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!

Butter Pecan Praline Poke Cake – Semi-Homemade

A magazine read-a-thon with my mom’s Southern Livings and Better Homes and Gardens (since I decided to go subscription-free a few years ago).
Dad’s breakfasts
Mom’s dinners
Chick-a-Dilly Chicken (now called Southern Classic; a South Arkansas staple)
Spudnuts (also a South Arkansas staple)
The way my dad always hints around for me to bake something “sweet” (as though we haven’t already eaten our weight in home cooking, fried chicken, and Spudnuts)

Umm…if it seems like our visits center around eating, it’s because they do.

On my last visit when Dad hinted around for something sweet, I knew just what I wanted to make. I had seen a pin for Southern Butter Pecan Cake by The Country Cook on Pinterest. (If you have not checked out The Country Cook’s blog, do it today!) Although I have adapted her recipe a bit, I owe her much thanks for the inspiration for this delicious poke cake.

This butter pecan praline poke cake is ridiculously easy. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, I dumped my cake mix and the tub of coconut pecan. Yes, this seems weird. But this ingredient right here totally makes this pecan praline poke cake! I also added the eggs, the oil, and the water.

I mixed the batter until well blended before adding 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

I poured the batter into a greased 9 x 11 inch baking pan.

The cake baked for about 40 minutes, though I began checking it frequently after the 30 minute mark since ovens can vary greatly in temperature and I was using my parents’ oven so I wanted to be cautious. When I pulled it out, the center did not jiggle, a toothpick came out clean, and the sides had pulled away from the edge of the pan a bit.

Next, I used a medium heavy saucepan to prepare the butter pecan sauce. I melted four tablespoons of butter before adding the can of condensed milk. Once they were stirred together, I let the pan simmer on medium heat until the mixture looked consistent and heated.

Next, I added 1/4 cup of pecans and stirred it all together.

Don’t worry. I promise I did go back and clean up the splattered mess I made of my mom’s stove.

Moving quickly, I poked holes in the hot cake. Then, I poured the butter sauce over the cake.

The sauce glazed over the cake, over the sides and down into the little holes. It was a marvelous thing. I reserved just a little to pour over individual slices for an added kick.

Once cooled, it was ready to be served. This butter pecan praline poke cake, in all its rich glory, certainly satisfied my dad’s sweet tooth – or his whole set of sweet teeth, as we like to joke!

If this pecan praline poke cake doesn’t take care of your pecan praline hankering, try out one of my most popular recipes – no-bake coconut pecan praline cookies.

Butter Pecan Praline Poke Cake – Semi-Homemade

  • For Cake Batter:
  • 1 box butter pecan cake mix
  • 1 tub (16 oz) of coconut pecan frosting
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • For Butter Pecan Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix and the tub of coconut pecan, eggs, oil, and water.
  3. Mix batter until well blended before adding 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 11 inch baking pan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Check to make sure cake is firm with no jiggle and edges slightly drawn in from pan.
  7. Put cake aside to cook for a short period of time.
  8. In a medium saucepan, melt four tablespoons of butter before adding the can of condensed milk.
  9. Stir well.
  10. Let the pan simmer on medium heat until the mixture appears consistent and heated.
  11. Add 1/4 cup of pecans to the mix and stir it all together.
  12. Moving quickly, poke holes in the hot cake.
  13. Then, pour the butter sauce over the cake until it slowly runs down the sides of the cake and covers the top.
  14. Allow cake to mostly cool before eating.
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