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!

LEMON MERINGUE CUPCAKES

These Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are made with a lightly lemon flavored cupcake, lemon curd filling and lightly toasted meringue frosting!


The bulk of the lemon flavor in these comes from the lemon curd. If you’d never made lemon curd before, you have to try it. Homemade lemon curd really is so much better than the store-bought versions. A stronger, more tart flavor. Love it!

INGREDIENTS
LEMON CUPCAKES
  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
LEMON CURD
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup (104g) sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter
MERINGUE FROSTING
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
  3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest and egg to a medium sized bowl and combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. To make the lemon curd, combine all the ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Heat while whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 160 degrees, or coats the back of a spoon.
  9. Pour the lemon curd into a small bowl and cover with clear wrap pressed against the top of the curd to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool and firm, 3-4 hours.
  10. When you are ready to build the cupcakes, make the meringue frosting. To make the meringue, combine the sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and egg whites in a large mixer bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan or pot of simmering water. You can also use a double boiler.
  11. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm, to between 120 and 140 degrees on a thermometer, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  12. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
  13. To put the cupcakes together, use a cupcake corer (or a knife) to cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes.
  14. Fill the center of the cupcake with lemon curd.
  15. Frost the cupcakes with the meringue frosting. I use Ateco tip 808.
  16. Finish off the cupcakes with a slice of lemon, if you like, then toast lightly with a kitchen torch.
  17. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.

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