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!

The Best Moist and Fluffy White Cupcake Recipe

The Best Moist and Fluffy White Cupcake Recipe
About the fluffy. I've included cornstarch in this recipe, more than you would normally see in any cake or cupcake recipe. The reasoning behind that is, I don't usually purchase cake flour, if I make a recipe that calls for it, I just use the DIY substitute which is a few tablespoons of cornstarch to one cup of all purpose flour. So I knew it would help in the lightness or fluffiness of the cake. Plus, you know when you eat some really good, melt in your mouth kind of shortbread? It's the cornstarch. 
Ingredients for cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cups (296 ml.) vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (373 g.) white granulated sugar 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract - If you don't like the taste of almond extract go ahead and omit this, or if you have a nut allergy definitely omit it, you probably don't need to up the vanilla extract since there is a tablespoon of it already
  • 2 1/4 cups (340 g.) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (68 g.) cornstarch 
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (366 g.) full fat sour cream OR full fat yogurt or full fat Greek yogurt
Ingredients for frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups (322 g.) white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (113 g.) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (532 ml.) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) (339 g.) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract (depending on your taste) or 1 Tablespoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract, or another flavoring if desired. Once I added a Tablespoon vanilla and 1 tsp butter pecan extract, for example 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Put oven rack on the bottom third of the oven. In my oven I bake these in the second rack from the bottom. (I found that with this recipe when the cupcakes were baked in the upper racks they got too brown for my liking.
  2. Start by making the base for the frosting. (It needs to cool down before using, this part of the frosting could also be made a day or 2 ahead.) In a large saucepan on medium heat, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt, and slowly add the milk. Cook, whisking frequently, really almost constantly so it doesn't scorch, until it comes to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium low, and cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly, this is to cook the flour taste out. Mixture will be very thick. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Transfer this mixture to another bowl and let cool in the fridge. 
  3. Start making the cupcakes.
  4. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners (greaseproof are best) and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the oil and the sugar. Beat them together for 2 minutes or so, so they are mixed well and the sugar has dissolved somewhat. Add the eggs and both extracts and beat again for another 2 or 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy looking. 
  6. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat on medium low speed just until it's incorporated, don't over beat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and beat on medium low speed just until the sour cream is mixed in well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and beat again just for about 20 seconds to make sure it's all mixed well.
  7. With a spoon or a scoop, fill the cupcake liners slightly over half full. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Start checking after 17 minutes.)
  8. Cool on a wire rack. When they have cooled enough to handle, remove from muffin tins and let cool on racks. Let cool completely before frosting cupcakes.
  9. While cupcakes are baking finish making the frosting. Make sure the base in the fridge is completely cool. If it's warm at all, it's going to melt the butter. If it's very cold in the fridge it may very firm. Don't worry, it's fine. 
  10. In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for another minute or so, until it's nice and light and fluffy. With the mixer going on medium - medium high, gradually add the cooled frosting base, about a "scoop" (a large spoonful) at a time. After each scoop, let it mix until it's fully incorporated. Keep adding and letting it mix together until it's all been used. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another few minutes until it's super light and fluffy. Taste it and see if you think it needs a little more vanilla extract, or you can add another extract or flavoring at this time. 
  11. Frost cupcakes. Refrigerate any leftover frosting. If you aren't serving these right away, keep them refrigerated but let them come to room temperature before serving. If you have refrigerated the frosting, you'll need to beat it again before using. The good thing about this frosting is that it doesn't totally harden in the fridge like a typical buttercream does, (since butter solidifies when cold.)
  12. Happy Baking and I hope that you absolutely love this recipe as much as I do!


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