do this.

"Wish me luck!"

Cooking : https://www.lakehopatcongnews.com/cooking/pizza-night


Pizza Dough For 2 pies

If you don’t want to make your own dough, most pizzerias will sell you just the pizza dough. Use 1 pizzeria dough, stretch and pre-bake it, then add your toppings.

Dry ingredients

  • 3 ½- 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornmeal, divided for sprinkling on the pizza stone or cookie sheet Wet ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups water at 110°F (If you don’t have a thermometer, run the water over your wrist. If it feels warmer than your body temperature, but not hot, that should be just about right.)
  • Measure the water into a large measuring cup.
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

First, make the dough:

In a stand mixer

  1. Start with 3 ½ cups flour. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt with a whisk. Add this mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook.
  2. In a large measuring cup, dissolve the sugar into the warm water, then pour in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixer.
  3. Beat the dough at a low speed, until it starts climbing up the dough hook. Add the additional ½ cup flour if the dough seems too wet.
  4. When the dough comes together, turn off the mixer and scrape the dough onto a floured surface.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl that you’ve greased with the additional 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Turn it over so that the dough ball is completely coated with oil.
  6. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2-8 hours. It should double in bulk.

By hand

  1. Start with 3 ½ cups flour. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt with a whisk.
  2. In a large measuring cup, dissolve the sugar into the warm water, then pour in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl.
  3. With a wooden spoon, stir the dough together until you can’t stir it anymore, then scrape the dough onto a floured surface.
  4. Knead until a smooth ball has formed, adding up to ½ cup additional flour as needed, until a smooth dough is achieved that feels just slightly moist and cool to the touch. Proceed with steps 5 and 6 above.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and let it sit in the bowl at room temperature for about 30–45 minutes before starting the pizza preparations. It’s best to make one pizza at a time. You can get the other one ready to go after you’ve taken the first one out of the oven. Let it cool a bit, then serve.

Second, prep the dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. If you’ll be using a pizza stone, put it into the oven while it’s preheating.
  2. Divide the pizza dough into 2 equal-sized portions.
  3. Over the back of your hands, gently stretch the dough to a round shape approximately the size of the pizza stone or a rectangular shape if you’re using a cookie sheet.
  4. Take the hot pizza stone out of the oven and dust it lightly with 2 tablespoons cornmeal. Alternatively, sprinkle the cookie sheet with cornmeal.
  5. Lay the stretched-out dough onto the stone or cookie sheet and bake until it starts to bubble up (5-10 minutes).
  6. Take it out of the oven and add the toppings and mozzerella.
  7. Put the pizza back in the oven and bake until the mozzarella melts. Feel free to customize your pizza with your favorite toppings. White pizza is one of my favorites and this one was a great combination.

Pizza Bianca - White Pizza

For 1 pizza


  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces ramp pesto (see Spring issue, 2020), or store-bought basil pesto
  • 1 cup steamed sliced broccoli 8 ounces torn fresh mozzarella cheese slices olive oil


  • 1 Mix the ricotta with the Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.
  • 2 Spread the pesto over the surface of the half-baked pizza crust.
  • 3 Dollop the ricotta mixture on the pizza.
  • 4 Sprinkle on the steamed broccoli.
  • 5 Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  • 6 Swirl a bit of olive oil over the top and bake until the mozzarella is bubbly.

Sausage & Pepper

For 1 pizza


  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 4 cooked Italian sausages, sliced
  • ½ cup each red, green and yellow peppers, sliced thin
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced thin 8 ounces torn fresh mozzarella cheese slices olive oil


  1. Top the half-baked pizza crust with tomato sauce.
  2. Evenly toss the sausage, pepper and onion slices over the sauce.
  3. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  4. Swirl a bit of olive oil over the top and bake until the mozzarella is bubbly.

Serve the pizzas with red pepper flakes, some extra grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese and dried oregano.

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