Actress cum cooking blogger Haylie Duff says she’s been researching pizzazzy dishes for the Duff family’s holiday gathering this week. “We’re going to do a big Thanksgiving dinner here in California. Last year, my sister’s husband played with the Penguins and we were in Pittsburgh. This year, with Hil’s baby on the way, we’ll probably stay close to home and take it easy,” adds Haylie, speaking of little sister Hilary, who is expecting in March, and Hilary’s husband, hockey pro Mike Comrie.
‘Obviously I can’t wait to meet my nephew. That’s a big event to look forward to next year,” she says.
Haylie herself is newly single, with her three-year relationship with Nick Zano having recently come to an end, which came to light in the gossip media this month. Of their split, she comments diplomatically, “It was a very special relationship for me in my life. I learned so much from it. But I am excited about what the future is going to bring.”
Ironically, Haylie plays a mom — again — in the Nov. 27 TV movie comedy, “Holiday Engagement.” The story has Bonnie Somerville’s character hiring an actor (Jordan Bridges) she plans to palm off as her fiance at a big family gathering. Shelley Long plays Somerville’s and Duff’s meddling mother in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie.
“For some reason, I always have kids in movies and TV shows,” comments Haylie. “Between this and the baby I had on ‘7th Heaven,’ and the kids on the ‘Love Comes Softly’ movies, I have a list of five children. Maybe that was all my practice in preparation for my nephew.”
MEANWHILE: Besides her RealGirlsKitchen.com healthy cooking site — which she would like to turn into a TV show — Haylie’s been busy with other acting assignments. She has the thriller series “Blackout” on the way to TV, and the chiller movie “Spin” en route to the big screen. She’s also been doing voice work on Fox’s animated series spinoff of the 2004 cult classic “Napoleon Dynamite” — with the complete original cast led by Jon Heder. The network is planning a January debut for the show, and its initial 13 episodes are just about done, according to Haylie.
“We all really wanted it to happen for awhile,” she says. “I think more than anything, we were just waiting for the right time for everyone to do it. And for the stories to come easily. The table-reads have been hysterical — and to look across the table and see those faces is so much fun.”
As a cartoon, of course, one always looks just right without spending any time in the makeup chair. “Yes,” she laughs, “you always look great, and you’re always in high school, which is even cooler.”