Book Review: Encouragement for an Exceptional Life

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

Encouragement for an Exceptional Life (FaithWords) is the first book I’ve read by Victoria Osteen, and I enjoyed reading it so much! It is filled to overflowing with encouragement and a beautiful reminder of how exceptional you, yes YOU, really are. Even the introduction is filled with encouragement: When something is exceptional, it means that it is better than good; it is outstanding…. You were made by God to be exceptional. Scripture says you are God’s masterpiece, formed in His image, and created to do great things. You were wonderfully made, with a purpose and a destiny that is distinctly yours. God knew you before you were born, and He designed you to be you, unique and exceptional.

Osteen explains that we often lose sight of who God made us to be, and through her personal experiences, she has learned to incorporate practices into her life that keep her encouraged, empowered, inspired, and on track for all that God has for her—and she shares these helpful seven practices in this book. She also uses examples from the Bible—from the lives of David, Joshua, Abraham, and more—to illustrate the points she makes in her chapters.

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

This beautiful loaf of Peanut Butter Banana Bread tastes as great as it looks! It has just the right balance of peanut butter and bananas in it and the texture is moist and tender. This is definitely not a wimpy loaf—this recipe makes a good-sized 9 x 5″ loaf and it rises so nicely! It’s delicious just as it is, or you could lightly spread some butter or peanut butter on it, if you want. I like it best without a spread, and it’s great with a cup of coffee or tea!

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Lemon Thyme Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Roasted vegetables are so good, especially roasted potatoes! And when they’re flavored with herbs, that’s even better! These Lemon Thyme Rosemary Roasted Potatoes have a great lemony taste that really makes them different from your typical roasted potatoes. I love the tanginess of the lemon and the savory flavor of the herbs!

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Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

I first made these cupcakes years ago, and if you’re a peanut butter fan, you really need to try these! I adapted this recipe from Hoosier Homemade. I made my icing a little thicker than Liz’s recipe so I could just scoop it on the cupcakes. Are these ever good! They are very rich, oozing with chocolate and peanut butter!

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Easy Au Gratin Potatoes

As I was going through my review copy of the new Unofficial ALDI Cookbook, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to make these Easy Au Gratin Potatoes. I’ve never made au gratin potatoes before—it always sounded like a lot of work…peeling the potatoes, boiling them, and then slicing them. Well, as this cookbook says, “This recipe bypasses the peeling and the boiling by using ALDI’s canned potatoes, and your family and your guests will be none the wiser.” That sounded good to me! 🙂

So I’m sharing the recipe with you in this post, but first I’ll tell you a little more about the book! The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook (softcover, Ulysses Press) has 75 recipes you can make with budget-friendly ALDI products. Not an ALDI shopper? No problem—you can substitute products from your favorite grocery store. There are full-color photos of the recipes too and they all look delicious! The five chapters include recipes for Beverages; Sides, Appetizers, and Soups; Breakfasts; Entrees; and Desserts. Some that I’d like to try in the future include:

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