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!

Individual Puff Pastry Beef Pot Pies

Individual Puff Pastry Beef Pot Pies
Make one giant pot pie instead of individual pies.
You can pour the entire beef stew mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. You only need one box of puff pastry--slightly overlap the edges of two side-by-side pastry sheets and press the seam with your fingers to seal them together. Place the pastry sheet on top of the baking dish, trim the edges, brush with egg wash, and bake as described above. Easy!
Individual Puff Pastry Beef Pot Pies
By Monica Servings: 14 cups, 7-8 pies

Ingredients
  • 1-2 boxes (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb. beef--stew meat, chuck roast, or sirloin, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 5-1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 12 small red potatoes (1-1/3 lbs.), cut in 1" pieces, skin on
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen pearl onions, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 (1-lb) bag frozen pea and carrot medley (approx 3 cups; do not thaw)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
Directions
CUT PASTRY TOPS: Use 12-16 oz. oven proof bowls. Turn one upside down on thawed pastry sheet and cut around it with a small knife. Repeat for number of crusts you need. Cut small cookie cutter shapes out of leftover dough, if desired. Cover cut pastry rounds with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

MAKE THE STEW: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Pat meat dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add half to pan. Cook, stir occasionally, until browned and liquid gone. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining meat. Remove to plate. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, add mushrooms; cook until liquid is gone. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for approx 30 seconds. Stir in dry sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, potatoes, and browned meat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked and beef is tender, approx. 30-45 min. Add onions. Whisk together cornstarch and cold water, stir into soup and cook until thickened; approx. 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and frozen peas & carrots. Season with salt to taste. 

ASSEMBLE THE POT PIES: Ladle stew into ovenproof bowls, place puff pastry round on top. Gently stretch and press pastry edges over lip of bowl. Make egg wash by whisking egg with 1 tablespoon water, brush on pastry tops. Add pastry cookie cutter shapes on top of pastry rounds (if using) and brush those with egg wash. Place bowls on foil lined baking sheet for easy clean up and easy of handling. 

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 400 until crusts are golden and filling is bubbly. 
--To bake right away, bake for 25-35 minutes. 
--To bake if refrigerated, bake 40-50 minutes. 
--To bake if frozen, bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours.
If crust browns before filling is bubbly, place a loose piece of foil across the top to prevent over browning. Let pies rest 15-20 minutes before serving to allow filling to cool and thicken.

MAKE AHEAD TIPS: Cook the stew, let it cool to room temperature, pour into baking bowls, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Cut pastry sheets into rounds and cookie-cutter shapes, stack between layers of plastic wrap; cover and refrigerate. OR, go ahead and top each cooled bowl of stew with the top crust ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. (Don't brush with egg wash until right before baking.)

MAKE ONE GIANT PIE INSTEAD OF INDIVIDUAL PIES: Pour the entire beef stew mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. You only need one box of puff pastry--slightly overlap the edges of two side-by-side pastry sheets and press the seam with your fingers to seal them together. Place the pastry sheet on top of the baking dish, trim the edges, brush with egg wash, add decorate cookie-cutter pastry shapes and brush them with egg wash, and bake as described above. 

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