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!

Zaatar Pastries "Mana’eesh bi Zaatar"

Zaatar – oregano in Arabic – is ubiquitous at the Middle Eastern table. The oregano is mixed with olive oil as a dip for fresh bread, either on its own or with sesame seeds to make a spice mix. Perhaps most commonly it’s baked into homemade dough to make this mana’eesh, among one of the most popular street and breakfast foods in the region. It’s found in loads of bakeries now.

What you’ll notice about the dough is that it uses olive oil, rather than the butter much of the West is accustomed to. In the Middle East oil-based dough is the rule, and it results in a light, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside pastry. When raw, it’s quite sticky and stretchy. Dipping your fingers in more oil while kneading each pastry round makes it much easier to handle. This also brings out the oil’s flavor.

For the dough
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
Yeast mixture: 1 tsp yeast + 1/2 tsp sugar + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed and set aside 15 mins

For the zaatar
  • Equal tbsp (start with 4 tbsp each) dried oregano and sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Drop of olive oil, to make a paste
  1. Using your hands, combine the flour and eggs. Slowly add half of the water, and mix until just combined. Add the yeast mixture and rest of the water, then mix once more until incorporated. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours. 
  2. Preheat oven to 200C / 400F while making the dough balls. Rub your hands lightly with olive oil. Take a handful of dough and make a fist, squeezing a little ball of dough up between your thumb and index finger. Place on an oiled cookie sheet, and repeat until all dough is used. Dip your fingertips in a bit more olive oil, and pat each sphere flat (they may shrink the first time, just keep flattening them).
  3. In a small bowl, make the zaatar: mix the oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and olive oil into a paste (alternatively use store-bought) . Spread a thin layer of zaatar on each pastry round, and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and puffed up.


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