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!

Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

This Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake is a feast for the eyes. Three layers of butter cake are sandwiched together with fresh sweet macerated strawberries then smothered with sweetened whipped cream. Assemble the layers and chill then slice and serve for an incredible sweet ending to a special meal.

cake, strawberry shortcake

Ingredients
Cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks) softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 quarts strawberries (Reserve 6 whole berries for garnishing) hulled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
Whipped Cream Filling:
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 3 [9] inch round cake pans or spray with baking spray. [i.e. Bakers Joy]
  2. Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl using a mixer, cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Beat for around 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl periodically so all ingredients will combine.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Beat on medium speed until all has been added, then increase the speed of the mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes
  6. Divide evenly between the prepared pans. Bounce the pans on the counter a couple of times to release trapped air.
  7. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool completely in the pans on a baking rack.
  8. Place strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  9. To prepare the filling: In a medium size mixing bowl cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add the cream. Beat on medium-high for 3-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  10. To assemble: Center one cake layer on stand. Top with 1/2 of sliced strawberries and 1/3 whipped cream. Repeat ending with whipped cream. Garnish with whole berries cut in half, if desired.
  11. Chill thoroughly for at least 4 hours before serving. Store leftovers chilled.

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