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Hello!  I am Danielle Kartes. Welcome to Rustic Joyful Food!

Around here, we want to prepare (and eat) INCREDIBLE dishes and spread the message that life is good — right now, no matter what. What does that mean? It means that even though life will challenge you, will be downright hard sometimes, even though you may not have the best of everything — fine ingredients, fancy appliances, a gorgeous kitchen — you still have a beautiful life and you have a purpose. Keep in mind that the most important things already surround you. Spend time among the people you love in your tiny living room with paper plates, plastic cups, and joy. A good life is as simple as working hard and eating a big bowl of chili with your babies. A good life is lifting others up when they need a hand. A good life, like a good meal, is worth sharing.

Whether it’s through our books, television appearances, magazines spreads, or speaking engagements, we are on a mission to inspire people to love their lives and make delicious food. Great food isn’t great simply because its expensive or prepared with the finest tools, its great because of the love and care put into its creation. The most wonderful food we eat is wonderful because of who made it and how they loved us.

I’m the author of the Rustic Joyful Food book series, a speaker, a recipe developer, and a food stylist.  I make real food — simple food that makes you happy.  My food is messy and full of life, food that represents the family.  I live near Seattle, Washington with my sweet family: my dashing hubby, Michael (who happens to be the photographer between the the two of us), and our two boys, Noah and Milo. I love a good thrift store. I have a wild sense of humor, and I don’t take life too seriously. The farmers market gives me life, and I love to garden, though I am not very good at it (I make Mike do all the weeding — ha!). I am driven by happy accidents in the kitchen.  I never want anything I do here to feel forced, and I strive for authentic recipes that you can make on your own with what you have on hand. I adore creating recipes and making simple dishes that translate into food you can actually make in real life with what you can afford and what is available to you. We eat chicken nuggets on busy days and all-organic, fancy shmancy braises on others.

It’s easy for eating throughout the day to become 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 and share the joy of cooking (and eating) with your family, 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.