It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus & Bacon

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus & Bacon
I went out to lunch with my dad the other day, after which we took a side trip to Aldi. Dad has been telling me for years about the low prices, but truth be told, I haven't been inside an Aldi store since the turn of the century (and isn't that a fun thing to say?!). I was surprised, when I got there, at the ample amount of fresh produce they had, and at shockingly low prices. I got two pounds of fresh strawberries to make a batch of Strawberry Margarita Jam at $.99/pound, a three-pack of jalapeños, a bag of avocados, a beautiful bunch of cilantro, and a large bag of the loveliest asparagus I think I have ever seen. Considering my cart was full and I carted out three bags of groceries, I wasn't expecting to get change back from my twenty. 
I ended up with more asparagus than I expected, so had to dig through recipes, managing to unearth this one. I have no idea as to the source, but I made it for dinner last night and moaned at the deliciousness. This is restaurant quality stuff here. Plus, having done my prep work earlier in the day, including blanching the asparagus and cooking the pasta, it went together in minutes.
Creamy Pasta with Asparagus & Bacon
  • 4 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chicken soup base (I use L.B. Jamison)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 thin spears asparagus, diagonally cut into 2" pieces, blanched
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • Prepare bow tie pasta according to package directions.
In 9" skillet melt butter. Add minced garlic and sauté for one minute.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and soup base until blended, and then slowly stir in heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce and toss until pasta is coated. Fold in asparagus. Sprinkle with bacon, pine nuts, parsley, and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
If you like this recipe, be sure to try Pappardelle with Leeks and Bacon (shown below) as well. It is SO GOOD!


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