Bronwyn Isaac
November 21, 2016 2:53 pm
Michael Simon

Many of us first became familiar with Haylie Duff when she played the role of the stuck-up popular girl Summer Wheatley in Napoleon Dynamite, but she has been hard at work both the worlds of acting and cooking for years. We were so excited to interview Haylie about her cooking traditions, and her most recent partnership with the T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods campaign called “Make Meaningful Moments.”

The “Make Meaningful Moments” campaign not only sends 10 lucky winners home to spend Thanksgiving with their families, but also sends them themed care packages full of holiday activities to share! Because of Haylie’s large following on her Real Girls Kitchen television show as well as her Real Girl’s Kitchen blog, combined with her acting career made her an ideal woman to front the campaign.

We were very honored to chat cooking, Thanksgiving, and family with Haylie.

Michael Simon

HelloGiggles: What first inspired you to start “The Real Girl’s Kitchen?”

Haylie Duff: I actually started the “Real Girl’s Kitchen” blog out of frustration with my acting career, I was just kind of feeling like I wasn’t getting jobs that inspired me. I was on a movie in Canada and I didn’t have anyone my age to hang out with on set and I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll just start a blog.’

It was five years ago, I didn’t know anything about it, I had to Google how to start a blog. I posted a recipe and then people were writing in asking if I had any other recipes. I really started off because I really didn’t know how to cook, so I wanted to share my own mistakes in the kitchen. It wasn’t about me teaching people it was about me learning with them. I’m so grateful to have a place where I get to just be creative and make something new every single day. It’s the biggest gift in the whole world.

Michael Simon

HG: Does hosting a cooking show feel like a nice balance of your Hollywood life as an actress and your Texas roots?

HD: It doesn’t even feel like a job, especially when I have the whole crew for the show filling out every room in our house. It’s chaotic sometimes shooting the show at the house, it’s such a small little family that we’ve made. It does have that perfect blend of my real life and my public life. The lives are very blurred at this point, I think that’s what people like about this show. What you see on the show is really what I am like in person. I think people are surprised by, I hate to use the word ‘real,” but I think they’re surprised by how real and relatable I am.

Michael Simon

HG: How do you pick what you’re going to cook for each episode?

HD: For episodes, I’m definitely planning ahead. What I love so much about the series is that they’re more about storytelling and the process of making a meal, so I spend a lot of time thinking about the journey I wanna be on. But when it comes to content for my blog, it’s solely based on what I feel like eating that moment.

Michael Simon

HG: Are there any childhood dishes your mom or dad made that inspire your culinary style?

HD: My grandma’s stuffing is always something that my mom makes every holiday, and that’s one thing that I look forward to. Especially this time of year, I tend to reminisce about my mother’s cooking and my grandmother’s cooking. I think everyone tends to get a bit nostalgic around the holidays because it makes us think of family, which is part of why I wanted to team up with TJ Maxx and Marshalls for this campaign. To be able to send people home for the holidays makes me really excited.

Michael Simon

HG: Did you have any Thanksgiving games or traditions you still keep up as an adult?

HD: One year my family became obsessed with that game Pie Face, so all of us thought we were being really funny by buying everyone else that game. So, we all ended up opening that gift from each other, which I think is a testament to how connected family is. We thought we were so original, and my nephew thought it was hilarious to watch my mother get Pie Face. We’re usually into games that make us laugh; we’re not really into games that are competitive. One of the things I love about this campaign is that not only are we sending people home, but we’re sending care packages for people. One of the submissions was for a game night in particular, which is very much in line with what my family does. So to me that is such a cute holiday idea.

HG: Are you getting together with Hilary or your family for Thanksgiving this year?

HD: My dad is in Texas and he remarried this past year so we’re going to go do part of the holidays with him. Then my mom is here in LA with us and we’ll do part of the holidays with her. We do new family traditions with our new little young families —mit’s so crazy that we have our own little families now.

You can check out more about the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls holiday campaign here! Also, be sure to check out new updates on the Real Girls Kitchen blog.