Easy Oven Roasted Steak with Blender Bearnaise (and our EPIC trip to Iceland!!)

Inspired by our recent trip to Iceland, this Easy Oven Roasted Steak with a Blender Béarnaise sauce is the perfect way to kick your dinner up a notch.
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We recently got back from a pretty amazing trip to Iceland! I’m excited to share the highlights in today’s post along with a meal inspired by our time there. While the food outside of the city was not that diverse (LOTS of burgers and pizzas!), we did enjoy delicious steak and lamb several times, and it always seemed to be paired with a yummy Bearnaise sauce. Even the burgers sometimes came with a side of Bearnaise.

Family photo in Iceland.

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We are big-time sauce people in this family, and it made me come home wanting to whip up some homemade Bearnaise myself. So I’m going to share just how easy it is to make with a new recipe, along with some details and pics (all taken with my non-pro iPhone 11) from our trip!

Why Iceland?

It’s no secret that our family loves going on a big adventure almost every summer. Well, except for last summer of course due to COVID! And with things still being a little touch and go right now, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to go anywhere this summer either. Traveling is one of my biggest passions so I REALLY wanted it to happen, and Iceland has been high on the list for some time now. So back in May I literally googled “where can Americans travel” to come up with a short list of options and was excited to see Iceland as one of them! And with hardly any COVID cases there (this whole time really), it seemed like a fabulous place to safely test the waters.

Water fall and scenic view in Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss Falls near Vik

But, since restrictions were lifted just weeks before the only big opening in our summer schedule, I ended up booking our trip with about 10 days notice! Absolutely not my style!! But, hey, nothing wrong with the planner in me going out of my comfort zone, right? And it all worked out in the end. :)

One of the benefits of going on this trip right now is since Iceland just recently opened back up, there were hardly any tourists there. From what we were told, it had been getting almost overrun with tourists the last few years (before COVID), and having all these amazing sights almost to ourselves was definitely a silver lining that we did not take for granted. It was an incredibly special experience!

What We Did in Iceland!

My husband and I kind of knew what to expect in Iceland, but our kids really had very little idea (where the heck is Iceland? LOL), especially since it was all so last minute. All that aside, the four of us were absolutely blown away by the experience!

One thing I’ve learned from all our travels is if you have little or no expectations you can end up having a pretty amazing time (because you can’t be let down by “what should’ve been”)! And mainly due to my lack of time to do research I didn’t quite know exactly what we were getting ourselves into, but everything we did was honestly even better than I could have imagined!

Double rainbow over an open field in Iceland.
We all ran out of the rental car freaking out when we were just driving along and this unbelievable rainbow appeared! The brightest, widest, biggest rainbow I’ve ever seen. And a double one to boot.

South Iceland

We first stayed in Vik (highly recommend!), and here’s some of what we did and saw…

The Plane Wreck

It just so happened to be very foggy (and cold! It’s Iceland after all) when we went on the long trek to see the famed 1973 plane wreck. With the foggy vibe, the black volcanic rock, and the lack of trees (there are hardly any trees in Iceland), we honestly felt like we were walking on the moon down this path. My kids thought it was so cool and that walk, along with actually being able to climb on and get inside the old wreckage, was a fabulous start to our trip!

Family walking towards the famed 1973 plane wreck in Iceland.
Teen girl standing on top of the famed 1973 plane wreck in Iceland.

Town of Vik

I was secretly worried it would rain our entire trip (especially after looking at the forecast and arriving on a very rainy day), so I was absolutely DELIGHTED when the sun came out after a late dinner on our very first night. The scenery that suddenly appeared around us literally took our breath away. The fact that the sun hardly sets there this time of year certainly helped with allowing ample opportunity for the sky to clear up during daylight!

Sisters posing in an abandoned lot in Iceland.
This is literally an empty lot in town that we thought was gorgeous, LOL.

This is on one side of the famed Black Beach right by the town Vik. Almost all the beaches in Iceland are black from all the volcanic rock!

Teen girl running on black beach in Iceland.

A nice stranger snapped this picture of us that’ll likely reappear on our holiday card. Always a goal of mine to get pics for our card when we travel! Haha. This was our first day, and we were just so excited to be there and to see the sun.

Family posing on black beach in Iceland.

Just above the town of Vik we stopped to see these Icelandic horses … they were everywhere there! And we got to ride some on a little tour later in the trip. :)

Two Icelandic horses in a field.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and Dyrhólaey Lookout

The next day we went to the other side of the Black Beach where the Basalt Columns are … this was our first time ever seeing something like this and it was so cool. Oh, and the sun came out again making my day! The weather is very erratic there.

Sisters posing on the Basalt Columns in Iceland.
Teen girl posing on the Basalt Columns in Iceland.
Family posing on beach in front of Basalt Columns in Iceland.
The Basalt Columns they were climbing on above are at the bottom right in this pic.
Scenic view of Dyrhólaey Lookout in Iceland.
Nearby Dyrhólaey Lookout

Snowmobiling on the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier

We’d never been snowmobiling before and it was something my husband had always wanted to try. The conditions honestly could have been better, but we still had fun. I let my 16-year-old drive me around on ours so I was mostly just holding on for dear life, LOL.

Family posing on snowmobiles in Iceland.

Ice Cave Tour

We weren’t quite sure if we should sign up for an ice cave tour; it’s not really the season for it (there are more cave options in the winter), but we are so glad we did! Just the drive through the lava fields to get there and the knowledge of our tour guide would have been tour enough without even checking out the caves. We did the FastTrack Ice Cave Tour through Katlatrack Adventure Tours and thought it was very cool!

Family and tour guide walking through the lava fields in Iceland.
Teen girl exploring the ice caves in Iceland.
Father posing in ice caves in Iceland.

Drive to the Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach (with lots of unexpected sights along the way!)

After the ice cave tour, we were planning to head straight west to our next stop until our tour guide talked us into going in the complete opposite direction first before leaving the area. We ended up not getting to our VRBO rental until 2 AM (it was still light out!!), but it was worth it. The weather was fairly good that day, a big factor in our decision, and we saw so many amazing things…

First, as we were driving along we noticed miles and MILES of these mossy mound-covered rocks. We had to get out of the car to check them out … they were so squishy and bouncy my girls were just running and bouncing all over the place! Okay, all of us were, haha.

Teen girl standing on moss covered mounds in Iceland.
Teen girl standing on moss covered mounds in Iceland.

Then we stopped at Diamond Beach and Glacier Lagoon … next time I’d love to kayak around the Glacier Lagoon. I did not realize how spectacular it is, and to think, we almost missed seeing it if it weren’t for our guide talking us into going!

Teen girl posing at Diamond Beach in Iceland.
A giant block of ice on Diamond Beach in Iceland.
Sisters posing at Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.

And then we spotted so many rainbows (one of the benefits of all that rain, I guess!) that we repeatedly stopped our car … lots of stopping and running out of the car to see super cool unexpected things on this trip! You never know what you’re going to encounter.

Teen girl in field with double rainbow in the background in Iceland.
Father posing on the side of the road in Iceland with rainbows in the background.

Breathtaking Waterfalls Everywhere!

We were laughing to ourselves because we’d be driving around Iceland seeing amazing waterfalls even taller and more spectacular than Multnomah Falls (a major tourist attraction in Oregon) and no one even cared or was stopping to see them. This is because there are SO MANY waterfalls everywhere, including a pretty big one you can walk behind! Nature is really amazing.

Sisters posing at Skógafoss Falls near Vik in Iceland.
Skógafoss Falls near Vik
Sisters enjoying the scenic view at Gullfoss Falls on the Golden Circle in Iceland.
Gullfoss Falls on the Golden Circle
Sisters posing at Seljalandsfoss Falls near Vik in Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss Falls near Vik
Scenic view of Near Arnarstapi on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland.
Near Arnarstapi on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Sisters posing at the Falls by Kirkjufell Mountain (from Game of Thrones) on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Falls by Kirkjufell Mountain (from Game of Thrones) on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

After we finally made it to Hellnar, a town on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we used it as a jumping off point to explore this quieter side of the country.

Town of Hellnar

I remembered our VRBO host saying something about a nice walk/hike to the next town, but it was of course Iceland-style WAY MORE AMAZING than we were expecting! We were wowed even before the views near the next town appeared. And the icing on the cake was that right in Hellnar we discovered this amazing little cafe in an old fishing cottage with a spectacular overlook that served yummy coffees, drinks, quiche, waffles, etc. It was literally the only thing open in this tiny town (which was really just a collection of buildings), and we went there twice in one day … the whole afternoon turned out to be a trip highlight for me!

Family sitting at a table outside a cafe overlooking scenic views in Iceland.
Scenic views in Iceland.
Scenic views in Iceland.
Family portrait with scenic views in the background in Iceland.
Family on small bridge overlooking a creek in Iceland.

Snæfellsjökull National Park

We literally had this whole national park to ourselves; I’m trying to remember if we even saw any other people. We had trouble finding the “white sand beach” (a rare phenomenon in Iceland) but were so glad we persisted because it was (shocker) more amazing than we were expecting! The black volcanic rock against the lighter sand with the sun attempting to set in the background was a sight to see.

Scenic view of Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Teen girl posing under sign of Snæfellsjökull National Park.
White Sand beach at Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Father posing on top of black rocks at the White Sand beaches in Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Sisters posing with scenic views of Snæfellsjökull National Park in the background.
It was nearly midnight in this picture … sleepy girls were troopers letting us stay out and explore!

Quaint Little Churches

Both of these were on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, although I know there are similar churches all over the country.

Teen girl posing in front of a quaint little church in Iceland.
Mother and two daughters posing in front of a quaint little church in Iceland.

Driving around Snæfellsnes Peninsula

We took our time leaving the peninsula and stopped at interesting places along the way, including this pretty spectacular canyon that my husband enjoyed hiking into a pretty good distance.

Teen girl in front of canyon on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Teen girl posing in front of canyon on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Three small Icelandic cattle in the middle of the road.
Quaint restaurant in Hellnar, Iceland.
VRBO in Hellnar, Iceland.
Our VRBO in Hellnar was one of these black houses.

Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, and the (active) Volcano!!

Our last stop was Reykjavík and the surrounding area.

Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure (Þingvellir National Park)

We all four braved the 36 degree F temps to snorkel in some of the clearest water on the planet located between two (actively separating) tectonic plates that divide North America and Eurasia. I was actually not too cold in my drysuit floating on the surface whereas the rest of my crazy family chose wetsuits so they could dive down to get a better look. Let’s just say they were coooold and finally fully recovered after a couple hours LOL!

Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure.
Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure.


Our final stay was in a VRBO apartment in the funky city of Reykjavík, which was fun to explore (while also providing a wider variety of tasty food options that we enjoyed)!

Teen girl hopping in the streets of Reykjavík.
City view of Reykjavík.
Sisters posing in the streets of Reykjavík.

The Erupting Fagradalsfjall Volcano!

Okay, so this was another trip highlight for sure. We just happened to be in Iceland shortly after a volcano unexpectedly started erupting there. What’s special about this volcano (and I know VERY little about volcanos!) is that it is relatively small/calm for a volcano so you can walk almost right up to it and its lava (it was hot!). It started as a completely flat piece of ground and the mountain you see has been forming from its lava since it started erupting back in March/April!

The conditions and weather were constantly changing so we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get a good view, but we got very lucky! It was quite a trek (a 45-minute moderate hike) to get to the viewpoint, and we chose to do it from 11 PM – 2 AM for the best viewing against a darkened sky. This particular evening it was erupting every 10 minutes or so, and our 14-year-old did not want to leave! I was like, “It’s 1:30 AM now and I’ve got to go to bed at some point,” haha. I’m usually very strict about my bedtime, but I guess you could call this a special occasion!! An unforgettable evening for sure.

Teen girl posing in front of Fagradalsfjall Volcano.
Family posing in front of erupting Fagradalsfjall Volcano.
Scenic view of the erupting Fagradalsfjall Volcano.
Teen girl posing in front of the erupting Fagradalsfjall Volcano.

The Blue Lagoon

After all the late-night excitement from the big hike to the volcano, we had the perfect chill day at the Blue Lagoon. I know it’s a very touristy stop, but we had to do it!

Teen girl swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
Sisters applying mud mask in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
Family posing with mud masks on in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Golden Cirle

The snorkeling we did in the fissure was actually on the Golden Circle as well, but we went back on our last day to check out a few things we didn’t have time to see before.

The Geysir in Iceland.
The Geysir (although the land was literally bubbling up with hot springs and steam all over the place).
Sisters sitting at table at the Friðheimar Greenhouse Restaurant.
Friðheimar Greenhouse Restaurant … a great stop!
Scenic view of Kerid Crater in Iceland.
Kerid Crater (with volcanic rock that was red this time)

And that was our trip for summer 2021! I know this was a LONG post with A LOT of pictures, but I honestly narrowed it down so much. I can’t believe how many pictures there are on this post after cutting so many great ones. Iceland was just amazing and so picturesque! We are thrilled to be back to traveling again as a family and hope this inspires you to get “back on the horse” as well. Lucky for you if it’s an Icelandic trip! :)

Easy Oven Roasted Steak with Blender Béarnaise

Now here’s that recipe! Turns out Bearnaise is one of my husband’s favorite sauces (I did not realize this), so I’m glad the trip inspired us to make it at home. It was served with steak, lamb, and even burgers in Iceland … and would be great on potatoes or veggies, too! It’s very versatile and a great way to kick a standard dinner up a few notches.

Check out all of our favorite Steak Recipes!

Easy Oven Roasted Steak with Blender Bearnaise in a skillet.

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22 thoughts on “Easy Oven Roasted Steak with Blender Bearnaise (and our EPIC trip to Iceland!!)”

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  1. I always wanted to travel to the blue lagoon and read about your experience making me crazy to visit this wonderful place. It seems you had a wonderful experience over there. I also love reading your recipe. I am fond of trying new dishes and will soon try this one. What kind of COVID precaution was mandatory during the trip and for that place?

  2. Hello,
    What a wonderful trip! Do you mind sharing the airnbs you guys stayed at? That would be amazing!

    Thank you!

  3. Melissa Barrera

    We are going in September and would love to know where you stayed and what clothing items you recommend us for sure taking with us?

  4. Loved reading about your trip! We went to Iceland a few years ago and stopped at the same places. Did you check out any local swimming pools? They’re all outdoors and heated. That was a cool experience. Such a beautiful country!

  5. Did you have to go through a lot of the same COVID protocol as your last trip? Just curious as my husband and I are considering an international trip for our anniversary this fall, but I’m not sure what to expect for COVID testing, etc.

  6. I love reading about your trip. We went 4 years ago and it was the trip of a lifetime. Iceland is like being on another planet and just magical. We fell in love with it.

  7. Kim Stachowiak

    Your trip was amazing! Thank you for sharing pictures (and a recipe) so we can travel vicariously through you. How long were you gone for?

  8. The Trip looked amazing, how very blessed! Thanks for sharing. I have only made a stopover in Reykjavík while in the US Military years ago. Makes me want to go back and explore more.

  9. The pics of your trip are fantastic. I feel as if I saw the best of Iceland! Thank you for my virtual trip! I loved the lava masks.

  10. Patricia B. Chapman

    We made an almost identical trip to this in Sept, 2019 – our last real trip! Although we’re all in our late 70’s we did pretty much everything you did – except snorkel. Our only regret is that we went in 2019, because otherwise it would be out trip for 2021 as well. But you didn’t eat the ultimate “real food” – fermented shark!!! Horrible, but we did taste it.