Autumn Walks and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This isn't the first walking tour I've done of Country Club, an historic neighborhood in Denver. But it's been almost a year since I took the kids on a walk through the area's winding streets, which are chock-full of stately homes...and I was in need of colorful leaves for a crafting project. I knew that Country Club would do the trick.(It's also nice to stroll by turn of the century Tudors, classic French Chateaus, Colonials, and even some of the mid-mods that have been thrown in to the mix...)

We started off the day at Washington Park, where most of the leaves had already fallen, dried and turned brown. Rumor had it that other parts of town still had gorgeous leaves-- red, yellow and orange--perfect for seasonal crafts. So after an hour of playground fun, swings and the jungle gym, it was time start our walking tour. We got in the car, drove about 5 minutes and disembarked. 
The leaves were gorgeous and the weather was spectacular. The architecture was pretty stellar too. 

Our walking tour took place a few days before Election Day, so there were lawn signs everywhere. In addition to all the presidential placards (Romney was the clear favorite in this part of town), there were also local issues galvanizing the electorate: namely, bond measures/funding for public schools(passed), and an amendement legalizing marijuana in the State (passed). 

...we did find a few Obama signs (!)...
"Vote Film." The Denver Film Festival takes place in early November...
After we finished our walking tour and collected our leaves (which I put in a ziplock bag to keep them fresh and prevent drying), it was time for some baking. And what says "autumn" more than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread?! Anything? No, I don't think so.
I found this recipe on Allrecipes and it got rave reviews. I took a look at the ingredients and it sounded great. But I almost fell over when I saw that the bread contained three cups of sugar. But upon closer examination I discovered that original recipe makes 3 loaves, so I stopped sweating the sugar. I decided to make the entire recipe-- keeping one loaf for our family and sharing the other two with friends. I'd say they were grateful. 
Since this is likely my last post before Thanksgiving, happy holidays to you and yours! xo -Batya
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread(Courtesy of Allrecipes)
Yield: 3 loaves (You can use their calculator to change the serving size.)

3 cups white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts(optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 1 pound size coffee cans, or three 9x5 inch loaf pans. (I went with the loaf pans.)
In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Fill cans 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from cans or pans.