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!

Cheddar Topped Shepherd’s Pie

Cheddar Topped Shepherd’s Pie
It’s the perfect recipe to make anytime you are looking for some hearty and delicious comfort food! This cheddar topped shepherd’s pie is very filling, and this recipe makes a generous amount so it’s great for feeding a small crowd – or (better yet) to have for leftovers the day after!
Cheddar Topped Shepherd’s Pie
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 10-12 servings

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups peeled and thinly sliced carrots, (about 6 medium carrots)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery, (about 4 stalks)
  • 2 cups onion, chopped into 1/2 inch dice (about 1 large onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (85/15 mix)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon browning & seasoning sauce such as Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 2/3 cup milk (plus more as needed)
  • 8 ounce block extra sharp white cheddar, shredded (reserve 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese to use as a topping)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place peeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft enough to mash – easily pierced with a knife or fork (15 to 20 minutes).
  3. While potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a heavy bottomed 6 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add ground beef and stir into vegetables. Cook mixture until beef is no longer pink. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil, simmering for 1 minute. Add flour, tomato paste, hot sauce, browning and seasoning sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper (adjusting to your taste) and cook, blending well for about a 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain potatoes well and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes and then add milk and all but ½ cup of cheddar cheese, stirring to mix well so the cheddar begins to melt. Stir until smooth, adding additional milk if necessary. Season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper to your liking.
  5. Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch ungreased baking dish. Drop dollops of the potato mixture over the beef filling and spread the potatoes to the edges of the dish with a spatula.
  6. Using a fork, make decorative peaks in the mashed potatoes, and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese.
  7. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the center rack of your oven to prevent any oven spills, and then place the baking dish on the foil in the oven. Bake at 450 degrees until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 25-30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes or longer to set up before serving.

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