Haylie Duff takes on America, one bite at a time

Haylie Duff signs books at the KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations during the 2015 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE at Grand Tasting Village on February 22, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida.  

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Haylie Duff may be known for her roles in “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Material Girls,” but she says she’s most at home in the kitchen. Cooking wasn’t always her strength, though, which is why so many viewers can relate to the new mom. That’s how Duff ended up hosting “Real Girl’s Kitchen,” and now she’s expanding with new show “Haylie’s America” on Cooking Channel.  

CBS News caught up with Duff during a break from her busy day to chat about her food journey, her new partnership with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and more.

What was the transition like from performing in front of the camera to hosting a cooking show?

When I first started my blog I didn’t start out to make a different career for myself. I was doing it out of lack of creativity from acting. I wasn’t getting the jobs that I wanted. So I started this blog to express my creativity. I never thought in a million years that I would be going into multiple years of a cooking channel [show]. I feel very blessed. It’s crazy, to be honest. I feel very creatively fulfilled and blessed to share recipes. I don’t take that lightly.

You are premiering your newest show “Haylie’s America” this September. What are you most excited about?

I am most excited to get outside the kitchen, to travel around the country, go to new places and meet new people. Going through different recipes and blogging a lot, go to places where I’ll experience new things. For me, this series is capturing the journey and sharing it with people.

Have you ever had an ultimate cooking failure?

For sure, that’s one of the things people relate to. I didn’t go to culinary school. I’m self-taught -- from trial and error. I am a “real girl” in the kitchen. I will shoot 15 recipes in my blog. It’s me and my buddy Eddie and Ashley who does my makeup. We kinda grind through recipes.  Once, I wanted blue tortillas. We totally destroyed them and had to scratch them all together. I make mistakes. I’m growing at the end of the day. That’s the only way you learn!

With the hot temperatures outside, what food do you make to stay cool?

For summer, I’m all about outdoor grilling. Things that I can get on fast, not a lot of cleanup and eat nearby the pool. One of things that I’m doing with my partnership [with Philadelphia Cream Cheese] is peach pound cake. It’s a simple recipe. It looks beautiful, it’s light and refreshing.

Taking photos of a newborn and dogs isn’t easy. What’s your secret to capturing your daughter Ryan and your puppies?

I have a baby who loves to have her picture taken. She’s the easy one. The dog is harder. I have three wild puppy dogs. But, I have a baby who’s always smiling and loves the camera.

What are your go-to road trip snacks?

Being a new mom, my snacks have simplified a lot. So I always have crackers. And now, Ryan got her molars. So, I carry these multigrain crackers that are tiny and round. There’s different grains in them and you can dip them right in the veggie cream cheese. There’s always new crackers for her to try. And for me, I’m addicted. My go-to snacks are veggies with dip, really anything I can throw into a container or something that I can bring in the park with me.