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Hello!  I am Danielle Kartes -- author, television personality, recipe developer, and food stylist.  I, alongside my husband Michael, wrote and self-published the aptly titled cookbook Rustic Joyful Food: My Heart's Table.  Through our publishing company, Lavender Press, we've sold over 6ooo copies of Rustic Joyful Food in a very unconventional way!  We got my book into Costco and countless other retailers based on one thing:  I make real food -- simple food that makes you happy.  My food is messy and full of life.  There's no junky artificial stuff, just real food that represents the American family.  I teach cooking segments, host a YouTube channel (forthcoming), and I appear regularly on the NBC affiliate station King 5 for the show New Day Northwest in Seattle doing cooking demos.  We travel to NYC often for work.  On our last visit, I appeared on The Rachael Ray Show and made Baked Overnight French Toast from my book on national television! 

Michael is the photographer between the two of us, and we love working as a team, teaching and creating beautiful images and styling for our myriad clients.  We recently started work on my next book in the Rustic Joyful Food series, so watch this space for more info; details forthcoming! 

I began writing recipes at a very young age and sharpened that skill when we owned a bistro for three years.  I am driven by happy accidents in the kitchen.  Nothing I do here ever feels forced, and I strive for authentic recipes that you can make on your own with what you have on hand.  I adore testing recipes and making simple dishes that translate into food you can actually make in real life.  We love organic food, but I’m a firm believer in working with what you have, can afford, and is available to you.  We eat chicken nuggets on busy days and 4-course meals on others. 

Life is so short, and in the everyday hustle and bustle, cooking (and even eating sometimes!) becomes simply just another task, another box to check off.  But food is so much more than just sustenance; it's a way to feel joyful, a way to connect with your family, a way to live brilliantly.  And we have only this one chance to live brilliantly.  I hope that through the recipes you discover here, you are inspired to live your own version of brilliant, that you share the joy of cooking (and eating) with your family, and that you never stop trying to be happy right where you’re at.  Joy and peace abound in our home, not because we are without trials, but because we know what truly matters.


Danielle Kartes, Rustic Joyful Food

The Rustic Joyful Food


At Rustic Joyful Food, we believe that life is good right now, no matter what.

Life isn’t good only when you have it all together, with the perfect job and enough money in the bank; or only when you have the most beautiful kitchen and a refrigerator loaded with the finest ingredients. There is happiness in the middle. Be grateful; gratitude and joy go hand-in-hand. Every moment is an opportunity to choose joy even when life is hard. You are going to be okay; you were made to weather difficult things. Use what you have available to you in the kitchen and in life, and then, with a smile, start cooking.