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!

PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef

I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge fan of PF Chang’s. When I lived in Michigan, I lived about 5 minutes away from a PF Chang’s, and it was awesome. I ate there probably once a week. And then I was on a hiatus when I moved to Iowa almost eight years ago. Two years ago, I moved again, still within Iowa, but the city is about 20-minutes away from a PF Chang’s.

 Yeah, victory dance. But funny enough, I don’t go there now as much as I used to, or as much as I want to. It is a little tough to coordinate a quick meal outing there with two little ones in tow, so we just don’t make it out there as often as we’d like to. Ironically, we probably have eaten there about a half dozens of time for the past two years.
The Mongolian Beef is definitely one of my fave dishes to order from the menu; so I was really glad when I was able to find a recipe that’s pretty darn close to it. My husband requested that I added a little heat to cut down the sweetness, but I haven’t decided if that’s the route that I’d go next time, so here’s the recipe version I ended up with. The sugar in this recipe is responsible for that gorgeous caramelization of the sauce that coats the beef. Since I love green onions, I added generous amount on this dish, so you can cut that back if you’d like.

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1-1/2 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups of one-inch lengths green onions

  1. Make the sauce
  2. Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat, make sure that you don’t get the oil too hot. Add minced ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. If you are cooking on the medium heat, this will happen very quickly. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.
  3. Prepare the beef
  4. Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Alternatively, you can also place the beef pieces on a shallow baking dish, sprinkle the cornstarch, mix them gently so most pieces are coated. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
  5. Prepare the dish
  6. As the beef sits in the cornstarch, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don’t need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later.
  7. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.
  8. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add 1.5 cups of the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the green onions on top. Leave the excess sauce behind in the pan.


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