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!



Almond Shortbread Bars ~ an easy shortbread dessert recipe infused with ahomemade almond paste, and topped with a to-die-for sweet almond glaze that gets poured right over the hot pan…are you drooling yet?

My love for almond desserts is only equaled by my love for lemon deserts. Chocolate, coffee, pumpkin, and rhubarb are in the running too, but almond is sort of in a category of its own. The way it lingers on the palate is so lovely. 
I’ve layered that lingering almond flavor into these shortbread bars in a few ways ~ I made a homemade almond paste, used almond extract, and topped it with a sweet almond glaze. When it comes to almond I don’t skimp!
These bars have a lovely buttery melt in your mouth texture, and the sweet glaze gives them a real pop. I guarantee they’ll be a hit with whomever you deign to share them with. (The 9×13 pan makes enough for you to bring and save a little bit back for yourself.)
Make these almond shortbread bars ahead!
I think these bars actually tasted even better the next day, so don’t hesitate to make them ahead of time.
After cooling completely, keep them in the pan on the counter and cover loosely with foil. When I know I’m going to make a dessert like this ahead I don’t cut it up, that way it doesn’t have a chance to dry out.
Of course the chef has permission to do a taste test, as always :)
There’s something about pouring a hot glaze or frosting over a hot pan, I just love it. In this case a simple glaze of butter, cream, sugar, and almond extract and almonds is poured straight over the warm from the oven shortbread. 
Note: I don’t recommend skipping the glaze for this recipe, I think the shortbread needs the added touch of sweetness and moisture that the glaze provides.
I don’t want to give all the glory to the glaze, after all, I made a homemade almond paste (so easy!) to go in this shortbread and it was pretty amazing too. We almond fanatics need to know all the tricks to infuse layer upon layer of almond flavor. 
See the full instructions for how to make homemade almond paste here.
So there you have it, I know what I’ll be bringing next time I’m asked to provide ‘something sweet’.

Almond Shortbread Bars
Category: dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Sue Moran
Yield: serves 20

Almond Shortbread Bars ~ melt in your mouth shortbread infused with a homemade almond paste, and topped with a to-die-for sweet almond glaze.

1 cup or 227 grams butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup or 166 grams granulated sugar
1/2 cup or 128 grams almond paste at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups or 295 grams all purpose flour
1/2 cup or 114 grams, unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 60 grams heavy cream
2 and 1/2 to 3 cups or 300 to 375 grams confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup or 55 grams sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F Lightly butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the egg, almond paste, and extract, and beat until well combined. Make sure to smooth out any lumps of almond paste.
Add the flour and gently mix until just blended and no dry flour remains. Don't over mix.
Spread the dough out evenly in the baking pan with an offset spatula. It will take a minute or two to get it spread and level. I like to drop chunks of the batter all over the bottom of the pan before I start to try to spread it out.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, just until set and starting to turn golden along the edges of the pan. Don't over bake, as you want your shortbread to be tender. Check the pan on the early side.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before glazing.
To make the glaze, heat the butter and cream in a medium saucepan until the butter melts. Stir in the sugar and extract, and whisk until the glaze is smooth. If it seems too thin, add a bit more sugar, and if it seems too thick, add a touch more cream. Stir in the sliced almonds and pour over the warm shortbread. Ease the glaze to all the edges with an offset spatula, working quickly.
Let the pan cool before slicing.


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