Jessie James Decker Dishes on New Music and Her First Cookbook! (Exclusive)
By Antoinette Bueno
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Jessie James Decker has been busy balancing her thriving career and home life while under quarantine, and she's clearly coming out on top. ET's Rachel Smith sat down this week with the 32-year-old country music singer at her home in Nashville, Tennessee, where she talked all about how quarantine has been going for her family of five, as well as her new music and her highly anticipated first cookbook, Just Feed Me.
Jessie said that despite the hardships that come along with being under quarantine, it's also been a blessing in disguise when it comes to her family life. Jessie and her husband, Eric Decker, share three young children together -- 6-year-old daughter Vivianne and their two sons, 5-year-old Eric II and 2-year-old Forrest.
"I just feel like we were able to kind of slow down a little bit from work," she explains. "You know, I was starting to get really busy again, because I just signed another record deal, and I was going to have travel coming up and I just feel like we were all just together. We're always together, we're very family-oriented, but this almost forced us to just be together 24/7, like it did all the families out there."
"I've loved it," she adds. "[But] I'm not gonna lie, it's been challenging at some points with the kids. It gets a little overwhelming."
Jessie shared that it's been particularly tough getting some alone time with 33-year-old Eric.
"Well, the homeschooling was really hard, and I do feel like there were times where Eric and I just wanted to have some one-on-one alone time. That was a little bit of a challenge, because we had to get creative in how to be alone together," she says. "We were with the kids 24/7, so it's like, oh my God, can we please just get some time alone, just have a conversation? But it's part of life, you know, they're little ones."
She was, however, adamant that there will be no quarantine babies for her and Eric.
"I feel like the quarantine has made us kind of pump the breaks a little bit," she says of wanting more children. "Maybe we're good with three. No quarantine babies, no, but you know, I always say never say never. We haven't done anything permanently to not have another baby, but we're not trying to have another baby."
Eric has been helping her with her clothing line, Kittenish.
"It's so funny, Eric is the president of Kittenish and it is honestly his daily deal," she says. "He does it every single day. I honestly couldn't do it without him helping me out. It's been absolutely amazing. He came on board last fall, and you know, he went to school for business, so he's just got a knack for it. He's really, really smart and so we work really well together. It's a lot of fun and you know, he's very competitive and very driven. He takes all those competitive juices he's got flowing through him and he just puts it towards a female brand."
As for her new music, Jessie gave ET an update after signing a new record deal with Atlantic/Warner music in January. She revealed that while she was supposed to go on tour with new music this summer, it got postponed due to the pandemic. But it will definitely be worth the wait.
"The label and I decided together to just wait and do it right, because this is like, the best music I've ever made in my life, and I want to do it right," she says. "I will be putting out a Christmas single, so I will have a Christmas song out in November, but as far as my album I've been working on and recording, we actually decided today we're going to hold off. We're going to wait for the top of the year so we can do it right, 'cause I'm really excited about it."
Jessie said her upcoming album will be a return to her musical roots.
"Music is why I started in this business. I got signed two months out of high school," she shares. "A lot of people don't know that. They know me just from my reality show ... the TV show just kinda took off and took me in all these different avenues. I've been so blessed from it, but I feel like for me, it's almost a back to basics -- back to me, which is, I'm an artist. I'm a singer, I'm a songwriter, this has been my dream. I've been singing since I was a little girl and it's always been my dream to continue doing so. I'm the same person, but I've evolved into a woman now ... it's a little bit more real, this album."
While Jessie waits to show her fans her new music, she's been busy working on her new cookbook, Just Feed Me, which comes out on Sept. 22.
"Oh my goodness, I have been cooking for as long as I can remember," she says. "I just come from a long line of Italian women that have always cooked, it's what we've always done. My great-grandmother and my entire family, they were strawberry farmers in Louisiana and cooked and ate everything off the farm, and so I just feel like it's just been instilled in me, to know how to cook."
"I'm not trying to overwhelm you or intimidate you with my fancy recipes, because they're just recipes that I put together that I made easy for you, you know?" she adds of what makes her cookbook stand out. "I'm just the girl next door, the mom just like I am, that just wants to make something really good for her family."
Jessie admitted that being so passionate about food means it's a constant challenge for her to not overindulge. However, judging by her Instagram, she's definitely been keeping fit while under quarantine. She recently drove her fans wild by posting a picture of herself in which she appeared naked, though she told ET she was actually wearing swimsuit bottoms. The mom of three said the secret to her fitness is eating everything in moderation, and when she wants to buckle down ahead of a photo shoot, she sticks to a high-protein, low-carb diet.
"I feel good in my skin when I can wear things I want to wear," she says, "and it makes me feel strong and I can chase after my kids, but I am not gonna limit myself to the foods that I want to eat. That's why everything in moderation. You gotta balance it out, you know?"
"Patience is the number one thing," she says. "Your body just went through so much... Don't worry about all that, because you've got time, you know, there's always time, and when you are finally ready to get your body back and you feel like you're at that place, you know, go slow. There's no rush."
"You can walk a couple miles a day. Start there," she continues. "I love doing YouTube videos. I'll go to YouTube and I'll put in 10-minute workouts, 20-minute workouts, circuit training. ... You don't need to be doing an hour workout. Knock it out in twenty minutes where your heart is racing and you're sweating it out. That is what worked for me."
Meanwhile, Jessie did a cooking demo with ET and shared an exclusive recipe with us -- her Grilled Watermelon Salad Pizza -- from Just Feed Me, which is out Sept. 22. Check it out below:
This unique salad will be one of the most flavorful you’ve ever had. The juiciness of the watermelon running down your chin topped with prosciutto and sliced Parmesan will have you wondering if you want to even share. I can eat an entire watermelon salad pizza by myself. Just ask Eric.
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Cook time: 6 Minutes
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
· 1 disk seedless watermelon, 1 to 2 inches thick
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 6 thin slices prosciutto
· 10 to 12 thin slices Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
· 1 cup tricolor baby tomatoes, sliced
· Handful of baby arugula
· Balsamic glaze (from Trader Joe’s), for garnish
Preheat an outdoor grill or cast-iron grill pan. Once hot, place the watermelon disk down on the grill to caramelize and mark, 2 to 3 minutes. With tongs or a large spatula, flip the watermelon and grill another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the watermelon to a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Season the grilled watermelon with salt and pepper. Top with the prosciutto, Parmigiano, tomatoes, and arugula and garnish with balsamic glaze.