Valerie Bertinelli sent a message to the young contestants preparing for the next season of Kids Baking Challenge. “Always believe in yourself. Please do that for me. And keep baking. I’ll miss you guys,” she said on Instagram.

A host of the kids’ competition series since its 2015 premiere, Valerie posted the video shortly after confirming she wouldn’t be back for a 13th season of the Food Network show. “It really hurts,” said the visibly upset actress and home cooking expert, whose Emmy Award-winning series, Valerie’s Home Cooking, was canceled by the cable network last year after 14 seasons.

Despite everything, she remains grateful to Kids Baking Championship. “Without sounding like a drama queen, the show saved my life,” said Valerie, who was dealing with a contentious divorce when season 12 was in production.

A Fresh Start

Fortunately, Valerie is in a much better place today and is looking forward to the April release of her latest cookbook. “She called it Indulge because she’s changing the way she deals with food. She’s done denying herself,” says a friend. “Indulging doesn’t mean overdoing it. It’s about balance. Life’s too short to count calories every time you eat.”

Valerie is enthusiastic about getting back into the public eye in other ways, too. “She has hope of hosting another cooking-type show,” says the friend. “And if the right acting opportunity came around, she’d jump at the chance.” Valerie, of course, grew up on TV playing One Day at a Time’s Barbara Cooper and more recently starred on Hot in Cleveland from 2010 to 2015. “She’s been down for the count before, but it’s never permanent,” says the friend. “She’s very optimistic about the future.”